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Range Report: Custom Makarov 9x18mm

2513 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  auldpharght
Hello. A time back I bought a new, commercial Bulgarian Makarov for about $150 and then spent that amount again for the "Beast" slide, which was simply a new Bulgarian slide with Novak fixed sights added. The slide is then matte blued. To many, this didn't make sense, but I simply couldn't use the tiny sights that came on the pistol, although I could tell it would group.

The Pistol: Other than the slide w/sights and a Wolff conventional 19lb recoil spring rather than the factory 17 lb, the gun's stock. The pistol came with the rubber stocks, but had the plastic ones in the package as well. I believe that the rubber stocks are by Pearce.

"Beast" slide front sight.

Rear sight.

From the top.

No action work has been done on the pistol and while smooth, the DA pull is heavier and the SA pull breaks surprisingly clean.

Ammunition Used:

?LVE "Makarov" 6 G ball, which I assume is about 95 grains. (1043 ft/sec)

Fiocchi 95 gr FMJ (1018 ft/sec)

Corbon +P 95 gr JHP (1098 ft/sec)

Hornady 95 gr XTP (937 ft/sec)

(The figures in italics are the averaged 10-shot velocities chronographed from this pistol @ 10 ft.)

Shooting: Let's just get this out of the way up front; there were zero malfunctions with any of the ammunition tried and the gun shoot much, much better than I expected.

The two bullseye targets on the left were fired standing w/2-hand hold at 10 yards and were all fired single-action. 15 rounds were fired at each. The top round is the "LVE" ball while the lower is the Fiocchi ball. The B27 center at the right was also fired at 10 yards and consisted of single-action singles fired as quickly as a sight picture could be obtained and the trigger pressed. "LVE" was used on the B27 target.

However, this pistol does not allow for Condition One "cocked & locked" carry so I fired 10 rnds the same way as above, but double-action.

I was very surprised at the results considering that while smooth, the DA pull is long.

It became obvious, that I'd underestimated this gun's capabilities as I'd chosen 10 yards for the test distance rather than the usual 15, 25, and 50 yard ranges.

Below is a 25 yard target fired with the same "LVE" ammunition. It was fired standing w/2-hand hold and consists of 20 shots.

With the JHPs (Corbon and Hornady), only 5-shot groups were fired @ 10 yards. Didn't have much of the stuff.

Either groups fine, but so has everything else so far!

Observations: The gun "shoots." This was my first "serious" efforts with this pistol and I was more than a little pleasantly surprised.

Though not a first-choice for defensive purposes, it is in the same general class as some of the .38 Special loads fired from 2" snubs and I find the heavy-for-caliber Makarov pistol much more fun to shoot than my S&W airweight snubs. It's easier to hit with as well.

Even though there are several 9x19mm pistols that are smaller as well as lighter, the Makarov is a reliable, accurate pistol that could serve for defensive use if called upon.

For me, I see it as a plinker and fun gun that is inexpensive, but not "cheap."

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For me, I see it as a plinker and fun gun that is inexpensive, but not "cheap."
That sums is up very well. I've had mine for a few years and while I do have a carry holster for it, the majority of the time it is just a fun gun for the range. While I have NO doubts about its reliability I would rather carry a more powerful cartridge (and more of them) for the same size & weight.

Hello and thank you. Sometimes I think that I might forget a guy can just shoot for fun, too; defensive considerations don't always have to be the main object.

That's it? Spend that kind of money on a TRULY marginal pistol
and that's all you get? That's no bargin in my book!!!

Sorry' I got carried away. (I have 2 of them).
Still wouldn't put a dime into one.
I would. I don't know about buying a new slide with Novaks on it... but maybe if a local gunsmith could cut a dovetail to fit in a better front sight, I'd have it done on mine. I had a gunsmith in VA that would do that for me for about 50 bucks plus the sights. At that rate, it would be well worth it.
Mine is a polished blue, but it's pitted and scratched up a bit. I'm thinking about getting some Gun-Kote and refinishing it myself.
Either option or both is well worth it.
Oh, and don't forget about those nice wood grips and fixed rear sight on (Mine is a Russian Commercial) which would go very well with this package.
The guns are not Cheap, just not expensive... because they are wonderfully accurate, rugged, and utterly reliable. With a little tweaking you can make a perfectly competent little underdog into a fine defensive weapon/target gun.
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I took out my Truly Marginal Pistol this morning. I lit off 400 rounds. Not a single hitch. Not a hint of a problem. The gun just hammered every round... and every round went right where I was wanting it to go.
Few times have I ever gone out and shot so many rounds in such a short period of time. My thumbs hurt from reloading, and the pistol was smoking hit... literaly.

Yeah, Maks are marginal.
Maks don't needanything bolted on, dinked with, or changed out to be an excellent handgun.

Right from the original country's armory, they're well designed, well-made, accurate, sturdy and dependable - battle-proven.

They're small, concealable, ultimately safe, powerful and easy to shoot.

I know of no other weapon with so many attributes, for so little money.

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