A brief video apparently recorded inside Ukraine shows what appears to be a 7.62 round embedded in a Samsung Galaxy smartphone of one very lucky soldier. The 7.62×39 round is fired from the ubiquitous AK-47 family of weapons, but it seems more likely that the bullet is a 7.62×54 round like those utilized in Russian sniper rifles and machine guns.
The footage, which first came to our attention thanks to a post by user u/FederalBack0 on Reddit on Sunday, shows a Ukrainian soldier seemingly hiding behind cover with the sound of gunfire or explosions continuing in the background. The soldier on camera reportedly explains that his life was saved by a “$600 phone and a military badge.”
The person filming the interaction then apparently replies that the “artillery was flying,” and that he and his fellow troops are fighting “5.45” while “they have 7.62 bullets.”
The legendarily utilitarian AK-47 may be the most common assault rifle in the world thanks to massive stockpiles produced by the Soviet Union, but the weapon itself is not commonly issued to modern Russian troops. The Russian military adopted the AK-74 in 1991, which fires 5.45×39 rounds, but there are a number of weapons in service with the Russian military that fire different 7.62 rounds than the classic AK. The AK-47 fires 7.62×39 rounds, while Russian sniper rifles like the SVD-63 Dragunov and the bolt-action SV-98 both fire 7.62×54 rounds, as do common Russian machine gun platforms like the PKM.
Ukrainian ground forces are also issued the AK-74 as their standard service rifle (chambered in 5.45×39), though volunteers fighting in the Ukrainian foreign legion have reportedly been issued FN FNC’s, which fire rounds Westerners are more familiar with: the same 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition leveraged in the M16 and numerous other weapon systems.
Russia’s 7.62×54 rounds are broadly considered to be comparable to the NATO standard 7.62×51 rounds leveraged in Western sniper rifles and machine guns, though the Russian round is often said to carry slightly higher muzzle velocities.
The Russian 7.62×54 round dates, in one iteration or another, all the way back to 1891, making it perhaps the longest-serving round in history (though it arguably has competition in the .303 British).
Like most rounds, there are several variations on the 7.62×54 that offer different ballistic performance, including armor-piercing, tracer, and steel-core “sniper” bullets intended to offer improved accuracy and penetration (these rounds often come with the word “sniper” printed on the cardboard or paper packaging).
The steel-core 7.62×54 rounds commonly used in Russian sniper rifles have been known to penetrate through steel plates as thick as 1/4 of an inch and American troops have reported having their ribs broken by rounds of this sort that were stopped by their body armor… but apparently, body armor has nothing on what we’re fairly certain is a Samsung Galaxy S21FE in a standard Samsung “black cover” case that retails for just about $50.
Here’s the phone from the video compared to images of the Samsung Galaxy and case we found on Samsung’s website:
The Apple iPhone may be dominating smartphone sales across much of the developed world lately (the iPhone 13, 13 Pro Max, and 13 Pro took the top three spots on reported smartphone sales across eight of the world’s richest nations last year) but after seeing this video, the Samsung Galaxy S21 may just see a bump in sales.
Digital Trends ranked the iPhone as slightly superior to the new Galaxy in their recent review thanks to a better camera and longer battery life, but that review notably skipped the “ballistic protection” test that might have put the Samsung over the top… at least for customers living in parts of the world where sniper fire is a pressing concern, anyway.