Ugliest modern pistol

I think the Yarygin PYa / MP-443 “Grach” pistol, which was adopted as the Russian army and law enforcement service pistol, must be the ugliest modern pistol. What do you think?

It fires the 9×19 mm 7N21 cartridge which is just a very hot 9mm Parabellum.

Click to expand the photo.

 Handguns Pya-O

More info about the pistol here.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • I was actually grabbing photos of the Grach on Friday for the GunPorn blog. Unfortunately, all the decent shots I’ve seen are those same ones here. The gun looks… rough. It looks almost unfinished when compared to similar firearms on the market, like it got machined but never deburred or cleaned before being assembled.

    The 9×19 ammo is interesting at least. Another handgun that uses it is the GSh-18 – (photos also by Max who took those pictures of the Grach – this time with the AP 9×19 ammo in the frame).

    I think what we’re seeing here is a firearm built with two purposes – something that can hold more ammo and more potent ammo than the old Maks, and something that is still hardy enough to operate alongside the AKs and Maks in the field (and be used for hammering nails as needed).

    The Russian design teams are much more about function – they don’t have the history and culture of firearms as art or accoutrement as many of us do.

  • thanks for that info.

    “The Russian design teams are much more about function – they don’t have the history and culture of firearms as art or accoutrement as many of us do.”

    Good point!

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  • Mike

    It looks like a combination of a beretta 92f and a mark 23. It isn’t ugly… if you want to see an ugly handgun, check out the Beretta Px4 handgun line or the Steyr M handguns.

    And it doesn’t look unfinished, it looks like it’s been rigorously tested and you’re looking at the beat up result.

  • Sami

    I used to own one civilian model called MP-446 “Viking”. Still got two extra magazines for it (holds 17 rounds).

    It’s a decent pistol and works just fine even in harsh conditions. Local paper did a test with 5000 rounds through it without cleaning (can’t remember the results, I think it didn’t feed properly after 6k of rounds).

    It also throws spent cardridges almost straight back and if you aren’t holding your gun properly they end up in your face (according to many reports). Didn’t happen to me and I did shoot about 15-17 thousand rounds.
    Groups (from my memory) were mostly around 20cm from 25m since I’m only a decent shooter. Sights are a tad on the crappy side, but works just fine for MLE.

    Ergonomics are great although I do have big hands. When I let other people shoot with it they we’re usually suprised about how good the grip feels (1911 like) and the performance of the gun.

    Civilian model also has plastic frame, the slide is the same, while MLE uses full metal frames. As for finishing – it’s typical Russian with 5% tolerances etc. Compared to any western pistol side-to-side looks really bad.
    But it just works, much like AK47.

    • Sami, thanks for the comment. very interesting.

  • jon

    Where can I purchase the russian made gsh-18 9mm handgun

  • Burban

    This looks to me like a clone of the original Ruger P85/89 ( The manual safety/decocker has been moved from the slide to the frame. What is most striking is the Ruger-esque guide rod. As I recall, the P85 was designed to compete in the “Great Sidearm Competition” in the mid- to late-80s that gave rise to the current-issue Beretta M9/92. I have a P85 and as one would expect from Ruger, the gun is WAY over-built for the 9mm cartridge — even with a steady diet of +P+ ammunition.

  • kagbalete

    come to think of it, it is a ruger p85, albeit uglier, but looks as rugged as an ak……….

  • Rob Simmons

    Not as ugly as the Russinan IZH-35m

  • Jim

    Just me, but I have an old Makarov. The economics of the Russian military and Police surplus is it’s selling point. The Mak is a KGB issue and it’s size is perfect for carrying. These look to be bigger than the Mak. And since I bought the gun for defense, the look matters, but not nearly as much as functionality. And at the range, none of the Russian handguns is ugly enough to get you banned from coming back.

    Funny one post indicated you could use it as a hammer. How about when you run out of bullets, use it to pistol whip enemy(ies)/intruder(s). Or even throw the spent handgun at them. A rougher and coarser finish will also do more damage as the pistol whipping is being administered. Like the magazine & bullets, you get only so many opportunities, make the most of them.

  • Graig

    I dig these Russian guns. I have a Makarov and an AK, and I’d buy a Grach in a heartbeat if they could be imported here.

  • It looks good,and stripped i can see a modern TT-33 action there.If TT-33 says smth to u it has to be durable in every possible harsh condition.Doesnt betray u and finally has a harder 9mm.

    As TT it has Browning heritage so unsurprised it feels like a Colt

  • aintnothingwrongwith9mm

    Sure it isn’t just ethnocentric bias because it’s Russian? Really, aside from the fact that it looks like it’s been beaten to crud, I don’t see how it’s any worse looking than some of the industrial looking designs that Ruger, Kahr, Kel-Tec has produced. And, c’mon, what about Glock. It’s not winning any pageants any time soon.

    Buy, yeah, no one is going to mistake that Grach for something off the assembly lines of Pietro Beretta SPA, or Heckler & Koch GMBH!

  • All of the Ruger autos to me are triple homely!!!! I mean they look like they were made by a small-town old-time western blacksmith. I had a 45 acp, that mean, bulky, ugly square-headed, boxy, loose, wobbly looking thing. I sold it pretty fast. I took it to the range 4 or 5 times tried various brands of American ammunition. I have always shot pretty well having bought and sold many many handguns and rifles. But with this thing it didn’t shoot groups, oh no, It shot vicinities at 25 yards. Using a 26″ bicycle rim as the holder {covering it with paper}, this masterpiece couldn’t get three shots within 4 inches at 25 yards using 10 shots, regardless of numerous shooters.Rugers are dependable, for self-defense and 10 round there is good chance you might get an intruder with at least one round, and with a 45 acp that is all you need{neighbors better duck}.
    I have a CZ 82 9x18MM Makarov which is a good-looking weapon and it is a bullet driver… All the CZ lines looks pretty good, they are tightly built and are known for their shooting ability too. I have heard nothing negative from anyone about them….

  • AB

    this posting is bulls*t including the topic itself
    it sounds as if poster was thinking to have sex with this gun and then change his mind.

    in addition:
    * ..they don’t have the history and culture of firearms..*

    MP-446 (Viking) gun accuracy test on the long range

    TT pistol (1930)
    As example fire accuracy error in 50 m range was only 15 cm comparing with available 35.5 for standard western pistols. In muzzle energy the “TT” surpassed “Parabellum” and was almost equal to long barrel “Mauzer”.
    Bullet fired from “TT” can shoot-through soldiers helmet, dig-in in 35 cm, shoot-through 15 cm wooden log. It also shoots-through second class amour vest and shoots-through from one side third classes amour west. To protect from “TT” bullets there should be used increased third class vests known as A+

    Mosin Nagant (1891) – the best sniper rifle in WWII

  • AB

    PTRS-41 (1938) anti tank rifle (WW2)

    note that the same class Barrett M82 (1980) was developed 42! year later

  • Hale

    What’s the point of this topic? Beauty is subjective, so you’d certainly get some people who agree and some who don’t. At the end of it all, it doesn’t really matter, because guns are judged by their effectiveness and not by their looks. If it can do its job well, then it doesn’t matter if it looks ugly or not.

    Russian guns are well-known to look rugged and rough, but do their job well. The Grach is no exception.

  • Jimmy

    What ? The MP443 is really beautiful when compared to many pistols like the Glock R17 or the Dan Wessons

  • Dmitri Chuikov

    All good Russian weapons are built to be durable, sturdy, and reliable.

    I digress (and apologize for doing so), I don’t see how this is any more than either brainwashing or complete ignorance towards guns.

    Yes, some weapons looks ugly, but who cares? What I care about is whether my Saiga can still fire (when the sh*t hits the fan) after having been doused water, exposed to sand, and other crazy environments, versus your AR15 or foreign made weapon not of Russian make and quality.

    Because then, the only thing that matters is whose gun can still last in the gunfight.

    The MP-443 Grach is a fine weapon. It has served my brothers well in combat against the forces of Terrorism and Extremism in our Southern borders. Many a time when you run out of munition and do not have the time to rush to the next fallen enemy to reload (since AK style weaponry is most common assault rifle in the world, and our weapons are known for their common and interchangeable parts), one can rely on sturdy and accurate pistol to take down enemies.

    I have no doubt the Americans create equally good weapons, if not more fancier equipment than we do.

    Than again, we Russians rely not on our equipment, but our own skill, so that given the proper and top notch equipment we will outperform anyone in the field equipped with similar, top notch equipment.

    Thank you, and have a nice day.