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PM

Semi-automatic pistol

PM

The PM was a standard sidearm in service with the Soviet armed forces

 
 
Caliber 9x18 mm
Weight (empty) 730 g
Weight (with loaded magazine) 810 g
Length 161 mm
Barrel length 93 mm
Muzzle velocity 315 m/s
Muzzle energy 300 joules
Magazine capacity 8 rounds
Sighting range 25 m
Range of effective fire up to 50 m

 

   The PM or Pistolet Makarova, was developed by Nikolay Makarov. Hence its designation. This pistol was inspired by Walther PP. Its prototypes were produced in 1949. It was adopted to service with the Soviet armed forces and Soviet Militia in 1951. Its mass production began in 1952. This pistol has been exported to Warsaw Pact countries. The PM and its modified variants were produced in Russia, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and possibly some other countries. Currently this pistol is out-dated, but it is still widely used. Its civilian version is sold under Baikal brand.

   Originally the PM was intended to replace the TT pistol in service with the Soviet armed forces. However it was not able to fully replace it, as the TT was a much more powerful weapon. Even though the PM is less powerful it is smaller and more reliable than the TT. Also it is easier to handle.

   The PM is chambered for a Soviet 9x18 mm cartridge. This round was also designed by Nikolay Makarov alongside his pistol. Basically it is a larger version of the 9x17 mm (.380 ACP) round, developed by John Browning. Russians deliberately opted for ammunition that is not compatible with any Western 9 mm pistols. So in case of war captured soviet ammunition stocks would be useless. The 9x18 mm round became the standard pistol and submachine gun round in the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries, as soviets required their allies to use the same ammunition. Comparing with Western 9x19 mm Parabellum round, the Makarov round is less powerful and also looses in terms of penetration. The PM fires ball and tracer rounds.

   The PM is simple in design. This pistol recommended itself as a reliable weapon. It fires after immersing in mud or even under water. The pistol has a chromed barrel, this feature reduced accuracy, but increased service life and allowed to fire at extremely low temperatures. The PM is easy to maintain, what was very important for the Soviet Army. It can be fully disassembled without any special tools, just using a simple screwdriver.

   This pistol has a single-action trigger. In Soviet Union, now Russia and a number of other post-communistic countries it is not allowed to carry a weapon with a loaded round. It is considered unsafe. The PM pistol has a manual safety on the left side of the slide.

   The PM has an 8-round magazine. The magazine has two wide openings on each side. So it is easy to check how many rounds are left. Also this feature allowed to reduce weight. Cartridge cases are extracted to the right side. Magazine release button is located at the bottom of the grip. So two hands are needed in order to release the empty magazine.

   This pistol has a fixed sight for a distance of 25 m. Effective range of fire is up to 50 m. Many shooters complain that the PM is not accurate. In terms of accuracy it looses to Western pistols.

   Currently the PM is out-dated. Even though it is still widely uses it looses badly to modern semi-automatic pistols. It has similar dimensions to the Glock 17, however the PM weights 10% more, has 25% less power, is less accurate and has only 8 rounds in the magazine opposed to 17.

 

Variants

 

   PMM, an improved version of the PM with a magazine for 12 rounds instead of 8. Production of this pistol commenced in 1994. Small magazine capacity of the PM was obviously not enough for an army pistol. Currently there is a trend to develop pistols with 15-20 round magazines. Also a new round with a higher muzzle energy was developed for the PMM. The main goal was to approach performance of the Western 9x19 mm round. However this round is not backward compatible with PM pistols.

 

 
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