From the Vault: The Makarov Pistol

From the Vault: The Makarov Pistol

Brownells Gun Tech™ Keith Ford tells us about a Russian gun almost as “iconic” as the AK-47 – the Makarov pistol. The Soviet Army made do with the Tokarev TT-33 pistol and obsolete Nagant M1895 revolver as their standard-issue sidearms in World War II. Post-war trials seeking a new service pistol eventually led to the adoption of the “Pistolét Makárova”. Nikolai Fyodorovich Makarov’s design borrows from the Walther PP, but it’s chambered in its own cartridge, the 9x18mm Makarov, a round similar in size to – but NOT interchangeable with – the 9mm Luger (9x19mm Parabellum). Typical of Russian firearm designs, the all-steel Makarov is robust, reliable, and elegantly simple. The double action / single action pistol has a decocker that also serves as a manual safety. The barrel is permanently fixed to the frame because the Makarov has a straight blowback action, with the recoil spring around the barrel, like the Walther. A mag release in the heel of the grip drops the 8-round magazine. The Makarov outlived the Soviet Union and stayed in service with the Russian military and police agencies until 2003, when the MP-443 Grach pistol started supplanting it. Plenty of Makarovs are still in daily service in Russia, former Soviet Bloc countries, and the Middle East.