Russians Blast Off Without Space Pistol

TP-82 pistolI bet you didn’t know that Russian cosmonauts actually carry guns when they head out to space.

Russia is sending a cosmonaut into space without a fearsome triple-barrelled "space pistol" for the first time in 20 years, due to a shortage of ammunition.

Created in 1982 and in service since 1986, the TP-82 pistol was not primarily designed to fend off hostile extra-terrestrials. It is intended as a survival aid to be used after landings and before recovery in the Siberian wilderness.

The upper two smoothbore barrels use 12.5 mm caliber ammunition, and the lower rifled barrel use 5.45 mm caliber ammunition. The pistol can be used for hunting, to defend against beasts of prey and for visual and auditory distress signals. The detachable buttstock is also a machete sheath.

However, the gun's original ammunition has deteriorated so much it is no longer viable and no new bullets are available.

Nevertheless, the cosmonaut will not risk going into space completely unarmed. "Malenchenko will be taking with him a simple pistol," a Russian space official said.

Source: Telegraph via Wikipedia
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