The cloak and dagger world that was the Cold War (1947-1991) required specialized weapons for special mission forces. One mission that could be undertaken with regularity was assassination and this led to the development of various silenced weapons for the sole purpose of quietly killing a sole target - be they an important figure or an unsuspecting sentry. Soviet engineers pieced together a compact weapon mimicking the form and function of a small, concealable sidearm known as the "PSS" (it also carried the name of MSS "VUL" ("Wool")). The PSS was known to be issued to elements of the famous Spetsnaz special forces group and service introduction came during 1983. It is believed that the design is still in service today (2015).
While many facets of the PSS's design were conventional, the one key quality of the gun that stood out was its cartridge which was given the formal designation of "7.62x42mm SP-4". It featured a "necked" case was housed the bullet, a small piston and the propellant charge. The end result of this engineering became a pistol that, when fired, could cover all of its tell-tale signs of it having been fired. Since the propellant gasses were sealed within the gun during the action, all produced smoke, ignition flash and noise were contained - reducing the chance that the operator would give up his position. The recoil-operated firing action was responsible for ejecting the spent cartridge and introducing a fresh unit into the firing chamber to ready the process all over again. The trigger was of a standard Double-Action (DA) design and feeding was handled through a six-round detachable box magazine inserted into the base of the grip in the usual fashion. Sighting was through a fixed blade arrangement.
Because of its unique design and cartridge, the weapon managed a limited effective range out to 25 meters. It could - with a reduction to accuracy, reach targets with some lethality as far as 50 meters away.