Type Semi-automatic Pistol
Weight 730g
Length 161mm
Barrel Length 95.25mm
Rifling 4 grooves, RH
Magazine Capacity 8 cartridges
Caliber 9 x 18mm Makarov
Muzzle Velocity 325 meters/second
Effective Range 40m
In Production 1952-
Country of Origin Russia


Adopted by the Soviet armed forces in 1951, the Makarov is a double-action, semi-automatic pistol, which was based on the highly successful German Walther PP model. It is still manufactured in former Eastern Bloc countries.

The Walther PP double-action semi-automatic pistol design inspired many imitators after World War II. the most often seen is the Russian Makarov and it’s other Eastern Bloc. Developed by Nikolai Makarov, this pistol was the post-war successor to the old Browning inspired Tokarev TT33 and TT30. The Soviet Government has a very sensible view to weapons development: if a design worked well, regardless of its origin, appropriate it for one’s use. In that way, the Soviet Union could spend its time and resources on production, not redundant invention.

The Makarov cartridge, the 9 x 18mm Makarov, also claimed German ancestry. In 1941, Walther attempted to develop a personal handgun for the Luftwaffe, called project Ultra. The blowback-operated pistol was to fall between the Walther PP, and the Walther P38 is size. The new 9mm cartridge, the 9mm Ultra, would fall somewhere between the 9mm Kurz (.380 ACP) and the 9mm Parabellum in power. Because of pressures to produce more Walther P38s, the project was never completed. However, when the Russians took over the Walther plant in Zella-Mehlis at the end

of the war, it appears they¬†took note of the experimental pistol and its cartridges. The 9 x 18mm Makarov cartridge is probably the most powerful round that can safely be used in a blowback operated pistol of the Makarov’s size. It was also used in several other weapons, such as the Stechkin Machine Pistol (right), a larger Walther PP knock-off that can be used with a shoulder stock in semi- or full-auto modes. Like most select-fire pistols, the Stechkin was only marginally controllable, even with the shoulder stock, with a cyclic rate of 725 rounds/minute.


After the resumption of arms imports from the former Eastern Bloc, large quantities of both new and used Makarovs were brought into the United States. American-made 9 x 18mm Makarov ammunition is readily available for this sturdy, reliable pistol. Also, ‘Americanized’ Makarovs chambered for .380 ACP are also available.


Exploded Makarov Drawing (click to enlarge)


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