Are you interested in Russian weapons? Then you will be curious by this historical review. We will tell about the real capital of Russian armourers: the city of Tula. Each tourist, coming to this city, visits the Museum of Arms. Workers of Tula Arms Factory started to collect its exhibition many years ago. It includes both full-size and miniature models.
The history of arms production in Tula starts from 1595, when 30 masters who were resettled here had to supply the treasury with arquebuses (there they were called “pishal”). For this service the masters were awarded special rights. By the end of the sixteenth century, the estate of Tula armourers numbered more than a thousand people. In 1695 a Russian smith Nikita Demidov founded a private arms factory. In 1705 the first state-owned weapons plant was built. In 1712, by a decree of tsar Peter I, a state-owned arms factory was founded. In the future it became a famous Imperial Arms Factory.
Since then, The Emperor Peter has been really very esteemed here. In 1912, a monument to Peter I at the arms factory was built at the expense of workers. And it was saved even in those times when monuments to all other Russian emperors were demolished. Although, several times it changed the place where it stood. After the revolution of 1917, during the Civil War, communists tried to send it for remelting. But the workers hid the statue in the river on the territory of the factory. And during the World War II, the monument to the founder, together with the factory, was in evacuation in the city of Zlatoust.
There is a legend that for better attraction of the most handy and skillful men, Peter ordered to gather the most beautiful women to Tula from all over Russian country. He also encouraged local craftsmen to adopt the best traditions of the craft – both from each other and from foreign colleagues.
“Don’t remelt old cannons and don’t spoil them, hand them over for the storages”, – this order of Tsar Peter marked the beginning of the arms museum in Tula. In 1775 an exhibition of exemplary and rare weapons was opened in the factory arsenal.
Initially, military equipment was produced in Tula for the needs of the army. But in the XVIII century The Imperial Arms Factory produced not only firearms, but also blades. Each type of army was obligated to have cold steel arms, so blades were in great demand.
300 years ago Russian troops won the victory over the Swedes using the rifles by the Tula factory. During the war with Napoleon in 1812, Tula gunsmiths produced 600 thousand rifles for the Russian army – so many guns had never been produced before. And during the World War I, the Tula Arms Factory supplied half of all rifles to the front and was the only supplier of machine guns.
Popular gun models invented by Russian craftsmen
Tula masters became famous for many historical weapons. The first really famous Tula model was the Berdan system rifle with a sliding shutter. Its production was started in 1879. And although it had been being manufactured only until the end of the XIX century, the word “berdan” became a household name of any rifle not only among the military, but also among civil people.
This success was followed by the invention of Sergei Mosin – a self-loading rifle. The Mosin rifle passed two world wars and stayed in production until 1965.
The Maxim machine gun has also became more perfect here. The production of Maxim machine guns at the Tula Arms Factory ended in 1945, but this kind of firearms was used in the Russian army later. The last case of its real use, fixed in the history, happened in 1969 during a conflict on the island of Damansky..
In 1932, the first Russian rapid-fire aircraft machine gun (the ShKAS), was launched in mass production at the Tula Arms Factory. The German Fuhrer demanded from his designers to develop a similar model, but in reality this experiment was failed.
As for handguns, the famous Tokarev (TT), Makarov and Stechkin pistols should be mentioned. Although the last two models were not produced in Tula. However, the Russian Makarov pistol is included in the Guinness World Records Book as the most mass pistol on the planet for all time of existence of this type of weapon.
Other confirmations of high level of the Tula gunsmithing are real miniature guns, made without practical goals, just for the love of art, or as gifts to the highest officials of the state. Of course, it is not so difficult to reproduce a pistol in miniature size. It’s more difficult to make it work! There are amazing examples of miniature firearms shooting real cartridges in Tula museum: two revolvers with the length about three centimeters. Both were made by unknown masters in the 19th century. Their caliber is about one and a half millimeters.
But modern Russian miniaturists prove that it’s not the limit!
Look at this gun: its dimensions are 25mm in length and 15 in height, and the caliber of the barrel is only 1mm. It is made of gold and mammoth bone (the bone is used in the handle). This combination of precious materials makes the pistol a kind of jewelry: small and elegant, it looks very stylish as a pendant.
At the same time, it is supplied with live ammunition with real bullets made of hardened steel. So this is not just a decorative product, but a miniature real gun that shoots with such a power that it is able to pierce even a metal target. To learn more about the characteristics of this pistol, and to buy it directly from the manufacturer – follow this link.