Pistol-caliber carbines have become extremely popular because they’re fun to shoot and practice with while using less expensive ammunition. The BATFE’s approval of stabilizing braces has also meant such firearms can be safely used in more compact formats. Thus, we are witnessing a rebirth of submachine-gun-like firearms that are ideal for home defense, close-quarters engagements and just plain fun.
Grand Power, the master of rotating-barrel pistols, has had such a gun in one form or another for a couple of years with a submachine gun known as the Stribog (pronounced “stree-bog”). And now the Stribog has finally arrived in the U.S. as a semi-auto pistol. I like to categorize a gun like this as a personal-defense weapon, or PDW, because it isn’t a carbine but certainly offers more than a standard pistol.
A First Look at the Grand Power Stribog
Stribog is certainly a unique name for a firearm, but it’s also appropriate. Stribog is an ancient Slavic god of storms and currents, responsible for gusts of winds, currents and the invisible force that moves things. Quite fitting for a quick-handling, suppressor-friendly, compact firearm with punch.
For import compliance, the Grand Power ships the Stribog as a pistol. But an adapter available from Eagle Imports replaces the rear receiver plate and accepts AR-style buffer tubes. It also readily accepts folding devices like the Sidewinder from Matador Arms.
One interesting feature is that Grand Power built polymer buffers into the recoil assembly. These soften the impact should the bolt need to travel fully rearward when using high-pressured rounds. The polymer pads also increase the firearm’s longevity and ease impacts on the polymer rear plate. To reduce the action’s overall length, the recoil spring and guide rod collapse into the bolt.
Grand Power designed the bolt so that much of the weight needed for blowback operation is forward of the chamber. This helps shorten the firearm’s overall length by reducing the space needed for the bolt to travel. By contrast, AR-type designs need space for the bolt to travel rearward. This is accomplished in the buffer tube. The Stribog doesn’t need this. In fact, the Stribog is 1.25 inches shorter than the popular CZ Scorpion EVO 3 despite having a barrel 0.28 inches longer. In other words, the Stribog is shorter with a potential for more muzzle velocity.
Range Results of the Grand Power Stribog
Blowback operation can result in sensitivity to a specific load. Unsure if the Grand Power Stribog was calibrated for American 115-grain loads or 124-grain NATO rounds that are more prevalent in Europe, I hit the range with a variety of ammunition. Thankfully, the gun had no malfunctions of any sort. The Stribog ate it all and ran just fine, even with a sound suppressor attached.
For range testing, I equipped the Stribog with a Matador Arms Sidewinder folding adapter and a Gear Head Works Tailhook Mod 2 brace. For targeting, I added a 3-MOA Nikon P-Tactical Spur reflex sight.
The controls are where anyone familiar with an AR-15 will naturally find them. The bolt locks back on an empty magazine but releases with a quick tug of the reciprocating charging handle. Also, the charging handle can easily be swapped between left and right sides. Placing it on the left side provides a naturally quick grab while positioning the gun to fire after inserting a magazine. However, it could snag if the gun is carried by a sling. Swapping the charging handle to the right side makes for a snag-free receiver against the body (for right-handed shooters) and is only a slightly longer reach for the firing hand.
Additionally, the controls are ambidextrous. However, sticking with European tradition, the included 20-round magazines did not always drop free. With a closed bolt, they eject with authority; with an open bolt, they remain in the magazine well.
Practical Uses of the Grand Power Stribog
What are the practical applications? When outfitted with a brace, a sight and a light, the Stribog’s size offers plenty of firepower for home defense. Additionally, this package is easier to handle than a long gun and more reassuring than a pistol. Those with more training and experience should appreciate the increased capacity and velocity over a handgun and more compact package in comparison to a rifle. Combine that with the Stribog’s uncommon ability to run reliably with rounds ranging from 65 to 165 grains and your choice of ammunition can be truly specialized to your intended application.
In short, the Grand Power Stribog SP9A1 is quick to learn, easy to handle and as much of a fun range toy as it is a practical defensive weapon. Grand Power has more advanced versions available in Europe, but we’ll have to see if any more come to the U.S.
For more information about the Grand Power Stibog, visit grandpower.eagleimportsinc.com.
This article is from Personal Defense World Magazine issue No. 214, on sale Oct. 16, 2018. To read the entire story, grab your copy at OutdoorGroupStore.com.