Bulgarian Makarov?


September 28, 2004, 01:53 PM
Are these pistols any good? I am planning on buying another pistol in about a month (due to the 30 day period I am forced to wait between handgun purchases). I see that Turners has one for cheap, so i am considering it. What size ammo does it take? Are there larger mags available (10 rds, the Mak comes with 2 8 rounders)? Thanks in advance

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September 28, 2004, 01:55 PM

They're good.
They take 9x18.
You cannot put a double-stack mag in the single-column Bulgie frame.

September 28, 2004, 02:05 PM
Hey thanks a lot Erich! Im convinced, im going to put one on layaway at Turners today (to benefit from the sale that is going on right now). I should be able to pick it up after 10/13. I love the look of the pistol, and most folks Ive talked to on the forums have nothing but good things to say about them.

Ukraine Train
September 28, 2004, 02:11 PM
Great guns. It was my first handgun. Just keep in mind 9x18 is absolutely not interchangeable with 9x19. What's Turner's price on these? You can find them at places like SOG and AIM for about $130-150.

September 28, 2004, 02:54 PM
Since you asked for opinions...:)

I had one, then got rid of it.

The bad...
The ammo cannot be found locally for me.
9x18's performance is more like 9x17 (.380)
For the size, it is heavy - 25 oz - a snubbie 1911 is 25 oz in a .45.
The grip is odd.
The trigger is heavy and gritty.

The good...
FOR THE PRICE, it's a good gun.
Kind of cool having a Cold War era gun.

Yeah I know, the bad things can be fixed. But why bother? There are better smaller guns with that perform just as good.

You asked...:)

September 28, 2004, 03:15 PM
There are online sites that have trigger job info.

Where's denfoote? :)

Ukraine Train
September 28, 2004, 03:26 PM
Oh yeah, I was going to mention something about the ammo, too. A lot of people consider it inadequate as defense ammunition but that decision is up to you. I know I wouldn't want to get shot with one heh. The triggers are heavy but I wouldn't say they're so heavy that it affects your aim. Also, I wouldn't call my trigger gritty, just heavy.

September 28, 2004, 04:32 PM
My experience with my Mak -

Trigger - long, heavy DA pull; slick, light SA pull
Accuracy - extremely good, only limited by poor mil-style sights (most blowbacks are very accurate)
Reliability - extremely good - Maks are really simple, and very robust.
Ergonomics - heavy for size/caliber. Safety is kind of awkward (I carry mine safety off, hammer down). Stock grips are uncomfortable for some shooters, but several alternatives are available from Makarov.com.

I find the recoil from my Mak to be very manageable - even with hotter loads like the Barnaul JHP. It's heavy, but pretty small (a little too big for pocket carry, but disappears in an IWB)

They are amazing buys at $150; I consider them to be one of the best blowbacks (the other really good one being a CZ-83 in 9x18); the only reason they're so cheap is because they are mil-surp imports.

September 28, 2004, 04:56 PM
Where's denfoote

I have arrived!!
You have made a good choice!!
The Bulgarians are good, very good, I prefer the East Deutsch.
9X18mm ammo can be obtained from J&G Sales (http://www.jgsales.com./).

Your Pistolet Makarova will serve you well!!
Welcome to the Makarov Collective, Comrade!!! :D

September 28, 2004, 05:31 PM
Here's how to lighten up the DA trigger pull on a Makarov. See the posting by CB3. I've done it, it works. In the unlikely event you go too far, mainsprings are cheap.


September 29, 2004, 07:26 AM
I LOVE mine.

Ordered it from SOG during a Christmas special for $115.00 and received what appears to be an un-issued '86 Bulgie in excellent condition.

Personally I really like the original red star grips.
Tried the Pearce grips, but they were just too thick for me.
I don't think the recoil is bad at all and find that (for me) the ergonomics are great - points VERY naturally.

I put on the stick-on sight dots from www.makarov.com along w/ painting the front sight orange. This has helped quite a bit and w/ the natural pointability (probably won't have time to aim in a defensive situation) I think it's fine. You can always change the sights, but will cost about $120.00 to do that.

As mentioned, the 9x18 is just a bit stronger than the 9x17.
However, the Mak is dead-nuts reliable.
Locally, I can p/u Wolf ammo for $4.50 a box.

For some nice holsters, check out Holsters by Eric...

September 29, 2004, 10:50 AM
I have two Bulgies...I enjoy them immensely. Grip swaps on both for me.

Safe shooting,


September 29, 2004, 12:57 PM
Like Halvey wrote, there are better choices..........

joe sixpack
September 29, 2004, 02:40 PM
I bought mine (my first gun) at Turner's Outdoorsman back in June for about $215 out the door, and have been pleased.

You can get Barnaul 9x18 at Turner's for around $5-6 a box but beware that many of the ranges around here do not allow steel jacketed bullets.
You can also get the brass or copper jacketed Fiocchi at about $13 a box.

I went to the Crossroads of the West gun show at the Orange County
Fairgrounds a months or so ago and picked up a bunch of copper jacketed Wolf 9x18 for a good price, however with the Wolf I experienced 1 FTF and several FTEs in 250 rounds. With the Fiocchi in 50 rounds I shot I had no problems.

The Mak's snappy recoil can make your hand smart and that is why I am going to get Pearce grips soon.

cheers, js

September 29, 2004, 03:55 PM
If you decide to buy one, take a look at the Makawrap and Pearce grips, the ones that come with the handgun suck...............

September 29, 2004, 04:33 PM
Turners have them for 150 right now. Ammo availabilty might be limited in LA county....

September 29, 2004, 05:02 PM
I got mine on a whim...

I had heard about how reliable they are coupled with the amazing value for the price... I ordered a used/carried bulgie from AIM and they called back about 2-3 days later and left a msg saying that they had no more of the issued/carried/used ones left and gave me an unissued one for no additional cost and it had already been shipped... AIM definitely did right by me.

I am still amazed at how simple of a design it is. It's the same feeling I had when I completely detail stripped it to clean out all the cosmoline.

I am still very surprised at how accurately it shoots and how reliable it is. I have tried to make it malfunction by not cleaning it and shooting 1000 rds and limp wristing, weak hand shots, weak hand limp wrist shots and it never misses a beat no matter how dirty, what ammo I use or how I shoot it.

I took it totally apart and polished the crap out of the hammer and sear with a dremel as well as a few spots on the trigger bar and mainspring and it smoothened the pull up immensely. I only did it because even if I screwed anything up I would be back up and running with $20-40 worth of surplus spare parts...

I also took a bit of material off the mainspring and it lightened the double action pull up considerably... and made the single action noticeable more crisp and just a bit lighter.

There are very detailed descriptions of both procedures on Gunboards Makarov Forum (http://www.gunboards.com/forums/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=3) and makarov.com (http://www.makarov.com).

The way I see it, It's better to purchase 9x18 online because even if you could get it locally like me, it's very overpriced in most instances and definitely cheaper thru an online vendor even with shipping factored in. and if the 9x18 surplus dries up you can always just switch out the barrel to an aftermarket Federal .380 barrel and there you go. The russian 9x18 is definitely loaded hotter than any 380 I've ever shot and it shows in both the recoil and what it will do to informal plinking targets such as watermelons, cheap cans of shasta or safeway select soda and water filled jugs & bottles. and the HP ammo is cheap enough to buy in bulk and practice with what you will use in it if need be. Barnaul 95gr JHP's are me personal favorite.

All in all, I am very pleased with mine and feel it's good value. It is just that much better after I made the modifications. I would never give mine up. My only complaints are the merely adequate sights and the red bakelite grips because the lanyard ring pokes me when I carry mine IWB.

Welcome to the club though. We are everywhere.

September 29, 2004, 05:54 PM
If you decide to buy one, take a look at the Makawrap and Pearce grips

Alas, Makawraps no longer made according to Karl at Makarov.com last week. Glad I have mine.

Mr. H
September 30, 2004, 11:08 PM
I was thinking about picking one of those up myself. Thanks for all the info that helps with my decision. Sounds like a nice little firearm if for nothing more than a little plinking.

October 1, 2004, 12:55 AM
Great gun. Compact, reliable, accurate, controllable, packs enough firepower. Plus plenty of cheap ammo available. Fun to shoot. Very simple, has fewer parts then Glock. Probably has less parts then any semi-auto.

Eventhough the sights are small you can get used to them pretty quick and become very proficient with this little gun.

The only downside is weight. It is heavy.

lee n. field
October 1, 2004, 11:18 AM
If you decide to buy one, take a look at the Makawrap and Pearce grips, the ones that come with the handgun suck...............

If you're talking the funky cheap thumbrest grips they come with, I mostly agree. Although, the last Mak I bought came with a smooth hard plastic grip that was I kind of like, once I ground off the thumbrest.

I've actually gone back to using the original hard plastic military grip.

October 1, 2004, 12:03 PM
Same here, though I never liked the red one my Bulgarian came with, but I was able to pick up a brand-new black Russian grip of the same design, except it has a small "Baikal" logo molded near the bottom of the left side, and "Made in Russia" on the right.

October 1, 2004, 12:28 PM
I bought three Bulgarian Maks. They averavged $125 each, out the door.

All appeared to be unissued, and one of them didn't have any import markings.

Pierce grips on one (mine), Makawraps on the 2nd (wife), and stock grips on the third (son). All are flawless in function, all are accurate.

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