Makarov pistolEast german makarov history you think you have a Hungarian or Polish Makarov, check the other pistol page. Russia There donde inyectarse los esteroides several versions of the Russian Makarov. First of all there are the true surplus guns, which are recognizable by their fixed rear sight and a lack of any non-cyrillic markings including "Made in Russia. Testrogen are recognizable by their rear adjustable target sight, "Made in Russia" and Baikal markings. Another variant of this is the round double-stack Makarov, which was also made by Izhmech.
East German Makarov
If you think you have a Hungarian or Polish Makarov, check the other pistol page. Russia There are several versions of the Russian Makarov. First of all there are the true surplus guns, which are recognizable by their fixed rear sight and a lack of any non-cyrillic markings including "Made in Russia. These are recognizable by their rear adjustable target sight, "Made in Russia" and Baikal markings.
Another variant of this is the round double-stack Makarov, which was also made by Izhmech. More recently, some of the Russian military Makarovs with fixed rear sights have snuck into the country with shipments of Bulgarian guns.
You can usually spot these by the bifurcated triangle with circle marking. How is Izmech different from Baikal? They produce the Makarov, PSM, various shotguns, airguns, artificial pacemakers for the heart, oil drilling equipment.
It is a goverment, state owned enterprise, but has the right to close its own business contracts and deals without govermental interferance. This was a govermental organization that was used to market Soviet goods abroad. These days Baikal is hardly active in any trade with the US, largely because of the Bill Clinton imposed "voluntary trade restrictions.
Baikal also traded autos, trucks, various other consumer goods. Not only guns and ammo. The finish is nice, the fit and machining is of quality you'd expect from a German shop, and they shoot like a dream. Almost all that came into this country had already seen service, so their quality varies by how they were treated by the person who carried them.
Nonetheless, most have more holster wear than bore wear. They occasionally still pop up at dealers and at gun shows. If you can get them for a good price, these are the ones to buy. Markings on them include a letter 'y' with a circle of dots, which some Russian folks think stands for for uchebneii or "training".
This would be strange for a German pistol, but we haven't heard any other explanations. Note that this table is not complete and there appears to be a sequential pattern, so don't panic if yours doesn't fit into the ones listed.
China Not terribly much is known about these, except that they were brought in as Norinco Model Not many are available, so they often command a premium over other Makarovs. On the whole, the quality of these is not as good as some of the others, but there have been notable exceptions. Very rarely you may run across a Type 59 with an Arsenal mark number in a circle. Most common found are 56 and These were Military pistols that were remarked and packed for Commercial Export.
Bulgaria The Bulgarian Arsenal Makarovs are the only ones that are currently being imported into the country. Miltex had an exclusivity agreement with Arsenal before they decided to get out of the small arms business.
Many other Bulgarian Makarovs are out on the market including some military surplus. As the Bulgarians start to switch to other guns as standard police and military issue, these should continue to pop up everywhere and can be purchased at a very good price. Fortunately for US shooters, these are very nicely done and some interesting variants were delivered by Miltex.
Again, since Miltex is out of this business, collectors might want to consider picking up one of the Miltex "Special Edition" Makarovs still floating around on the market. In recent years, the Bulgarians have held the most market share of all the Makarovs. As such, there are variants among these, primarily in grips and markings, including police, military, commercial, and even mis-marked Russians.
The first two letters are the Production series, the next two digits are the Year code, see list below. The last four digits are the unit number in that production series. Please note, the date is start of all Production at this plant using the "Circle 10" code, the Makarov was first produced under Russian supervision in , and first year of Production under Bulgarian control was Some Bulgarian pistols made in will have the Russian Date format, with the full year in place of the later date codes.
These are pistols that were assembled from parts and frames that were made in It is possible to have a two pistols with the same unit number but a different series number under the Old Style Numbering system. AB 19 and KO 19 are two different pistols. Bulgarian date code information compiled from information from Patman, ScottB, M.
This information may not be copied, printed, stored, or reproduced without written permission, except for personal use. Germany post-unification Please see the Simson Suhl page for a more complete report on these. Most gun stores will specify.
You can also go by the guidelines above. The East Germans, Chinese, and Bulgarians typically have fixed rear sights; the Russians except for the early military version have "target" adjustable sights. Check the markings from Russian Makarov engraved into the frame. The Russians are the only ones that are "high-capacity" and have round double-stack magazines. Bulgarian Makarovs are often made by Arsenal and this should be engraved on the slide and frame. East German Makarovs were made by Ernst Thaelman and some although not all have the Thaelman mark on the front of the grip metal.
The importers made these engravings, so if yours doesn't have this, it's perfectly normal. Importer marks will vary depending on which company imported it. East Germany These are often, but not always, marked "Ernst Thaelmann," which is the factory in Suhl, German, where they were made. Note that the importer, such as Century Arms International, usually made those marks. Therefore, if your East German Makarov doesn't have those markings, it's perfectly normal. Ernst Thaelman was apparently a communist party official of some notoriety.
Iaco Saca means International Arms co. Apparently they were the original importer. Bulgaria Most are production and bear the "Arsenal" factory name.
Some are police and military surplus. Also, special editions are imported by Miltex. See also the discussion on Bulgarian Makarov above.
While this is a somewhat subjective question, there are some guidelines. First ask yourself what you want to do with your new toy. Well, not everyone does. If you're looking for a pure collector's piece, look for an original Soviet or Chinese Makarov. Also, consider the limited-run Simson Suhl and the discontinued Miltex.
If you want a shooter, look for a good quality East German gun. For a gun with good fit and finish right out of the factory, get a Bulgarian Arsenal Makarov. The triggers can be a bit gritty with the brand new guns, but they break in nicely. The Russian Makarovs are also quite competent, but they have some rough edges. These can be worked over, of course, and from a pure shooting and reliability standpoint, these are quite good as well. If you wish to use the Makarov for concealed carry, the target sights can snag on clothing, particularly if you use an inside-the-waistband holster.
We used to offer a replacement fixed rear sight for Russian Makarovs, but these are now out of production. As the effects of the voluntary trade restrictive agreement with Russian become apparent, the Russian Makarovs are beginning to be less ubiquitous.
In our opinion, they were hurried onto the market and some engineering was left unfinished, particularly in the magazine. Some people have reported problems getting the last two rounds into the magazine, leaving you with the same capacity as the standard Makarov, whose design has been proven in over 50 years of service.
Also, magazines are often difficult to find. The round magazine that probably came with your gun is often poor quality, largely because they were not original Russian.
ProMag makes a replacement, but our experience and that of our customers suggests that they do not load or feed reliably. The original Russian round magazines are much better because of their dual spring system and heavy nylon follower. Note that you can use a standard 8-round single-stack magazine in your high-capacity Makarov. The magazine will seat and function properly, although it's loose at the base. We used to carry a floorplate conversion made by MJ Facets that slips on to any 8-round Makarov magazine and allows it to seat properly in a high-capacity Makarov.
It's investment cast brass with a black oxide finish, just like the other floorplates we used to carry from MJ Facets. One thing helped us get comfortable with our round test gun: The round Pearce has the same outside profile as the 8-round, making the grip much more manageable compared with the huge squarest block of hard plastic the Russians chose to call a grip. Price is always difficult to nail down because ultimately it comes down to what the buyer and the seller are willing to agree upon.
Having said that, here are some guidelines for the most common Makarov pistols. We assume that the pistol is in very good to excellent condition and includes at least 2 magazines. Aftermarket and original accessories are extra. Note that occasionally, dealers will have a batch of Bulgarian Makarovs with a Russian military Makarov tucked in among them. Yes, they will fit and function.
They may be loose at the base, but our experience is that they work flawlessly. Short of altering the frame, there is no way to use these magazines in standard 8-round Makarovs. We had a chance to test them, and we came up with a solution to both problems of the magazine release and the mag spring power.