Munitions / Small arms / 9x39mm Soviet

9x39mm Soviet

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Rifle cartridge

  • ORIGIN
    USSR

  • NICKNAMES
    7N8 (SP-5 in Russian service)
    7N9 (SP-6 in Russian service)
    7N12 (PAB-9 in Russian service)

  • DESIGNED
    1980's

  • DESIGNER
    TsNIITochMash

  • PRODUCTION
    1980's - present

  • PRODUCERS
    Russia - Klimovsk special ammunition factory
    Russia - Tula Cartridge Plant

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Subsonic by design
    Good lethality
    Armour penetration capabilities
    Good accuracy for subsonic round
    Large and heavy
    Limited range for rifle cartridge
    Expensive
    Strong recoil

Introduction

The 9x39mm Soviet is a late Cold War era rifle cartridge of Soviet design. It was developed in the 1980's for use in suppressed weapons. The new 5.45x39mm round that was standardized for Soviet service was far too small to develop a subsonic round.

Design

The 9x39mm round is based on the case of the 7.63x39mm Soviet round, but is necked up to accept a larger diametar and twice as heavy bullet. The bullet weight helps to increase kinetic energy since all 9x39mm rounds are subsonic by design. The two most common bullet types are a general purpose round of similar design as the 5.45x39mm Soviet and a bullet with steel core for increased armour penetration.

Weapon systems

The 9x39mm round is used in the widely used AS Val assault rifle and VSS Vintorez sniper rifle. Other weapon systems include the OTS-14 Groza bullpup assault rifle and 9A91, SR-3 Vikhr and AK-9 sub machine guns. All these weapon systems feature an integral suppressor or are commonly used with a detachable suppressor.

Performance

The 9x39mm round has decent performance. For a subsonic round its accuracy, lethality and range are good. The armour piercing round is able to penetrate 2 mm steel at 500 meters, and 8 mm at 100 meters. The felt recoil is slightly higher than the 7.62x39mm round. The maximum effective range of this round is about 500 meters. Practical range lies between 100 and 400 meters, depending on the weapon that is used.

Users

The 9x39mm round is a rather uncommon round that is only in used by Russian law enforcement and military special units. The use of this round is increasing. Recent conflicts demonstrated the effectiveness of these heavy subsonic rounds. Export sales are also increasing, as is the number of platforms this round is used in.

Variants

9x39mm Soviet

SP-5: General purpose round developed for accuravy. Features a small air cavity in the nose, as found in 5.45x39mm rounds.
SP-6: Armour piercing round with hardened steel core. Able to penetrate helmets and heavy Kevlar body armour out to at least 200 meters.
PAB-9: Low cost general purpose round that proved to be ineffective. While far cheaper than SP-5 and SP-6, it has poor accuracy and causes heavy wear on the weapon.
SPP: New sniper round with an increased penetration.
BP: New armour piercing round.

TypeFMJ
DesignMild steel core within lead body
ColorBrown lacquered steel case, red case mouth
Total length56 mm
Total weight23 g
Bullet diameter9.25 mm
Bullet length?
Bullet weight16.1 g
Velocity280 - 320 m/s at muzzle
PenetrationClass 1 and 2 body armor
Precision?
Case typeBottlenecked, tapered, rimless, centerfire
Case length38.76 mm
Case diameter10.36 mm shoulder, 11.35 mm rim
Propellant0.5 g
Pressure?
RemarksSubsonic
TypeAP
DesignHardened steel penetrator within lead body
ColorBrown lacquered steel case, red case mouth, black tip
Total length56 mm
Total weight23 g
Bullet diameter9.26 mm
Bullet length?
Bullet weight16.2 g
Velocity280 - 320 m/s at muzzle
Penetration8 mm steel at 100 m, 6 mm steel or 2.8mm titatium or 30 layers of kevlar at 200 m, 2 mm steel at 500 m
Precision?
Case typeBottlenecked, tapered, rimless, centerfire
Case length38.78 mm
Case diameter10.36 mm shoulder, 11.35 mm rim
Propellant0.6 g
Pressure?
RemarksSubsonic
TypeAP
DesignHardened steel core within lead body
ColorBrown lacquered steel case, red case mouth, black tip
Total length56 mm
Total weight23 g
Bullet diameter?
Bullet length?
Bullet weight17 g
Velocity310 m/s at muzzle
Penetrationup to 10 mm steel at 10 m
Precision?
Case typeBottlenecked, tapered, rimless, centerfire
Case length?
Case diameter10.36 mm shoulder, 11.35 mm rim
Propellant?
Pressure?
RemarksSubsonic

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