In part one of this series, we looked mainly at the venerable AK family of weapons carried by troops of the Ukrainian armed forces. Today, we’ll look at a few other weapons carried and employed by the Ukrainians, but in smaller numbers than the Kalashnikov.
The Fort-221 carbine is a straight-up license-built copy of the Israeli TAR-21 manufactured by RPC Fort in Ukraine. This is a bullpup-type weapon with the firing grip ahead of the breech. I’m personally not a huge fan of these types of weapons as they are notoriously inaccurate. However, the upside to this kind of firearm is that the barrel length is increased relative to the length of the entire weapon. This saves weight and increases mobility.
The Fort-221 chambers a 5.45×39 round, the standard issue for Ukrainian ground troops. It also makes use of a proprietary 30-round magazine for that cartridge. The 221 is intended to effectively engage enemy targets out to 500 meters. It is gas operated, weighs 4.3 kg with a loaded magazine, and is 645 mm long (a tad over 25 inches) with a 375 mm (14.7 inches) barrel, primarily internal. The advertised rate of fire is between 500 – 1000 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 890 meters per second.
This bullpup is utilized mainly by Ukrainian Special Forces – 1st Spetsnaz, 3rd Spetsnaz, 8th Spetsnaz, and the “Tornado” battalion of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. There is a variant known as the Fort-224 that is shorter yet (585 mm or 23 inches)