|Bulgarian 9x18 Makarov PM|
The Makarov PM (Пистолет Макарова, Pistolet Makarova) pistol chambered in 9x18.
The Makarov entered Russian military service in 1951 and continued to be the primary Russian military service pistol until the adoption of the Yarygin PYa 9mm pistol in 1991. However, the Makarov's service history didn't end there, it continues to be found in Russian military arsenals and in the holsters of Russian police officers to this day. Much like the 1911 pistol in the United States, the Makarov is deeply rooted in Russian culture and will likely continue to be popular for decades to come.
Nikolai Fedorovich Makarov was in his late 20's when he served as the chief designer in a Russian factory located in Zagorsk manufacturing PPSh submachine guns for the "Great Patriotic War". It was here that Nakilai spent years working under Georgiy Shpagin, the creator of the PPSh-41 SMG. No doubt it was during these formative years that Nikolai drew inspiration from his mentor, Shpagin.
Nikolai wasn't driven by ego and had no problem examining other pistol designs and borrowing from them as he saw fit. The Walther PP held a number of design elements that Makarov admired and rolled into his design. The Walther PP is blow-back operated, has a fixed barrel, a slide mounted safety/decocking lever and required the user to pull the trigger guard down to accomplish disassembly. All of these features found their way into the Makarov PM's design.
|Makarov open magazine|
The 9x18mm cartridge was chosen because it lent itself to the blow-back design Nikolai wanted to use. Ballistically, the 9x18mm is very similar to the .380 cartridge. The bullet of the 9x18 is around .364" in diameter whereas the .380 uses a .355" bullet. Both can propel a 95gr bullet at around 1,000fps, however the 9x18 is capable of slightly higher muzzle velocities.
|U.S. made commercial 9x18 ammo|
Makarov's weren't commonly seen in the West until after the break-up of the former Soviet Union. Today Makarov's can be found in abundance with examples from each of the countries that have manufactured them being available on the U.S. surplus market.
9x18mm ammunition is available from a number of different sources. Surplus ammo still finds its way into the United States but many commercial offerings are also available including domestically produced target ammo and self defense ammo. Newly manufactured steel cased ammo from Wolf, Brown Bear and Silver Bear are also readily available on the U.S. market.
A surprising number of Americans own, shoot and even carry Makarov's as defensive pistols. Companies such as Fobus and even Don Hume offer carry holsters for the Makarov pistol.
Stay tuned for a video review of the Bulgarian Makarov on the Military Arms Channel!