On June 16th, 2015, the Russian-based Kalashnikov Concern announced the first introduction of a new semiautomatic, locked-breech service handgun at the "ARMY-2015" international military-technical forum − held in Kubinka, at the outskirts of Moscow, and dedicated to the latest products of the Russian military industry.
Dubbed the Lebedev PL14 (Пистолет Лебедева ПЛ-14 in Cyrillic), the new Kalashnikov Concern pistol is chambered for the 9x19mm caliber and conceived with military, law enforcement, private security and civilian customers in mind.
As of today, the new PL14 pistol is at the prototype stage, and not much is known about it except what the Kalashnikov Concern declared in its official press release.
According to the company, "the concept of the pistol was developed jointly by the experts of the Russian special forces and IPSC competitive shooters"; the PL14 feeds from a double-stack magazine holding up to fifteen rounds, and both its frame and slide appear to be entirely manufactured out of metal. The frame sports a MIL-STD-1913 "Picatinny" rail for tactical accessories and wooden grip panels that should be replaced with synthetic grips when the pistol reaches mass production.
Still according to the official press release, "the distinguishing feature of the "PL14" is its enhanced ergonomics and balance that meet modern notions of human biomechanics and modern pistol shooting techniques in the best way. Special attention was paid to the unique aesthetics of the new pistol. Automatic calculation methods applied during the creation of the gun, will ensure great reliability. With its improved ergonomics pistol has minimal recoil and muzzle rise which makes speed shooting very effective".
The Lebedev PL14 semiautomatic pistol is 220mm long, 136mm high, 28mm thick and sports a 127mm barrel; it weighs about 800 grams when empty and around one kilogram with a full magazine.
Other features include full ambidextrous controls (the magazine release catch, the slide-stop/Hold-Open release lever and the frame safety lever are located on both sides) and a loaded chamber indicator, which, according to the manufacturer, "coupled with a modified geometry of the chamber it allows shooting with defective ammunition when brass size does not meet the specs".
Still according to the manufacturer, "in addition, the basic version will have longer and heavier trigger to prevent accidental discharge if shooter keeps his finger on the trigger. On another version of the pistol for highly skilled users (special forces and competitive shooters), trigger will be lighter".
It's yet unknown whether or not this means that the Lebedev PL14 pistol will be manufactured with SAO, DAO and light double action trigger options.
As of today, the Kalashnikov Concern released no informations concerning the start of mass production and global distribution for the Lebedev PL14 pistol.
The Kalashnikov Concern is currently incapable to export towards several Countries, as it is included in the sanctions that hit several Russian governmental, economic and industrial entities on the wake of the continuing Ukrainian crisis; and it should be pointed out that the global markets are still waiting for several relatively new products of the group, such as the Saiga Mk107 semiautomatic modern sporting rifle, that were first showcased much before the onset of the Ukrainian conflict and thus before the sanctions.
With the Lebedev PL14 semiautomatic pistol, the Kalashnikov Concern is most probably aiming at obtaining Russian military and government contracts, since the Russian Armed Forces have long been looking for a replacement for the old Makarov PM pistol as its service sidearm.
In the year 2003, at the end of the ten-years-long "Grach" program, the Yaryigin Pistol (or PYa), engineered by Vladimir Yaryigin at the Baikal machinebuilding plant, was officially adopted as a replacement for the Makarov; it however took about ten more years before full-fledged mass production would start, and so far the PYa has been distributed only to certain frontline or élite units; at the same time, the pistol suffered from quality inconsistency between lots, while the civilian version of the design − dubbed the MP446 "Viking" − so far has been made commercially available only in limited quantities in central Asia, Canada, and Australia.