One thing that did bother me about the linked article, is that the author obviously knows nothing about firearms. There is no such thing as a plastic 9mm Makarov (they only make them in steel) and the 5.45mm bullet used in the standard AK74 is not illegal to use. It has a hollow space in the tip of the bullet that supposedly allows it to tumble more quickly in flesh, but all bullets either tumble or fragment (or both) when they hit a person.
(Thank you, Jason!)
One thing that needs to be added to this comment is that the passage about the 5.45mm bullets is actually a quote from Anna Politkovskaya, not Specter's words.
I myself probably wouldn't be able to tell a hunter's rifle from a Kalashnikov, but I realize that Makarov and 5.45mm are pretty basic stuff - and it's very upsetting that such errors do manage to slip into the texts of otherwise reputable reporters. Especially Politkovskaya.
So I decided to educate myself a little and bought a book on the Russian spetsnaz (special purpose units): Taktika spetsnaza, by Gennadiy Kazachkov. It's got pictures and descriptions of the most common guns and stuff in the appendix, which is useful, but it's also got some narrative, some analyses of the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan and the Russian involvement in Chechnya - which should be interesting.
I'm still reading the intro, though - and am beginning to feel dirty. Here's one passage, the bullet statistics:
The emergence of more precise, complex and diverse weapons and ways to use them has changed the role of traditional firearms. This is a fact that can be confirmed statistically. In WWII, 25,000 bullets were spent on the average to kill one soldier, during the Korean War - 50,000, and in Vietnam - 200,000 bullets already. To compare: in Afghanistan, the Soviet troops were spending about 6,000 bullets on one killed enemy, and in Chechnya - about 7,500. [...]
Not that the Third World infant mortality figures are any less shocking, but, unlike here, we're used to that kind of stuff, I guess.
And here's what Kazachkov writes about 5.45mm bullets:
When the 5.45mm bullet hits the body, it may start moving chaotically, causing substantial damage. But it doesn't always happen like this. These qualities of the new bullet brought into existence legends about "a bullet with the displaced center of gravity that enters through an arm and exits through a leg." Amazing, but such an opinion is still popular among dilettantes.