Handguns and Ammunition Forum banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,867 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is an older article and since then I've reshot the ammo mentioned and got essentially the same results. Still, it might be of interest to some.

Hello. It's been my observation that within the handgunning community there exists a contingent of folks enjoying no pistol more than their trusty 9x18mm Makarovs. Some own no other handgun(s) as they find the little Mak meeting their perceived needs. Not too far from the top on many
handgunners' lists sets "self-defense."

I've made no secret that I have found the Makarov to be a most dependable and surprisingly accurate pistol and consider it a "best buy" for people wanting a dependable pistol that is inexpensive though not cheap. I've also stated that I consider the .380 ACP and 9x18mm Makarov just a bit "light" for my own preferences to minimal "power" requirements for a defensive handgun; I still hold that view.

(If interested, some comparsions between the 2" .38, 9mm Mak, and .380 ACP can be found here:

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/Compari...mMa karovetc.htm )

So what?

Where is it written that every person must agree with me?

Though I consider a .38 Special 2" using 158-gr. LSWCHP +P ammunition my personal "minimum," others do not. This can be for a myriad of reasons. Some do not feel comfortable with but 5 shots before reloading. Others don't favor the revolver while some find the snub's recoil objectionable. There is also price. I think we get considerably more quality for our $150 to $200 spent on a Makarov than we would for almost any other pistol. (One exception might just be the little Bersa Thunder, but I'm not yet convinced that it will hold up to as much shooting as the similarly-priced Mak. I may be wrong.)

I decided to take a break from 1911's that I've been shooting extensively and take a look at the Makarov purely in terms of self defense. I've said about all I intend to on caliber or ballistics. Folks can make up their own minds on that.

My intention was to see what I could do "cold" with the Makarov after extensively shooting 1911's for several months with regard to:

1. DA/SA transition: (Is it the bugaboo it's sometime's portrayed as?)

2. Accuracy: (I already know the answer to that one, but wanted to present results from SA-only, DA-only, and groups fired DA for the first shot with subsequent shots fired SA. Slow-fire groups were fired as well.)

3. Sight Enhancement: Does it help? Is it worth the cost?
Does it really make any significant difference? To this end I fired the same drills using a Bulgarian Mak using the old "Beast Conversion" which is a Bulgarian slide fitted with Novak 3-dot fixed sights and an unaltered E. German gun.

I purposely am not comparing the Makarov to more potent
calibers in similar or even smaller guns. It's my view that such is tangential to caliber preference and the decision of the individual.

The Makarov is being shot against the Makarov, period.

I suspect that many "Makarovnics" shoot Barnaul ammunition and all shots fired were with their 95-gr. JHP.
The cost of this ammunition does allow the shooter to
practice with the same ammunition that he might choose to carry. (FWIW, I have chronographed and tested many rounds of this and have no problems with it for defensive use in this caliber. I am not saying it's the best. I am strongly suggesting that it's better than I ever expected.)


The first shots fired were with the EG Mak having the small factory sights. I shot at a line of 6 falling plates. I fired 6 shots at speed to clear the line from 7 yards. The first shot was double-action as the gun would be carried. I
tried it again, but fired all shots single-action. It was approximately 3/4 - second faster. How much difference will this make in the real world? It depends on the situation.



I repeated the drill using the Novak-sighted Bulgarian. I found that for me, I could get hits quicker both single and double-action with the larger sights.

I then shot both guns slow-fire and single-action only at 10 yards, standing and with a 2-hand hold. A total of ten shots per gun were fired.


While the group with the Bulgarian "Beast" is a bit tighter than the factory-sighted EG, when we introduce human error, I consider the groups equivalent. In dimmer light, I suspect that the larger sights would prove advantageous.


Eight rounds were fired from the Bulgarian at 10 yards. The first shot was DA with subsequent rounds being SA. The first shot is the highest one in the group. Each shot was fired as quickly as I could get a "flash sight picture."


The same thing was done with the EG Makarov. The first shot fired is at the lower left of the group. I used the "9" as the aiming point.

I intended to fire the following groups at 10 yards, but inadvertently moved to the 7 yard line and had begun shooting before I realized my mistake. The following groups consist of 10 shots each and were fired double-action for each shot. I lowered the gun between shots and decocked the pistol before firing the next shot.
Each shot was fired as quickly as a "flash sight picture" could be obtained.


Here are the results for the E. German...


...and the Bulgarian. I "threw" the shot at the far left and knew it when it happened; my fault and not the gun's...

I had forgotten how pleasant the Makarov, particularly with Pearce grips, is to shoot.


You can see that the gun's just been fired and has already cycled back into battery. The trigger's not yet even been released for another shot and it's back on target using my off-hand. Quick recoil-recovery might be of importance in a defensive situation and the Makarov seems to have it.

As expected, there were no failures to feed, extract, or eject in today's shooting.

I decided to "limp wrist" the Makarov for a few shots and see if I could make it malfunction. Both of my guns have Wolff 19-lb. recoil springs.


I fired this gun with my off-hand and very weak grip. Notice that the slide's already cycled and it's ready to go again.


Tricky to photograph, you can see that the Makarov has ejected the fired case with the slide not yet forward. My grip was quite "limp" and no malfunction.

I repeated this for 9 shots. Results: Zero malfunctions.

Translation: Though obviously a limited "test" it appears that folks unable to provide a really strong grip probably don't have to worry about "limp wrist" grips causing problems as they can in some pistols. The E. German Makarov performed just as the Bulgarian: flawlessly in these attempts to cause a malfunction. It also re-enforced the Makarov's reputation for reliability in my opinion. Reliability is considered essential in a weapon for protection.

My shooting is not the best and many can do both tighter groups and quicker shooting. Some cannot, but perhaps this admittedly limited "test" can provide some insight as to whether or not one wants to use the Mak as is or "upgrade" the sights. This depends on what one perceives as necessary on his own pistol relative to his eyesight or personal likes.

I suggest that the costs involved for higher visibility sights are worth it. Some will disagree, citing that such costs about as much as the gun if the slide is reblued. They are very correct, but I think the Makarov is that good and well worth the investment.

In my own case, my 53 year old eyes simply do better with the larger sights when there's any emphasis on quick shooting. This very well may not be true for many others.

There is a difference in speed when shooting either double-action-only or transitioning from DA to SA, but I did not find it terribly difficult at all. Were I to practice as much with the Makarov as I do 1911's and Hi Powers, it would probably be easier... and I may just spend some time on that.

These two Makarovs once again demonstrated that the "Commie Pot Metal" pistols have excellent intrinsic accuracy commensurate with their extreme reliability.

Many of us own more expensive guns. I do and they're shot frequently and treated with proper cleaning and maintanence. So are my Makarovs; they may not be expensive, but neither are the "cheap."

The Makarov sits as a top performer in my observation for people not insisting upon the lightest weight or smallest dimensions in a pistol that can be fed inexpensively and shot lots. Ammunition costs are relatively low and allow for lots of practice. Placement is power and it's easy to get with the Makarov.

This pistol does not sit as my first choice for a "serious" pistol, but it isn't anywhere near the bottom either.

Hopefully this limited test will be of use to folks considering the Makarov as a carry or home defense pistol and let them more easily decide if they want to alter the sights, grips, or leave the gun stock.

Best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
645 Posts
Stephen,

Thank you very much for repeating this article, very informative, and very well written, and the photo's you added are excellent. I own two Bulgarian Mak's and both are stock, and I too find them to be well made and and very good shooters. I understand and appreciate the Novak sights, however, I have left both of my Bulgie Mak's stock, just my personal choice, I only have $180 in each of mine, and don't feel the need to improve, as your article brought out. Again thanks!!!

Papabear
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
363 Posts
Very interesting post, Mr. Camp.

I have two Mak's. An East German Modell M fitted with the Pearce grip and a Russian Mak with the adjustable rear sight.

The EG Mak is much nicer finished and has a better trigger than the Russian. Accuracy with Hungarian made MFS 94 grain FMJ is almost identical. I have several boxes of the now discontinued Corbon 95 gr JHP which would be my choice for serious social purposes. I've never tried the Barnual and after reading your post, I'm going to have to order some from Midway.

I'm set up to handload the 9x18 Mak. I've got several hundred boxer primed MFS cases on hand and I bought a 500 count box of 93 gr LRN bullets from Midway. My Hornady dies do a very satisfactory job with the LRN and Sierra 95 gr JHP's. Sadly, Sierra has discontinued this bullet. I'm hoping that the Hornady 95 gr XTP works as well.


Roadster
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,867 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello, sir. In the XTP line of bullets that I've tried, 115 and 124-gr in 9mm, 147-gr. in 38 Super, 125 and heavier in .357 magnum, 180-gr. in .44 Special and 230-gr. in .45 ACP, the 95-gr. 9x18mm seems to be built to expand more like the aggressive-expanding JHP's than the 1.5Xcaliber seen with most XTP's.

Best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
160 Posts
I got a CZ 83 a couple months ago but my range was closed for most of the summer for repairs. I finally got to the range a couple days ago and I took the CZ and my E.G. Mak.

While the CZ is nice and has much better sights, It turns out I was shooting noticeably better with my Mak, especially when I changed to a 6:00 hold.

Ed

P.S. My Mak has a very nice action, thanks to Teddy and fluorescent paint on the sights.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
180 Posts
+1 SpecialEd - fluorescent paint on the front sight! I swear my Bulgy is one of my most accurate handguns (even next to my 1911's or my Glock) regardless of the stock sights.

The fluorescent gathers light and just make's aquiring a target so much easier. Stuffed with 115 gr Silver Bear, I have no qualms about the self defense abilities of this pistol.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Hello Mr. Camp:

Your article on the self-defense properties of the Makarov is the most popular, well-read thread on the Gunboards Makarov forum:

http://www.gunboards.com/forums/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=3

Concerning the ammunition that you used here: you state you shot Barnaul, and I assume you used the Barnaul that came in a blue box? That is no longer available, and Russian-imported 9x18 is changing brand labels almost daily. The Barnaul plant is now producing the Silver Bear 9x18 FMJ and HP, both at 94-grain (Silver Bear used to be made at the LVE plant). Apparently Barnaul is also making Brown Bear FMJ in 95-grain, although I don't know if that's become available yet. The new Silver Bear I've used seemed accurate and reliable to me.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top