Old mother Russia has surely noticed the advancements in handgun design in the West over the past couple of decades. More than enough time to evaluate what works and what doesn’t. So it should surprise nobody that this spring, they will begin replacement of their 70-year-old Makarov pistols with a new 9×21 gun called the Udav.
First off, don’t confuse the Udav with Uday, Sadam Hussein’s now-dead psychopath son. Udav apparently means “boa constrictor” in Russian. Expect Russian men (and likely more than a few women) to joke about carrying a snake on their hips or in their pockets. The opportunity for humor might prove boundless thanks to whomever named this new gun.
This new “boa constrictor” pistol will fire a new 9×21 cartridge capable of defeating soft body armor. The Russians call their new 9×21 Russian cartridge the Gyurza (“blunt-nosed viper” in Russian). The standard 103-grain projectile reportedly comes out at about 1345 feet per second from a 4.7″ barrel. So yes, that “boa constrictor” in one’s holster fires a “blunt-nosed viper”. You have to love those Russkies.
In fact, the Russians boast this new snake gun will bite through 4mm of steel and over a millimeter of titanium armor at 100 meters. Assuming, of course, its user can hit a target at 100m with the pistol. And assuming the intended victim wears only Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty body armor.
In recent times, the Russians have made some rather fanciful boasts about their technological prowess. However it’s safe to say this new pistol will surely do a better job as a sidearm in today’s world than the old Makarov.
Unlike the 9×18 Mak with its old-school, all-metal frame, the new gun will enjoy a 21st Century polymer frame. Like the new American military SIG P320/M17 sidearm, it will feature a rail, and optional accessories, like a threaded muzzle for a suppressor and other do-dads.
Looking at the photos, it looks a lot like a double-action only, hammer-fired design – something “revolutionary” in the American market about thirty or forty years ago. The only truly revolutionary aspect here: it has no slide lock lever on the exterior.
The slide-stop cut in the bottom of the slide suggests an internal slide lock system. At the same time, it does sport an external safety and an external hammer. Yes, old habits die hard for Ivan.
Double-action-only modifications of hammer-fired guns in America have generally come about as a result of police bureaucrats wishing to reduce negligent discharges. Maybe Mother Russia incorporated it for the same reason.
Of course, the corollary to that in America involved user accuracy sagging badly as a result of the long, heavy, DA-only trigger pull. Time will tell if the same happens with this new Russian design. Then again, the whole weapons system could fail, just like the last few attempts to replace the Mak.
From the Military Times:
In the past, the Russian military has considered and implemented other alternatives to the Makarov, each with limited success and a number of failings. Currently, the MP-443 Grach, or PYa, serves as the Russian military’s standard sidearm, though it hasn’t gained a ton of traction thanks to quality control and reliability issues.