TP-82 cosmonaut (space men) survival weapon was born out of experience, gained by the crew of the Soviet space mission Voskhod-2, which took place in 1965. The landing capsule of the Voskhod-2, with two cosmonauts (space men) onboard, made emergency landing deep in the winter taiga forest. Two men spent more than two full days in the middle of the freezing forests, armed only with Makarov PM pistol, which was close to useless for wilderness survival (defense against predatory animals and hunting). One of two Voskhod-2 crew members, Alexey Leonov, remembered this experience, and later came up with idea of the dedicated wilderness survival weapon for space crews that made emergency landings far from populated areas. Official approval for the idea came only in 1981. Several projects were submitted to commission, led by Leonov, who by that time became Maj.-General of Soviet Air Forces and second-in-chief of the Soviet Cosmonaut training center. After serious consideration commission selected TOZ-82 weapon as a winner. It was developed at the Tula arms factory (TOZ), and ammunition was designed by TSNII TochMash. Limited production of the TOZ-82 survival weapon, also known as TP-82, commenced at TOZ factory in 1982, and it was first issued to the crew of the Soviet space mission Soyuz T-6, which was launched into the orbit in June of 1982. Manufacture of TP-82 weapon was completed in about 1987, because “enough guns were made to outfit space missions and certain Air Force aircraft crews”. It was routinely issued to Soviet and Russian space missions until about 2007, when original stocks of the ammunition ran out of shelf life period. It is believed that current Russian space missions do not carry these weapons into space.
TP-82 / TOZ-82 is a manually operated, break-open triple-barreled weapon made in the shape of a large pistol. Two smoothbore barrels are chambered for 32 gauge shotgun shells and located side by side. Bottom barrel is rifled, and chambered for modified 5.45x39 ammunition. TP-82 has single trigger and two exposed hammers. Right hammer fires right smoothbore barrel, left hammer can be switched between left smoothbore barrel and bottom rifled barrel via vertically sliding switch, located on the left side of the frame, next to the hammers. Large lever below the switch operates the barrel lock; to break the gun open for reloading, one has to push that lever to the left. Sights are of fixed type. Pistol grip is slotted at the bottom, to accept optional shoulder stock, which is made of specially designed, trapeze-shaped machete with special sheath. Machete has slotted grip to fit into the pistol grip, and the sheath has reinforced bottom which serves as a buttpad when sheathed machete is attached to the gun.
Ammunition for TP-82/ TOZ-82 survival weapon included one type of 5.45x39 SP-P cartridge with specially designed soft-point bullet and two types of 32 gauge shells in brass cases – SP-S with red signal flare and SP-D with birdshot. Standard ammunition load for TP-82 included 11 rounds of 5.45mm SN-P ammunition, 10 SP-D shot shells and 10 SP-S flares, packed into soft pouches, attached to the carrying belt along with special soft holster for the gun and the sheath for machete / stock.