Fort-12: A Reliable and Powerful Handgun for Ukrainian Law Enforcement and Security

Author: Eric Sof

Published:

The Fort-12 is a Ukrainian-made semi-automatic pistol RPC Fort created in the late 1990s to replace the aging Makarov pistol. The development process was completed in the mid-1990s, and the first pistols were manufactured in 1998. Although Ukrainian law enforcement agencies adopted the Fort-12, it could not fully replace the Makarov PM and is primarily used as a supplement.

History

The Fort-12 (ukr. Пістолет ФОРТ-12) was developed with the objective of Ukraine creating its pistols for domestic military and police use to replace the outdated Soviet-era Makarov PM pistols. To achieve this goal, the Ukrainian military industry RPC Fort acquired the necessary machinery from the Česká Zbrojovka Uherský Brod, known for producing the Scorpion pistols and corresponding automatic rifles in former Czechoslovakia. Eventually, in 1998, RPC Fort made its first pistol – the Fort-12.

Makarov PM is one of the most popular pistols among the Eastern military and law enforcement agencies
An SSSR-made Makrov still represents a good choice for a good and reliable service pistol (Photo: Pinterest)

The early examples of Fort-12 pistols produced had marginal reliability issues, but these have been resolved in later production models. Improvements were made in ergonomics, accuracy, and frame capacity, drawing inspiration from the old Makarov PM pistol.

Design

The Fort-12 boasts several improvements compared to the PM pistol, including increased accuracy, a larger magazine capacity, and improved ergonomics. While some sources report that early production models of the Fort-12 had reliability issues, these were largely resolved in later versions.

Constructed with a steel frame, the Fort-12 has a manual safety lever on the slide’s left side. Additionally, the company offers the option for customers to have gold engravings on the gun. The Fort-12 is chambered for the Soviet 9×18 mm Makarov round, a larger version of the 9×17 mm (.380 ACP) round. The Soviets deliberately chose this ammunition as it was incompatible with Western 9 mm pistols, rendering captured Soviet ammunition stocks useless in the event of war.

Fort-12 is Ukrainian semi-automatic pistol
Fort-12 is a Ukrainian semi-automatic pistol (Photo: XY)

The 9×18 mm Makarov round became the standard pistol and submachine gun round in the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries, as the Soviets required their allies to use the same ammunition. Compared to the Western 9×19 mm Parabellum round, the Makarov round is less powerful and performs poorly in penetration.

The Fort-12 exhibits similarities to the Czech CZ-75 pistol, particularly on early production models. The Fort-12 utilizes a simple blowback-operated action and has a double-action type trigger. The Fort-12 is fed by a double stack 12-round capacity magazine and has an effective range of up to 50 meters. This pistol can be outfitted with a detachable silencer (Fort 12B), tactical flashlight, or laser pointer.

Ceska Zbrojovka 75 (CZ 75) service pistol
CZ 75 is a good and reliable service pistol (Photo: Pinterest)

Variants

Fort-14

The Fort-14 pistol was specifically designed to meet the needs of Ukrainian security and law enforcement agencies. Initially, it was intended to be a more powerful iteration of the Fort-12, chambered for 9×19 mm Parabellum ammunition. However, the designers ultimately chose to revert to the 9×18 mm caliber. The Fort-14 boasts a longer barrel and improved accuracy compared to the Fort-12. Its magazine capacity is 14 rounds. The first batch of Fort-14 pistols was supplied to Ukrainian police units in 2003.

Fort-17

The Fort-17 is a recent development in the Fort series of firearms. It is a polymer-frame version of the Fort-12 with nearly identical internal mechanisms. However, the Fort-17 is significantly lighter in weight. Additionally, it features a removable grip backstrap, allowing the user to customize the grip to their individual preferences using backstraps of different sizes.

Other variants

  • Forth-12: a basic version
  • Fort-12N
  • Fort-12R (uses rubber bullets)
  • Fort-12RM
  • Fort-12T
  • Fort-12G
  • Fort-12 CURZ (9x17mm CURZ)
  • Hawk
Fort-12 pistol manufactured by RPC Fort
The Fort-12, a high-quality handgun produced by the renowned firearms manufacturer RPC Fort (Photo: XY)

Technical specifications

Country of origin:Ukraine
Manufacturer:RPC Fort
Caliber:9×18 mm Makarov
Weight (empty):830 g
Length:180 mm
Barrel length:95 mm
Muzzle velocity:?
Magazine capacity:12 rounds
Sighting range:~ 50 m
Range of effective fire:up to 50 m
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