NewsRussian soldier defies odds: shoots down drones with shotgun

Russian soldier defies odds: shoots down drones with shotgun

A Russian soldier who survived an FPV drone attack and shot down two more.
A Russian soldier who survived an FPV drone attack and shot down two more.
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8:07 AM EDT, June 15, 2024

The war in Ukraine is teeming with scenarios that, until recently, would have seemed like fiction. One such scenario involves a Russian soldier who, almost like a cyborg, avoids one "kamikaze" drone and destroys two more headed his way. We delve into how he might have achieved this impressive feat.

In the recording below, you can see how the Russian soldier narrowly avoids being hit by an FPV drone. He then checks for injuries and quickly reaches a tree line where he attempts to take cover.

From an observation drone, the Ukrainians detected him and dispatched two more FPV drones, which the Russian managed to shoot down—an extremely rare feat. Accomplishing this using a standard rifle is nearly impossible without advanced targeting modules like SMASH.

Smoothbore shotguns as a defense against drones: an effective improvisation

The most likely explanation involves using a smoothbore shotgun wielded by a soldier skilled at clay shooting or duck hunting. Smoothbore shotguns are capable of targeting drones at distances of up to 98 to 131 feet, and they have thus gained popularity among both Russian and Ukrainian forces.

In response, the Russians initiated several anti-drone programs, one of which involved using modified semi-automatic shotguns from the Saiga-12 or Vepr-12 families. These shotguns are equipped with muzzle brakes to reduce recoil significantly. Essentially, these are AK rifles adapted for 12-gauge (.70 inches) cartridges filled with "coarse shot," where individual shot sizes exceed 0.2 inches (5 mm), specifically designed for "drone hunting."

With Vepr-12 or Saiga-12 shotguns, which are magazine-fed, the operator can fire multiple rounds rapidly at one or several targets. These shotguns typically come with box magazines holding ten rounds, but drum magazines with double the capacity are also available.

This setup allows for fairly effective drone elimination, provided the shooter is adept at targeting moving objects. However, it's still an improvisation under the philosophy of "better this than nothing." These shotguns are unsuitable for long-range engagements, so the soldier using one is dependent on support from other squad members or must carry a secondary weapon.

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