5.45x18 MPC ID


Russian auto pistol round 5.45 x 18 suggested KGB assassin cartridge
The 2 dots as the headstamp signify what?


On Russian 5.45 x 18mm MPC cartridges, one dot signifies production by Arsenal 539, which is the Tula Cartridge Works, while the more commonly encountered two-dot headstamp signifies production at Arsenal 38, which is at Yuryusan. Commercial rounds in this caliber are found with the letter “T” standing for Tula, as the factory designator, along with the full caliber “5.45 x 18” on the headstamp.





John, You say there are “Commercial” rounds in this calibre. Were these compact KBG assasin’s pistols sold to civillians for sporting / recreational / self defense use?


Falcon - don’t be taken in by all the hype that the PSM 5.45 Pistol (Pistolet Samozaryadniy Malogabaritniy - Small, Self-Loading Pistol) was some sort of top secret, clandestine KGB spy pistol. It is simply one more handgun in the Russian Arsenal, and military/police, commercial, and blank-fire/gas pistols were made in this model. It is covered in the Russian-language edition of A.B. Zhuk’s wonderful book on handguns, published in 1983 - a book that was available in Russian book stores to any Russian or visitor with the price of it. There was nothing secret about it, except, I assume, during its development, when everything military is secret in most countries. Now, I am not saying that the KGB didn’t use them - they probably did. I am saying that they were not solely for the KGB or for clandestine purposes. I have a Russian military holster for one of these pistols - not the commercial-style flap holster, but a flap holster pretty much identical design to that of the Makarov military holster, that carries the pistol, a spare magazine and a cleaning rod. I wish I had the pistol! Ammunition was briefly available from Wolf in the United States, commercially. Why, I don’t know since the pistol has never been legal for importation into the United States, not even because of the embargo on Russian handguns, but under the provisions of the gun Control Act of 1968, because it is simply too small. There is nothing secret about the guns and nothing rare about the ball cartridges. The blank and gas cartridges are a little scarcer, and were made specifically for a blank-fire version of this pistol. They have the same base as the 5.45 round, but are not bottle-necked. the blank is designated PSh-000 and the gas cartridge, a CN-type, is desginated PG-000.


I thought that these were specially developed for KGB assasins. What seems crazy is that Wolf would sell the ammo in the USA when officially no-one has a gun that can use it. Would it be possible to get one imported as a class 3 firearm (albeit at a hefty expense and alot of paperwork and hassle)?

I know Russia make those blank / teargas / rubber bullet pistols in the style of live firing pistols for self defense. Weren’t similar pistols firing teargas sold in the USA for a while, as they are legally not firearms under your laws.

I saw an inert one of the ball cartridges sell for (i seem to remember)


I saw an inert one of the ball cartridges sell for (i seem to remember)


No, I don’t think it would be possible to import one of these into the United States under any classification, at least not for a common citizen.

Have already answered, best I can, concerning the fact that these are not some secret clandestine pistol. Nothing more to add.

If you lived here, I would give you a live 5.45 ctg. I have no way to inert one completely, as no safe way to snap the primer. I, stupidly, paid over US$100.00 for my first round. I now have a dozen or so variations, and have never paid over two bucks for a ball round - actually was given most of them. They are quite common in the US. I can’t speak for anywhere else. They are common enough that I have 11 different boxes for these rounds in my own collection, and do not have the box for anything other than ball rounds, empty cases and projectiles.


Alot of round which are common to you seem to fetch stupid prices over here. An interesting bit of info about this round is that it was designed by a woman.


Falcon - I suppose that is true. I wince every year at some of the prices on things at St. Louis, from European dealers primarily, that are just a new commercial headstamp on a ball cartridge. But, that’s the way of things. It costs them a lot of money to come to the show, so perhaps they have to charge those prices to come out.

Yes, I have read that. In fact, while Datig credits the design to a lady, A. d. Denisova, in his book “Soviet Russian Postwar Military Pistols and Cartridges, 1945-1986,” I have read another woman’s name somewhere else, although I cannot put my finger on which source in my library it is in. The only Russian source I have that tells of the designing of the 5.45 x 18mm cartridge is “Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition,” by David Naumovich Bolotin, a well-known Russian arms authority. He credits the desgin of the cartridge to a man, Aleksandr I. Bochin. The Russians heavily depended on design teams in their military industries, and it could be that both, or all three sources are correct, with each mentioned person being a member of a design team that worked on this project. I simply don’t know. I tend to trust the Russian book more than American sources, but I am told by good authorities that Bolotin’s book is not without errors. For myself, I simply leave open the all of the possibilities.


The general cartridge designation is “MPTs” (Malokalibernyy Pistoletnyy Tsentralnogo Boya = small caliber center fire pistol cartridge).
The military designation for the steel core service round is “PST” and the index is “7N7”.

Russian sources also name Mrs. Denisova as the leading designer being member of Sabelnikov’s design team.

East German Police documents also claim a round nose projectile to exist.

The pistol was particular for higher ranking officers for concealed carrying.

The development started in the early 1960s and in 1974 the PSM pistol was adopted.

Projectile weight: 2.5 gram / 38.581 grain
Chamber pressure: 1270 bar
Vo: 310-325 m/s
Muzzle energy: 119 Joule
Propellant: 0.15 gram / 2.315 grain


I have found the source in my library that I referred to for the name of another possible designer of the 5.45 x 18 MPTs (7N7) cartridge. It is the book “The New World of Russian Small Arms and Ammo,” by Charlie Custshaw (with collaboration by Valery Shilin, a well-known Russian Arms authority. Antonina Deniskaya of TsNIITochmash is named as another possible designer of this cartridge. Again, I don’t know what is correct. Just as we, as American Collectors, find plenty we don’t know about our own ammunition, that seems to be the case in Russia too. Two sentences in Mr. Cutshaw’s book (Page 136) sum it up. “The history of the MPTs cartirdge is somewhat enigmatic.” “The Russians themselves seem to be somewhat ambivalent about the original desginer of the (my note: 5.45 x 18mm) cartridge.”

I have found this somewhat true in doing research on Makarov Pistols. Despite having an outstanding source very close to the Izhevsk Factory and the Makarov family, I could not find exact dates or even exact months and years for certain minor design changes in the pistol.


5.45 x 18 Boxes - Top and Bottom Labels - J. Moss Collection