In 2000, Baikal introduced a new firearm model, the Baikal MP-444 Bagira. This pistol was chambered in 9mm Para caliber and featured a polymer frame with a steel slide. It was the first Russian pistol with a plastic body manufactured at Izhevsky Mekhanichesky Zavod. The MP-444 Bagira was designed to replace the legendary Makarov PM. Its name was derived from “MP,” for Mechanical Plant and “Bagira,” the black panther in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
The pistol is offered in three primary chamberings, namely .380 ACP, 9×18mm Makarov, and 9×19mm Parabellum. In addition, it features a detachable, double-column magazine in a box-type configuration. The MP-444’s design draws inspiration from that of the MP-443 Grach. Notably, a single MP-444 pistol was unveiled at the “INTERPOLITEX-2000” Arms exhibition held in Moscow in November 2000 and was made available for export.
The MP-444 Bagira features several notable components that enhance its functionality. Firstly, this firearm has a catch that blocks the sear and simultaneously uncocks the hammer. Additionally, the magazine catch can be adjusted for left-handed shooters, and the extractor serves as a cartridge indicator. The locking system of the MP-444 Bagira is modeled after the Browning-Petter type, while the barrel chamber blocks bolts in the ejector port located in the slide. Moreover, the cartridge’s presence in the chamber can be determined by the ejector’s contour, which is visible even under insufficient lighting conditions.
The MP-444 Bagira has a mechanical safety device on the bolt section to ensure the user’s safety. The firearm’s firing pin is also automatically blocked, preventing it from piercing the cartridge cap until the trigger is fully squeezed. The checkbox fuse, located in the lower position, allows for firing. Conversely, in the top position, it blocks the trigger while keeping the hammer in the combat cocking position. This enables the firearm to be quickly brought to the firing position and allows for rapid firing when the trigger is weakly pressed.
Safety and sights
The MP-444 Bagira has additional features that enhance its performance and user experience. Moving the safety mechanism’s lever beyond the lock enables resetting the firing pin from the firing position. The firearm also features a cage stopper behind the trigger guard that can be installed for comfortable handling.
The Baikal MP-444 Bagira has a compact design, measuring 186 mm in total length, with a 101 mm barrel length. Its height is 126 mm, while its width is 35 mm. The firearm has an empty weight of 760 grams and a magazine capacity of 16 rounds.
The MP-444 Bagira has a triple aspect sight on the slide to enhance accuracy and precision. The fixed rear sight features two white dots, while the front sight’s back has one white dot. The firearm also features a rib at the front of the frame, in front of the trigger guard, that allows for attaching additional equipment, such as a light or a laser.
In addition to the MP-444 Bagira, Baikal also produces two other versions of the pistol, the MP-444K in 9 mm Short (.380 ACP) and 9 mm Makarov (9×18 mm) calibers. Both models have a capacity of 15 rounds and have the exact measurements as the MP-444 Bagira in 9 mm Para caliber.
Baikal, a Russian arms factory known as the Izhevsky Mekhanichesky Zavod, produces high-quality firearms. They have recently introduced a new series of pistols that feature a modified Browning locking system based on the classic Makarov model. Baikal has been manufacturing the well-known Makarov pistol for over 50 years, and its brand is widely recognized in the West. In the ex-Soviet Union territories, they are known under the name Izh, and they are famous for their series of shotguns and combination guns.
It was adapted in the Russian Federation as a service weapon but in small numbers. Since 2003, Kazakhstan has adopted the MP-444 pistol as a training weapon. The M. T. Kalashnikov Museum in Izhevsk also features a single MP-444 pistol as part of its collection.
|Country of origin:||Russia|
|Manufacturer:||Izhevsky Mekhanichesky Zavod (Baikal)|
|Caliber:||9×19 mm Luger/9×17 Kurts, 9×18 PM|
|Magazine capacity:||10/15 rounds|