It required some design compromises
by MATTHEW MOSS
Developed for Spetsnaz units and the KGB in the mid-1960s, the Soviet PB — also known as the 6P9 — took the proven Makarov PM design and incorporated a two-stage, integral suppressor.
During World War II, the Soviet NKVD had used suppressed weapons, including M1895 Nagant revolvers fitted with clip-on “Bramit device” suppressors. As the Cold War escalated, the Soviets began the development of new silent firearms.
The Izhevsk Mechanical Plant introduced the PB, designed by A.A. Deryagin, in 1967. The PB is basically a heavily-adapted Makarov PM with a shortened slide and a repositioned return-spring. The design retains the Makarov’s exposed hammer, double-action trigger and slide-mounted decocker.
The Makarov PM’s standard return-spring was problematic once you added a suppressor to the basic design. The Chinese recognized the problem and positioned their Type 64’s return-spring above the breech.
In laying out the PB, by contrast, the Russians placed the return-spring in the pistol’s grip and attached it to a swinging lever located beneath the right-hand-side grip panel.
The weapon’s suppressor is semi-integral, with the rear section encompassing the ported barrel, which is wrapped in steel mesh that acts as a heat sink. The longer second section contains three steel baffles held in place by the suppressor’s frame.
For transport, the front section of the suppressor is detachable. This also allows the firing of the weapon with, or without, its suppressor attached.
The suppressor reduces the pistol’s report to approximately 127 decibels. The PB feeds from an eight-round magazine and chambers the standard Soviet nine-by-18-millimeter cartridge.
Fully assembled, the weapon is 12 inches long and weighs approximately one kilogram. Production of the PB was continuous until the mid-1980s. In the early 2000s, there was a surge in demand that compelled production to resume.
The PB remains in service with Russian special forces and intelligence units.
- J. Putnam Evans Thinks the AR-10 Is the World’s Best Battle Rifle
- The CIA Probably Still Uses Some of the High Standard Spy Pistols It Bought During World War II
- Tiny Gun Quietly Sprays Lots of Lead