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RSh-12 and RSh-9 assault revolver (Russia)

The RSh-12 assault revolver (Револьвер Штурмовой РШ-12) is a very unusual weapon, developed upon request from Elite Russian counter-terrorist units. It is an ultimate CQB/Room-cleaning man-stopper, which can be used single-handedly, for example by point-men of entry teams, who carry a ballistic shield in their “other” hand. It is designed to fire an extremely powerful 12.7x55mm ammunition, originally designed for the ASh-12 assault rifle.


RSh-12 assault revolver
RSh-12 assault revolver


In terms of power and muzzle energy, this formidable cartridge is roughly equal to .500 SW Magnum. 12.7x55mm ammunition is rimless and is available with heavy subsonic projectiles (PD-12 with 32 gram / 494 grain bullet), supersonic AP projectiles with hardened steel core (PS-12B with 16,2 g / 250 grain bullet) and supersonic short-range projectiles with lightweight aluminum core (PS-12A with 7 g / 108 grain bullet). Same system is also available chambered for the noticeably less powerful, but still highly effective 9x39mm subsonic ammunition, originally used in the AS suppressed assault rifle and the VSS suppressed sniper rifle. The 9x39m version is called RSh-9 revolver. It is somewhat lighter than the basic 12.7mm version and has cylinder capacity of six 9mm rounds, as opposed to cylinder capacity of five 12.7mm rounds in the RSH-12 revolver.
Developed by the TSKIB SOO (Central Design Bureau for Sporting and Hunting Arms), located in the city of Tula, the RSh-12 and RSh-9 revolvers are believed to be in limited service with elite counter-terrorism units of the Russian FSB.


To counter heavy recoil of a massive 12.7mm / .50 caliber ammunition, the RSH-12 assault revolver has an interesting and unusual design. First, it fires from the bottom (6-o’clock) chamber, to reduce barrel climb. Second, it features short-recoil action, in which the barrel and upper frame with cylinder are allowed to recoil against the grip frame. However, unlike other recoil-operated revolvers, such as Webley-Fosbery or Mateba, this recoil action is used only to compress internal hammer spring; cylinder rotation is effected only through manual cocking of the hammer, either when pulling it by the thumb for a ‘single-action’ shot, or via a trigger pull in a ‘double-action’ shot. As such, hammer has two springs (one compressed manually and another compressed automatically by recoil), which helps to maintain relatively light DA trigger pull for rapid follow-up shots. Manual safety is provided on both sides of the grip frame, so revolver can be carried ‘cocked and locked’ when required.

Cylinder capacity is five rounds for RSh-12 and six rounds for RSh-9. For reloading, cylinder swings out to the left as in most traditional revolvers, and fired cases are ejected simultaneously by pressing on the ejector rod. Fresh rounds can be loaded one by one, or using specially developed quick-loaders, available in both calibers. Special measures are taken to ensure tight fit between the cylinder and barrel during the discharge, and so both guns can be used with quick-detachable sound suppressors (silencers).
To further mitigate recoil, barrel of the revolver is fitted with a muzzle brake / compensator.

Standard sights are of fixed type. Picatinny rails are provided above and below the barrel for installation of sighting aids (i.e. Red Dot or Laser sights) and other accessories. An optional detachable shoulder stock can be attached to the grip to form a compact and powerful carbine.


RSh-12 assault revolver
RSh-12 assault revolver


Finally, we must mention two civilian-legal hunting revolver carbines, developed by TSKIB SOO for the Russian market. Those are MTs-569 in 12.7x55mm and MTs-570 in 9x39mm. Those carbines differ from the RSh-12 assault revolver by having a noticeably longer barrel and a permanently fixed shoulder stock, which are required to conform to Russian weapons law.


RSh-12 RSh-9
Trigger type Double action
Caliber 12.7х55 mm 9х39 mm
Weight empty, g 2000 1600
Length, mm 310 303
Barrel length, mm ? ?
Capacity, rounds 5 6