The MP-443 Grach (Mechanical Plant Model 443 - "Rook") was adopted by the Russian Army as its standard sidearm in 2003 but useful numbers were not seen until about 2012. It succeeded the ages-old Makarov pistol as standard issue. Criticized for its all-steel construction (adding to its overall weight) and general reliability when compared to proven products like Glock, the MP-443 is nonetheless a powerful handgun and most notable for its firing of an armor-piercing, body-armor-defeating cartridge. During its trial phase, the MP-443 was designated as the "6P35". It has since been known as the "PYa" as well.
The sidearm is manufactured out of the Izhevsk Mechanical Plant and its design stems from Vladimir Yarygin.
Origins of the Grach stem from a 1993 Russian military requirement seeking to replace the limited-capacity Makarov series pistol which saw widespread adoption by military, governmental, special forces and police units. The requirement called for a Double-Action (DA) trigger system and a high-capacity 17-round magazine (an 18-round magazine was introduced in 2004). The all-steel construction was part of the original makeup of the gun and chamberings requested included 9x19mm Parabellum, 9x18mm Makarov and 7.62x25mm Tokarev. The MP-443 followed through on these qualities and settled on the 9x19mm 7N21 +P+ (a 9mm NATO equivalent) pistol cartridge as its primary round.
The action used is the short-recoil (with locked breech) arrangement and sights are fixed out to 50 meters. The sighting combination pairs a front blade with 3-dot reach notch, all fixed. All other mechanical functions of the sidearm are conventional with the slide lock, safety and magazine release all located in their usual positions along the frame of the gun. Magazines are inserted into the base of the grip handle in the usual way.
Introduction of the MP-443 series was agonizingly slow and first occurred with specialist Russian troops around 2008. Serious quantitative production was seen in 2011 leading to increased widespread service of the pistol from 2012 onward.
Since its formal introduction, the MP-443 has seen several civilian-market developments appear lead by the MP-446 "Viking" model. This maintains much of the form and function of the military version but does not support firing of armor-piercing cartridges. The MP-446C is an offshoot with a 10-round magazine limit. The MP-353 fires rubber bullets and is classified as a "non-lethal" pistol. The MP-472 follows suit as a non-lethal pistol development.
Beyond Russia, the Grach pistol line has been adopted by private firms in Kazakhstan (2007).