Military Wiki
Type Rifle, subsonic
Place of origin  Soviet Union
Production history
Designer Nikolai Zabelin
Designed 1980s
Parent cartridge 7.62×39mm
Case type Rimless, bottleneck
Bullet diameter 9,25 (SP-5)
9,26 (SP-6)
Shoulder diameter 10.36 mm (0.408 in)
Base diameter 11.35 mm (0.447 in)
Rim diameter 11.35 mm (0.447 in)
Rim thickness 1.50 mm (0.059 in)
Case length 38,76 (СП-5)
38,78 (СП-6)
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
16.8 g (259 gr) 280 m/s (920 ft/s) 658.5 J (485.7 ft·lbf)

The 9×39 mm is a Soviet / Russian rifle cartridge. It is based on the Russian 7.62×39 mm round, but with an enlarged neck to accommodate a 9 mm bullet. The cartridge was designed by N. Zabelin, L. Dvoryaninova and Y. Frolov of the TsNIITochMash in the 1980s. The intent was to create a subsonic cartridge for suppressed firearms for special forces units that had more power, range and penetration than handgun cartridges. The 5.45×39 mm cartridge introduced in 1974 for AK-74 lacks bullet weight for acceptable energy at subsonic velocities. The bullet of the 9×39 mm is approximately 16 g (250 gr), double that of the 7.62×39 mm, and is subsonic. This slow velocity does not produce a sonic boom, but does limit the effective range of a weapon when compared to non-suppressed assault rifles. The round has an effective lethal range of 300 to 400 meters and a maximum penetration of up to 10 mm of steel. Like the 5.45×39mm cartridge, 9×39mm SP-5 features an airpocket in the tip, which vastly improves its capability to yaw; with such a long projectile, yawing can be quite violent.


Cartridge SP-5 SP-5UZ SP-6 SP-6UCh PAB-9 SPP BP
Type sniper test (increased charge) armor piercing training armor piercing sniper (increased penetration) armor piercing
Bullet weight up to 16.8 grams about 16 grams up to 17.3 grams
Muzzle velocity 280–320 m/s 280–320 m/s 280–320 m/s
Muzzle Energy 658.5-860.1 J 678.1-885.7 J
Maximum penetration up to 10 mm of steel up to 10 mm of steel

SP-5 (7N8) - The SP-5 (СП-5) (SP: Spetsialnyj Patron; "Special Cartridge") was developed by Nikolai Zabelin. It is a conventional lead core FMJ bullet, but developed for accuracy.

SP-5UZ - The SP-5UZ (СП5-УЗ) is an SP-5 variant with an increased charge intended for a factory-specific strength testing of the weapons.

SP-6 (7N9) - The SP-6 (СП-6) was developed by Yuri Frolov. It has a hardened metal armor piercing core. It can penetrate 2 mm (0.079 in) of steel at 500 meters or 6 mm (0.24 in)of steel, 2.8 mm (0.11 in) of titanium or 30 layers of Kevlar at 200 meters. At 100 meters it penetrates 8 mm (0.31 in) of steel, while retaining enough power to neutralize a soft target behind it.

SP-6UCh - The SP-6UCh (СП-6УЧ) is an SP-6 variant intended for training.

PAB-9 (7N12) - The SP-6's bullet is expensive, so an attempt was made to make a lower-cost version of the cartridge. The PAB-9 (ПАБ-9) used a stamped rather than machined steel core. It sacrificed too much performance to be usable. As of 2015, its usage is prohibited.[1]

SPP - The SPP (СПП) (SPP: Snaiperskie Povishennaya Probivaemost; "Sniper - Increased Penetration") is a sniper round with an increased penetration.

BP - The BP (БП) (BP: Broneboin'ie Pulya; "Armor-Piercing Bullet") is an armor-piercing round.



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