Kalashnikov Concern “Lebedev” PL-14 (Official Press Release)

The official English language press release for the new Kalashnikov Concern PL-14 pistol arrived late, after we have already blogged about it, but I thought I would share it with you all anyway. Here it is …

Kalashnikov Concern revealed the prototype of a new 9mm pistol “PL-14” (Pistol designed by Lebedev) at the International military-technical Forum «ARMY-2015» from June, 16 to June, 19 in Kubinka (Moscow region). The concept of the pistol was developed jointly by the experts of the Russian special forces and IPSC competitive shooters.

The distinguishing feature of “PL-14” is its enhanced ergonomics and balance that meet modern notions of human biomechanics and modern pistol shooting techniques in the best way. Special attention was paid to the unique aesthetics of the new pistol.

“The versatility of our new pistol allows to use it not only as a military weapon for the military forces and police, but also as a pistol for different shooting competitions – said Kalashnikov CEO Alexey Krivoruchko. – We intend to produce different variants of the pistol, for example, with certain characteristics of the trigger mechanism for special forces units, as well as a civilian version with trigger that would be suitable for practical shooting competitions as well”.

The gun is very thin in comparison with its counterparts: the thickness of the grip is 28 mm and 21mm is the thickness at the front of the slide. All controls on the pistol are ambidextrous, so it could be used by right- and left- handed shooters effectively. The pistol has Picatinny rail integrated in its construction.

Automatic calculation methods applied during the creation of the gun, will ensure great reliability. With its improved ergonomics pistol has minimal recoil and muzzle rise which makes speed shooting very effective.

Particular attention is paid to the safety of this pistol: trigger mechanism ensures that there will be no mechanical accidental discharge, even after falling from a great height onto a hard surface. In addition, the basic version will have longer and heavier trigger to prevent accidental discharge if shooter keeps his finger on the trigger. On another version of the pistol for highly skilled users (special forces and competitive shooters), trigger will be lighter.

In addition, the increased safety of the new 9mm pistol is provided by loaded chamber indicator, which allows checking the weapon even in gloves and during low light situations. In addition, the indicator has an additional function: coupled with a modified geometry of the chamber it allows shooting with defective ammunition when brass size does not meet the specs.

Caliber,  9×19
Length 220mm
Height 136mm
Thickness 28mm
Barrel length 127mm
Magazine capacity, 15 rounds
Weight without ammunition, 0.8 kg
Weight with ammunition 0.99 kg

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.


  • Beeray

    In for one. Maybe two.

  • Rob Morrone

    Looks to me like a complete rip-off of the Styer M9A1.

    • ostiariusalpha

      You mean the grip angle? Because they otherwise have little in common that isn’t present in any modern polymer frame. The bore axis height compared to the trigger looks more like the Arsenal Strike One, and nothing like the M9A1. They ripped somebody off, but it’s not Steyr.

      • BrandonAKsALot

        I’m not sure you’re seeing the same gun. My first thought was how similar they are in appearance. I wouldn’t say it’s a rip off, but the resemblance is definitely uncanny. Has Bubits defected to the Russians?

        • ostiariusalpha

          Ha! Definitely has some of that Austrian ass on there, but the front? Eh, not so much.

          • BrandonAKsALot

            The front is definitely a bit more trim than the Steyr, but the likeness is there. It’s actually a bit more similar to the L9A1 considering that the full size version.

          • ostiariusalpha

            I dunno’, Bran-man. I put my thumb over everything behind the trigger to cover it up, and these two pistols don’t look a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g alike. Totally different geometries.

          • Vernon682

            I kinda like the rubadub or whatever better than the steyr, visually. It looks sharper, and less clunky.

    • BrandonAKsALot

      I was going to say it looks very similar to it. Externally, there is a very, very strong resemblance. Even the way the back is shaped and the way it’ll sit in the hand. I love my M9a1 and this looks like a more cold war version of it.

  • Manny Fal

    You can tell it’s Russian cause the safety is hard to reach, unlike sissy American guns.

    • iksnilol

      Why would it be hard to reach. If you are gripping the gun somewhat “correctly” your thumb would be where the safety is. I don’t see the problem.

      • Ben

        I think the bigger concern isn’t the placement of the safety, but the fact that it is recessed into the frame and virtually flush with it. Looks very hard to easily disengage, especially under stress.

        • iksnilol

          I can see how that can be problematic.

        • Kivaari

          Perhaps it isn’t used enough to matter. Who uses a safety on pistols like that? I never missed not having a safety on my Glocks.

  • Darkpr0

    “In addition, the indicator has an additional function: coupled with a modified geometry of the chamber it allows shooting with defective ammunition when brass size does not meet the specs”

    Now, THAT is an interesting quote. I get the feeling that this is either a ridiculously overblown claim, or a brilliant one that will just fly under the radar. If they really did it using an safety device like a loaded chamber indicator to allow the gun to fire crappier, less safe ammo I will be a happy camper. I wonder if the chamber is reamed out extra, or if it’s actually variable geometry? It’s a neat trick nonetheless, if true.

    • Max Glazer

      Try this one on for size: this nifty little feature might well allow this pistol to safely chamber and fire both 9×19 and 9×18 as well as possibly 9×21 ammunition. THAT would be one great thing for military since, if circumstances demand, they can simply empty dead enemy pistols of ammo and use it as per normal.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Looks cool, like a prop from Blade Runner.

  • Fred Johnson

    Based on just looks, I want one.

  • MANG

    @Steve Johnson this pistol (which is fugly and derivative, but no matter) cannot be imported due to sanctions, right?

    Speaking of that, why is TFB shilling for a sanctioned foreign company lately? What kind of outreach is Kalashnikov Concern doing to TFB and other blogs? This has a legitimately unsettling feel to me. Kalashnikov was sanctioned over Putin’s invastion of East Ukraine in which over 6k people have been killed for no good reason, and now Kalashnikov is making a marketing push that smacks of propaganda or sanctions evasion.

    Do you not have any concerns about running social media for a sanctioned product, which happens to be a pretty boring gun to start with? It’s not so much Kalashnikov themselves – it’s the possible role or benefit to the Russian government, which SUCKS rn.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Or maybe it’s just a new gun.

      • MANG

        It’s yet another polymer striker fired 9mm that looks like a mishmash of pistols that’ve been around for decades. Not impressed on that level.

        • ostiariusalpha

          You don’t have to be. People, other than you, were interested in Tokarevs, Makarovs, and Czech pistols long before they were easy to get ahold of. Derivative or not, people, other than you, are going to be interested in getting information on this new pistol.

          • MANG

            I want TFB’s leadership to think critically about what they choose to advertise. You think it’s not OK to ask for more information about Kalashnikov Concern’s media outreach lately? I mean I first read about them getting sanctioned right here on TFB, for crying out loud.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Who says TFB won’t have a critical review of this pistol in the future when they actually go into production. Because all we have right now is a video of the prototype & a press release. Which is all that TFB has presented; they aren’t boosting this handgun, despite what you seem to think.

          • MANG

            It’s funny you should say that, because if Kalashnikov is still under sanctions when this gun enters production, it will be *illegal* for TFB to import one to review.

          • MANG

            Anyway that’s not exactly what I meant by “think critically.” I just mean, do you really want to be running social media for this company’s press releases, considering the circumstances? I would say that this is different from stories on guns in Syria or North Korea. I’d love to see more stories on the guns of ISIS. The difference is that ISIS isn’t sending you a press release in anticipation of future financial gain, or of building backlash against sanctions.

          • ostiariusalpha

            So by “think critically” you mean “think politically.” Sorry man, TFB doesn’t censor itself that way; if ISIS managed to manufacture a new rifle & sent out a typically uninformative, chest-thumping press release (which the PL-14 piece is a sterling example of) it would still get posted here. Because people would want information regardless of their views about the political agendas of terrorists or warmongering authoritarians.

          • MANG

            Nope. I mean TFB may have been suckered into a political act, by running interference for a sanctioned foreign company.

          • ostiariusalpha

            I really think most people here are aware of the sanctions on companies run by Vlad Pudding’s kleptocratic buddies without TFB having to hammer on it.

          • Giolli Joker

            You’re making politics out of a purely technical interest in the gun.
            “Firearms not politics” means even not caring about firearms’ nationality, but covering them for readers’ interest.
            I’m interested in Russian guns as much as I’m into American or European ones and I’m glad TFB covers them whenever they find chance.
            If you don’t like it I believe there are other blogs where you’ll be able to find only the material you wish to see.

          • MANG

            Actually this gun is up all over

          • Giolli Joker

            Well… it’s kind of the big news of these days.
            I prefer three articles, each with additional info/photos, on the same new gun than the various updates on new accessories for AR15/1911…
            But maybe it’s me.

          • Kivaari

            How political can this be, when it is simply about a gun.

          • Kivaari

            This doesn’t look like an ad.

          • Kivaari

            It isn’t an ad for anything. It is a report on a new Russian pistol. Even if we can never own some guns featured, the information is fun to read.

          • Kivaari

            That is like our desire to have the roller locked CZ52, until we could buy them for $80. Once we had them, we found out how the firing pins and safeties broke on every outing. They did blast that little bullet out fast and loud.

        • Giolli Joker

          I doubt it’s polymer.

          • ostiariusalpha

            The prototype as shown is definitely an aluminum frame, but Kalashnikov has made it clear that the production pistols are supposed to have polymer frames.

          • Giolli Joker

            It would be great if they were even offering a full-metal+hardwood option for the commercial market. I love Pardini GT look.

  • Bj

    Is there a little bit of arsenal strike one in there?

    • ostiariusalpha

      More than a little.

  • Jeremy

    But do we know if it’s striker fired or DA/SA with concealed hammer?

    • Kivaari

      It has a hammer that pivots on the safety shaft.

  • ostiariusalpha

    For those that think this Russian pistol looks extremely derivative, I have some probably unwanted enlightenment:

    • Zugunder

      What is it?

      • ostiariusalpha

        Well, if you look at the pretty pictures you’ll see that every time the Russians copy someone else’s designs in their auto-loader pistols. So it’s basically the same old story with the PL-14; there’s nothing especially egregious about them “borrowing” other handguns’ design elements in this pistol, because that’s what they’ve always done.

        • Kivaari

          Why, re-invent the wheel, when someone else has spent the prototype money?

          • ostiariusalpha

            That’s got to be it, right?

        • Handguns for the military are an afterthought. Handguns for commercial and LE market are divas and a parade of next best things. It is arguably reasonable to trail a bit in developing and adopting a military handgun.

          As for Makarov PM, it was a far cry from a simple PP clone – its trigger/safety/decocker and mainspring/magazine-catch 1-part combinations are a pure wonder of efficient engineering. The Walther’s wraparound return spring and trigger guard disassembly is just a nice touch that went in line with overall efficiency and simplicity (no guide rods or accomodations for them, no extra pins and parts for disassembly mechanism). A P210 it may not be, but it’s a tough, cheap bastard. Meanwhile, every 20th century pistol has “copied” the 1911, and every modern pistol “copied” Glock. It’s not a very culpable misdemeanor.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Most of the complaints have been directed at the appearance of the PL-14, I focused on the Tokarev & Makarov’s outward similarities to other pistols. Even so, the differences between my H&K VP9 and a Glock, both internally & externally, are far more substantial than between the Makarov and Walther (ignoring the parallels between the VP9 & Walther PPQ, heh!). The Makarov is a rather simple “adaption” of the PP design with a few product improvements tacked on to satisfy the demands of the Soviet military. The Browning short recoil, floating chamber action of the 1911 is one of the major roots of most modern hammer or striker guns, but they drop it’s swinging link & barrel bushing; instead they follow the Hi-Power’s use of an integral cam on a slide-fitted barrel, which is the real trunk of 20th century pistol designs.

          • Isn’t every new semi-automatic handgun design – at best – just a couple of “product improvements”? At least until any substantial technology shift arrives, spurred by fundamental ammunition redesign or breakthroughs in material sciences.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Oddly enough, yes & no. Due to fear of litigation for patent infringement, western gun manufacturers have to make their weapons operate with a substantial number of internal changes from each other. Obviously, no one holds the patent any more on the basic striker itself or the use of a polymer frame, so they will have that much in common, but the nitty-gritty of how the decocker, or drop-safety mechanism, or sear block safety, or trigger/sear engagement, etc. differ between companies will be obvious to anyone with even a little knowledge of handgun engineering. Though they are trying to carry out seemingly the same function with only minor differences in feel and ergonomics, the patent hurdles that have to be jumped over in the design of the mechanism require a good degree of innovation to compete for reliability, durability, and price to manufacture. Products within a manufacturers line will generally show a greater degree of commonality and conservatism in external & internal design, with many exceptions for the significant changes that do take place from time to time.
            To conclude, the Russians could have made the Makarov a straight blowback pistol that didn’t copy the look and function of the PP, but chose not to because they weren’t concerned about Walther suing them. Also, the Tokarev took some mostly external elements from Browning’s M1903 with internal function lifted from his 1911 with the same lack of bother.

          • I meant essentially, in a productive way. I know about the things you describe. Especially since the particulars are more applicable only to last 20 Glock-years, before that there was more leeway, both because the variety of designs wasn’t yet exhausted (never more than in the era we’re discussing, up to 1950s), and because competition in US was not so fierce as it is now.

            Anyway, if you return to the earlier exchange, I meant that many, if not most, borrowed design details in handgun construction are not really in the same moral, legal or practical space as plagiarism or infringement, or even a dishonest “rip-off”. Especially when, as you said it yourself, significant “product improvements” were made. In this case, considering the scale of overall tempo of handgun innovation, any product improvement, however minor, is a solid entry that deserves to be judged on its own terms. Contempt for “ripping off” something is, in my opinion, misplaced here. This is why we’re having this rather long-winded conversation.

          • ostiariusalpha

            In regards to the PL-14, you and I are in agreement. Still, the Tokarev & Makarov would be considered guilty of both design & utility patent infringement if they had been made by a western company instead of being shielded by the iron curtain. For example, the Glock doesn’t have a striker block safety, but just adding one in without altering the external appearance or internal mechanical function of the pistol won’t protect me from getting sued by Glock. This is essentially what the Soviets did with their autoloading pistols when they tacked on their “product improvements” to someone else’s design, it’s still theft of intellectual property.

          • OK. As we know, Glock company had patented even its pistol’s external appearance (the blocky slide with a square cross-section). So a pistol resembling it externally would be accused of infringement, even without the actual fact of real plagiarism, or theft of intellectual property. That begs the question of what exactly has external appearance to do with engineering plagiarism. But you DID specify that the “internal mechanical function” of the pistol must be identical for theft to happen. Indeed, _everything_ that constitutes a pistol design is mechanical function — so let us clarify that we are only concerned with engineering solutions, even though a lawsuit may be based on visual design only.

            (Glock legal action in regards of appearance of the design is a question of business — most of all, the possible damage or dilution to the brand image — and not of engineering or of intellectual property (not that they don’t guard that too!).)

            So with this bit of clarification, the question now is of whether mechanical or ergonomical features that are superfluous to the mechanical design are “tacked on” to it, irrespectible of external sameness. And I see that you try to equate Soviet engineers that created PM and TT to certain entrepreneurs who got burned trying to emulate Glock’s success by quietly circumventing the patent law.

            But the question is: if Soviet designers, by virtue of being “shielded by the Iron Curtain”, didn’t have to tack superfluous features to steer clear their design of patent infringement… then why would they? This is an exquisitely strange motivation to imply on them — no matter how much borrowed, or plagiarized, engineering solutions you or I find in their designs.

            Anyway, in case of PM, the entire firing mechanism was changed. Everything was different, except the general layout (similar to all blowback pistols), and, of course, wraparound spring and takedown lever / trigger guard combination.

            And most importantly, all of this was done without any and all pressure on the designer to differentiate his work from Walther PP. He didn’t have to change the mechanism — he just didn’t care, he aimed to make a good practical weapon (the borrowing of the best characteristics of other designers’ publicly accessible work was encouraged in USSR).

            The differences of PM with Walther’s design are unquestionable, and the practical payoffs of these differences are clear, immediate and correspond perfectly to project goals. There is literally nothing that could be “tacked on” to cover up plagiarism, because nothing would be left there from Walther to tack it on.

            I must say you’re conflating modern business practices of an overloaded civilian market (where it indeed matters if a new cheap pistol is visually designed as a Glock clone) and the realities of practical engineering; at government’s request; for the military; in 1930-1950s (every single one of these could qualify). In these realities, Soviet pistols were designed from the ground up, picking and choosing distinct design features at their convenience and according to the design goal. This is why the question of TT being a clone is more difficult to navigate. Besides the easy choice to follow Browning’s path, it certainly also includes a hefty number of features you would say were “tacked on”, but that actually “argued” with the originals; and offered new, never before used solutions (though I think the en-bloc trigger mechanism was used somewhere else, but fixed feeding lips I think were the first).

  • Treyh007

    Anyone heard a price point on the “Russian Excellence”?

  • Kivaari

    Kalashnikov USA, probably has a way around the sanctions, since they could build the guns here.

    • Giolli Joker

      Kalashnikov USA is in no way related to Kalashnikov Concern and the CEO of the Russian company said already that they were evaluating legal action.

      • Kivaari

        That’s good to know. I wonder if the USA operation even looked to see if it was lawful to use the label.

        • Giolli Joker

          I would think that even a child would realize that it’s not ethical nor lawful to behave like that, the average child however doesn’t have the legal advice that tells him “It’s illegal but they can’t touch you because they’re banned to deal with our country… therefore you can consider it legal!”.
          (this is purely my opinion however, let’s see what will happen in the future)

          • Kivaari

            How many of us know international copyright laws? I’d suspect it would need a good lawyer to check it out. Taking the Kalshnikov name would certainly be rude.

        • Tierlieb

          It is a bit more interesting than usual, as “Kalashnikov” is just a family name and “Concern Kalashnikov” has only recently been renamed into that. It might be that the US company actually used it earlier…

  • Jas

    A loaded chamber indicator. Goodness. If you can see that your chamber is empty, so can your opponent.

    • Kivaari

      Most indicators can’t be seen from a few feet away. Usually the muzzle is the most noted feature.

      • chead

        And if your gun is empty and someone trying to kill you is close enough to see the indicator, you’ve got way bigger problems. Like for instance: Your gun is empty.

  • CJS3

    Looks a lot like a lengthened version of the Steyr M9.

  • Probably the US Army just adopt this.

  • Mr Silly

    Oooh nice. Looks extremely durable and practical. Having been a FN hipower fan for years simply as it is idiot (me) proof- this looks really very fascinating.