Molot 223 Short

Molot 223 Short Semi Automatic Rifle Review

The Molot 223 Short Semi-Automatic rifle is a compact, lightweight, and versatile semi-automatic rifle chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO. With its short barrel and overall length, this rifle is well-suited for close-quarters use while maintaining effectiveness at medium ranges. The 223 Short offers reliability, accuracy, and customizability for a variety of applications.

Overview of the Molot 223 Short Semi-Automatic Rifle

The Molot 223 Short is a gas-operated semi-automatic rifle built on the tried and tested Kalashnikov action. It features a short 16.5-inch chrome lined barrel with a 1:9-inch twist rate, optimized for stabilizing both lightweight 55-grain and heavier 77-grain 5.56mm projectiles. The chrome lining extends barrel life and aids in cleaning.

Despite its short barrel length, the 223 Short maintains impressive ballistic performance out to 300 yards thanks to the high velocity 5.56mm cartridge. The rifle has an overall length of just 34.5 inches with the stock fully extended, making it one of the most compact 5.56mm semi-automatic rifles available today.

Weighing in at just 6.6 lbs unloaded, the 223 Short is lightweight and ergonomic. The skeletonized polymer stock and handguard keep weight down. The railed handguard provides ample mounting points for tactical accessories like lights, lasers, vertical grips, and bipods. A side scope rail allows optics mounting.

The rifle utilizes proven Kalashnikov-style operation and reliability with enhancements tailored to the 5.56mm cartridge. It uses a rotating bolt, carrier tilt locking system mated to a chrome-lined, hammer-forged barrel for precision and longevity. The long-stroke gas piston operation virtually eliminates malfunctions while reducing recoil and muzzle rise.

Features and Capabilities

Here are some key features and capabilities of the Molot 223 Short Semi-Automatic rifle:

  • Short 16.5-inch chrome lined barrel with 1:9 inch twist rate
  • Compact 34.5-inch overall length
  • Lightweight at just 6.6 lbs unloaded
  • Skeletonized polymer stock and handguard
  • MIL-STD Picatinny railed handguard for accessories
  • Side scope rail for optics
  • Enhanced Kalashnikov-style action tailored to 5.56mm
  • Long-stroke gas piston operation
  • 45-round magazine capacity
  • Fully ambidextrous controls
  • Flip up backup iron sights

The short barrel length makes the 223 Short ideal for vehicles, home defense, and close-quarters use while maintaining effectiveness to medium range. The compact size paired with light weight results in a highly maneuverable package.

Despite the shortened barrel, the use of 5.56mm allows for retention of relatively high muzzle velocities and effective fragmentation. The 1:9-inch twist rate stabilizes both 55gr and heavier projectiles, maximizing ammunition compatibility.

The railed handguard has ample room for accessorizing with grips, lights, and optics. Backup iron sights provide redundancy if optics fail. The long-stroke gas piston system reduces malfunctions while aiding control and reducing felt recoil.

See also  Alpha 14

In summary, the 223 Short combines a compact, lightweight platform with proven Kalashnikov reliability and practical customization potential.

Accuracy and Reliability

The Molot 223 Short utilizes quality components and exacting tolerances to yield good out-of-the-box accuracy for a Kalashnikov-pattern semi-automatic carbine.

The hammer-forged, chrome-lined barrel provides consistency and durability. Headspacing is meticulously controlled. The single-stage trigger provides a crisp 4.5 lb pull for good shot control. While not a match-grade tack driver, the 223 Short can readily hit man-sized targets out to 300 yards when optics are used.

Reliability is excellent, being based on the proven Kalashnikov action. The rotating bolt locks firmly into the beefy receiver for solid lockup. Gas piston operation and chrome-lined bore greatly increase resistance to fouling and debris. The rifle cycles smoothly and feeds reliably even with low-powered ammunition or when very dirty. Molot engineers have tailored the action to run exceptionally well with the direct impingement 5.56mm cartridge.

The 223 Short comes with one 45-round Molot magazine. Surplus AR-15/M16 magazines can also be used, providing budget-friendly options. The rifle has run flawlessly with various polymer and metal GI magazines. The long-stroke gas system reduces sensitivity to magazine choice.

In summary, the 223 Short provides good practical accuracy and excellent reliability on par with the AK platforms it derives from. It will function reliably under adverse conditions that could cripple more finicky systems.

Ergonomics and Controls

The 223 Short utilizes a 100% ambidextrous control layout optimized for fast manipulation. All controls are mirrored on both sides of the rifle. These include:

  • Ambidextrous safety lever
  • Ambidextrous bolt release button
  • Ambidextrous charging handle
  • Ambidextrous magazine release

This allows both left and right-handed shooters to efficiently operate the rifle without any modifications. Molot designed the rifle for military and law enforcement use, where ambidextrous operation is an essential asset.

The safety lever provides a positive, unambiguous on-safe/off-safe operation with clear visual and tactile indicators. The large, paddle-style magazine release and oversized bolt release are easy and quick to actuate under stress. Charging the rifle is smooth and easy thanks to the ergonomic, non-reciprocating charging handle.

The skeletonized polymer stock comes with an adjustable length of pull via a sliding recoil pad. This accommodates various shooter statures. The stock shape provides a comfortable cheek weld when firing. Textured grip surfaces on the stock and handguard enhance weapon retention. QD sling swivel sockets allow easy sling attachment.

Molot 223 short semi-automatic flexibility

Shorter barreled, semi-auto .223 rifles like the compact 16” VEPR provide great flexibility thanks to the round’s high velocity and low recoil. This makes it well suited for uses ranging from home defense to short-range hunting and recreational shooting.

See also  Zastava M57 TT 30bore Serbian Pistol Review

Customization Potential

The 223 Short features a Mil-Standard Picatinny railed handguard, side scope rail, and ambidextrous controls. This facilitates extensive customization with tactical accessories and optics.

The Picatinny railed handguard provides ample mounting room for:

  • Tactical lights
  • IR laser designators
  • Vertical foregrips
  • Angled grips
  • Bipods

The side scope rail allows solid, return-to-zero mounting of optical sights. While the iron sights are serviceable, most users will want to customize the 223 Short with:

  • Low power variable optics (LVPOs) like red dots and prism scopes for 0-300 yard use
  • Mid-range scopes and LPVOs for out to 600-yard shooting
  • Night vision and thermal optics

Backup iron sights provide emergency use should optics fail or be damaged. The ambidextrous controls allow optimal configuration for both left and right-handed shooters.

The 223 Short can be tailored to specific missions ranging from home defense, tactical response, designated marksman use, and vehicle operations. Lightweight and compact, it can serve as a semi-automatic companion to a precision bolt action rifle. The Molot 223 Short is a superb base for customization due to its reliability, ergonomics, and well-executed design.

Magazine Capacity

The Molot 223 Short semi-automatic rifle ships with one 45-round magazine. This provides substantial ammunition capacity for reduced reloads in tactical applications. The long-stroke gas piston operation reliably cycles the action even when fully loaded.

In states with capacity restrictions, 10-round magazines are available. Surplus 20-round and 30-round AR-15/M16 magazines can also be used thanks to the magazine well being designed to accept STANAG magazines. This provides flexible, low-cost magazine options.

The generous 45-round capacity is a major asset of the 223 Short platform. Compact yet holding 45 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, it provides more firepower in a small package than AR-15s and many other semi-automatic rifles. The reduced reloads benefit tactical operators. In applications like home defense, more ammunition capacity means more effective response to lethal threats.

For hunters and recreational shooters, the ability to use common AR-15 magazines improves the availability and affordability of magazines. The long-stroke gas system ensures optimal function across all magazine options from 10 to 45 rounds.

Made in Russia

The Molot 223 Short Semi-Automatic rifle is designed and manufactured in Russia by Molot Oruzhie Ltd. Molot has been producing firearms since 1942, gaining decades of expertise in building Kalashnikov pattern rifles.

Their facilities utilize state-of-the-art CNC machines alongside skilled human assembly, test firing, and quality control. All components from barrels to bolts are made in-house to control quality and tolerances. The result is a Russian-manufactured semi-automatic rifle built to modern production standards.

Many US firearm companies rely on outsourced and imported small parts and accessories. Molot maintains full control over production from start to finish. For customers looking for an imported Kalashnikov-style rifle, the Molot 223 Short delivers Russian quality and craftsmanship.

See also  Taurus PT92 9mm Pistol Review


The Molot 223 Short Semi-Automatic rifle delivers a compact, lightweight semi-automatic package with reduced length but full 5.56mm NATO capability. The rifle is reliable, accurate, and customizable using proven Kalashnikov principles refined over decades.

With features like ambidextrous controls, Picatinny railed handguards, a side scope mount, and a 45-round magazine capacity, the 223 Short is purpose-built for tactical applications yet accessible to civilian shooters. For defensive, sporting, and special operations use, the Molot 223 Short stands out as a versatile and dependable rifle.


Q1: What is the effective range of the Molot 223 Short?

The effective range is approximately 300 yards on man-sized targets when using quality ammunition and optics. The short barrel does reduce velocity somewhat but the 223 Short can still achieve hits at 300 yards or slightly beyond.

Q2: Does it use standard AR-15 magazines?

Yes, the 223 Short accepts standard STANAG AR-15/M16 magazines including USGI, Magpul, Lancer, and others. Surplus GI mags provide inexpensive options.

Q3: Is the 223 Short legal in my state?

Laws vary by state. Please consult local laws to determine if the rifle and magazine capacities are permitted in your jurisdiction. The ambidextrous controls facilitate legal configurations.

Q4: How reliable is the action compared to an AR-15?

The long-stroke gas piston operation is extremely reliable and resistant to fouling compared to direct impingement AR-15s. The 223 Short will typically match or exceed AR platform reliability.

Q5: What optics are recommended for the Molot 223 Short?

Red dots, prism scopes, and LVPOs in the 1-4x or 1-6x range are ideal for a lightweight, compact optic. A 3-9x or 4-12x scope can be used for dedicated medium-range use.

Q6: How powerful is a 223 rifle?

The .223 Rem/5.56x45mm cartridge has relatively mild recoil but can still be quite lethal out to several hundred yards in the right platform. It balances power and controllability well for civilian uses.

Q7: Who makes a 223 in a semi-auto hunting rifle?

Many companies offer .223 semi-auto hunting rifles, including Ruger’s Mini-14 Ranch Rifle, Remington’s 750 Woodmaster, Savage’s Model 12 Varmint Rifle, and Winchester’s XPR. The AR-15 platform can also serve as a hunting rifle in .223.

Q8: How long is the barrel on a Molot VEPR?

Molot VEPR rifles come in a range of barrel lengths from 16-inches up to 22-inches generally. The standard configuration tends to use 20 to 21-inch barrels to provide good ballistic performance from the .223 cartridge.

Similar Posts