Baikal MP-444 Bagira: An experimental Russian 9mm pistol

Author: Eric Sof

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The new model Baikal MP-444 Bagira was introduced by Baikal in 2000. The weapon was chambered in 9mm Para caliber with a polymer frame and a steel slide. It was the first Russian pistol with a plastic body manufactured in Izhevsky Mekhanichesky Zavod. The pistol was intended to replace legendary Makarov PM. Its name was derivated from MP – Mechanical Plant and “Bagira” – Bagheera, the black panther in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.


This catch blocks the sear and also uncocks the hammer. The magazine catch can be moved for a left-handed shooter, and the extractor also serves as a cartridge indicator. The locking system of MP-444 Bagira is of the Browning-Petter type. The barrel chamber blocks bolts in the ejector port in the slide. The cartridge’s presence in the chamber can be judged by the ejector, by its contour, which can be viewed even in conditions of insufficient visibility.

MP-444 Bagira is Russian experimental pistol manufactured by Baikal
MP-444 Bagira is Russian experimental pistol manufactured by Baikal (Photo: Baikal)

The protection mechanism includes a mechanical safety device, located on the bolt section, and an automatic blocking of the firing pin, which does not allow him to puncture the cartridge cap until the trigger is squeezed to the stop. Directly checkbox-fuse in the lower position opens the possibility of firing. In the top position, he blocks the trigger without removing the drummer from combat cocking, making it possible to transfer the product to the ready positions for firing and, if necessary, to start firing quickly when the descent is weakly pressed.

Safety and sights

If the safety mechanism’s lever is moved further than the lock, the function of resetting the firing pin from the firing position will work. The cage stopper is located behind the trigger guard and can be installed under a comfortable hand. The MP-444 Bagira has a total length of 186 mm. The barrel length is 101 mm. The height of weapon is 126 mm, and the width is 35 mm. The empty weight of this Baikal model is 760 grams, and the magazine capacity is 16 rounds.

There is a triple aspect sight on the slide: two white dots on the fixed rear sight and one white dot on the front sight’s back. There is a rib at the front of the frame, in front of the trigger guard, for attaching extra equipment such as a light or a laser.


Baikal also produces the pistol as 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. The measurements of the MP-444K are the same as those of the MP-444 Baghiira in 9 mm Para caliber.

Baikal MP-444 Bagira pistol parts
Baikal MP-444 Bagira pistol parts (Photo: XY)

Baikal pistols are coming from the Russian arms factory called The Izhevsky Mekhanichesky Zavod. They have an entirely new series of pistols with a modified Browning locking system that was developed based on old model of Makarov. In fact, Baikal has produced the well-known Makarov pistol for more than 50 years. They are known under the name Izh, in ex SSSR territory, for their series of shotguns and combination guns, but they are better known under the brand name Baikal in the West.

Technical specifications: MP-444/MP-444K

Manufacturer: Izhevsky Mekhanichesky Zavod (Baikal), Russia
Type: semi-automatic pistol
Caliber: 9×19 mm Luger/9×17 Kurts, 9×18 PM
Barrel: 101/101mm
Weight (empty): 760/760grams
Magazine capacity: 10/15 rounds
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