Makarov Pistol

An acquaintance loaned me his Makarov for testing.  As  Makarovs go this one is in better shape than most, including those ‘new’ models seen at gun shows.

This example is of Russian manufacture by Baikal.  Other Soviet bloc nations (and China) have produced pistols based on the same design at various points since its introduction in 1951.  While some were built to accept the .380 ACP cartridge, this model is chambered for the 9x18mm round.  The Makarov is a blowback operated DA/SA pistol of all steel construction that has proven popular in the United States as a plinker and carry gun due to its small size and concealability.

 

While evidently well built, the machining is of the quality that can be expected of Eastern Europe – not the smoothest or most refined, but solidly manufactured.  Definitely a no-frills pistol.

 

Rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation, whereas the front sight is a plain fixed post.  The combination is a slight improvement over traditional fixed military sights.

 

 

 

 

The safety lever is positioned to the left rear of the slide, functioning as both safety and decocker.  The hammer is bobbed with no protruding spur and is similar to that found on the Tokarev TT-33 that preceded the Makarov in Soviet service.

 

 

 

 The single piece wrap-around grip is of a polymer construction and thin profile.

 Specifications:

Caliber: 9×18 Makarov
Mag. Capacity: 8
Weight: 22.8 oz (w/o mag)
Barrel: 3.675 in.
Height: 4.896 in.
Width: 1.162 in.
Overall length: 6.125 in.
Trigger pull: 6 lbs. 4 oz. (single action)

 

Field stripped for cleaning, lubrication, and familiarization.As a side note, the hinged trigger guard must be drawn down and pivoted aside before the slide can be removed.
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Close up of the diminutive ejection port and external extractor.

 The barrel is fixed to the frame.  Surprisingly for Russian manufacture, the feed ramp progresses smoothly into the chamber.
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A comparison of (left to right) the .380 ACP, the 9x18mm Makarov, and the 9x19mm parabellum.  This picture is included for comparison purposes only, as shooters should only attempt to use the ammunition for which a firearm is designed. 

 

No bevel whatsoever on the edges of the magazine well.  As is popular with European designs, the magazine release is located at the heel of the grip. The lanyard ring speaks to the design’s military origin.

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Single action trigger pull read as 6 lbs. and 4 oz. across a five-pull average (with Lyman digital gauge).

 

 

Range Test:

 

Temperature was 93 degrees with negligible wind.  Elevation was approximately 470 feet.  Ammunition used was PPU Prvi Partizan, Monarch (Russian manufactured for Academy sporting goods stores) and Sellier & Bellot.

Test ammunition was drawn from what was available locally.  As no hollowpoints were available, all testing was done with full metal jacketed rounds.

 

 

 

 

 

Chronograph for velocity was the Shooting Chrony F1 Master, set at 10 feet.

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Velocity:

PPU Prvi Partizan 93 gr. FMJ……….1100 fps
Monarch 94 gr. FMJ…………………..1046 fps
Sellier & Bellot 95 gr. FMJ…………….997 fps

 

 7 yds

 

 5 rds per group – offhand.  The first group (upper portion of the head) printed high.  I adjusted the sights three clicks for elevation for the remaining groups.  After adjustments I shot the group in the small silhouette at top left.

 

 Center mass group fired from 7 yards.  All five bullets went into the same hole, measuring a impressive 0.73 in.

20 yds

Firing from a bench – groups opened somewhat at 20 yards, but still respectable.  All groups stayed within the 6 in. target circle.

5rds-PPU 93gr FMJ

 (L-R) 5rds-Monarch 94gr FMJ

& 5rds-S&B 95gr FMJ

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 Primer strikes are consistent and adequate on all brands tested.

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Overall I was actually impressed with the results of this test, given my early low expectations for this pistol.  The accuracy was better than anticipated.  Recoil was brisk but easily managed, and with a few clicks to adjust for windage the groups should center up nicely.  The trigger was acceptable for a service pistol.  I have only two minor complaints regarding the design – the front sight could be more pronounced, and the heel-mounted magazine release is awkward to manipulate; I would much prefer a thumb button release higher on the frame.  I believe this would be a fine concealed carry pistol if reliably feeding hollowpoints were readily available.  As it stands I experienced no malfunctions or misfires during testing, though the results are limited to the ammunition found locally.