In the world of modern semi-automatic handguns, the buyer has a plethora of options built atop a proven framework that evolved from designs appearing prior to the First World War (1914-1918). The GHs-18 is an all-modern addition by Russian Armys industry, the pistol designed by V.P. Gryazev and A.G. Shipunov from 1998 into 2000. Since 2001, the gun has been in serial production under the KBP Instrument Design Bureau and counts operators in both Russia and Syria. For the former, the type is in service with the Russian military, internal security, and law enforcement.
At its core, the pistol is of largely conventional design, relying on the proven short recoil principle and featuring a rotating barrel with striker firing. The pistol grip is hollowed out to accept the double-stacked, 18-round, spring-loaded magazine and is integrated to the trigger ring - which is oblong to better accept a gloved hand. The trigger also sports a trigger-block safety mechanism. The slide runs the length of the pistol and sports forward and rear sighting devices (fixed front blade with rear notch) as well as ribbing near the rear (for managing the slide). Overall length is 7.2 inches while the barrel measures 4.1 inches long. Weight is 590 grams. Polymer and steel is used throughout its construction.
The pistol is available in chamberings of 9x19mm Parabellum, 9x19mm 7N21 +P+, and 9x19mm 7N31 +P+. The former is the long-running, proven German pistol round while the latter two offerings are Russian-originated pistol cartridges specifically used for armor-piercing.
Muzzle velocity reaches 1,755 feet-per-second.
Qualities include a reversible magazine release to rearrange the gun for left-handed shooters, minimal amount of parts making up the gun, and guide vanes integrated to the forward section of the barrel assembly. The magazine floorplate is used to manage the slide catch and break the weapon down into just seventeen individual parts - nearly half fewer than competing European and American semi-automatics. The same method is used to remove the breechblock.
The gun is provided with its own case, a cleaning rod, magazine loader, additional spring, and spare magazine. Variants currently (2020) include the base GSh-18 model, the Tactical which features a Picatinny rail section (supporting various accessories) and can take on a barrel suppressor, Sport and Sport 2 in ten- and eighteen-round configurations for civilian-market sport shooting, and the GSh-18T which fires rubber bullets for riot control.