The Lebedev PL-14:
An insight (and inside) look

PL-14 Cover

And yet again there there is a potential new service pistol for the Russian military.
This time by Kalashnikov – The Lebedev PL-14! (Пистолет Лебедева ПЛ-14)
There are many speculations and many of then prove to be very wrong. So follow us on an insight look to clear up some of them!

PL-14 Lebedev PistolThe PL-14, designed by Dmitry Lebedev, made its first public appearance at the “Army 2015” expo, held in the Moscow suburb of Kubinka on July 16th – 19th, 2015.
Like most of its contenders it is chambered in 9x19mm and is able to handle the extremely hot 7N21 Russian ++P cartridge. (that is almost triple the load then commercial grade 9mm has)
Another common feature its shares with its contenders is the very low bore axis. A low bore will reduce the felt recoil and makes shooting the pistol ways easier. So it makes sense to put such high emphasis on that characteristic, if you intend to have an easy to shoot and easy to master service pistol. Because compared to a rifle, it is actually pretty difficult to get consistent results with a pistol as an inexperienced shooter.


Arsenal Strike One Arsenal Strike One Action
From what I found while searching for information about the PL-14, is people claiming it is based on the Strike One (Стриж) by Arsenal. They do share the same properties like the low bore axis and the ability to fire ++P ammunition, so I understand why this might sound plausible. The Strike One uses a very rare linear short recoil system. If you take a look at the photo on the top right, you can see the characteristic locking block.
However videos of the PL-14 show its barrel moving slightly upwards while firing. So a linear recoil system like on the Strike One is out of the question.


GSh18 GSh18 Action
Another pistol that the PL-14 allegedly copied from is the GSh-18 (ГШ-18). Once again the bore axis is rather low. Even so it is very easy to tell that the PL-14 does not use the same action as the GSh-18. The sort-recoil rotating barrel action used on the GSh-18, can be identified by its distinct locking nuts shown on the photo above.


Lebedev PL-14 Pistol disassembled

So now that we know that those actions are not used, which does the PL-14 actually deploy?
While the PL-14s barrel moving upwards and the location of the take down lever already made it pretty obvious that it must be some sort of Browning action, I finally found a photo of a dissembled PL-14 to confirm it.
I marked the characteristic swinging link of its modified Browning HP type action on the photo above.

In conclusion:

Out of all the contenders, the PL-14 uses technically speaking the ‘simplest’ and most proven design. That does not mean, that there is little innovation on the PL-14, because there is! The trigger mechanism, which I will not go into, is somewhat unique.
Furthermore  both the Strike One and the GSh18 deployed different type of actions (among other reasons) to lower the bore axis, because it was believed that it was not possible on a Browning action pistol – turns out it is.

16.06.2016 – by netsplit for Gruppa L

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An insight (and inside) look

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