The PMN-1 and PMN-2 (sometimes referred to as the Black Widow) are blast type anti-personnel mines designed and manufactured in Russia. It is one of the most widely used and commonly found devices during demining operations. The PMN-1 mine is particularly deadly because it contains an unusually large explosive filling. In general, anti-personnel blast mines (e.g. the VS-50) are designed to destroy all or part of a victim's foot. In contrast, a PMN mine can destroy a victim's entire leg (often requiring amputation above the knee) in addition to inflicting severe injuries on the adjacent limb which may also require some form of amputation. A typical anti-personnel blast landmine contains approximately 50 grams of explosive, which is less than a quarter of the explosive charge within a PMN-1. The PMN-2 also has a large explosive filling when compared to many other anti-personnel landmines.
These mines are palm sized and cylindrical in shape. The PMN's has a bakelite case (brown in colour) with a black rubber pressure-plate and contains TNT explosive. Its successor, the PMN-2, is plastic cased (leaf-green in colour, but occasionally brown) and contains an RDX/TNT based explosive that is similar to Composition B.
Note: a significant difference between these two mines is that the PMN-2 (a 1970s design) contains a more modern fuze with an integral baffle beneath the pressure plate. This and the X-shaped design of the pressure plate makes the PMN-2 much more resistant to traditional explosive mine countermeasures, which use sudden blast overpressure to detonate mines. In contrast, the PMN-1 (a 1950s design) can successfully be cleared by such methods.
It is considered highly dangerous to disarm PMN-1 mines by removing the fuze, unless they have only recently been laid and are in good condition. Even if this is the case, what appears to be a standard PMN-1 mine may in fact be the MC-3 version, which features an integral anti-handling device. Therefore, the standard render-safe procedure for PMN-1 mines is to destroy them in situ using a small explosive charge.