"Better, lighter and more convenient": how the Kalashnikov concern develops the Lebedev pistol line, Alexey Latyshev, Elizaveta Komarova. 14.07.2021.
Concern "Kalashnikov" intends to create an ultra-compact modification of the Lebedev pistol (PL). This was announced by the Deputy General Director - Chief Designer of the enterprise Sergey Urzhumtsev. According to him, the new model will be used for concealed carry. At the moment, the line of Lebedev pistols is represented by the basic versions of the MPL and MPL1, the sports SP1 and the compact PLC. Meanwhile, MPL and MPL1 are already being supplied to the Russian Guard. According to analysts, the ultra-compact version may interest special services. According to experts, submarine pistols are produced using the latest technologies and modern materials, which makes this weapon lighter and more effective than the models currently in service with Russian law enforcement agencies.
The Kalashnikov group of companies (part of Rostec) intends to create an ultra-compact modification of the Lebedev pistol. This was announced by Sergey Urzhumtsev, Deputy General Director - Chief Designer of JSC Concern Kalashnikov.
“As for the ultra-compact modification, yes, there will be such a model in the submarine line. It is impossible to say about specific terms now, since it will be determined by the needs of the structures that will order it. In any case, it will appear a little later than the existing versions - MPL, MPL1 and PLC pistols will enter the market, ”Urzhumtsev said in an interview with TASS.
According to him, similar models exist in the lines of foreign manufacturers, for example, the Austrian company Glock.
“Super- or sub-compact is a concealed carry pistol. I would not disclose potential customers now, I will refer only to world experience. Almost all world pistol brands, for example in the Glock line, have such a pistol version. The sales volumes are not very large in relation to basic products, but such a version is necessary to satisfy the entire spectrum of the potential market, ”said the chief designer of the concern.
In addition, Urzhumtsev said that on the basis of the technologies that were used in the development of Lebedev pistols, it is planned to create a subcompact submachine gun. Kalashnikov is now working out the requirements for the project "with potential customers who are interested in this class of small arms."
"The line will expand"
Work on the creation of the Lebedev pistol within the framework of the Lynx ROC began in 2014. According to Urzhumtsev, the initial order for the creation of such weapons came from the Russian Guard.
“All processes are regulated by state standards, which determine the order, types and scope of work at each stage in order to ensure the quality and compliance of the created product with the customer's requirements. In the case of MPL and MPL1, the customer was the Russian Guard, from which we received the basic requirements for the pistol and the tactical and technical characteristics, ”explained Urzhumtsev.
At the same time, as Dmitry Tarasov, general director of the Kalashnikov Group of Companies, previously reported, it is planned to equip not only Rosgvardia units with various versions of Lebedev's pistol, but also employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Defense.
The first prototype of the pistol under the designation PL-14 "Kalashnikov" was presented in 2015 at the International military-technical forum "Army-2015".
As the creator of the pistol, the leading design engineer of the Kalashnikov Dmitry Lebedev, noted, "the key difference between the PL-14 from other modern analogues was its ergonomics and balance, which most fully correspond to the current ideas about human biomechanics and the production of an accurate shot."
Then the company carried out work to eliminate the shortcomings of the experimental model. The result of these efforts was the appearance of MPL and MPL1 pistols, which differ from each other in dimensions - the MPL length is 205 mm, and the MPL1 is 220 mm. In addition, the MPL is slightly lighter than the MPL1: their mass with a magazine without cartridges reaches 800 and 815 g, respectively. Both pistols use the same caliber 9 (9x19) and come with 16 rounds magazines.
These models have successfully passed state tests and were adopted by the Russian Guard in May 2021.
In addition, there is a sports version in the PL line. The pistol, designated SP1, is intended for practical shooting in production and production optics classes.
Kalashnikov also created a compact modification of the Lebedev pistol - the PLC. It was first demonstrated to the public at the Army-2017 forum.
The length of the compact version is 180 mm, weight - 710 g. The ammunition capacity of the weapon is reduced by two rounds compared to the older model.
The dimensions of the ultra-compact version of the pistol are still unknown, but experts believe that it will be smaller and lighter than the PLC.
The line of Lebedev pistols will continue to expand, Urzhumtsev said.
“Currently, the submarine is represented by three samples. Indeed, the line will expand, primarily through the creation of civilian versions of this pistol and, in the future, an ultra-compact version, "he said in an interview with TASS.
"A lot of technological know-how"
According to Sergei Urzhumtsev, the developers used the latest technologies to create submarine pistols. Thus, the MPL and MPL1 barrels are heat-treated according to a special technical process.
In addition, engineering solutions have improved the strength and reliability of the pistol.
“The peculiarity of the pistols is that the bolts are made of steel, and the frame with guides is made of aluminum. A formally harder steel could quickly wear out aluminum. Our technological solution eliminates this problem and ensures the abrasion resistance of the frame guides. In general, MPL has a lot of technological know-how, implemented at the level of basic critical technologies, ”explained Urzhumtsev.
The company is also developing a line of additional equipment that can be used in conjunction with pistols of the PL series.
“The pistol, as I said earlier, includes a fairly rich package, which allows you to expand its tactical capabilities. If we talk about the creation of further elements of the modules, then yes, now we are working on this issue. First of all, due to the expansion of the range of used sighting devices. For example, now we are considering the issue of choosing a special small-sized collimator sight, ”said Urzhumtsev.
This equipment can be mounted, among other things, due to the presence of a Picatinny rail on the PL pistols - a bracket with a rail mount for easy installation of sights and other equipment.
A distinctive feature of the pistol is its modular design, as a result "from one model you can create a whole line of samples for different tasks."
“This is ensured by a complete set: interchangeable barrels, a low-noise firing device, handles of different sizes, sighting devices, the presence of mounting bases for attaching additional equipment and many other elements,” said the chief designer of the concern.
In addition, according to him, Lebedev's pistol also differs from foreign counterparts in improved ergonomics.
“The submarine is distinguished by exceptional ergonomics — not only in relation to Glock, but also to other best world analogues. On the other hand, all submarine modifications are omnivorous with respect to the ammunition used. We are talking about both conventional 9x19 Luger class ammunition and armor-piercing 7N21 class. Despite the fact that the submarine is in the same line with its counterparts in terms of weight and dimensions, I would like to once again emphasize the ergonomics of this pistol and, as a result, better controllability, greater combat and practical rate of fire, "said Urzhumtsev.
Such indicators are achieved due to the "optimal position of the center of mass", thanks to which the pistol fits comfortably in the hand, which allows minimizing toss when shooting. This also ensures a high combat rate of fire.
Opportunities - to save, dimensions - to reduce
Experts believe that the ultra-compact version of the submarine may be of interest to the special services.
"Such a pistol can be useful for special services for concealed carrying during the use of civilian clothing. That is, it will be worn in an operational holster under the arm or in a belt holster under a jacket, "Alexander Butyrin, columnist for the Fire Frontier magazine, told RT.
Dmitry Kornev, the founder of the Military Russia portal, believes that the strength of such weapons will be the "preservation of combat capabilities" of older models with a significant reduction in size.
According to analysts, it is quite difficult to compare submarine pistols, for example, with Glock products, since the Austrian company has been producing such weapons for many years and has proven itself well, and Lebedev's pistols are just beginning to come to customers.
At the same time, experts believe that the later appearance of the submarine line on the market becomes its competitive advantage, since Kalashnikov's specialists had the opportunity to study foreign experience and avoid mistakes made by other manufacturers in advance.
“We go later, so we can take into account all the mistakes and shortcomings of competitors. Therefore, the PL may turn out to be even better than its competitors in the market, ”Dmitry Kornev believes.
He also noted that Lebedev's pistols are fundamentally different from Soviet models, which are still the most common in Russian law enforcement agencies.
“Lebedev's pistols are an attempt to create a new generation of domestic pistols using modern materials. This is a lightweight pistol with an increased magazine capacity and capabilities that are better than previous generations of pistols. It is more technologically advanced, better, lighter and more convenient, ”said Kornev.
In general, analysts assess positively the results achieved by the Kalashnikov concern in the development of a line of modern pistols. According to Dmitry Kornev, the project of Lebedev's pistol "definitely took place."
In turn, Alexander Butyrin noted that a more detailed assessment of the brainchild of "Kalashnikov" can be given after the submarine begins to enter the armament of the National Guard and other departments.
“This line of weapons is very impressive - these are both military versions and sports versions, very worthy models. But a more detailed assessment can be given only after its massive use in the relevant structures has been established. Because testing is one thing, but how he behaves in practice is another question, ”the analyst concluded.