SR-1 Vektor: An Unsuccessful Attempt to Replace the Makarov PM

Author: Eric Sof

Published:

The SR-1 Vektor, also known as the Gyurza or SPS, is a 9x21mm semi-automatic pistol designed for the Russian military. Developed in the mid-1990s by Petr Serdyukov, this weapon was intended to replace the Makarov PM. The firearm is currently being produced as the SR1M.

Introduction

The SR-1 Vektor was created in conjunction with the 9×21 mm round. Initially intended for use by the Russian military, it ultimately lost favor to designs utilizing standard ammunition in the mid-1990s. However, it was later adopted as the primary sidearm of the Russian Army under the name Yarygin pistol. Additionally, it was chosen by Russian law enforcement agencies as the SR-1 Vektor. In 2003, an improved version of the pistol, now known as the SPS, was adopted for military and police use.

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)

It is noteworthy that the SR-1 Vektor is prohibited in the United States due to its powerful firepower.

Design

The SR-1 Vektor is a formidable weapon designed for close-combat situations. It utilizes a newly-developed 9x21mm ammunition, specifically the SP-10, a primary armor-piercing round with a steel core bullet created to penetrate body armor. The SR-1 Vektor can penetrate 30 layers of Kevlar and up to 2.8mm of titanium at a distance of 100 meters and a 4mm steel plate at 50 meters.

Black SR1PM pistol
Black SR1PM pistol, a 9x21mm semi-automatic handgun designed for the Russian military (Photo: XY)

Other rounds in this ammunition line include the SP-11 standard ball round, the SP-12 round with low-ricochet and expanding bullet, and the SP-13 armor-piercing tracer round. The drawback of this new ammunition is its cost, which is significantly higher than traditional 9x19mm ammunition. It is also used in the SR-2 Verserk submachine gun.

This gun has enough firepower to pierce 30 layers of kevlar, which made it the weapon-of-choice for the Russian president’s personal guards.

President’s bodyguard

The SR-1 Vektor operating system is modeled after the Beretta 92, featuring a dropping block design. Its frame is constructed of both polymer and steel. Unlike traditional firearms, it does not have manual safety. Still, it has a grip safety that disengages the trigger mechanism and a trigger safety that prevents firing when the trigger is not depressed. Additionally, the hammer must be placed in the half-cock position to engage the sear and enable double-action firing.

Standard Beretta 92 model (US Army M9)
Beretta 92 (M9) (Photo: XY)

The SR-1 Vektor is fed from a double-stack magazine that holds 18 rounds. The pistol features simple iron sights and has a range of effective fire up to 100 meters. It also has a Picatinny-type rail that can be fitted for accessories such as a tactical flashlight and laser pointer. Additionally, it can also be equipped with a sound suppressor.

9×21mm Gyurza round

The Gyurza (named after a venomous snake) is a Russian handgun cartridge developed by TsNIITochMash. Specifically designed to penetrate body armor, it is used in the SR-1 Vektor semi-automatic pistol and SR-2 Veresk submachine gun.

Performance

The design of the rounds allows for effectiveness against both unarmored and armored targets. The bullet features a hard sub-caliber core encased in an outer sleeve, separated by a polyethylene layer. Upon impact with an unarmored target, the bullet remains intact, creating a wide wound channel. Against armored targets, the outer sleeve is stripped away, allowing the core to penetrate.

9x21 RG054 Russian armor-piercing pistol cartridge
9×21 RG054 Russian armor-piercing pistol cartridge (Photo: XY)

The 7N29 AP loading utilizes a 6.7g bullet, reaching speeds of 410m/s with 560J of muzzle energy. It can penetrate two 1.2mm titanium plates, along with 30 layers of Kevlar, at a distance of 50m. However, the rounds require high-impact velocities to function effectively. Thus, the bullets are relatively light to maximize their muzzle velocity, resulting in a limited effective range due to rapidly losing velocity.

Variants

  • SP-10 (7N29) – armor-piercing bullet with hardened steel core
  • SP-11 (7N28) – standard FMJ bullet with lead core
  • SP-12 – low ricocheting, expanding bullet
  • SP-13 (7BT3) – tracer AP bullet based on 7N29

Technical specifications

Country of origin:Russia
Manufacturer:TsNIITochMash
Caliber:9 x 21 mm
Weight (empty):1,000 g
Weight (loaded):1,180 g
Length:195 mm
Barrel length:120 mm
Muzzle velocity:420 m/s
Magazine capacity:18 rounds
Sighting range:100 m
Range of effective fire:up to 100 m
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