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PSM - Russian Pocket Penetrator

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by gvass, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. gvass

    gvass Well-Known Member

    last week I was fortunate enough to test briefly a Russian PSM (IZH-75) pistol.

    The ones who do not know it, it is an extremely flat DA/SA pocket pistol (smaller than a Walther PPK), which fires the 5,45x18 mm soviet ammo. This hi-vel .22 centerfire has bottleneck cartridge, and intended to penetrate up IIIA level bulletproof vests.

    As far as I know the gun and its ammo are not legal in USA.

    See the results:

    25 meters (about 27 yards) 2 hand-hold, 5 rounds (Wolf FMJ softcore ammo)

    25 meters, 2 hand-hold, 20 rounds

    - extremely flat (under 0,8" width)
    - full steel
    - very good penetration agains soft body armor
    - very accurate (it is a pocket pistol!)
    - totally reliable (72 rounds without any hickup)
    - very small recoil (like a .22 LR target pistol), easy to shoot fast
    - easy to field strip (Walther-like)

    - stopping power is nonexistent
    - the grip is cutting at the backstrap
    - very expensive ammo (1 dollar/rd)

    The costs about 300 USD here.

    I think that this KGB-pistol have more sense than a Five-seveN, for example as a "penetrator" backup in the LE work.
  2. gvass

    gvass Well-Known Member

    Uppsss, sorry for the big images...
  3. max popenker

    max popenker Well-Known Member

    Ok, now some info on the gun, from my upcoming book "Modern combat pistols" (expected late 2006)

    The year of 1972 saw adoption of a somewhat unusual weapon “complex” that included an entirely new cartridge and a pistol to fire it. Unlike the designs described above, both pistol and its ammunition were quite standard in nature; cartridge was rather unimpressive by its numbers, having 5.45mm bullet with moderate velocity of about 300 m/s, and the pistol was more of a deep-concealment, last ditch weapon than anything else. The PSM pistol, in fact, was designed on a request from almighty KGB, which required a concealed carry weapon for their plainclothes operatives, which operated “in country”. Original papers, approved by Government, requested for a “flat-sized pistol, not thicker than a standard matchbox (17mm)”. There were no specifications for caliber, and it is not known why TSNII TochMash dared to develop entirely new round when other rounds were already available, and actually manufactured in USSR before, such as 6.35x16SR Browning and 7.65x17SR Browning. The only real (although of doubtful value) advantage of the new 5.45x18 MPTs (official index 7N7) round is its deeper penetration, especially against soft body armor at short ranges. The stopping power of this round is so miserable that many operatives officially refused to carry this pistol in the harms’ way, asking for the venerable PM instead. The PSM itself was quite conventional weapon, but of very thin and flat profile. It was tested against only one other competitor, the BV-025, which was more or less a scaled down Makarov PM copy, chambered for the same 5.45x18 ammunition. Government officially approved the PSM for service in 1972, and since the mid-seventies it has been issued mostly to top-ranking officials of military, law enforcement and Communist party, as a self-defense (or suicide-special, as it turned out during turbulent first half of the nineties) weapons
    The PSM pistol (Pistolet Samozarjadnyj Malogabaritnyj – selfloading small pistol) is one of the thinnest self-defense guns ever made, as it is only 17mm (2/3 of an inch) thick; but it is also one of the most useless defensive weapons, as the pointed, jacketed bullet of small caliber and moderate velocity (about 300 m/s) can take about forever to disable a target, even in the case of middle-of-the chest hit. Of cause, it is better than bare knuckles, but way too many cases were recorded when people had fatal shots with 5.45x18 bullets (usually in the chest area) but continued to fight or run for as much as half of an hour, and then suddenly collapsed and died from internal bleeding. During the early 1990s this pistol also became a favorite among criminal hitmen, who preferred it for ease of concealment and good penetration against soft body armor. Many of such guns (usually stolen from army warehouses) were later confiscated by Russian police, often fitted with homemade silencers. Export versions of PSM, known as IZh-75, were also made in 6.35mm Browning / .25ACP, which, probably was a little more effective as a manstopper than the original 5.45mm load. PSM pistols are manufactured by the Izhevsk Mechanical Plant.
    PSM is blowback-operated weapon with stationary barrel. It is of all-steel design, with either aluminium (early) or plastic (modern) grip panels. Trigger is of double action type, with exposed hammer and slide-mounted safety/ decocker. The safety arrangement is a little unusual in that the lever is made flat with the slide, and protrudes rearwards, along with the hammer. This way the safety does not increase the overall width of the gun, and also allows turning safety off and cocking the hammer in one movement of the thumb. Pistol is fitted with slide stop device, but it has no manual release – to close slide that was locked open after the last shot from magazine, one must pull it rearwards and then release. Magazines are single stack, with small finger rest, magazine release located at the heel of the grip. Sights are of fixed type.
  4. gvass

    gvass Well-Known Member

    Nice work, Max!

    Stopping power: the 5,45x18 is about the same as a .22 LR HI-Vel from a pocket pistol, or a .22 WMR from an NAA Minirevo. (about 130 joules).

    Last ditch backup only, but for that purpose, you can fight against body armored assailant! For LE work it could be interesting aspect.
  5. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Well-Known Member

    I know nothing about the relative merits of the 5.45x18 cartridge, but I would love one of those pistols in .22 LR.

    Thanks for the report and photographs!
  6. gvass

    gvass Well-Known Member

    "I know nothing about the relative merits of the 5.45x18 cartridge, but I would love one of those pistols in .22 LR"

    Merits: the rimfire and rimmed .22 LR is not really reliable to feed in a semiauto pistol, and the ignition reliability is much lower. The bottleneck rimless centerfire 5,45x18 is very reliable in the PSM.
  7. max popenker

    max popenker Well-Known Member

    From what i know, even female police offcers in Russia often refused to carry PSM if they were to participate in active duty and had real chances to see determined opponents.

    By now, PSM is mostly issued to top ranking officers (generals) and the most chances to see any action is suicide attempts for a varietry of reasons

    One have to be a very skilled (or very lucky) shooter to quicly incapacitate opponent with 5.45x18 ammo
  8. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    Very interesting!

    gvass, a most intriguing report, sir. You've provided a glimpse at a handgun that most of us will never have an opportunity to examine for ourselves.

    max popenker, as usual, has given us much valuable background information on an unusual piece.

    Thanks to both of you for your efforts.

    One thing = = Do either of you know the weight of the PSM? And, is/was there an issue concealment holster of any type?

    All best,
  9. gvass

    gvass Well-Known Member

    "One thing = = Do either of you know the weight of the PSM?"

    460 gramms
  10. dasmi

    dasmi Well-Known Member

    Fix the images!
    Nevermind, I've done it for you, I hope you don't mind.
  11. Working Man

    Working Man Well-Known Member

    I want one.
    I shall dub it The Perforator.

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