Word To The Wise
Many of you reading this will be familiar with the Makarov as many have been imported to the ., especially the Bulgarian variants. But for those who have yet to shoot a Makarov, I’ll offer a few comments. First, the Makarov has a very heavy double-action pull, but the single-action pull isn’t too bad. Second, it has a bottom magazine release, which doesn’t really bother me that much. I’ve used them enough to know how to stick the spare mag between the fingers of my support hand and combine the operation of stripping the empty magazine and inserting a fresh one. Third, the lanyard ring is a good feature on a military or police pistol, but I can attest to the fact that it digs into one’s side when thrusting a Makarov into the trousers in the crossdraw position. Fourth, the safety/hammer drop is counterintuitive for those of us who are used to Walther PPKs. The safety must be in the down position to chamber a round. Once the round is chambered, pushing the safety up drops the hammer and locks the slide closed. The pistol may be carried this way and the safety thrust down before pulling the double-action trigger. Or it may be carried with the safety down, ready for a double-action pull. I normally used the second method. The sights are adequate. Is the Makarov a great combat pistol? Well, you’ll have to define great. It has certainly seen decades of use with some hard-core Russian military and police. As for me, it’s one of my favorite “modern” military pistols. That’s partially because I grew up during the Cold War when the Makarov’s were scarce—I wanted one. I think I also like it because I had a professional interest for many years in Soviet special operations capability. Whatever the reason, I like my Makarov. Speaking of which, I think it’s due for a field trip the next time I go shooting. ★
Poland , Hungary , and Czechoslovakia have developed their own handgun designs chambering the 9×18mm round. Hungary developed the FEG PA-63 , Poland the P-64 and the P-83 Wanad and Czechoslovakia the . While similar in operation (straight blowback), and chambered for the same round, these 9 mm Makarov firing pistols are often found labeled at gun shows by some US gun retailers as "Polish Makarovs" and "Hungarian Makarovs". Nonetheless, these cosmetically similar designs are independent of the PM and have more in common with the Walther PP (which, in fact, was also a major influence on the original Russian Makarov  ).
The Maks advantage was always size. It could be carried in uniform or out. As I understand it even in the old USSR military officers were armed at all times. Like the US of A was before Korea and the Democrat Party insisting guns cause violence not stop it. Most Police reinforcements carry long arms I see no real need UNLESS some Russian agencies have an equipment shortage. The big drum magazine is also an attention grabber. Geoff Who notes the Nazi Luftwaffe preference for the PP and PP/K and even smaller sidearms, especially during the civil war in Spain where you might be attacked anywhere.