Russia to Issue PB Pistols to ALL Special Forces and Recon Officers

PB Pistol (Pistolet Besshumniy (Пистолет Бесшумный) – means silent or noiseless pistol) was developed in the ’60s and adopted by the Soviet Union in 1967. It was issued to special forces units. By the late ‘80s, they started replacing it with the PSS pistol. Now the Russian Ministry of Defense wants the PB pistol back!

According to Russian Izvestia newspaper, the Russian military plans to issue PB pistols to all special forces and reconnaissance officers. At the same time, they’ll retain the current issue Yarygin pistol (a.k.a MP-443 Grach). So each officer of the mentioned units will have two handguns and will be armed with the one that is more suitable for any particular mission.

Although it is mostly considered as a suppressed Makarov pistol and shares many parts with the Makarov, PB is so deeply redesigned, that I’d say it is more of an independent design. For example, the original Makarov recoil spring is located around the barrel. The addition of an integral suppressor forced the designers to relocate it. The recoil spring of PB pistol is a vertical one placed inside the rear portion of the grip. It is linked to the slide by a stamped metal transfer bar.

The sound suppression system is unique, too. It is a two-piece design. The first half of the suppressor is an integral one (note the perforated barrel in the images). The second (front) half is a conventional suppressor that attaches to the integral portion.

To me, the most interesting part of this story is how a rather old design becomes demanded again. Probably the new warfare challenges lead to reevaluating the good old PB.

You can download the PB pistol user manual (in Russian) by clicking here.

Images by armstory.com



Hrachya H

Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying design, technology and history of guns and ammunition. His knowledge of Russian allows him to translate and make Russian/Soviet/Combloc small arms related information available for the English speaking audience.
Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at TFBHrachyaH@gmail.com


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  • jae34

    Assassinations must be in high-demand. I kid, I kid.

  • Grhaam2

    Maybe these pistols are for when sourcing some Polonium-210 and putting in someone’s teapot is just too damned time consuming!

    • Eric Frey

      I know what you’re referencing, and you’re probably not wrong.

    • noob

      The two cent solution, back when a round of 9mm used to be pennies

  • DropGun25

    This pistol is probably solely responsible for the outcome of the MHS contract.

    • SP mclaughlin

      What?

      • DropGun25

        Cause it’s a Russian spy gun…like how Russians determined the election…the Russian spy gun rigged the MHS to pick a gun that fired when dropped…it was obviously a failed attempt at a joke 😑

        • Giolli Joker

          Upvoted ’cause I feel bad for sad Ralph Wiggum…

  • Giolli Joker

    I handled one of these in IDEX 2017 at Kalshnikov Concern booth they are incredibly cool. (Hrachya, Nathaniel and Steve should still have the photos, if you want to add them, or they can give you my contact)
    The English speaking guy at the booth however was quite concerned on their effectiveness. He was saying something along the line that they’re more of a cool range toy than a real effective weapon unless you are at very close range.

    • Adam D.

      It’s integrally suppressed, fires 9 Mak and has roughly the same barrel length
      as the PM, of course he was concerned.
      I’d say it shouldn’t be more powerful than a hot .22LR,
      even with the potent Mak loads of the Russians.
      There are a lot of ports on that barrel and the solid portion is like 1″.

      It has less than 2dB first round pop on the other hand, which is excellent,
      and for a special role pistol like this it’s probably pretty important.
      The effectiveness of the design depends on what they intend to use it for and how they want to use it.
      It looks like a pretty sound design.

      • PK

        “I’d say it shouldn’t be more powerful than a hot .22LR”

        What in the world are you talking about? 95gr at 1,050 FPS compared to 40gr at (let’s be generous and compare to a full-length rifle with hot rounds as you mention) 1,200FPS.

        That’s 233ft-lbs for the 9x18mm vs 128ft-lbs for the .22lr out of a rifle with an 18″ barrel.

        Keep them both subsonic for proper silencing, and use actual velocity measurements for the PB, and you’re talking about 191 vs 98! There’s really no comparison.

        • Adam D.

          You are right, I should have included two things in my comment:
          one, the word “much” (more).
          Two, I was talking about supersonic .22LR.
          In real life, against a human target, the numbers you mention
          are not a significant difference in my opinion.
          I totally understand the concern of the guy Giolli Joker was talking about, it’s .32 ACP energy at best, probably less,
          and by the very numbers you’ve written down, you can see that it’s closer to .22LR energy than to 9×19 L for instance.
          It should be a sufficient tool though – again, depends on the intended use.

          • PK

            In that instance, .22lr out of a rifle is less useful than even an admittedly large handgun. The .22lr going supersonic will be substantially louder, penetrate less, and although it’s not a ton more ft-lbs to move to 9x18mm, it’s still quite the increase in terminal effectiveness.

          • Adam D.

            I think you’re taking casual conversation a bit too seriously.
            Having differing opinions is a thing, you know. 🙂

  • ProLiberty82

    Why not put threaded barrels and suppressor height sights on their existing MP-443 Grach instead?

    I can understand that they might want to get the most of what they have in inventory instead of scraping them, but the logistics of keeping 2 different calibers for sidearms, eventual parts repair and etc might cost them more. Also the baffle design of that suppressors looks awfully outdated.

    Rather just sell the PB to other states and/or collectors around the world and put the money on a suppressor upgrade kit for existing MP-443 Grach pistols.

    • Maximilian Johannes Benning

      It’s a tried-and-true design, I’m sure they have a load of spare parts and pistols. Also, it’s a much more compact system.

    • Blake

      At first glance (& from a western perspective) most of that would seem logical.

      However:

      – MP-443 is designed for 9mm 7N21 +P+. Subsonic loads might not reliably cycle a suppressed standard pistol without internal modifications. (& don’t bother trying to suppress 7N21; you might as well suppress an M1A SOCOM).

      – Subsonic 9x19mm is quite uncommon worldwide, whereas Russia, CIS, & former Warsaw Pact countries have pallets of 9mm Makarov lying around (& it’s still widely in use by police, guards, private security, etc).

      – As mentioned below, the PB is a smaller package, & more effective as it’s purpose-built for the job.

      I’d go so far as to say that this PB revival may be a direct result of an attempt to *try* to suppress the MP-443 or GSh-18 & failing (or taking a good long look at it & deciding not to bother).

      Bog-stanadrd 9mm Makarov is inherently subsonic & the crazy old PB pistol does the job, so why change a winning team? It’s not like it’s a 1st (or even 2nd) tier weapon system, it’s only for specific special operations (which we seem to be seeing more of lately…).

      British commandos reportedly still use the De Lisle carbine, because even 75 years later it’s still the most effective tool for the job.

      • For what they’ll be mostly doing with these pistols (sentry removal and possible dog removal), 9x18mm will be fine. And it works, as others have said.

        I wonder if it might not be issued to the officers on paper for the MTOE, but in the Real World, be issued out on a METT-T basis, mission by mission, to whoever is tasked with opening the door for the rest of the team.

      • the welrod was still being used in the first gulf war. if it works and it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

        often a lot of the older designs are way better at their job then any new gun that tries to compete.

      • Mikial

        Good analysis, and very accurate if you understand the Russian mindset.

  • Brett baker

    “Comrades, the Americans are using their older cartridges, we should to.” We all know this is what happened.

    • noob

      *using up their older cartridges

  • ZuluHotel

    I can’t be the only person that thinks Far Cry 4 when they see this gun…

  • SP mclaughlin

    The OG Maxim 9.

    • insider

      …and it doesn’t look like a failed stippling project.

  • This is a really cool design.

    But for silent, close quarters work for SF, Spooks, and Recon, the PSS seems like a much more logical choice:

    “The PSS was developed to give Soviet special forces and secret police an almost completely silent option for covert operations such as reconnaissance and assassinations.”

    The PSS also lends itself better as a pairing with the MP443 pistol. The PB with suppressor is quite large (12.2″ OAL w/ suppressor) while the PSS is 6.5″ OAL (roughly Glock 26 sized.)

    Seems like keeping the M443 as standard, with the PSS in a ankle holster, would be a better setup.

    • Giolli Joker

      Probably the PSS and the PSS2 are much more expensive to buy and especially feed.

      • Gotta pay the cost to be the boss.

        • noob

          If they’re sending the boss something has gone very wrong

    • Hrachya H

      I doubt that PSS would be a good ankle holster gun. It is quite short, but it is really high and has a very wide grip. In my profile image I am holding a PSS pistol … I could barely maintain a full grip with my rather large hands. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ab81dd04f80b9dea94e62c723ae2d072a2dbe05f135d476acd823d899f277eea.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dc0afb70f447817f00eb6bb98c8d4a41419b074837e38c87640f8a4cecc5cf65.jpg

      • Giolli Joker

        Did you get to shoot it?

        • Hrachya H

          Unfortunately not

      • Ah, that is much larger then the specs would suggest!

      • Andrea Goldstein

        All Soviet firearms look so crudely manufactured…

        • Mazryonh

          That’s because historical events like the Battle of Stalingrad taught them that when it comes down to the wire, it’s more efficient and effective to focus entirely on function over flashy looks.

          Take a look at the older Russian Pernach machine pistol. It looks like a Russian Glock given how boxy it is!

      • Mazryonh

        The OTs-38 Stechkin “silent revolver” could have been another viable alternative. It uses the same “silent” ammunition as the PSS, and does the PSS one better because policing spent brass from a fired revolver is much easier than doing the same with a semiauto handgun.

    • Sianmink

      PSS requires special ammo. PB does not. I’m betting this has a lot to do with their wanting to get the PB back into circulation.

      • apparently the piston ammo these silent pistols use is prohibitive in cost to make.

    • BFG-9000

      PSS ammo is prohibitely expensive. Plus i suspect the pistol has the same weakneses all weapons with piston ammo had, that being the round is super wimpy.

    • noob

      This is the captive piston silent pistol right? Always wondered if you stepped on a fired case while it was still hot and under pressure and caused the case to split.

  • Andrew Dubya

    A good friend of mine, retired VDV, has mixed opinions on the Yarigin. He says that when behind the trigger it`s an excellent pistol, capable of surprising accuracy and with a large magazine but that the Achilles heel of the MP-443 is that it can be tough keeping magazines inserted – they tend to fall out rather easily. I would say that PBs would be a passable substitute until the engineers can rectify the Yarigin`s magazine issue. It`s not like a Makarov (or any DA military handgun) is unfamiliar, any Russian troop (especially SF) would know how to operate one. I`ll be asking my bro`s opinion on this, certainly.

  • Cyborg Fred

    Nice! Now lets get in a suppressed pistol “OVERMATCH” procurement war. Ramp up your designs USA time to take this threat seriously.

  • Al

    They just don’t like the noise, I have always thought Russians to be a quiet, introverted nation.

    • Scott

      until Vodka and girls get involved.. then they are loud, extroverted and best friends to EVERYONE!!

      • gusto

        the thing is you can’t tell the difference between a happy loud russian and a angry loud russion

        Privjet harashon tovariche

        • Mikial

          I worked with a group of Russian contractors in Iraq back in 2006-2007, and you really hit the nail on the head with this one! All week they were the most stoic, sour people I’ve ever been around, but on Thursday night (since Friday is considered the weekend in Iraq) they started drinking and then they were the most outgoing, jolly people I ever saw. They had a live turkey flown in and were going to kill it and eat it for New Year, but they all got attached to it so it just followed everyone around their camp all day.

          • Corey

            Sounds like good people to me. I also worked with Russians and I found them to be very good people. I can’t say the same for some other nations I’ve worked with.. But most soldiers are good folks. It’s the uneducated lazy types that are trouble. And educated radical classists.

          • Mikial

            Agree completely. They are the epitome of “WYSIWYG.” Although I do have a very funny story of their antics on a winter night in the no-man’s land between Kuwait and Iraq. But as for my personal experience with them, I knew of one Russian who literally slept through machine gun fire from across the Euphrates that left a line of holes in the side of his hooch about two feet above his head as he was sleeping. Ahh . . . vodka’s a wonderful thing. 😉

          • Mazryonh

            Russian contractors getting attached to a turkey? That sounds like they made it their mascot or something similar.

          • Mikial

            Yeah, they just got attached to it ans it wandered around their compound. I don’t think it was anything as formal as a mascot. There compound was inside the larger perimeter of the Nasiriyah Drainage Pumping Station out in the marshes around Nasiriyah, Iraq. There weren’t many comforts of home there and you could stand up on the firing steps and watch the firefights between the Mahdi and Badr militias at night. So, I guess people get attached to strange things under those kind of circumstances.

  • BFG-9000

    PBS is antiquity. Its like issuing MP5 SD, when everyone who can did retired them. Those guns arent up to the challenges of today.

    • EndangeredNJRepub

      That’s kinda like saying it’s better to use a newer screwdriver versus one you’ve had for 25 years and still works because the old screwdriver can’t stand up to the wood screws of today.

      I’d figure that as long as you’re well aware of the application you intend for it, and as long as it’s proven (MP5 SD) or at least sound in design, then a proficient user of the tool can meet the challenge presented.

      • mp5s and mp5 sd are still used today.

        as is the welrod and integral 22lrs by special forces. it doesn’t matter jack if it is antiquted and hence not tacticool. if it does the job then guess what in wetworks it will be used.

    • Wow!

      I agree, that is a good analogy. Like the MP5SD, the PB is bulky, heavy, weak, and awkward to use compared to most modern handguns. That said, you have to consider what it is replacing, the PSS. The PSS is lighter, thinner, but the ammo is expensive and rare. 9×18 is cheap to produce is a lot more common in eastern europe which means SF won’t need as much special supplies which potentially is like a paper trail of their presence. It is basically the same reason for us using drones. Drones aren’t as capable as manned aircraft, and they still have similar security issues if downed, but they are much cheaper to run.

      9×18 like the 9×17 isn’t all that powerful, but when you consider that the military generally uses 9mm ball, the differences in terminal ballistics is pretty moot. Diameter is the same, and penetration is effectively the same against an upright unarmored individual.

      • Mazryonh

        Now you’ve got me wondering whether the Soviets ever developed a PB with an increased magazine capacity like they did for their Makarov pistols (the PMM variant of the Makarov that had a 12-round magazine). 8 shots is very risky to use in a situation that is likely to become or is already a pitched firefight.

        • Wow!

          Supposedly they made a Stechkin APS with a silencer, basically being a full sized double stack makarov. Definitely bigger capacity is better, especially since the makarov and APS grips are so thick like a 1911, it wouldn’t add too much bulk.

          I have no idea how the eastern europeans do it, but in my mind, they probably didn’t expand capacity because there wasn’t a need to. A silenced handgun has a really niche role because in nearly every situation a silenced SMG would perform a lot better. Not to mention if you have to do “sentry removal” you only want to deal with one person at a time or ideally never at all with proper planning. As easy as it would be to design a conversion for more than 8 rounds, just one will do.

          Several police departments in the US had break barrel silenced rifles available and they were used to good effect despite having only one round capacity and being pretty slow to reload even with a side saddle. I have seen some snipers have custom bolt action rifles without a magazine well and rounds are all fed by hand from a side saddle (the idea was that it is more reliable to feed by hand then a possible magazine jam at the critical moment, I don’t know, I think many bolt action magazines are pretty reliable, especially when not dual fed. Manufacturer of some of them were like DL Field, or DL sports or something like that. Some company I never heard of but apparently they are familiar with.) It’s kind of silly, but apparently it works for them okay so far.

    • Max Glazer

      One of SpetsNaz axiomes: If you shoot a someone in one knee with a 5.45 and another knee with a 7.62, he won’t notice the difference.

      If you are a special forces or even basic recon squad member then at the range that you use pistol you shouldn’t need any special sight.

      Care to elaborate on which modern challenges it isn’t up to and what exactly makes it obsolete?

  • Scott Willbanks

    Has everyone forgotten the Hi-Standard HDs made off the books for the OSS (CIA before CIA)? Moscow has one on display that they took from our U2 pilot they shot down. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/24be31207b0ee3c97f4f64409afa085ee405d74b77ae89477e221371f84f0513.jpg

    • Corey

      Nope. I remember talking to an older agent who said it was perceived as too anemic for anything but close up and personal usage. But I don’t recall anyone saying it didn’t get the job done. The fact that the Russians are re adopting a clandestine pistol says a great deal to their thinking and modus operandi. But it may be in response to us Americans adopting suppression at the infantry level and Russian recon expressing a desire to match our operational effectiveness in dealing with terrorist and paramilitary forces.

  • wetcorps

    *muffled cheeki breeki*

    • Mazryonh

      If you’re talking about the Bandits from the STALKER series of games, they actually say a bunch of interesting things as they get killed, from a broken “Ahh, tvoyu ma . . . ” or “Ahh, blyaaattt . . . ” It’s not all cheeki breeki, all the time.

      • wetcorps

        They certainly do. But the cheeki breeki stuck because it’s pretty unique, you don’t hear it anywhere else. Also it sounds sorta cute.

        • Mazryonh

          I think it was partly because the STALKER series of games was the first time that Russian profanities and possibly even prison slang entered western popular culture and really took off. The Bandits in the Metro 2033 game series are also quite a hoot to listen to.

  • Scott

    ANY silenced pistol with a AG4 “Bakelite” Grip is the only choice for ANYONE!

  • Rocketman

    Another place where a silenced pistol would be useful would be a shot down pilot behind enemy lines. You would be able to take out an enemy soldier looking for you and be able to hunt small game to eat without alerting the enemy that you were in the area.

    • Mazryonh

      Good luck using one of those to take out someone behind light cover or nailing a sentry wearing a helmet some distance away with a headshot. I haven’t heard of the Russians developing AP loadings for their 9x18mm Makarov rounds, but they did do so for their 9x19mm Parabellum rounds.

  • Andrew Miller

    I can’t be the only person who wants one to try out.
    Purely for scientific research, of course.

  • PaC SGM (R)

    Okay, so when given the chance snipe the guy with two pistols…got it.

  • Mikial

    The Russians (including when hey were the Soviets) always made the most of whatever equipment they had available. The war war Georgia in 2008 revealed a great deal of issues with Russian equipment, and Putin has been working hard to modernize the Russian military in both equipment and tactics since, as is illustrated by the highly upgraded AK models, tac gear, and electronics being used by Russian “volunteers” in the Ukraine. But that talent for making the best of what they have on hand is still alive and well, as the issue of the PB illustrates.

  • rjet43

    haha what a POS.

  • Mazryonh

    Couldn’t the Russian forces have just added suppressor-mounting ability to their Grach handguns, since those handguns can use the 9x19mm AP loadings available to Russian armed forces? Adding a detachable stock, like the old Mauser C96 had, would make it a serviceable PDW like the B&T USW, and the Soviets did in fact use something similar, which was their Stetchkin APS machine pistol.

    I suppose this development lends credence to the old saying that “the Soviets never threw any military materiel away”. The fact that the Makarov-PB has a relatively low 8-round magazine capacity while using the older 9x18mm Makarov round seems to limit the handgun to silent takedowns only, because you’re going to exhaust the magazine pretty quickly in a pitched firefight. I guess the other alternative, the OTs-38 Stechkin “silent revolver,” would have been too expensive to make the ammunition for, even though the silent ammunition it uses doesn’t need a suppressor to work and its revolver configuration makes policing fired shell casings much easier.