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Izhevsk: the Armory Origin

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The origin of Izhevsk city was the Armory Factory founded by the order of the Emperor Alexander I in 1807.

The factory became the ground point of Izhevsk and many enterprises of the city go back to it. Over the two centuries the city of great plants and the city of great workers had bought the fame of the armory origin in Russia.

Foundation, development and functioning of the Armory Factory in the XIX century

The Armory Factory was based on Izhevsk Iron Works Plant founded in 1760 by count Shuvalov.

The Armory Factory was established in 1807 and chief mining engineer Andrey Fedorovich Deryabin was set in charge of it.

He and architect Semyon Emelianovich Dudin developed a general long-term plan of further complex growth of the factory.

Mining Engineer Andrey Fedorovich Deryabin

While setting the new production, Deryabin maintained iron production and established a tool factory.

At first, armory experts were invited from abroad. In addition to arms making they trained staff from the city. For the first year the Armory Factory produced 7 guns, 5 pair of pistols and 6 backswords.

Master plan of Izhevsk Plant, year of 1808Drawing of a drilling machine for barrels, first ½ of the XIX century The factory achieved the desired annual output equal 25 thousand flint-guns and 5 thousand backswords in 1830, but already at the beginning of the War of 1812 it supplied firearms and cold arms to the Russian army at full speed notwithstanding the fact that the construction of the factory had not been finished. During the first four years the factory produced 2 thousand guns, while in 1814 the output came up to 10 thousand guns and almost 2.5 thousand backswords.[1]

By 1817 construction of the main factory building had been finished. It had 4 floors and was one of the first multistory industrial buildings in Russia. The manufacturing process was multilevel: it began with rough preparatory works (at lower floors) and finished with assembly of arms (at higher floors).

the Arsenal Izhevsk Armrs Plant, second ½ of the XIX century At that time the dam was the most important industrial development among the factory premises. Operation of machines and mechanisms depended on water level in the Pond. During the XIX century the dam had been extended, strengthened and heightened several times. In 1896 cast-iron hand winches were built to substitute old capstan for lifting flooding sluices.

For a long time the Armory Factory manufactured silicon guns with the design of year 1808. This model passed through a number of improvements in terms of the design and technology. In 1843 the manufacture of percussion cap guns began. In the mid of the XIX century the manufacture of smoothbore weapon was suppressed by a mass production of rifled weapon.

Izhevsk Armrs Plant, second ½ of the XIX century Within the period of 1867 — 1884 Izhevsk Armory Factory was reorganized into a lease and commercial enterprise. At this time the factory facilities were renewed and it was equipped with steam-engines, a great number of new machines and an open-hearth furnace. This allowed providing the Russian army with breech-loading weapon. At that time the mass production volumes of «Krnk» and «Berdan» type rifles were most impressive.

Y. Chigvintsev: the worker of Izhevsk Arms Plant. End of the XIX century – Beginning of the ХХ century Stock machinery workshop, end of the XIX century In 1870 by production rate the Izhevsk factory advanced beyond both armory factories in Tula and Sestroretsk. Later, when the methods of high-quality steel production were well mastered, Izhevsk became the source of gun barrels and barrel receivers for Russian plants. For instance, gunmaking enterprises in Tula used annually up to 360 thousand barrels from Izhevsk. [2]

In 1884 the factory became a state enterprise again. With the reduce of the demand in defense weapons it was decided to start hunting arms production. Along with classic types of sporting guns the factory produced upgraded models «Krnka» and «Berdan» rifles, rod rifles.

Barrel workshop, end of the XIX centuryIn 1891 Izhevsk Armory Factory began manufacturing the famous Mosin 3-line riffle. Over than 50 years this riffle and its modifications were in mass production and Izhevsk was the only town to produce all its types: infantry, dragoon, Cossacks? and training.

Just prior to the First Revolution, Izhevsk factory took leading positions in the Defense Industry in terms of manufacturing and manpower capacity. In 1917 about 34 thousand people worked at Izhevsk weapons and steel-making factories. [3]

Izhevsk Arms Plant, end of the XIX century. By the beginning of the XX century Izhevsk had become a large industrial center of Russia. In addition to the weapons and steel-making factories, tools production was arranged.

Operation of armory factories in the first half of the XX century

Bayonet workshop, beginning of the ХХ centuryIn the beginning of the XX century the production volumes of rifle of the design of 1891 increased due to the demand of the army.

In the end of the XIX century with the appearance of DC generators at the factory the premises began to use electricity for illumination and machines operation.

The tools production was in gradual progress.

In 1918 the first design bureau was established at the factory.

In 1930 a new open-hearth furnace was put into operation and in-house manufacture of machines at the factory was launched.

Technical re-equipment and launching new production required highly-qualified personnel. Since 1929 personnel had been trained at Izhevsk Technical School.

In 1939 the Izhevsk factory was split into two independent enterprises: a metallurgical plant and machine-building plant.

The great re-organization that took place in the 30s not only led to the establishment of the Chief Designer Bureau, but also the adoption of several new models of arms (a modified Mosin rifle design of 1891/1930, Simonov automatic rifle AVS, Tokorev self-loading rifle and others), but also gave rise to flow line method of production. In 1938 the assembly of gun-stock and barrel was put on a conveyor line. This allowed proceeding to a new terrific level of production rates which was needful during the World War II.

In 1933 a New Designs Bureau («BNK») was established at the factory to develop and modify the armament. Today the bureau is named as «Armory Design Center» («KOC»). During more then 70 years the bureau developed about 300 models of small-arms and air ordnance, sport and hunting weapons and other types of equipment most of which was in series production at the factory. [4] 

Conveyor system at the time of the Great Patriotic War Aircraft cannon manufacture at the time of the Great Patriotic Wa Since the very beginning of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 Izhevsk Armory Factory No. 74 (further renamed as machine-building plant of Izhevsk city «Izhevskiy Mashinostroitelny Zavod») served as the USSR armory center. It became the main armory in the country both for small-arms and air ordnance: during the war the factory gave as much products as it hardly could produce during the previous 92 years. At that time it was the main blacksmiths shop of small arms that produced up to 20 types of defense equipment. In total, during the period of the Great Patriotic War the factory produced 11 million and 145 thousand rifles and carbines, more than 15 thousand aircraft cannons, almost 132 thousand antitank rifles

In 1942 armory factory No. 622 was built in Izhevsk on the basis of two plants evacuated from Tula and Podolsk (further the factory was named as «Izhevskiy Mekhanichesky Zavod»). It produced antitank rifles and pistols. Total production volume of the factory No. 622 during the war was as follows: field and signaling pistols — more than 1 mln; antitank rifles — about 200 thousand.

Production building of Izhevsky Mekhanichesky Zavod the time of the Great Patriotic War At war time Izhevskiy Motozavod took the defense function as well (identified by No. 524). The plant had to start the production of Maxim gun having no heritage. Till the end of the war the plant supplied 81900 guns to the army.

Altogether the factories and plants of Izhevsk city produced 80% of all small arms amount manufactured at that time in Russia.

Postwar recovery and development of Izhevsk armory factories

Izhevskiy Mashinostroitelniy Zavod (Izhmash)

After the war factories in Izhevsk gradually began recovering the production of non-military arms.

Kalashnikov gun manufacturing line, 1960-s Assault weapon remained, however, as the key activity of Izhmash during the cold war.

Kalashnikov gun manufacturing line, 1960-s Vast experience in flow line production gave necessary basis to start Kalashnikov submachine gun manufacturing in 1947. The merits of AK design which gave the rise to a new epoch of small arms development was enhanced due to the great engineering potential of the enterprise. [5]

Guns manufacture at Mekhanichesky Zavod, 1950-s Many technical progress achievements dedicated to the improvement of the gun in future found application in sporting and hunting weapons. The design and manufacture of hunting weapons at Izhevskiy Mashinostroitelniy Zavod was based on the well-proven Mosin rifle. Later there appeared in-house designs of small and large-caliber carbines and the series of carbines «Saiga» and «Tigr». Two the last were derived from military models during the industrial conversion, the period of drastic changes in economy in the 1990-s.

Since the first postwar years the factory started the development and manufacture of sporting arms for national teams of Russia. Sportsmen from the Soviet Union equipped with Izhevsk rifles won Europe championships and Olympic Games and not once.

Chief Designer Department, 1972 Sporting guns heritage enabled Izhmash experts to design self-loading sniper rifle adopted by the Soviet army in 1964 under the name «Dragunov sniper rifle» (SVD) which acquired the title «The best rifle of the XX century». In the beginning of 2000-s Izhmash took the initiative to develop a set of sniper rifles (SV-98, SV-99) with enhanced fire precision for special high-duty application in the army.

Arms Design Centre, 2000-s At present Izhevskiy Mashinostroitelniy Zavod designs and manufactures the latter-day automatic arms for the army, special military purposes, and forces of law and order.

Today OAO «Izhevskiy Mashinostroitelniy Zavod» is one of the largest Russian multi-activity enterprises. Concern «Izhmash» incorporates over than 20 divisions. The largest ones are the following:

Izhmash, 2002
  • DOAO «Izhevsky Oruzheiniy Zavod» («Izhevsk Armory Factory»)
  • DOAO «Nauchno-Proizvodstvenniy Tsentr Visokotochnoy Tekhniki „Izhnash“ (»Science and Production Center of High-Precision Engineering «Izhmash»)
  • DOAO «Izhevskiy Instrumentalniy Zavod» («Izhevsk Instrument Plant»)
  • DOAO «Izhmashenergo
  • OOO «Izhmoto» («Izhevsk Motorcycles»)
  • OAO «Izhmashstanko»

Izhevskiy Mekhanicheskiy Zavod

Izhevskiy Mekhanicheskiy Zavod was founded in 1941 under identification No. 622. Since the end of the Second World War the factory has been designing and producing hunting smooth-bore guns.

First models were derived from the design of Zlatoustovskiy Mekhanicheskiy Zavod and Sauer gun (Germany). Later the factory generated a wide range of in-house design solutions for guns: single-barreled, double-barreled (vertical and horizontal types), combined and with barrels of different caliber.

Mekhanichesky Zavod production facilities, 1990s In the beginning of the 90-s in the situation of economic reformation Izhevskiy Mekhanicheskiy Zavod managed not only to save the production but also to widen the product line by introduction of modified guns with piston re-loading, autoloading and selective ammunition feeding.

Among the most important events in its history was the fact that Mekhanicheskiy Zavod independently entered international arms market. It began with IWA exhibition in Nuremberg, 1994 and award of a contract by Remington, USA, for establishment of a common trademark «Spartan».

Mekhanichesky Zavod production facilities, 2000s Izhevskiy Mekhanicheskiy Zavod is the largest producer of airguns in Russia, popularity of which began to grow after the end of the war due to low restrictions imposed. Air-gun product line of the factory incorporates sporting and training guns and pistols including so called «copy» guns, i.e. airguns having the same appearance as the famous assault weapon.

Automated lines at Mekhanichesky Zavod, 2000s The manufacture of pistols at Izhevskiy Mekhanicheskiy Zavod originates from Tula design of «TT» pistol, «Nagan» revolver and Makarov gun. At present the factory continues producing in-house designs of defense, duty, sporting, gas-spray and traumatic pistols in line with the up-to-date requirements.

Today Federal State Unitary Enterprise FGUP «Mekhanicheskiy Zavod» is a complex production organization with a number of different activity lines, including the following:

Izhevsky Mekhanichesky Zavod, 2000s
  • Pistol production
  • Gun production
  • Production of consumer goods and special equipment
  • Pre-production works and metal-treatment
  • Tools production


Gun-Making School Special attention in structure of Izhevskiy Mekhanicheskiy Zavod and Izhevskiy Mashinostroitelniy Zavod should be paid to Gun Making Schools in the name of L.M. Vasev (Mekhanicheskiy Zavod) and A. F. Deryabin (Mashinostroitelniy Zavod). The schools train for the following professions: chaser, woodcarver, assembly fitter, wood/metal/leather designer. Decoration transforms arms into a work of art.


1 — 1 — V. Kutergin. Historical background, origin, development, and current state of Kalashnikov arms production and export at Izhevskiy Mashinostroitelniy Zavod [materials from a scientific and technical conference devoted to 200-year anniversary of Izhevsk armory and 60-year anniversary of AK-47 submachine gun.]
// «АК-47 serves to the Motherland». — Izhevsk, 2007. — p. 4.
2 — the same reference, p. 55.
3 — the same reference, p. 5.
4 — the same reference, p. 6.
5 — the same reference, p. 6.