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Russia to replace legendary Makarov with new pistol

Russia's Soviet-era Makarov pistols, seen here being tried out by journalists at a Moscow weapons shop, has long been used by police and the army
Russia's Soviet-era Makarov pistols, seen here being tried out by journalists at a Moscow weapons shop, has long been used by police and the army AFP/File
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Moscow (AFP)

Russia will replace the legendary Soviet-era Makarov pistols used by its police and army with a new model that can work in extreme temperatures and rip through body armour, its maker said Friday.

The new pistol called Udav, or boa constrictor, has been successfully tested and will go into mass production in spring, according to Rostec, Russia's state corporation that acts as an umbrella for its military-industrial complex.

The Udav will be "one of the most powerful pistols in the world," Rostec said in a press release. The weapon will use 9 by 21 mm rounds, and will be able to pierce 1.4 mm of titanium or 4 mm of steel armour from a 100-metre distance.

The pistol works in a range of extreme temperatures from -70 to 50 degrees Celsius (- 94 to 122 Fahrenheit) and "showed excellent performance in a whole complex of tests" in the Arctic, the desert, and in highly humid environments, Rostec said.

The Udav will replace the Makarov, a semi-automatic pistol that has been a ubiquitous sidearm used by various security forces and the military.

The Makarov pistol, named after its inventor Nikolai Makarov, has been in production since the 1950s and replaced the TT pistol used during World War II.

It is a contemporary of the Soviet Kalashnikov rifle and is known for the same degree of reliability and ease of use, with variants produced in several eastern European countries allied with Moscow during the Cold War, as well as China.

The Makarov has also been included as a standard part of the cosmonauts' survival kit in Russian Soyuz space capsules used for landing back on Earth from space, to ward off wild animals in the event of landing in a remote forest area.

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