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Arsenal AD Shipka

Submachine Gun (SMG) [ 1999 ]

The Arsenal Shipka is native to Bulgaria and was originally intended as a compact firearm to protect vehicle crews and downed airmen.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/12/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Shipka was developed to arm a variety of military personnel that would have a need for such a compact weapon capable of voluminous fire. This centered primarily around downed airmen and vehicle crews operating in confined compartments such as those in tanks and armored vehicles. The Shipka was designed in 1996 as a conventional submachine gun system from the Arsenal Corporation of Bulgaria which made for an indigenous weapon at cost. The Shipka was fitted with a conventional blowback/open-bolt operation and fed by a 32-round detachable box magazine chambered for the Soviet 9x18mm Makarov cartridge. Interestingly, the prototype form was chambered to fire the popular German 9x19mm Parabellum round from a 25-round detachable box magazine though this support was obviously dropped in the production design, most likely due to the availability of the Soviet cartridge in this part of the world. Production of the Shipka began in 1999.

The Shipka maintains a unique external shape especially with its long, straight magazine inserted. The polymer pistol grip is angled, smooth and featureless and integrated into the lower rear of the receiver. A collapsible steel wire stock is installed in the rear and folds over the receiver proper. Overall, the Shipka fields a rather elegant design with clean lines. Of note is the thicker forend housing the barrel assembly and serving as a forward handgrip. The magazine is inserted ahead of the polymer trigger unit (protected by a ring). The magazine release catch is just aft of the magazine feed. The barrel protrudes a short distance ahead of the forend casement. Sights are identified at the rear and front of the steel receiver top.

The Shipka sports an empty weight of 2.2 kilograms with a running length of 625mm with the stock extended. With the stock collapsed, this is reduced to 328mm. The barrel itself is 150mm in length. Rate-of-fire is listed at 700 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 1,436 feet per second.

Incidentally, the Shipka is named after Shipka Pass of the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. The area was the site of a Bulgarian/Russian victory against Ottoman Empire forces in 1877. Arsenal Corporation maintains a headquarters at nearby Kazanlak.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

Bulgaria national flag graphic


Submachine Gun (SMG)

National flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria (among unknown others)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)

Overall Length
625 mm
24.61 in
Barrel Length
150 mm
5.91 in
Empty Wgt
4.85 lb
2.20 kg

Front and Rear


Blowback; Open Bolt

Blowback Operation
Gas pressure from the rearward movement of the ignited cartridge case provides the needed bolt movement, ejecting the spent case and stripping a fresh case from the magazine.
Open Bolt
System utilizes internal mechanism where bolt and associated working components are set to the rear of the receiver with no cartridge chambered; trigger actuation moves bolt forward, chambers cartridge, and fires bullet in single action - ultimately resetting during the complete cycle by way of the generated energy.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


9x18mm Makarov

Rounds / Feed

32-round detachable box magazine
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Muzzle Velocity
1,436 ft/sec
(438 m/sec)

Shipka - Base Series Designation

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Images Gallery

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Left side view of the Arsenal Shipka submachine gun


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