Too many .380s! 9x18mak has a chance!


January 18, 2010, 03:13 PM
Yet another subcompact handgun has come out in the extremely hard to find .380 ACP. .380 ACP has been in terribly short supply with no relief in sight for over a year now. Cheap ammo in this caliber seems to be nearing $20 USD for a 50rd box. However, 9x18makarov is still pretty easy to find. The price for 9mm Mak has gone up, true. But at roughing half the price and over twice as easy to find as .380. Even quality defensive loads can be bought in the US. I've seen many stores with hornady HPs and interestingly some of the steel case russian HPs have tested to have solid expansion and penetration. This round is not dead. There is plenty of demand for it as a defensive and sporting caliber world round. I keep seeing all these nice new .380 handguns coming out. Of a surprising range of sizes. Would it kill a company to build a nice light polymer frame subcompact or PPK sized 9mm Mak?

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January 18, 2010, 03:31 PM
It might... A quick Google shopping search revealed:
Hornady 91002 XTP Pistol 9x18 Makarov 95Gr JHP

January 18, 2010, 03:40 PM
Would it kill a companyProbably.

I doubt the demand is there as long as surplus PA-63's and CZ-82's are selling for less then $150 bucks.
Hard to compete with that kind of competition.

There is also the American mentality that equates the 9mm MAK with cheap & crude communist guns.
Either you love Makorev's, or you hate them.

I just can't see a company spending the money necessary for design, R&D, and tooling for a gun that would have to compete with the cheap surplus guns, and in all likelihood, have to sell for as much as the same companies 9mm Luger pistols.


January 18, 2010, 03:52 PM
I don't see any NON-Surplus 9x18 Makarovs being built by any Major or Minor gun makers in the West. If they aren't making 10mm's and 357 Sig's then they probably won't venture into a not common, not overly popular caliber.

Would it kill them? Probably not. Would it be finacially worth it to them? Probably not.

Also some of the best 9x18 ammo we had has dried up, is no longer imported or has been discontinued.

Silver Bear is OK ammo, Hornady is actually kind of weak for the 9x18 caliber.

The Corbon JHP was some of the best ammo made (discontinued).
PS Grand was an excellent, well made, and "hot" FMJ (no longer imported).
And Barnaul has gone through so many changes its hard to say if its still as good as it once was. (The one handed shooter box version was good stuff)

This excellent post by North Bender over at the Makarov Forum documents most of the previous and current ammo choices we have and have had. Compare some on the list to what is available today.

Ron James
January 18, 2010, 03:56 PM
I would have to agree with RC, why waste money on an cartridge that is used only in one country ( except for the cheap imports and those will soon dry up ) and offers no real advantage over the current .380. Even Russia and their former satellite prisoners are moving away from the 9X18, so in effect it is an obsolete cartridge.

January 18, 2010, 04:27 PM
I also don't know about the "no relief in sight" comment either. I've had no trouble finding .380acp in my area for the past couple of months. Since Nov. I've bought up a fair bit of Remington and WWB FMJ for range work, saw stacks of Speer Gold Dot JHP's in one store, and a big stack of Remington Golden Sabre JHPs in another (bought myself 50 rounds of that this weekend). Sure, it's still more hit and miss then some other calibers, but I'm not talking about a few scattered boxes - I mean shelf fulls of it, and consistently so for the past 8-10 weeks or so.

January 18, 2010, 05:12 PM
It can be had, sure, but it's through-the-roof expensive. The last box I saw for sale locally was a box of Sellier and Bellot and it was going for $36.00 for a box of 50 fmj. A little much for me. I remeber buying Winchester white box for $12 a box before Obama reared his ugly head. Ah, the good ol' days...

January 18, 2010, 05:50 PM
I doubt any major American gunmaker will make a pistol in that caliber. I think the folks that import the Saigas from Russia would be nuts not to try to import Makarovs. I got on the Bandwagon early getting a East German Mak during the "Soviet Empire Going Out of Business Sale." I had a little problem with a safety and after fixing and test firing it, the gunsmith ardently begged me to sell it to him. Sorry pal, no deal. Back then they were exotic curiosities from the east. Now, most gunners know they are good and pay real money for them. Most of the other former Eastbloc military guns in 9mm Mak are pretty good too.

January 18, 2010, 07:18 PM
It can be had, sure, but it's through-the-roof expensive

Proportionately, .45acp has gone up far more in the last year or so. I can get 50 rounds of .380 FMJ for $21.99 which is not bad to my mind. About the same as .38spl in my neck of the woods. But, looking at online prices, it does vary quite a bit, so I can see your point if it is up over $30/box where you are.

January 18, 2010, 07:27 PM
Rileys in Hookset NH loaded with .380 ammo this weekend. $19.95.

harmon rabb
January 19, 2010, 06:11 AM
.380 isn't hard to find anymore...

January 19, 2010, 10:09 AM
Almost any 9x18mak handgun could be able to fire .380 with the exchange of a barrel and possibly a recoil spring. 1mm difference in length and 0.2mm in width of the cartridge.

Looking on world guns there are several modern 9x18mak handguns being produced in Europe/Asia. I don't think it will die for a long time. Its still smaller and softer recoiling than a 9x19mm and thus can be fit into a smaller cheaper package(I think this is the key here). The .380 could be called obsolete too. However, many handguns have been coming out for it. The demand is there. A maker could make a .380 that is slightly overbuilt and with allowances for the extra size of the 9x18 and then sell for both with only minor differences. The CZ-83s in 9x18mak have generally not lasted long when for sale here.

Marlin 45 carbine
January 19, 2010, 10:21 AM
haveing shot both .380acp and 9Mak into wet stacked cardboard the 9Mak comes out a clear winner in damage done. silver bear 9Mak vs Win .380acp.

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