The E. German and Bulgarian are true PM Makarov pistols, the Polish is not. It does fire the 9x18 Makarov cartridge but it is a different design. The best Makarovs are E. German but they are also possibly the most expensive. The Bulgarian are fairly cheap, but seem to be good, serviceable pistols.
The only "problem" I have experienced is that different models use slightly different grip screws. Grip makers Pierce and Makawrap) fit specific screws that might not be standard on your pistol. My EG has one kind and Russian (and others) has another. Fortunately they can be readily switched. Other than that, 100% pleasure.
I am late for dinner but I have experience with the EG and Bulgie Maks. If one wants a shooter I don't see a lot of difference between the EG and the Bulgie. Either of these two will keep all shots in a paper plate target at 25 yards. When it comes to finish the EG rivals a Walther and that is nothing to be ashamed of. Again, if I wanted a shooter or car/carry pistol I would go with the Bugie Mak. Regards, Richard
I have a Russian high-capacity 9x18 Makarov that I traded for at a local gun shop. It came with fully adjustable sights that I replaced with an all aluminum fixed rear sight I got from Makarov.com [ www.makarov.com ]. This rear sight is sharp edged which I dehorned and will refinish with Brownell's Aluma-Hyde II. The gun came with an aftermarket 10 rd. magazine, and for $30.00 more I got 2 original Russian 10 rd. magazines and a double magazine pouch, couldn't pass that up.
I would have much preferred a single-stack Bulgarian Makarov, but it's expensive to go that route where I live. What I mean is, gunshops around here either are charging $50.00 (to discourage it) for FFL transfers for internet sales like Makarov.com, are not willing to get setup for such sales, or are not in any hurry to order from distributors that have them -- they'll only order when they get enough orders to split up the cost of shipping over several guns, so they tell me. If you've got a friend with an FFL you're money way ahead.
Absolutely no malfunctions, have only shot Sellior & Bellot hardball. I am waiting to buy Gold Dot JHP's from Georgia Arms [ www.georgia-arms.com ] when they get some made up (they are waiting on bullets). The only "difficulty" I've had was putting the big, thick plastic grips back on the gun, the screw wanted to cross-thread. I had to remove material at the top of the grip that goes up against the frame so the grip could slide upwards slightly. Afterwards, after handling the gun or shootiing the gun there is a small crack between the grip and the frame, no big deal to me. I bought replacement Pearce grips from Makarov.com, had no trouble getting the screw started with them.
I am currently trying to figure out how to make some thin custom grips, the Pearce grips are too thick for CCW use for me. The single-stack Makarovs with the original bakelite grips are the way to go for CCW use, I think.
One thing I have to say about Nikolai Makarov's design is the ingenious way he put a noticeable chunk of steel in the bottom front of the slide. That extra bit of metal keeps muzzle flip to a minimum.
Subjectively, my Makarov does not have that up-and-to-the-left sharp arc that an all-steel Sig P230 .380 had that I used to own. The Makarov is much more pleasant to shoot because of this. Recoil is there but manageable.
I have a Bulgie, an East German and a Russian mismarked PM. My observations are these. First, in terms of workmanship, finish and overall quality the East German is superior. Second, in terms of function and accuracy they are all the same. Comment: There is also a Chinese variant but I have never seen one.