The Makarov pistol, popularly known as the PM, has outlasted both the Cold War and the Soviet Union, continuing to see service today with the Russian military and various police forces across the country — including in other export nations around the world.

Designed in the years following the World War II and entering service in 1951, this legendary blaster has doggedly resisted attempts to replace it, remaining a standard issue sidearm for a number of Russian military units — even with the advent of the newer MP-443 Grach (PYa) in 2003.

The MP-443 Grach has replaced the Makarov in several Russian military units. But another could replace them all. (Photo by Wikimedia Commons)
The MP-443 Grach has replaced the Makarov in several Russian military units. But another could replace them all. (Photo by Wikimedia Commons)

Russian mega-conglomerate Rostec believes that it might just have created the pistol that will finally bury the PM for good. Its subsidiary, TSNIITOCHMASH, has apparently designed and produced a limited number of prototypes of this new unnamed pistol, and has already begun preliminary range testing.

According to Rostec, the new gun will be chambered for the 9x21mm round, of which there are a number of variants, including the “Gyurza."

The typical Gyurza cartridge, Russian for “blunt nosed viper”, is highly similar to the 9mm Luger round, popular in the west.

But unlike the 9mm Luger, the Gyurza is said to be mildly armor-penetrating.

The Russian 9x21
The Russian 9x21 "Gyurza." (Photo from Wikimedia)

Originally developed for the FSB — Russia’s state security bureau — and known as the SP-10, this round has a steel core which keeps traveling even when the rest of the bullet around it has impacted its target and stopped. It’s more than likely that the new pistol will utilize the Gyurza, as do a number of Russian pistols and submachine guns in service today.

Currently, the PM fires the 9mm Makarov cartridge, feeding from a diminutive 8-round box magazine -- a huge source of consternation among Russian combat arms personnel. The MP-443 Grach was a major improvement over the PM, in that it could carry an 18-round magazine of 9mm Luger. It would make sense that Rostec's new pistol would have a similar capacity to the Grach than the gun it's trying to replace.

No timeline has yet been offered on the fielding and full-rate production of the new gun, though Rostec officials claim that the testing should ideally be completed altogether by the end of 2018, and a decision on the new gun will be made by the military in early-to-mid 2019.