The Vostok Margolin: Weapon of Space Royalty

If we’re being honest, there is but one reason that this pistol is iconic. It was in the hands of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope. And it wasn’t even iconic then. Lucas sourced real world military weapons for the production, most of which were fiddled with by the prop department. And many of which were actually fully functional. But this one was relatively unmolested by the propmaster. After all, it was being used in a single scene in a space opera version of The Sword in the Stone. It wasn’t really a prop priority. Honestly, it looks outlandish enough already, as many target pistols do.

Most Star Wars fans can spot Han’s DL-44, and know it to be a tarted up Mauser C96. Space-fins and unused optics and all. But not many can name the Margolin. Which is a shame, since it is a much more budget friendly shooter, and has remained affordable to collectors who wish to have one. (That may change soon.)

The Margolin was wade by Izhevsk Mechanical Plant or IZHMEKH, since 1942. Many places report it is still being produced, however the company website does not list the model as available now. If that company name seems familiar, it is due to Izhevsk being a producer of Makarov and Grach pistols as well as Baikal shotguns. Being the heart of an industrial city, Izhevsk Mechanical Plant also produces car parts, oil industry parts, medical supplies and dozens of other products. And Baikal even has a gun smithing school there, which some folks claim rivals Trinidad.

Back to the Margolin. I can only imagine that this gun was chosen for the role because it has simple, elegant, and for the time, futuristic looks. The kind of weapon a space princess might choose to carry. Especially a princess with a slight frame and small hands, like Carrie Fisher. Being a foreign supplier to the American viewing audience, it was also fairly unknown at the time despite being a 30-year-old design.

It even made a comeback in Return of the Jedi as her sidearm on the moon of Endor. Though, it lacked the full compensator in the return performance.

The Vostok Margolin may not be the quintessential Star Wars gun, and may not be important to anybody but me. But it is iconic, just for those few scenes.

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