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Blowback 9-ish as first handgun, and which

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Pnyx, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. Pnyx

    Pnyx Member

    So, I've already shot rifles with friends without too much issue, mostly yugoslav and soviet surplus (yugo mauser, mosin-nagant, yugo sks). I'm a tall, but not particularly strong, woman, supposedly average. I can handle the mosin-nagant recoil, and the bolt. I'd like to get a handgun, and would rather not spend that much on it.

    Through this site, I found a place offering the Bulgarian Pistolet Makarova for relatively cheap. Which is appealing both for the price (I run on a student budget) and the theme above. I know it's often recommended to start with a .22, but the only 22 I know, the Ruger, is well above my budget if I'm going to buy ammo on top - I probably wouldn't mind if people had advice. The alternative I had in mind was a Bersa Thunder 380 which would be a bit costlier than the Makarov and the ammo itself would run pricier (iirc 9mm short runs almost twice the price of 9mm Makarov).

    I'm also unsure from a recoil point of view. I know the Makarov is about half a pound heavier than the Thunder, although it's actually physically smaller (less long, less tall, less thick, but with a longer barrel). I'm unsure which of the two options is actually better for handgun recoil. I specified blowback because I prefer the simplicity of design involved in these semiautos while not going all the way to the revolver in terms of ”minimalism”.
  2. Sauer Grapes

    Sauer Grapes Well-Known Member

    You don't mention concealed carry, so I'll assume it's for the range. If you look around, you can get a used Ruger MKII or III for about 220.00. The S&W 22A is right around the same price new. The price of a firearm will pail in comparison to the money you'll spend on ammo.
    Get yourself a .22cal pistol, and you'll be able to shoot more for less.
    Forget the Bersa .380, that isn't a range gun or a pistol to learn on. They are made to carry a lot and shoot a little.
    Can't comment on the other pistol.
    I have a dozon pistols, and shoot my .22's just as much as anything. Lot of fun shooting and they're cheap to shoot.
    Good luck
  3. Spec ops Grunt

    Spec ops Grunt Well-Known Member

    Makarov would be an excellent choice, not much recoil, and ammo is cheap.

    They never break either. PM is probably one of my favorite gun designs, reliable as an AK, and super accurate to boot!
  4. Pnyx

    Pnyx Member

    I was actually considering the possibility of concealed carry as well. Hence the two models I mentioned; I'm honestly tall and long-legged enough that I think an underskirt holster could hide pretty much anything (I'm probably exaggerating), and for skirtless times and winter, under a cardigan, or jacket works - plus I have a knife and pepper spray normally)

    But yeah, I think the range would be as important, if not more.

    I admit I like the design visually, too.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
  5. PabloJ

    PabloJ Well-Known Member

    If the Makarov could handle cartridge with case just 1mm longer it would be quite a handgun. I hate when Makarov shooters come to shoot old Eastern Euro junk ammo at indoor range they make the place smell like old poorly ventilated cow barn.
  6. NG VI

    NG VI Well-Known Member

    Well... A locked breech pistol isn't really any more complicated than a blowback, all a blowback system means is it will have a heavier recoil spring than even a more powerfully chambered locked breech system, and it is limited in chamberings.

    9mm Mak has some cheap surplus ammunition out there, at least it used to, but for current production centerfire rounds, nothing is cheaper than 9mm Parabellum. It seems like you just really want a Makarov, and by all means what you actually want is probably the most important criteria, but I would definitely check out all the high quality used and not used 9mms we have around.
  7. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

    Recoil is a very relative term, but all blowback pistols have a certain unpleasant slap to them. I'd shoot one before buying. You may not enjoy it...

    It takes about 5000 rounds to become proficient with a handgun. That's why so many people recommend a .22 as your first buy. 5000 rounds of .22 will cost you about $200. 5000 rounds of 9mm Mak will cost you about $1500.

    Having a gun doesn't make you safe. Having a gun and knowing how to use it makes you safe.

    My advice is to buy a Ruger or Buckmark and shoot those 5000 rounds under a variety of conditions with some knowledgeable people. Then buy a self defense gun.
  8. almherdfan

    almherdfan Well-Known Member

    Where are you willing to compromise? The .22LR is gonna be less then .04/round, whereas the 9x18 (or 9x19) is gonna be a round .19/round, and .380 is closer to .25/round.

    You can find good .22LR, .380, 9mm Makarov, 9mm lugar pistols in the same price range. The recoil will depend on the pistol, but unless you get a mouse gun, it's not gonna be that different.

    I'd go with a .22LR. You should be able to get a pre-owned Ruger for 200 or so. Heck, consider a Heritage arms .22/.22wmr convertiable which run about 200. I have a phoenix arms .22 that has worked very well for me and goes for about 125-new. You can get a longer barrell that will make it a better range gun and use the short barrell for pocket carry.

    If you wanna go centerfire, the Mak is a very nice choice. I like the Bersa, but the expense of .380 is a factor. You might find a nice used 9mm Ruger p-series for 250 or less.

    Have fun & be safe.
  9. orionengnr

    orionengnr Well-Known Member


    If you actually shoot, the price of ammo quickly becomes the determining factor. It is easy to overlook, as the purchase price of a gun is an "all-at-once" expense, and ammo is a "bit at a time" expense, but do the math as quoted above...

    My .22s have paid for themselves long ago, and continue to pay dividends every week.
  10. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Well-Known Member

    Try a few handguns and find one that you like, there are a number of inexpensive used pistols, like the sig, S&W, Rugar and even glock police trade-ins.
  11. Pnyx

    Pnyx Member

    Regarding the .22 advice: I actually didn't realize the ammo was cheap; I'd only seen that the Ruger .22 was almost 400 and that it was more than I was ready to spend on a single handgun. I'm admittedly surprised at the 5,000 rounds thing, because a lot of rifle barrels are pretty much shot after maybe 4,000-8,000 (like I said, I've never tried handguns seriously; tried once more or less :p). But thanks. Also I have considered alternatives (a friend of mine has suggested the CZ-85 because I'm a lefty, for one)

    Self-defence is honestly a secondary concern in that, although it can always be useful.
  12. NG VI

    NG VI Well-Known Member

    The CZs are phenomenal, they have a kind of long reach to the trigger in double action mode, but then they can be carried cocked and locked and on the range it's irrelevant because you have all the time in the world.

    On top of that, with one of the CZs you can also buy a Kadet kit, it is probably the best .22 conversion kit out there, and is a great stand-alone .22 aas well. Cost you $7-800 all together, but then you have all the cheap practice you want out of the Kadet and a very capable pistol in an efficient defense caliber, that is also pretty cheap.
  13. NG VI

    NG VI Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah- The Kadet works beautifully on the PCR and P-01 as well. And it looks superb on the PCR.

    Those are both probably better carry pistols than the fullsize 75 or 85, they are compact versions with alloy frames.
  14. rkammer

    rkammer Well-Known Member

    I don't think you could ask for a better choice than the Makarov. They are amazingly reliable, easy to shoot, low recoil, and ammo is cheap and becoming more plentiful as time goes by. And, you can pick one up for about $200 - $250. :)
  15. mgmorden

    mgmorden Well-Known Member

    The CZ-82 is a very, very good gun. Not without a few flaws, but they're pretty minor and not even worth mentioning within the price range they're going for.

    I will say though that the Makarov looks VERY interesting too. I can't comment on them personally as I've never actually shot one, but I do want one. IMHO with the right grips they could be slimmer than the CZ-82, which would be a plus on concealed carry (the 82's slide is super thin but IMHO the grip is a bit on the thick side).
  16. antiquus

    antiquus Well-Known Member

    I have a CZ-82 and a PA-63 and I love them both. However...

    The ammo to buy is Silver Bear, HP's are $10/50 at online places. There's cheaper, just not much cheaper, and the advantage is you can shoot what you carry, so you know what the gun will do. For auto's, shooting what you carry is a must.

    If the CZ was 9mm and came with a made in Germany label, you'd pay $600 for it, $400 used. It's a sweet gun, made to shoot and made to last. BUT - it's a heavy piece for a carry piece - 32oz or 2 lbs, wide double stack grip. If it's purse carry, then ok. but packing this on a hip is better done with a wide thick serious gun belt.

    The PA is an aluminum frame, very nice carrying gun, mine needed a trigger spring to tame a 24lb DA pull (not unusual I understand) but single stack thin and 21 oz., easy to conceal and light to carry. But I wouldn't put 1000 rounds a month through it with that frame.

    Both of them are reliable as hell. The PA can be found for less than $200 easily, the CZ probably $50 more.

    Maks in general are climbing in price, 'real Maks' that is the original Mak pattern (Makarov PM, or copies made in Germany or Bulgaria mostly) are fairly compact single stack, 26oz, reliable, rugged but word has gotten around and they all seem to cost $300 now. They are a little rough compared to the CZ, but they are absolutely functional, like all Russian gun designs. I'm still looking for one myself.

    Last but not least is the Polish P-64 and P-83 if you can find them, less well known and therefore probably cheaper. the P-64 is the smallest Mak type, and only the PA-63 is lighter. The P-83 is size and weight of the standard Russian pattern.

    Except for the CZ, stiff triggers are frequent for any of these, and make sure you can handle the pull, get the gun in hand and dry fire it. Know also that springs are made for all these models to tame trigger pull, the change in my PA was dramatic, the spring change easy, and changed an unworkable gun into a very nice carry piece for $7.

    Not a simple situation, but now you know. You don't sound like a 'eww I broke a nail' type of woman, and a Mak might be a great choice for you,. :)
  17. harmon rabb

    harmon rabb Well-Known Member

    You couldn't go wrong buying a Makarov. Cheap, dead nuts reliable, decent trigger, small enough to carry.

    CZ-82's are cheaper these days and are also great guns, but if you want that Mak, by all means, buy it.

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