KS-23 riot shotgun / carbine, left side, with 'less-lethal' rubber slugammunition.
 KS-23 riot shotgun / carbine, left side, with 'less-lethal' rubber slugammunition.


KS-23 weapon, right side close up with bolt partially retracted to showits rotary locking head.
 KS-23 weapon, right side close up with bolt partially retracted to showits rotary locking head.


 KS-23M weapon with removed steelbutt.
 KS-23M weapon with removed steelbutt.


 KS-23 rifled bore of 23mm caliber.
 KS-23 rifled bore of 23mm caliber.


Type: pump-action
Gauge:4 / 23 mm (rifled barrel)
Length: 904 mm / 35,6"
Barrel length: n/a
Weight: 3,8kg / 8,4 lbs
Capacity: 3 rounds in underbarrel tube magazine


The story of this unusual weapon began in 1970s,when Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs began the search for an effective anti-riot weapon, to be used during disturbances in prisons.After much research, it was decided to use shotgun-type ammunition of about 4th gauge caliber, which will launch tear-gas grenades to ranges of up to 100-150 meters with significant accuracy. To achieve desired accuracy, it was further decided to use weapon with rifled barrel, and the solution was eventually found in using rejected 23mm aircraft cannon barrels, turned down to slimmer profile to save weight. Basicweapon was designed by TSNII TochMash (central Scientific Research Institute for Precision Machine Machine building, a key Soviet /Russian developer of special-purpose small arms) and produced in smallbatches at Tula Arms factory. It was adopted by Soviet Militia (Police)and other MVD troops by mid-1980s, along with a wide range of specialized ammunition. At the present time KS-23 is used by Russian law enforcement forces as anti-riot weapon. It also saw some use in certain ex-Soviet republics which are now independent states.
 During1990s attempts were made to produce more compact and maneuverable weapon in the same caliber, for operations in cramped areas (inside buildings). Of two prototypes, KS-23M (with detachable buttstock) and KS-23K (with bullpup layout and box magazine) only the former saw some use.

It is interesting to note that all KS-23 ammunition is of "shotgun" type, with paper shells with brass bases,although, because of rifled barrel, it is type-classified as a"carbine" in Russia. KS-23 stands for "Karabin Spetsialnyj, 23mm – Special Carbine). Later on, to achieve bigger effect with tear-gas grenades, designers produced two types of add-on muzzlemortars of 36mm and 28mm caliber, called "Nasadka-6" and "Nasadka-12"respectively. These mortars are loaded from muzzle with single tear-gasgrenade which is launched using special blank cartridge.
Thestandard range of ammunition for KS-23 includes following rounds:

  • 23mmblank "grenade launching" cartridge
  • 23mm "Barrikada"(Barricade) car-stopping cartridge with solid steel projectile whichcan easily destroy engine block at ranges of up to 100 meters
  • 23mm"Volna-R"(Wave-R) less-lethal cartridge with rubber ball bullet. Minimum "safe"range is ~40 meters (at closer ranges it can cause serious body damageand death), maximum effective range is about 70 meters
  • 23mm"Cheremukha-7M"(Bird cherry) tear-gas grenade loaded with CN agent. Maximum effectiverange is about 100-150 meters, tear gas cloud volume isabout 50 cubic meters
  • 23mm "Siren-7" (Lilac)tear-gas grenade loaded with CS agent. Maximum effective range is about100-150 meters, tear gas cloud volume is about 50 cubic meters
  • 23mm"Zvezda"(Star) flash-bang grenade round
  • "Shrapnel-10" and "Shrapnel-25""lethal" buckshot rounds (max. effective range 10 and 25 meters respectively)
  • 36mm "Cheremukha-6"tear-gas grenade loaded with CN agent; launched using 36mm muzzle mortar and blank cartridge. Grenade weight is ~70g, maximumeffective range is 200 meters,  tear gas cloud volume is about60 cubic meters
  • 82mm "Cheremukha-12""high efficiency" tear-gas grenade loaded with CN agent, for using on open areas; launched using 82mm muzzle mortar and blank cartridge. Maximumeffective range is 120 meters

KS-23 is manually operated weapon with rifled barrel and underbarrel tubular magazine. Barrel is locked using rotary bolt with four locking lugs.Bolt carrier is operated by sliding handguard, made of polymer. Trigger is of single action type; manual safety is cross-bolt button located at the front of the trigger guard. Sights are of rifle type, with fixed V-notch rear and drift-adjustable front. Buttstock on KS-23 carbine is made from wood, with rubber buttplate; on KS-23M carbine, there is a separate polymer pistol grip and a detachable metallic butt. Standard accessories include carrying sling and cleaning kit. Optional accessories include removable muzzle-loading mortars of 36mm and 82mm caliber.