IDEF 2023 – TRB unveils its RS9 Vampir Gen2 handgun

Paolo Valpolini

Following the success of the first generation RS9 Vampir handgun, TRB of Bosnia partially redesigned its semi-automatic pistol to further improve its performances and is unveiling it at IDEF, the Istanbul defence exhibition

Born as a rugged military handgun, the RS9 Vampir is produced in Bratunac, in Republic of Sripska, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, some 90 km E-N-E of Sarajevo, where Tehnicki Remont Bratunac (Technical Repair Bratunac), TRB in short, has its main facilities. The production line features a number of 3-axis Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines plus one with a 4-axis, which is capable to produce 20 slides at the same time, an operation that lasts around 40 minutes. Here TRB produces most of the pistol components, with the exception of springs and barrels, the latter being provided by IGB Austria, that company producing barrels for other first-tier small arms companies.

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Since July the company shifted production from the RS9 Vampir Gen1 to the new Gen2 handgun. As said, the original pistol was an all- metal weapon, manufactured from aluminium alloy with ceramic coating, based on short recoil mechanism with locked breach, and chambered for the standard 9×19 mm Parabellum rounds. The RS9 can be used both in double action or single action, with respective trigger pulls of 5.5 and 2.2 kg, the trigger travel being 13.9 mm. The standard magazine, which release is ambidextrous, can host up to 18 rounds. Safety is provided by a decoking lever and a firing pin safety.

The chrome molybdenum steel barrel, is 108 mm long and features a 6 grooves, right-hand hexagonal/polygonal twist rifling with a 250 mm twist rate, muzzle velocity for standard bullets being 360 m/s with a 490 J muzzle energy. The RS9 Vampir Gen1 is fitted with fixed 3-dots sights with a sight radius of 161 mm.

The TRB handgun is 190.5 mm long, 39.5 mm thick, and 138.2 mm high, which become 150.6 mm with the magazine. Without magazine the RS9 Vampir Gen1 weighs 829 g, which becomes 920 g with magazine and 1,100 g fully loaded.

The pistol is fitted with rubber-plastic grips and features a Picatinny rail under the frame for attaching accessories. It is produced in three colours, black, sand and green.

No details on production volumes were provided by TRB, which indicated the Balkans, Europe and Africa as main market areas. EDR On-Line understood that Serbia as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina were of course the main customers, with Switzerland being mentioned as one of the European customers. According to open sources, in late 2022 Egypt was negotiating with TRB for installing a production line at its Military Factory 300, no more details being available.

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In the last few years TRB decided that some improvements should be made to its handgun, based on lessons learned coming from customers. The Bosniac company started a redesign of the RS9 Vampir Gen1 that would bring to the RS9 Vampir Gen2; the work was carried out in close cooperation with the Specijalna antiteroristička jedinica Ministarstva unutrašnjih poslova Republike Srpske, the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit of Ministry of Interior of Republika Srpska, SAJ in short or CAJ, in Serbian Cyrillic, this unit also using armoured vehicles produced by TRB.

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Better handling and improved accuracy were the main aims of this redesign, which maintains the same barrel. Ergonomy is a key issue when dealing with accuracy, thus TRB redesigned the pistol grip increasing the rear grip size by 0.5 mm and the front one by 5.1 mm, while reducing the circumference by 2.1 mm and the grip thickness by 1.5 mm. Comparing the rear side of the grip it was also evident that serration on the back side of the grip is now much longer, providing a steadier grip. The prototype that EDR On-Line was allowed to test at the company shooting range was fitted with aluminium grips, however production pistols will have interchangeable rubber-plastic grips. The new version has also a lower trigger pull; in double action this is now 4.5 kg, 1 kg less than the Gen1, while in single action this is now under 2 kg, 10% less than the previous model; however EDR On-Line understood that for competition shooting this can be reduced down to 1 kg, the pistol being also aimed at the civilian market. EDR On-Line understood that TRB has appointed an exclusive agent for distribution to the civilian market and is in the process of obtaining approvals for importing the pistol in the United States.

The RS9 Vampir Gen2 has a redesigned safety mechanism, pretty similar to that of the SIG P226, and the ejection mechanism has also been upgraded, adopting an external ejector instead of the internal one of the Gen1 pistol. The magazine ejection mechanism was also upgraded by introducing a side magazine holds instead of a front magazine hold. The standard plastic magazine maintains its 18 rounds capacity, a 20 rounds one being available, which maintains the same height of the pistol.

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The RS9 Vampir Gen2 is 196 mm long (+5.5 mm), 38 mm thick (-1.5 mm), and 141 mm high (+2.8 mm) without magazine, and is marginally lighter than its predecessor, as it weighs around 30 grams less than the Gen1 version. The company ensures full reliability of its new pistol up to 25,000 rounds.

At the range the new TRB pistol proved to be easy to handle and well balanced, allowing quick shot release and good accuracy even for untrained shooters; according to the company the Gen2 version has a lower recoil than the previous Gen1, which helps in keeping the weapon under control. The model tested was fitted with the standard 3-dot sight, however the company proposes the RS9 Vampir Gen2 also with adjustable sights.

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EDR On-Line understood that some first batches of the new pistol have already been delivered to the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit as well as to some regular police units. In August a national shooting competition will take place in which all participants will be provided with the RS9 Vampir Gen2. As said the production line has already shifted from the Gen 1 to the Gen 2, and EDR On-Line understood that a first governmental export customer might sign a contract soon. TRB is fully confident that its new pistol will succeed on the market, and to cope with the expected demand from military, governmental and civilian markets the company is increasing its production capacity up to 30,000 handguns per year. Both models are available also on the civilian market. TRB has already appointed an exclusive agent for distributing the RS9 Vampir Gen2 in the United States and is in the process of obtaining approvals for importing that pistol to the USA market. In perspective the RS9 Vampir Gen2 might well be developed in two other calibres, 10×25 mm and .45 ACP.

Photos courtesy P. Valpolini