The SPS: The gun used by Vladimir Putin's bodyguards
A modified version of the legendary, “sort-of-classified” SPS pistol may soon enter service in the Russian armed forces. Considered one of the best handguns in the world, the SPS is flexible and capable of penetrating body armor.
The two standard-issue pistols used by the Russian military, the PM (the Makarov pistol) and MP-443 Grach, will soon be replaced by a new model developed by TsNIITochMash (Central Research Institute for Precision Engineering), according to a statement by the institute.
The statement does not reveal exactly which handgun is to enter service, but certain details suggest it is a modified version of the SPS (the Serdyukov pistol), Russia's most deadly and ergonomic sidearm.
Designed in Russia “from scratch,” the SPS is considered one of the best modern pistols in the world. However, the pistol, despite not being classified, is known exclusively to weapons experts.
The sidearm of Putin's bodyguards
The SPS (named after its designer, who incidentally shares his last name with a former Russian defense minister) is used by Russia's Federal Guards Service, President Vladimir Putin's personal security force. Its agents are inseparable from the Russian leader and accompany him on all his travels around the world.A dependable gun
The SPS has proven to be reliable under a very broad range of conditions, in temperatures from -58° to 122°F (-50°C to +50°C). The pistol is noted for its excellent accuracy even in the hands of an average shooter: a ten shot group measures 2½ inches at 27.3 yards (25 meters), and 12½ inches at 109 yards (100 meters).
The SPS was developed in the 1990s – a very troubled period in Russian history – as a new sidearm for Russian military and police officers: The crime rate skyrocketed in the country during the decade, and many criminals had access to body armor, so there was a need for a pistol capable of penetrating it. And that it does: A shot from an SPS with 9x21 mm armor-piercing SP10 bullets, developed specifically for the pistol, can penetrate up to 30 layers of Kevlar augmented with either a titanium (up to 1.4 mm) or a steel (up to 4 mm) plate.
The SPS is constantly being improved: in August 2012, TsNIITochMash presented the latest version of the pistol – the SR1MP, equipped with a Picatinny rail for mounting various accessories including reflector and laser sights, as well as tactical flashlights. The SR1MP can also be equipped with a suppressor.
Though not yet adopted by the Russian army, the SPS — along with its various derivatives — is in production by the Mayak factory in Kirov (600 miles northeast of Moscow). The pistol is used by the elite forces of Russia’s FSB, Federal Guards Service and Internal Ministry.
Caliber: 9 mm;
Cartridge: 9x21 SP10 or 9x21 SP11 or 9x21 SP12 or 9x21 SP13;
Weight: 2.19 lb/0.995 kg (unloaded);
Length: 8.8 in/225 mm;
Barrel length: 4.7 in/120 mm;
Effective firing range: 218 yards (200 meters);
Feed system: 18-round detachable box magazine