3 August 2018
At the start of the nineties, large-scale political and economic turmoil in Russia led to a sharp increase in crime, including armed crime. This forced law enforcement authorities to consider upgrading their weaponry with more effective equipment. When a customer lacks a clear understanding of what they need, this can often led to the creation of experimental development projects that never take off. One clear example of this was a project implemented on behalf of the Ministry of Internal Affairs under the code name Drel. As part of this project, the Ministry of Internal Affairs wanted a new pistol with 5.45x18 small caliber centerfire cartridge (MPTs) and a bigger magazine capacity than the existing 5.45 mm PSM (small caliber semi-automatic pistol). The most well-known development was the Drel pistol, which was manufactured at the Izhevsk Mechanical Plant and was based on the Margolin MCM small caliber practice shooting pistol. However, this tale is about a practically unknown pilot project created for the same purpose at OJSC IZHMASH in 1994. The PS-15 Drel pistol prototype had rather small dimensions, but its double-column magazine held 16 5.45x18 MPT cartridges. The pistol had an all-steel structure, double-action firing mechanism and inertia blow-back action. It must be noted that the various Drel prototypes were not developed any further; even the customers realized that a rather low-power 5.45 mm caliber cartridge would have an extremely insignificant target stopping power. Its pointed bullet had a fairly decent penetrating power and was able to inflict lethal wounds, but was unable to quickly and reliably stop a dangerous criminal with a shot to the body or even limbs. It comes as no surprise that the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Federal Security Service simultaneously started work to find more powerful and effective pistol cartridge, which resulted in the development and introduction of pistols with 9x19 and 9x21 mm cartridges. As for the 5.45 mm caliber, it is currently only used in PSM pistols, which made it possible to achieve minimum weapon dimensions (thickness). These handguns are generally issued to high-ranking officials in military and law enforcement organizations. As for operational personnel within law enforcement authorities, they prefer more powerful and effective arms.