thinking of getting a Makarov


July 29, 2007, 12:01 AM
I'm currently thinking of getting a Makarov for conceal and carry purposes. I already own a 1911 but thats a little too big for carrying at times. I was just curious what sorts of experiences people have had with the typical mil-surp Makarovs (the type that is selling for instance). I'm currently low on funds so anything pricey is out of the question. Also, I'm looking for something fun and cheap to shoot at the range. Any comments or reccomendations about this pistol?

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July 29, 2007, 06:47 AM
Does Aim still have any ??? The true Makarovs arent very plentiful ... The FEG PA63's are easier to find, or the P64 polish, but these are not "true" Maks. They do shoot 9x18 cartridges, but the pa63 is aluminum frame, and the P64 is smaller frame, smaller in size, different componets. I cant say anything bad about Makarovs, had had several Bulgarians, Russians, East German... I prefer the EG's, then the Bulgarians. The Maks are reliable, sturdy, inexpensive, and I enjoy shooting them. One thing to consider, they are only on the scale of a .380 as far as power (9x18 is a bit stronger)... not a really hard hitting caliber.

July 29, 2007, 07:25 AM
I believe those "Makarov's" that AIM is selling are actually CZ-82's chambered for the 9x18 Makarov cartridge. It's been a while since I've seen any "real" Makarov's for sale except individual ones.

Having said that, they're probably good carry guns. They're made by CZ, and CZ certainly has a reputation for tuning out good stuff.

July 29, 2007, 08:12 AM
Previous posters make a good point.....while a gun may be chambered for 9x18 Makarov, they may not be true Makarovs. They may be excellent guns, but not true Maks. Caveat Emptor.

That said, I truly enjoyed my EG Makarov when I had it; it shot like a laser, recoil was negligible, and it defined reliable and ease of maintenance. The only reason I got rid of it was I much prefer my revolvers, and since I'm not a collector, if I'm not shooting it, it's gotta go.

Holster selection wasn't the greatest with a Mak; although there are a few makers out there, you have nowhere near the availability that you have with other guns. I myself prefer IWB/tuckable holsters, and the only maker I found that accomodated the Mak were Blade Tech and Milt Sparks. While I'm sure that these two aren't the only makers that do tuckable/IWB for a Mak, it was slim pickings compared to my options with a K-Frame or 1911 (for obvious reasons, of course). The Uncle Mike's Model 1 IWB holster is a pretty perfect fit, however, as is the Wilderness Tactical Safepacker Officers Model.

Ammo options were hit-and-miss as well. Not much in the way of premium JHP's available (I ended up using Hornady XTP's), and keeping an ear to the ground can help you dig up imported FMJ for plinking at a reasonable price. I was lucky that a local gun shop had a boatload of Barnaul 95gr. FMJ that seemed to sit forever, so $5/50 round box was what I was used to paying. Prices online seemed to be a bit higher, however, and seem to have gone the way of the 7.62x39 ammo a few years ago...a bit more expensive than it was. You can vote with your wallet, however, and buy from the cheap vendors when they post it for sale. By so doing, and unless you find a cheap source like I did, you can keep feeding your Mak for around the same you'd feed a 9x19.

As always, regional pricing is significant, and YMMV. Good luck with your search.

lee n. field
July 29, 2007, 08:49 AM
Any comments or recommendations about this pistol?

Your basic shooter is going to be a Bulgarian milsurp. Everything else is going to have some perceived collector value. Couldn't tell you what they go for now.

Of what I'm seeing at AIM (, I'd be looking hardest at the CZ-82. (

July 29, 2007, 09:25 AM
During the summer months I carry a Bulgarian Makarov in a JIT slide holster. It is a light weight, durable as a tank, accurate shooter. The 9x18 round, imho, is a decent self defense round that if fired in a car, won't leave you deaf, or if fired at night, won't leave you blind. I carry the Hornady 95grain hollow points. The true Makarov pistols have become harder to find but if you keep an eye out on or ,they do pop up often. The average selling price lately seems to be in the area of $250.

July 29, 2007, 09:26 AM
This is an E. German Mak, sporting new Pierce grips. While this gun is indeed fun and relatively inexpensive to shoot, it has some features that preclude me from calling it a CCW of choice. It is quite heavy, the sights are small and hard to acquire in a "combat" second, My particular gun gives me light strikes every so often, and finally, for me personally, this gun just is not a natural pointer. Some people, not me, do not like a European mag release on their CCW, (I carry three such weapons). This E.G. came from a local shop at a cost of $350, a bit high but the gun is pristine. $250 should get you a good Bulgarian or Russian gun.

July 29, 2007, 09:27 AM
You would love a Makarov. Make sure you get a real one, and not the PA-63 or 64 (can't recall the number).

Any make will serve you well, but general consensus is that the East German models are the best. I have a Bulgarian, and have never had a FTF or FTE with it over a couple thousand rounds.

They carry pretty well, and have very manageable recoil. Buy a case of Wolf 9x18 and plink away :)

P.S. - If you have a chance to buy additional magazines for it, make sure they match the manufacture location (Bulgarian for Bulgarian, Russian for Russian, etc.) and buy them if they're cheap - they're in just as short supply as the guns.

July 29, 2007, 09:30 AM
russian commercial makarov's are plentiful and (I feel) excellent quality. They do not have the collector cache that true mil surplus Maks have but they do go BANG every time you pull the trigger! I have a Russian IJ-70 that has never had a ftf or fte with 1000 rounds of wolf fmj and ~400 rounds of silver bear JHP. I think maks make excellent CCW's.

July 29, 2007, 10:15 AM
A question for all the Mak owners: if offered a free Mak or a CZ in 9x18, which would you take?

July 29, 2007, 10:31 AM
Well, that's a trick question. I don't yet have an 82, but I have 3 real Maks (2 bulgies and 1 E German). So I'd go for the 82. But if I already had an 82 (in addition to the real Maks I already have) and the Mak was military, I'd get the Mak.

July 29, 2007, 10:37 AM
I bought my Bulgie Mak for $149 about 5 years ago. I doubt we'll see those prices ever again. Mak's are excellent guns and well worthy of protecting my bacon.

July 29, 2007, 12:42 PM
Since the .380 and 9x18 are the same diameter and close in size, a good comparison can be drawn.

.380 - 90 Gr. = MV 910 - 1,050, ME 165 - 220
9x18 - 90 Gr. = MV 1.050, ME 220

.380 - 95 Gr. = MV 951 - 1,000, ME 180 - 211
9x18 - 95 Gr. = MV 990 - 1,100, ME 211 - 255

I had not looked at this before. There really is not a dime's worth of difference in these two cartridges. The key would be whichever gun you like or shoot better.

July 29, 2007, 01:18 PM
I have an E. German Makarov and it has a very nice action. The Bulgarian Makarovs I've seen are rougher but function just fine.

Unless you're really lucky you won't find them to be especially inexpensive. Last time I bought ammo it was very reasonable.

July 29, 2007, 01:29 PM
Since the .380 and 9x18 are the same diameter and close in size, a good comparison can be drawn.

Ah, for future reference, be careful here. The 9 Mak is not a true 9mm. IIRC it is something like a 9.2mm. Occasionally, you'll find a .380 with a loose chamber that will take the makarov round. It is exceedingly dangerous to shoot a 9x18 out of a handgun chambered for the 9mm Kurz (9x17 or .380 ACP).

As far as the small difference in ME, yeah you're right. Doesn't look like it would make any difference to be shot with one or the other.

July 29, 2007, 02:46 PM
I've carried a Mak for a couple of years now (except in the hottest part of the summer, when the clothing I wear just doesn't cover well enough) and have never felt short of defensive power. I'd stick with the fixed sight models (Bulgarian most likely, East German or even Russian if you find a bargain) as the adjustable sight models look like they'd snag on clothing a lot more easily.

The Mak is my favorite centerfire shooter, except in IDPA matches where bigger guns with bigger magazines are just better and concealment isn't really an issue. The Mak is amazingly accurate (I almost always hit 12-14" square steel plates at 50 YARDS) and dead nuts reliable. While not as powerful as 9mm Luger, I can place shots a lot better with a Mak than with any of the tiny 9mms I've tried.

I prefer to carry IWB, and while I'm not familiar with the holsters tackleberi mentions, I do have a lovely leather model from Eric Larsen which is my favorite holster of any I've ever owned (he also makes tuckables for the Mak). I also have two FIST IWB models - both are adjustable for cant angle and have a wide selection of replaceable belt hooks. One holster is tuckable and the other one isn't. (I bought the non-tuckable model first - if I'd thought about it harder, I just would have bought the tuckable model to start with.) FIST makes relatively economical holsters, and delivery times are only a couple of weeks.

Get a Mak, a case of Wolf or Norinco ammo, and a few extra mags (they're among the cheapest out there) and start having some shooting fun.

July 29, 2007, 03:26 PM
and just ordered a CZ-82 for car/on the road concealed carry. Also ordrered a holster from

Why? Because the CZ-82 is basically an improved Makarov - holds 12 rounds in the mag, has better grips and ergos, behind the triggerguard mag realease and the sights are really quite good.

IMHO, if you're buying this for shooting and carry or house defense, then get the CZ - if for collecting purposes, then get a Makarov - they are only going to increase in price unless more are imported.

The CZ-82 is the best value going in a pistol right now.


lee n. field
July 29, 2007, 03:34 PM
A question for all the Mak owners: if offered a free Mak or a CZ in 9x18, which would you take?

he he. I've got 3 Maks. I'd take the CZ (I'm presuming CZ-82).

July 29, 2007, 03:37 PM
I'd take the Makarov, sell it and buy the CZ-82, a holster and a bunch of ammo with the money :D

July 29, 2007, 07:59 PM
"Since the .380 and 9x18 are the same diameter and close in size, a good comparison can be drawn."

I reload the 9x18, and the diameter of a 9x18 mak bullet is .365 in., going from memory, the .380 is the same diameter as 9mm par and 38/357 .355 in. The rounds are not the same.

July 29, 2007, 11:06 PM
My Mak (a Bulgarian) has a butt near as big as one of my Colt .45 autos. It is otherwise more comfortable to carry though.

July 29, 2007, 11:14 PM
Thanks for all of the helpful comments. I've been considering getting a CZ-82 in its place, so now I might have to look into that. Being a Russian immigrant though, I mights still buy a Mak for sentimental purposes, just like the AKs and the Mosin that I own.

July 29, 2007, 11:21 PM
I've bought four Russian Mac's. One was a Hi-Cap.
After buying the first two, I liked them so well, I bought
two more for my sons.

Never a misfire or jam with any of them. I think they are
the best gun on the market for the money.

The only complaint, the front sight isn't worth a damn.
I replaced the front sight on all four pistols.


July 30, 2007, 07:53 AM
I love my EG Mak...the small front sight is the only thing that I would change (and plan to for a little over $100 when I get around to it). I had a problem with light strikes as well, which was fixed for under $20 by replacing the safety. Field stripping a Makarov is so easy it makes field stripping a 1911 look like rocket science.

Check out About 2/3 of the way down there is access to a Makarov Forum and Makarov trader.

July 30, 2007, 09:59 AM
I used to carry a Bulgarian or EG Mak, and still do sometimes. They are great little pistols.

July 30, 2007, 08:20 PM
I'm a big fan of Maks, here is my EG with three dot sights.
Have a Bulgarian too.Great shooters both. Plenty to be had on Gunbroker, and Auctionarms.

July 31, 2007, 05:13 AM
I too am thinking of getting a Mak, but I'm also wondering about the "fakes" like the FEG. Are they worthwhile? The lighter aluminum frame seems like it would be a plus for CCW, but I haven't found much other information negative or positive about them.

*(Nevermind, found a good thread, got my questions answered)

Apple a Day
July 31, 2007, 08:08 AM
EVerything you need to know is at
Stoney, what kind of grips are those?
The first gun I ever bought was a Russian Makarov. I still carry a Bulgie CCW. It points naturally for me, I painted the sights with flourescent paint, and they've never failed me.
I had a PA-63 for a while. It was lighter than the Makarov but had sharper edges and was less comfortable. When it got really dirty with cheap surplus ammo the PA-63 would get a little iffy. When clean it ran well and was very accurate.
Bulgies are running $275 and Russians are $350 around here.

lee n. field
July 31, 2007, 08:29 AM
Stoney, what kind of grips are those?

They appear to be Makawraps. Not made anymore.

July 31, 2007, 08:37 AM
I'm currently thinking of getting a Makarov for conceal and carry purposes. I already own a 1911 but thats a little too big for carrying at times. A Mak is what, 25 oz? And a 3" 1911 is oh, 25 oz. I've carried both and I'd take a lightweight 1911 over a Mak anyday.

July 31, 2007, 01:30 PM
Makarovs are well built guns, but for me, they are not a natural "pointer" either.... the ammo is cheap, IF you find it locally, over the net you now add s&h have to do your own math....

for a gun of the same size,weight,power, that is found for less money TODAY, and points more naturally, and has ammo available off the shelf locally, id say go for the Bersa.

July 31, 2007, 01:37 PM
Apple A Day, lee n. field is correct, they are Makawraps. I got them from a few years back. Have not seen any for sale in a long time.
Very nice grips, make shooting the Mak a pleasure. :)

July 31, 2007, 09:31 PM
I am late responding but I love to show pictures of my four maks. The one on top is a Bulgie Mak and the other three are EG Maks. Sadly, Maks are no longer inexpensive. Regards, Richard:D

July 31, 2007, 10:27 PM
Those of you who have what appear to be Novak sights, where did you get them?

July 31, 2007, 10:32 PM
Those of you who have what appear to be Novak sights, where did you get them?

Mine were installed by Makarov.Com. I think they still offer the service. Check out the site.

Texas Colt
July 31, 2007, 10:44 PM
I can't wait to join the Mak Club... I found an EG Makarov in a pawn shop last week, so I put it on layaway. They had just got it in, so I have to wait for the serial number to clear the local PD before I can pick it up.

Anna's Dad
August 1, 2007, 12:03 PM
I have a Russian military, Russian commerical, Norinco 59 (Chinese), East German and Bulgarian. It's all part of my new multi-cultural attitude. :D

They are great little guns.

August 1, 2007, 10:57 PM
My Novak sights were both done by the Accurizer Gunshop in Troy, MI. Regards, Richard:D

August 2, 2007, 11:38 AM
Easy to maintain was one reason previously mentioned in support of the Makarov. To quantify that, the Makarov has 27 parts. Total! The CZ-82/83? I can't recall, but I want to say it was north of 70 parts.

I've owned both, somehow the CeeZee didn't gee-haw with me. It seemed too complex, lots of bells and whistles that got in my way. I sold the two I had. I still have more than a few Makarovs.

Black Adder LXX
August 2, 2007, 07:55 PM
I love my Bulgy Mak.

It shoots better than some of my more expensive domestic guns. Nice small package. You can still get them for $250 or so. has E Germans for about $300 regularly. AIM doesn't have true Maks, but I'm seriously looking at one of those CZ82s. I've handled the CZ83 which is the civilian 380acp version and really liked the feel. Both are nice.

I also have a P-64 'polish mak' which is cool, but doesn't come close to the real maks. The PA-63's are snapy little biters that feel worse than Glocks in the hand, I wouldn't suggest one.

October 7, 2007, 11:14 PM
I've had a Bulgarian Mak for some seven years, back when it cost $99. Mine was unissued, still in the cosmoline. The only things I changed were the grip- put a makwrap- and a stronger recoil spring- a #19. Since then, I've put so 1k rounds or so. Guess how many FTF FTE's....big fat zero.

It is simply the most reliable gun I've had (okay, okay, semi-auto that is, my SW revolver is as reliable). Even my .45 would have the occasional stove pipe, when people ask me how I like the Mak I describe it as the AK-47 of handguns, not a bad analogy if you ask me. Rugged, inexpensive, and reliable. It's a jewel.

As far as the CZ82 I've never owned or fired one so I can't speak about it, but I was reading in some other board that there appears to be some small parts prone to breaking or something...I'll try to find the link to that one, and see if I can find some more info on that. I was also interested in getting a CZ-82, but we'll see.

October 8, 2007, 12:13 AM
Since my earlier post in July I've acquired a CZ-82. Just came back from several hours at the range, in fact, where the only guns I shot were 2 Maks (an EG with Dennis Marschalko grip and a Russian with Pearce rubber grip) and the CZ. This is my third comparison shoot since the CZ arrived. I would typically shoot 25 rounds of the same ammo with each then switch guns (2 mags +1 with the CZ, 3 mags +1 for the Maks.)

I have been surprised to find that the CZ is no more comfortable to shoot than the Mak, despite its wider grip. In fact, in MY hand the Mak with Dennis grips is the most comfortable of the 3, even though the grip is considerably narrower. I also find the Maks to be a bit more accurate, but readily admit that I'm still getting used to the CZ trigger (very soft but consistent letoff) and sights. In IDPA type drills at 5-10 yards, the bigger CZ sights are MUCH easier to pick up, and if the white dots and line on the sights are bright they are much easier to see in low light as well. But for precise shot placement and for my favorite targets, foot-square steel plates at 50 yards, I just hit more reliably with the Maks as long as the light holds out.

The CZ has been just as reliable (so far) as the Maks with round nose bullets, but it does occasionally choke on the Wolf 100g cone head FMJ (2 failures out of 100 rounds today, similar experience in the past.) I will not replace this ammo when my last 4 boxes are gone, but will switch to round nose Wolf for foolin' around ammo, so don't consider it a long term negative. I have not tried many HP rounds in the CZ as I've decided that for 9x18 I'm just as well off with FMJ, but the couple of dozen Hornady XTP rounds I've put through it functioned just fine.

I have been unable to find complete disassembly instructions for the CZ anywhere. Field stripping is a snap, but anything beyond removing slide, recoil spring and grips is (so far) unexplored territory. This is a big plus for the Mak, in my book. The only "weakness" of the CZ-82 that I've read about is the slide stop spring, which apparently can launch itself into orbit in the course of disassembly if you're not careful, takes 3 or more hands to reinstall, and is the ONLY part not available from CZ-USA for the gun (but Norm Sutton makes replacements, so you're not completely SOL if you lose or break one.)

For those not following other forums, the Makawrap grips are back in stock at, but they are absolutely the last ones because the mold apparently wore completely out in the course of making this last batch.

If I were choosing between the CZ and a Mak, I'd get a Mak if I didn't have one (or several.) For personal protection I carry a Mak, and despite its larger magazine won't try carrying the CZ because it's too thick for me to conceal (as) easily (as the Mak.) If I had to get rid of a gun and the choice was between the CZ and a Mak, I'd keep the Mak. If SHTF and I had both the CZ and a Mak but could only take one gun, I'd take the Mak. So despite the fact that I really enjoy shooting the CZ (and may even get another one to leave in the car, replacing a snub nose S&W 38) if I were in the position rockinrussky was in July, I'd start with a Mak.

October 8, 2007, 06:53 AM
I was thinking of getting a CZ-82...but now you've got me thinking about another Makarov.

October 8, 2007, 07:46 AM
Thanks for that report, Wrangler5, seems you've put the CZ82 through the paces...question: what about that hammer? Does it present a major snagging point when the gun is brought out of concealment? Unless it could be replaced by a commander-type hammer, that thing sure sticks out. Regards, Paul.

October 8, 2007, 10:48 AM
I honestly don't know and probably won't find out. The IDPA scenarios I've been trying have been with a Fobus paddle holster (for the Mak) without a cover garment, as it's still summer here (it was in the low 90s yesterday at the range.) I normally carry the Mak in the cooler months, but don't actually expect to carry the CZ concealed. It will fit in the FIST IWB holster for a Mak, but the grip prints through the sweaters that I typically wear as a cover garment. (I have only tried this in front of a mirror - it's still to hot too carry the Mak. I'm carrying a KelTec P3AT in a pocket until it cools down a bit more.)

If I ever get comfortable carrying with just a sport coat or suit jacket for cover, I might give the CZ a try, and I would not expect the hammer to be a problem drawing from under that kind of cover. Or if I ever lose enough weight that my shirts get blousy enough to use an IWB tuckable effectively, I might think about giving the CZ a try, although I can imagine the hammer might be a bit more of a problem in that case as there would be a lot of shirt tail to avoid.

I don't believe I've ever seen a rowel-type hammer offered for the 82/83. I personally would not consider cutting down the standard hammer, as it is easy and safe to lower the hammer on a live round using the large and well grooved spur, but if it got much smaller I'd be concerned about having less control during that procedure. I do not plan to carry any gun cocked and locked, but if C&L is your thing it might be possible to modify a standard hammer to reduce the spur, and then you would only have to worry about whether there is enough mass remaining to fire a cartridge reliably.

North Bender
October 8, 2007, 01:22 PM
Nice reports Wrangler.

I was suprised to find that my CZ-83 had the same felt recoil as my Maks. It is slightly bigger and more ergonomic and I had assumed that would lessen the bite. My 83 handles and points somewhat better than my Maks, but the biggest reason for me to prefer the Mak over the 83 concerns the dissambly issues you described.

October 8, 2007, 01:26 PM
I was suprised to find that my CZ-83 had the same felt recoil as my Maks.

They aren't that far apart in weight. By a smidgeon I prefer the Mak.

October 8, 2007, 04:29 PM
You'll be very happy with the Makarov. I've also heard good things about the CZ-82 and 83.

October 8, 2007, 04:31 PM
Passed up a Russian Baikal 380 Mak this afternoon. Could have gotten it for $175, but thought I'd wait and get another 9X18 later.

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