Not my last dumb question

ok color me ignorant but the cartridge i am asking about is the one illistrated at the top of this page. it appears to be an automatic pistol round what caliber? but most puzzling what is the insert in the bullet?

That’s a 9mm Makarov cartridge with a steel insert in the core to aid penetration; over the last 10-15 years, the Russians have seen a need to increase the capability of the 9mm Makarov for use in various SMGs and handguns.

From at least 1949 (not sure about prototype cartridges - none have ever surfaced) until 1955, the Makarov bullet had a lead core. The steel core was instituted in 1956, 52 years ago. It remained the only serial-production core of the ordinary ball rounds for the Makarov Pistol and other 9 x 18m/m weapons in Russia until about 1990. With the opening of commercial relations with the west, and the commercial production of 9 x 189m/m Makarov ammunition for sale in the United States and other countries, the lead-core projectile was resurrected. The current Russian police ammunition, although have a truncated bullet, not round nose, has a lead core. I don’t know if they are even still making 9 x 18m/m ammunition for the military, since they are in a state of transition to 9 x 19m/m Parabellum pistols and SMGs.

SDC, in the last few years the Russians gave up on the 9x18 Makarov and switched to more powerfull pistol calibers like 9x19 and 9x21.
Not to forget that the newly adopted military pistol is the PYa in 9x19.
There exists a Makarov AP designated “7N25” (protruding core) but it is from 1998 and “old” already (prototypes are head stamped 1988). Even the hot loaded “PMM” is history today (of which no AP cam to my knowledge).
The last “new” police cartridge “PPO” of the Makarov has for example no steel core at all in order to reduce ricochets.
IMHO the steel core in the standard cartridge as pictured is not a penetration aid but just a measure to save lead.

It seems something of a waste, given the work they put into the modernized PMM cartridge and the newer SMGs they developed for it (the Klin, Kedr, Ciparus, and Bizon). OTOH, they also have 9mm pistol rounds on the OTHER side of the power level of the 9x19, which makes me wonder why they don’t pick one and stick with it.

The PMM got developed and it was found that it still lacks performance compared to other calibers and was used with blowback weapons with a special chamber design to reduce extraction speed.
The 9x19 is as far as I know today the choice of the military while the caliber beyond is the 9x21 which got developed for the MIA (probably also FSB). Availability of both calibers and regarding weapons likely caused a cross over by the array of Russian armed services where weapons are used as the situ allows or requires (and it is always hard to tell who it is when he is wearing a uniform). It is sometimes hard to keep track and certainly many questions will remain open.

I think one of the reasons the PMM died was that the cartridge, which is way too hot for a regular blowback pistol (without the changes made to the PMM), can be chambered and fired in the regular PM, probably with disastrous results. It is the reason why, in the United States, long-existing cartridges made hotter, like the .38 Special morphing into the .357 Magnun and the .44 Special being “enhanced” in the .44 Magnum, were done with some way to make them not interchangeable with their weaker predecessors, such as lengthing the case a tenth of an inch, etc.

If the PMM had become widely issued, it was only a matter of time before some police officer or soldier got hold of the ammo and used it in the regular PM. Murphy’s law.

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