PSS-2: The successor to the famous PSS silent pistol 

Author: Eric Sof

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The PSS-2 silent pistol represents the next generation of firearms, designed to supersede the older PSS model first adopted in the early 1980s. This new and improved weapon was developed alongside specialized noiseless ammunition, providing users greater versatility and stealth capabilities. Built on the foundation of the previous PSS silent pistol, the PSS-2 also incorporates elements of the SR-1M pistol and boasts several enhancements. As stated by the manufacturer, the PSS-2 is also dubbed the Vestnik.

History

The PSS-2 silent pistol is the product of advanced engineering and precision manufacturing, developed by the Russian state-owned organization TsNII TochMash (Central Scientific & Research Institute for Precision Machine building). The design brief for the new pistol called for it to surpass its predecessors in terms of power, with a requirement for the weapon to ensure penetration of body armor of the 2nd protection class.

A black PSS silent pistol lying on a surface with an empty magazine and several rounds of ammunition scattered beside it
A black PSS silent pistol is lying on a surface. The pistol has an empty magazine detached from the handle and a few rounds of ammunition lying beside it. The pistol is in a horizontal position, and the empty magazine is placed on the left side of the pistol (Photo: XY)

Under the direction of designer V. M. Kabaev and the supervision of P. I. Serdyukov, the 7.62-mm self-loading PSS-2 was created and chambered for the new SP16 cartridge with unique characteristics. The magazine “Klimovsky gunsmith” notes that the engineers A. A. Bagrov, V. A. Petrov, M. I. Kabaeva, and E. S. Kornilova were responsible for developing this new cartridge.

In 2011, the PSS-2 pistol was officially adopted by the special forces of the FSB of Russia and was presented to the general public only in 2020. This year, 2021, marks ten years since the adoption of this exceptional pistol into service.

Design

The PSS-2 silent pistol stands out from its peers by boasting the dimensions of a standard full-size pistol rather than the compact size typically associated with silenced firearms. Instead of a traditional silencer, the PSS-2 utilizes special noiseless ammunition, specifically the 7.62×43 mm SP-16 cartridge developed for this weapon. This cartridge boasts an integrated silencing feature, achieved through a gas-sealing piston that propels the bullet.

As the bullet is fired, the powder gasses are contained within the strengthened case, resulting in a significantly quieter shot than most conventional pistols fitted with sound suppressors. While this ammunition offers exceptional stealth capabilities, it does have a trade-off in terms of power. The new SP-16 round features a wedge-shaped bullet that offers improved penetration and greater power compared to the older SP-4 noiseless ammunition used in the original PSS.

PSS-2 the successor to the famous PSS silent pistol
PSS-2 is the successor to the famous PSS silent pistol (Photo: XY)

Noiseless ammunition

While the PSS-2’s noiseless ammunition offers exceptional stealth capabilities, it does have some limitations in terms of penetration compared to standard pistol ammunition, such as 9×19 mm. The effective range of the SP-16 round is limited to around 25 meters, at which distance it can penetrate a steel army helmet or light body armor. The maximum claimed effective range for this ammunition is 50 meters. Noiseless ammunition is not new, and the Soviet Union has used similar special rounds since the 1970s.

Another drawback of the SP-16 ammunition is its limited availability. Western silenced military pistols that use suppressors and are chambered for 9×19 mm or .45 ACP ammunition typically employ special subsonic ammunition with heavy bullets. These weapons can also use standard 9×19 mm or .45 ACP rounds that are readily available. However, the PSS-2 pistol is not compatible with any other ammunition other than the SP-16.

The PSS-2 pistol is a specialized weapon that is only compatible with the unique SP-16 ammunition
The round of ammunition is shown separately, with markings on the casing indicating that it is the SP-16 cartridge (Photo: XY)

Recoil-operated weapon

The PSS-2 is a recoil-operated weapon that utilizes an open breech system and is mechanically similar to its predecessor, the PSS. Its unique design includes a mechanism that slows the slide’s movement in its final stages to prevent clanging noise. The PSS-2 is also designed to operate in a wide range of temperatures, from -50 to +50 degrees Celsius.

This handgun features a double-action type trigger, and its trigger mechanism is based on the SR-1M pistol. The PSS-2 does not have any manual safeties. Instead, it has an automatic firing pin safety and automatic grip safety, which were also borrowed from the SR-1M. The PSS-2 is fed from a single-stack magazine that holds six rounds, the same capacity as its predecessor.

This weapon is fitted with simple iron sights and has a sighting range of 50 meters. The PSS-2 also includes a Picatinny-type accessory rail, which allows the user to mount a tactical flashlight or laser pointer.

Foreign review

It is noteworthy that the PSS-2 model has been well-received by representatives of foreign armies. The Armaments Tactical and Technical Information Service (SITTA) of the French Ministry of Defense, following the results of the Army-2020 exhibition, placed the new Russian PSS-2 pistol in the category of unique developments. SITTA emphasizes that Russia is the only country in the world that has mastered the technology of creating a lighter and more compact weapon than a pistol with a silencer.

“The signature of the sound of a shot is practically absent for the new SP16 ammunition and the PSS-2 pistol,”

French observer

Technical specifications

Country of origin:Russia
Manufacturer:TsNIITochMash
Entered service:2011
Caliber:7.62×43 mm (SP-16)
Weight (unloaded):1 000 g
Length:195 mm
Barrel length:?
Muzzle velocity:300 m/s
Magazine capacity:6 rounds
Sighting range:50 m
Range of effective fire:25 – 50 m
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