Russian Barnaul Cartridge Plant in collaboration with Molot Arms has developed a new PCC cartridge called 9mm Altay. Like the .366 TKM, 9.6×53 Lancaster, .345 TK and .366 Magnum, this cartridge is also designed for the special breed of Russian guns that thanks to their rifling design legally qualify as shotguns yet provide performance close to a rifled gun chambered in a similar caliber.
There are two main barrel designs used in these Russian guns that allow imparting spin to the projectiles yet don’t fit the legal definition of a rifled barrel. The first one is the hybrid half-rifled barrel design. Most of the bore of these barrels is smooth but the last five to six inches are rifled. Such barrels are legally considered smoothbore with built-in rifled chokes. The Russian law sets a maximum length for a rifled choke that’s why these barrels only have a 5-6″ rifled portion. The second barrel design used in these guns is the one with oval-bore a.k.a Lancaster rifling. Barrels with this type of rifling have an oval cross-section of the bore. Due to the lack of distinct lands and grooves, the Lancaster rifling is legally considered smoothbore in Russia.
The reason these firearms exist is that in Russia, first-time firearm buyers can only purchase shotguns and defensive less lethal firearms. Only after five years of continuous shotgun ownership, they become eligible for acquiring a rifle or PCC. So offering a gun that works almost like a rifle yet legally qualifies as a shotgun and can be purchased with no wait times, proved to be a great idea attracting more people to the market.
The 9mm Altay will be initially offered with 94-grain (6.1 gram) 9mm FMJ projectiles traveling at a muzzle velocity of 1,380 fps (420 m/s) and loaded in steel cases. The case length is 22.15mm (0.872″) and this cartridge is also referred to as 9×22 Altay although the official designation is apparently 9mm Altay because that’s what you can see on the cartridge box and headstamps. The 9mm Altay cartridge is very similar to the .345 TK which was also developed for the above-described firearms. Interestingly, 9mm Altay is the first cartridge in this quasi-rifle cartridge family that was not designed by Techcrim and Molot Oruzhie.
Molot Oruzhie will make two firearms chambered in the new caliber based on the updated Vepr-9 PCC and their VPO-185 PCC. Molot Arms will offer a version of their civilian VSS Vintorez clone called Sapsan-L chambered in 9mm Altay.
Technically, pistols can be chambered in this caliber too, however, handguns are highly regulated in Russia based on the barrel length and regardless of the rifling style, it’s close to impossible to own one. So if you somehow managed to own a handgun in Russia, there is no reason not to have it chambered in a common handgun caliber like 9mm Luger or 9mm Makarov.