The OTs-14 “Groza” (ОЦ-14 “Гроза”= Thunder) modular assault rifle was developed in around 1994 by the design team, consisting of V. Telesh and Yu. Lebedev, who worked at the TsKIBSOO (Central Design Bureau for Sporting and Hunting Arms) in the city of Tula.
The aim of the “Groza” project was to build the ultimate modular weapon for CQB (Close Quarters Battle) and operations in the urban environment, capable of fulfilling a variety of tactical roles, including that of the compact CQB assault rifle, the suppressed assault (or designated marksman) rifle, and rifle/grenade launcher combination.
To deliver the most compact package, the OTs-14 “Groza” was designed into a bullpup layout with a modular pistol grip and trigger unit. The latter, unfortunately, became one of its key shortcomings, especially in the rifle/grenade launcher version, due to poorly designed firing controls. Overall, the OTs-14 was not a success, with only several hundred made (converted from the AKS74U rifles at the TsKIBSOO) between 1994 and 1995. These were issued to a variety of SWAT-type OMON and rapid reaction SOBR law enforcement units across Russia. Some saw combat during anti-terrorism operations in Chechnya. Besides uncomfortable firing controls, other perceived shortcomings of the OTs-14 rifle included a rearward balance, a too-short sight radius, and an inability to fire left-handed.
Also, use with the suppressor created significant back-pressure that blew irritating gases out of the ejection port, and straight into the face of the operator. Due to an unmodified ejection pattern, inherited from the Kalashnikov AK, firing from the left shoulder was close to impossible. Attempts made to market the OTs-14 in 7.62 × 39 mm resulted in the production of only a few prototypes. Twenty-five years later, a few OTs-14 “Groza” kits are still in some police armories across Russia, but are rarely used due to the problems mentioned above, as well as a lack of spare parts and magazines.
The OTs-14 Groza assault rifle used the same modified AKS-74U action as the OTs-12 “Tiss” compact assault rifle, with the gas port placed close to the chamber and the gas tube running forward to the gas block near the muzzle. It also retained the traditional AK-style safety/fire selector.
The trigger system was modified. The basic trigger was cut and connected to a pushrod running forward. A new, removable trigger group with pistol grip was mounted below the barrel, in front of the receiver, using a cross pin. Each rifle kit contained two alternate trigger units. One was equipped with a standard trigger, which acted on the pushrod that projected from the receiver. The other was equipped with a trigger and a rotating selector on the left-hand side, above the trigger guard. This alternate trigger group was made integral with the 40 mm grenade launcher, and the single trigger was intended to operate both the rifle and the grenade launcher. Switching between the two firing modes required 180-degree rotation of the selector, which proved to be rather awkward, especially under the stress of combat.
The rear of the receiver was fitted with a new rubberized buttpad. For disassembly, this pad first had to be unlocked and rotated to the left to clear the rear of the top-cover. The sighting system was built into the integrated carrying handle and included a protected front post and selectable rear sight with a disk-shaped blade. This rotating disk offered two options for the rear sight: either a U-shaped notch or a small aperture. The range-setting mechanism was also taken from the OTs-12 and used a rotating knob on the left to switch between 50 and 200 meters in 50-meter increments. The top of the carrying handle also had mounting points for the proprietary quickly detachable mount, which was used to install a 4X magnification telescopic sight. The modular package was rounded off with a detachable forward ‘assault grip’ with muzzle sleeve, which could be replaced with a screw-on sound suppressor of relatively simple but robust design.
Ammunition was fed from the proprietary 20-round box magazines, compatible only with the OTs-12 Tiss rifle.
Technical Specifications, the OTs-14 “Groza” rifle