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Your opinion on Makarov as a carry weapon ?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Wanderling, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. Wanderling

    Wanderling Well-Known Member

    Makarov, from everything I read, seems to be a very reliable gun. It's also fairly inexpensive - the new ones seem to go for around $280. That's about the range of Bersa / Taurus. But Mak seems to have a special reputation for ruggedness and reliability.

    So, the question - would it make a good carry gun ? I.e. is it compact enough, and is the round powerful enough for self defense (assuming use of JHP ammo).

    Also if you have any recommendations on where to find them at a better price.

    Thanks !
  2. mgmorden

    mgmorden Well-Known Member

    I have one of the Imez commercial Makarov's in .380 that I occasionally carry. It works fine, but I have a few issues with it (none of them show stoppers). For one, its wide for what it is. Don't get me wrong IN GENERAL it's a thin gun, but some of the new polymer single stacks squeeze a 9mm into a thinner gun (ie, a Kahr CW9, Ruger LC9, Keltec PF9, etc).

    Mine also has some uncomfortable points - when holstered, the safety and to a lesser degree the lanyard ring rub on my side. That could be solved with some holsters (and replacement grips for the lanyard ring), but it is uncomfortable. When drawn, the underside of the trigger guard also is a bit sharp. It's never cut me, but it is uncomfortable. This might just be an issue on mine though as mine is a commercial Mak which I heard is a bit rougher than the military ones.

    All in all though, like I said: no show stoppers. They're extremely reliable and I have no qualms with the round they fire.

    As to price, I know Wideners has the Bulgarian Makarovs for $219:

  3. Wanderling

    Wanderling Well-Known Member

    Wow, thanks ! This is the best price I've seen yet. Definitely something to think about.
  4. vellocet

    vellocet Well-Known Member

    I like the way Wideners is showing a pa-63 manual with the Mak. The two guns are completely different. The pictured pistol looks pretty beat-up,too. True about the commercial russian mak, tho, it is my least-liked pistol using the 9x18 round.
  5. mgmorden

    mgmorden Well-Known Member

    There's a picture of a PA-63 on the manual. If you read the cover though it's a combo manual for several guns including both the PA-63 and the Makarov distributed by CAI (the importer). They likely just save a good bit of cash combining the printing jobs (and a lot of the standard CYA stuff like firearms safety is the same regardless).

    As to the condition - the pictured one looks fine to my eyes. Pretty standard wear for a military/surplus gun.
  6. Wanderling

    Wanderling Well-Known Member

    What would you recommend, then ?

    I don't want to spend more than $300. The reason being, I've already bought a gun this year, my primarily intent was range / home defense rather than CCW. So I got a Glock 17. I really like it and I will be carrying it whenever I feel like it / am dressed appropriately etc. But it's probably too sizeable for EDC.

    G19 isn't that much smaller. G26 has way too small of a grip. Both are another $500.

    I shot a friends' stubnose Taurus and I hated the short grip.

    Mak is inexpensive, has a full size grip yet seems to be small enough for easy and comfortable concealment. And it's supposed to be dead reliable. I wouldn't trust any $200+ gun with my life, but the combination of cheap+reliable is very tempting.

    The wear doesn't bother me as much. I would hate to scratch my new $500 gun, but a bit of holster wear on a EDC cheap gun is OK.

    What else is out there to consider ?
  7. rule303

    rule303 Well-Known Member

    I carry a PA-63. Different gun, same idea. Large enough to shoot accurately, small enough to carry comfortably, reliable as heck, and cheap. The 9x18 round is no powerhouse, but has proven itself capable.
  8. dovedescending

    dovedescending Well-Known Member

    Consider the CZ 82 if you're interested in the Mak. Same ammo, similar size and weight, but with the added advantage of being able to carry 12+1, a button release for the magazine instead of a heel catch, and a DA/SA setup that allows you to carry in condition 1 if you wish.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  9. gbran

    gbran Well-Known Member

    The Mak is a great platform. They are small enough and reliable. It comes down to whether you feel comfortable with the cartridge.
  10. Wanderling

    Wanderling Well-Known Member

    I guess I am comfortable with the cartridge. It's supposed to be slightly more powerful than .38, but closer to it than to 9mm Luger. To me it sounds like with a JHP ammo it's going to give any potential attacker some serious headache. I don't think I would want to be shot with .22 let alone a bigger caliber. I know there's a lot of people out there who would feel naked with anything less than .40, but if Mak was good enough for the Eastern Block police and military, it should be good enough for self defense me thinks.
  11. mgmorden

    mgmorden Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't personally look at the CZ-82 for concealed carry. I may just be overly picky, but to me my CZ-82 feels a LOT wider then the Makarov. Only possible way I'd think about carrying it would be in a pancake holster under a coat. Definitely not IWB like I wear the Mak. Aside from concealability though, the CZ-82 is definitely a great value.
  12. bdb benzino

    bdb benzino Well-Known Member

    The Mal is great for CC if you are on a budget.
  13. TehK1w1

    TehK1w1 Well-Known Member

    It's an accurate, very reliable gun. It's perfectly adequate for CC as long as you are willing to accept it's shortcomings. Downsides are large size and weight for it's caliber and capacity, and ammo can be hard to find locally.
  14. PabloJ

    PabloJ Well-Known Member

    It took < 10minutes with wire cutter and flat metal file to take care of the so called shortcomings. Metal hand saw could be used instead of wire cutter.
  15. mgmorden

    mgmorden Well-Known Member

    You removed the safety and decreased the gun's width with a metal file? You're good :).

    In all seriousness though, I don't want to remove the lanyard ring on the existing grips, so that's out. I'll eventually get replacement grips to take care of that problem I also don't want to take a file to the trigger guard as they'll mar the finish. Just personally, aside from more or less drop-in replacement/upgrade parts, I usually try to avoid any home-gunsmithing on my guns.
  16. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

    Speaking from personal experience going that route (and I started my own thread nearly identical to this):

    A Makarov is a fine gun. Accurate, reliable, and with an excellent pull-down safety and hammer block until the trigger is pulled. However, it is a little large for concealed carry (particularly in handle length) and maybe a little heavy. It also greatly benefits from a Wolff heavy recoil spring.

    A good alternative, however, is the Polish P-64. It fires the same round, but is quite a bit smaller and more concealable. They're also incredibly cheap, around $170. Its downside is its very heavy double action trigger pull and small sights, as well as rather rude recoil. However, a set of Wolff springs and some SiteGlo paint mostly solve these problems. This is what both I and my father both carry.

    If you want new grips, Marschal Grips are available for BOTH the Makarov and the P-64. These will dramatically improve the look and feel of the gun. They're a MUST for the P-64, as they also serve to make it more comfortable to shoot.
  17. Cactus Jack Arizona

    Cactus Jack Arizona Well-Known Member

    I have two Russian Commercial Makarovs and both of them are great to shoot. I don't have any issues with either of them and they perform beautifully. I'm not really sure what sharp edges the other poster was talking about. Mine are both clean as whistles.

    It is not a pocket pistol by any stretch of the imagination. They are of considerable weight, 27oz. Not sure if that is without the magazine or with a full magazine. However, with a Pearce rubber grip installed it is one of my favorite CCW pistols. If my back is not bothering me I carry it roughly 95% of the time.

    If used for SD, you must pay attention to the ammo brand and type while practicing. In my Maks for instance, Wolf FMJ, Silver Bear FMJ and HP's, and the Hornady XTP HP function great. However, I have accuracy issues when using Brown Bear FMJ.

    Keep in mind, most of the ballistic tests I've seen online do not put a favorable light on the expansion of the Silver Bear HP's. Since I am not a ballistics expert and not able to perform such tests myself, I am only reporting what I have seen online. Your results may vary.

    J&G Sales usually has Bulgarian Makarovs, however their price escapes me at this late hour. Good luck.
  18. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Sure. Why not? Its ballistics are similar to the .38 Special, and while nobody would accuse it of being the Hammer of Thor, it's not exactly anemic or ineffectual, either.

    I've heard horror stories of tweaked-up bad guys absorbing multiple body hits with .38s without effect...but those would likely have happened with .357 Magnums under the same circumstances.
  19. robinkevin

    robinkevin Well-Known Member

    I would suggest you look into the Ruger LC9 or Kel Tec PF9 or P11... The Ruger will run you a little over $300 new but has a little better fit and finish. The Kel Tec PF9 is a fine little thin 9mm which you can always get a extended mag or grip extension for these small autos. Also this way your CC will fire the same ammo as your Glock 17.

    My fear of the 9x18 pistols is look at a lot of the other import pistols that shoot surplus ammo, the surplus is drying up and now they can't find ammo. I don't see this ever being an issue with 9x19 ammo.

    Also remember that $500 Glock is a tool, thats why Glock didn't spend much time making it pretty, its all about function and being built to last. Basically a Glock is design to be used not be a safe queen.
  20. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

    I carry a Bulgarian Makarov sometimes, and also use it as a "car gun". It never hiccups, and is a pretty slim pistol, especially with the original, red star, military grips.

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