article on Makarov's in japan


March 1, 2008, 02:54 PM
The Russian guns are coming
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Mark Schreiber

Outside its country of manufacture, the Russian-made Marakov pistol is not an especially familiar sight to police organizations. Up to 1999, a grand total of five had been seized in Japan. But between January and the end of April 2001 alone, reports the Sankei Shimbun (July 1), the number of confiscations soared to 69.

The inescapable conclusion: gun runners from the Russian Far East are smuggling large numbers of Makarov pistols into Japan, and its availability is probably behind the recent spree of shootouts between yakuza gangs.

Among the major hauls by police were 10 pistols and 150 cartridges aboard the JR's Osaka-bound "Twilight Express" sleeper from Sapporo last January, and 20 pistols plus 73 cartridges aboard a freight ship in Otaru port last April.

The National Police Agency fears that several thousands of the handguns may have already been smuggled into the country.

The .38 caliber Makarov was developed for the Soviet military and police in the 1950s to succeed the larger Tokarev. Its design was also copied by other East European nations, particularly Bulgaria and East Germany. Although compact, it is said to be powerful.

Stores of the weapon are believed to have been sold off from military arms depots by soldiers in need of cash, and spread via the Russian Mafia to Europe and other areas.

Because the largest number of Marakovs confiscated so far have been in Hokkaido, it is believed Japan's northernmost island is the main conduit for the inflow for the handguns. Although the street price for the handgun in Russia is between 500 to 700 U.S. dollars, the Sankei reports a seller willing to take the risk can command nearly 10 times those figures in Japan - from 500,000 to 600,000 yen.

Several recent crimes, including the murder of an obstetrician in Gifu Prefecture in January and shootings of a taxi in Fukuoka City in May, are believed to have involved Marakovs. The weapon used in the Gifu slaying was traced to a gangster in Shinjuku, Tokyo, who allegedly paid 800,000 for it last October.

July 4, 2001

i really think thats interesting. that much for a black market pistol in russia!

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Tom Bri
March 1, 2008, 05:03 PM
Huh. Price must be a mistake, at least the Russian price. I can't imagine that when the US price is so much lower.

You would think black market guns in Japan would be cheaper too, as easy as guns are to make with pretty basic machine tools.

A few years back the Aum Shinrikio was making their own automatic weapons, knock-offs of AKs if I recall correctly.

Maybe being a gangster doesn't lend itself to mechanical aptitude?

March 1, 2008, 05:17 PM
well,that explains where the magazines are,i guess.

March 1, 2008, 05:26 PM
Weird that the prices are so high.

I hope this doesn't serve for a ban on the things here, though--since Maks are OBVIOUSLY the weapon of choice for crime here in the US....

March 1, 2008, 05:41 PM
I love that 150 cartridges is a "major haul." A few weeks ago I picked up about 100 Makarov shells at the range -- now I'm set to be a Japanese crime lord!

Agreed with those saying the prices seem odd -- a Makarov in the U.S. (as of now) costs WAY less than they're saying is the on-the-street price in Russia. Seems strange to me. Maybe Max P. can shed some light :)


March 2, 2008, 01:36 AM
Weird that the prices are so high.

not really. it's a sellers market. chris rock said something once about if bullets were a $100, then crime would decrease, b/c you would really have to hate someone A LOT to spend that much to kill them.

March 2, 2008, 06:37 AM
Please note that a Yen is about 1 cent. So, 500,000 Yen is around $5000. Waaay too high for a russian job, but then again, you're dealing with black market in a banned country, and organized crime bankrolls.

March 2, 2008, 10:37 AM
Interesting that the original article was written in 2001.

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