Just about every special operations command in the world uses live fire drills to give its operators realistic combat experience before actually getting into the fight, though as numerous videos around the web have shown, not every nation’s military adheres to the same safety standards. This video, which appears to show Russian special operations troops (though they may actually just be kitted-up shooters employed by the arms manufacturer, Kalashnikov), is perhaps among the most egregious videos to hit the web in some time in terms of unnecessary risk.
While some of the drills shown in this compilation are not entirely different from similar exercises you may see conducted in the live fire shoot houses employed by America’s elite special operations troops, you’ll be hard-pressed to find American forces actually shooting at one another with live ammunition under most normal circumstances.
According to the description that accompanies the video, these “expert” shooters were giving a demonstration of the tactics employed by “special units in various tactical scenarios.” It’s possible, of course, that the footage has been doctored or that the rounds being fired are purpose-built for reduced lethality in such demonstrations. Still, previous videos to emerge from Russia showing similar exercises have created a precedent that suggests it’s at least possible that this video is every bit as insane as it first seems. According to Kalashnikov’s website, the audience included the “general director of Kalashnikov, Alexey Krivoruchko, the general director of the Rostec Corporation, Sergey Chemezov, and the head of Udmurtia, Alexander Brechalov.”
The value inherent to live fire training is difficult to discount, but the risks associated with using live rounds to actually engage with one another easily overwhelm any potential benefits. Conventional troops reach their duty stations after receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of training. Special operations troops receiving training can be valued in the millions–so to risk permanently injuring or even killing one of these war-fighters for the sake of training or demonstrations represents a level of fiscal irresponsibility you’d be hard-pressed to find in most developed nations, barring any concerns for actual safety. American special operations troops have been known to regularly use their own as “dummies” or hostages in live fire shoot houses, but the notable difference would seem to be that the goal of these drills is usually to rescue the human hostages, not to shoot them in the chest.
Ultimately, the goal of this demonstration may have been to show the high level of accuracy permitted by both the weapons and the men carrying them, but it’s hard to see past the foolishness of the enterprise to be impressed.