Unbeknownst to many, Russian military might is not the only source of fear from Eastern Europe’s infamous “Red Giant.” Russian organized crime—or Bratva, sometimes called—is a major power that has its hands in numerous criminal activities worldwide. From murder to extortion to drug trafficking and human slave trade operations and more, the Russian gangster is not to be taken lightly. With such a deep and powerful reach into nearly all major crime activities, it takes their name and reputation to enforce their will and a slew of weaponry aimed at those unwilling to cooperate.
Their use of hand-held blunt instruments, high-powered firearms, and everything in between gives the Russian mafia’s assassins numerous means to handle and ultimately eliminate their “problems.”
Russian Gangster Tools Of The Trade
Not the nightcap anyone would ever want, this cocktail brings a fiery, explosive force to anything or anyone unfortunate enough to be within its kill zone. This concoction can be created from materials found virtually anywhere, including an empty glass bottle, a flammable liquid such as gasoline or kerosene, and any piece of cloth used as a simple wick. This Russian gangster’s urban throw-toy is an easy way to take out their opposition.
- Easy to make with household materials.
- Uses gasoline, kerosene, or even alcohol as its fuel.
- Causes widespread fire damage.
- Rubber, cork, or plastic seals the bottle opening.
- White phosphorus, tar, or acid can be added for additional effect.
When it’s time to add more power to their persuasive punch, the Russian gangster will add some bling to their hands, and we’re not talking about some sparkling rings but rather a bone-crushing pair of brass knuckles. These metal slip-ons enhance a punch with solid metal impact upon a victim’s body, resulting in torn flesh, crushed bone, or cartilage. Their targets only notice them once it’s too late due to their compact, form-fitting design. If brass is not a gangster’s metal of choice, these knuckle enhancers are also available in steel, hard plastic, and even carbon-fiber construction.
- Used for centuries all over the world.
- Compact, hard-to-notice design.
- Diverse legal rules for use across the globe.
- Hand-to-hand combat enhancers.
- Also known as knuckledusters, knuckledusters, knucks, and brass knucks.
You are definitely not a winner if you’re on the receiving end of this blackjack. Constructed of thick leather, these low-profile impact weapons do a lot of damage with relatively little effort. This hand “tool” is the perfect intimidator for non-lethal interaction when a few quick strikes are needed to get the local businessmen back in line or competitors need to feel the power of the big boss. Styles differ from round to flat, but make no mistake, both designs can send a person into a state of unconsciousness with a well-placed blow to the head. Blackjacks are perfect for close combat, so be sure to stay well enough out of their range.
- Easy to carry and conceal.
- Available in all sizes, lengths, and styles.
- High knockout potential.
- Non-lethal (well, sometimes …).
- Also known as a club, sap, Billie, slapper, or slapstick.
Everyone Loves The AK-47
The Makarov Pistol
While not winning any contests when it comes to style or looks, the Makarov pistol, or PM, as it’s also called, was and still is one of the two signature firearms to come out of Russia since the Cold War. (The AK-47 is the other, of course!) Originally designed and still used by some former Eastern Bloc countries as a trustworthy sidearm for military police, the PM has trickled down into the hands of organized crime. Robust, no-nonsense, and easy to conceal, the Pistolet Makarov is an equalizer on the streets of Russia and beyond.
- Eight-round capacity.
- Caliber: 9x18mm Makarov.
- Used in many Eastern European countries today.
- Barrel length: 3.7 inches.
- Overall size: 6.4 inches.
Kalashnikov AK-47 Assault Rifle
Developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the Soviet Union to be a simple-to-use, fully-automatic weapon, this rifle delivers punishment with blinding speed and a killer punch. It was designed for durability and reliability under harsh conditions, produced at a relatively low cost compared to other weapons, and is now considered one of the most readily available firearms in the world today. This well-known and well-used rifle is for both military use and for those in the underworld who prefer brutal action that gets results.
- Nearly seven decades of production and use.
- It utilizes a long-stroke gas system that offers great reliability.
- Compatible with 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-round magazines and 75-round drum boxes.
- Integrated side rails for scopes and sighting equipment.
- An estimated 75-100 million AK-47s exist in the world today.
A Criminal History
The roots of the Russian gangster can be traced back nearly three centuries. Unlike their diverse criminal activities of today, thievery was at the forefront of their interests early on. Typically comprised of impoverished peasants or outright criminals, these groups would steal from various government entities and disperse their spoils among the people across the land in a modus operandi similar to that of the fictional Robin Hood. Though, in reality, these men were criminals, they were hailed as protectors of the common people. Some were even elevated to hero-like status among the men and women surviving on these thieves’ dispersed goods.