Russia’s Latest SMG – The PPK-20

Listen, I know Russia isn’t exactly popular right now. They’ve kinda been giant D-bags, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop appreciating Russian weaponry and reporting on it, right? Well, I hope not because, as an SMG fan, I recently stumbled across a new submachine gun from The Russian Kalashnikov Group. The PP-19 and now PP-20 seem to be your options for a Russian SMG, but according to the Kalashnikov Group website, they now have a PPK-20. 

The PPK-20 looks to have been revealed in early 2020. According to, a Russian News Agency,  it was in state testing, but there wasn’t much information revealed afterward. Now, on the Kalashnikov Group Russian website, the PPK-20 has its own page, and it seems to be for sale to military and police forces worldwide. Now, we haven’t seen much good come out of Russian weaponry in Ukraine, but at least the AKs work, right? 

What is the PPK-20 

The PPK-20 is an evolution of the PP-19 series. This submachine gun family started back in the 1990s and began with the famed Bizon and its helical magazine in 9mm Makarov. It became the PP-19 Vityaz in 9×19. This gun used much simpler, cheaper, and likely more reliable box magazines. The PP-19 evolved into the PP-19-01. From that gun, we got the very modern and chic PPK-20. 

The PP-19 series has always been and continues to be a standard straight blowback submachine gun. It uses an AK-style design but ditches the long-stroke gas piston system. Simple blowback is fairly standard for SMGs, and the downsides revolve around the higher-than-expected recoil and excessive weight. However, it makes a simple and cheap gun. 

The AK series is basically a brand for Russia and the Kalashnikov Group. While they could and have made better and more ergonomically included SMGs, they stuck to their calling card for the PPK-20. There are benefits, which include lower training requirements for troops used to the AK series. One of the reasons the AR platform and ergonomics remain in military use is because it works, and we are used to it. 

The downside is that AK ergonomics are basically that of a submachine gun made in the 1940s. The world has moved on from the age of the AK. 

What’s New With the PPK-20 

There is a thing with submachine guns and the initial K. Whenever someone makes a super short version of an SMG. It gains the K initial. As far as I can tell, this goes back to two German guns, the Walther MPK and the HK MP5K. The Walther came first with the MPL and MPK. The MPK was the same gun as the MPL, with a shorter overall barrel. The MP5K was an MP5, also with a short barrel. 

K stands for kurz, which is German for short. If you’ve ever purchased imported .380 ACP ammo, it might be marked 9mm, Kurz. That K designation has made its way to the entire world of SMGs, including the Czech Scorpion, the SIG MPX, and beyond. It’s also found a foothold in Russia, apparently. 

The PPK-20 follows the SMG tradition of using the K designation to bring us a short SMG. Well shortish. The PP-19 has a 9.35-inch barrel, and the PPK-20 works with a 7.14-inch barrel. That’s not the only difference. 

The gun uses a stock that both collapses and folds instead of the triangle stock of the PP-19. The handguard features an M-LOK design with some short sections of Picatinny rail. They also pushed the rear sight all the way back to the end of the dust cover. This greatly increases the sight radius, which will make the gun easier to shoot accurately. 

They also added a selector to the left side of the gun that’s much more modern than the classic AK safety, although, to be clear, that safety is still there. It’s also designed to function primarily with the armor piercing, ass-kicking, 7N21 armor piercing round but can use standard 9mm rounds as well. 

All That and a Bag Of Chips 

The PPK-20 is a big improvement on the PP-19, but it might be too little too late. The gun hasn’t been adopted, or at least if it has, it hasn’t been reported. The PPK-20 suffers from the same problems as any SMg, and that’s the fact it’s an SMG. Short carbines exist, and rifle rounds pack a lot more punch than pistol rounds. Who needs an SMG when you can pick up an M4 or even one of the AK-200 variants? 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.