Frequently Asked Questions List

See also the Makarov Basics page

Where did Makarovs come from and what types are there?

To the best of our knowledge, there are only 5 countries that ever produced the Makarov:

If you think you have a Hungarian or Polish Makarov, check the other pistol page.

There are several versions of the Russian Makarov. First of all there are the true surplus guns, which are recognizable by their fixed rear sight and a lack of any non-cyrillic markings including "Made in Russia." Second is the Baikal and Izhmech new production Makarov. These are recognizable by their rear adjustable target sight, "Made in Russia" and Baikal markings. Another variant of this is the 10-round double-stack Makarov, which was also made by Izhmech.

More recently, some of the Russian military Makarovs with fixed rear sights have snuck into the country with shipments of Bulgarian guns.  You can usually spot these by the bifurcated triangle with circle marking.  Some common markings of East German, Soviet, and Bulgarian Maks.

How is Izmech different from Baikal?
IMEZ stands for Izhevskii Mechanicheskii Zavod or Izhevsk Mechanical Factory located in the city of Izhevsk near the Ural Mountains. They produce the Makarov, PSM, various shotguns, airguns, artificial pacemakers for the heart, oil drilling equipment. It is a goverment, state owned enterprise, but has the right to close its own business contracts and deals without govermental interferance.

Baikal is a foreign trade organization this is similar to North China Industries (NORINCO). This was a govermental organization that was used to market Soviet goods abroad. These days Baikal is hardly active in any trade with the US, largely because of the Bill Clinton imposed "voluntary trade restrictions." IMEZ used the grips with Baikal on it because...well, it was all they had.... Baikal also traded autos, trucks, various other consumer goods. Not only guns and ammo.

East Germany
The Ernst Thaelman factory in Suhl, Thueringen made what are considered by some to be the finest pre-fall-of-the-Berlin Wall Makarovs. The finish is nice, the fit and machining is of quality you'd expect from a German shop, and they shoot like a dream. Almost all that came into this country had already seen service, so their quality varies by how they were treated by the person who carried them. Nonetheless, most have more holster wear than bore wear. They occasionally still pop up at dealers and at gun shows. If you can get them for a good price, these are the ones to buy.

Markings on them include a letter 'y' with a circle of dots, which some Russian folks think stands for for uchebneii or "training". This would be strange for a German pistol, but we haven't heard any other explanations.

Note that this table is not complete and there appears to be a sequential pattern, so don't panic if yours doesn't fit into the ones listed.

East German production codes

(not a complete list)

Production year

Letter Code

1958 S
1959 J, K, L, N, U
1960 B, F, G, H, M, T
1961 AP*,AR, AS, AQ, AT, AU, AV, AW, AX, AY, AZ
1962 BR, BT, BU, BV, BW, BX, BY, BZ
1963 DA, DB, DE, DF, DH, DK, DL, DP, BO, BP
1964 ES, ET, EV, EX, EZ
1965 ER, FB, FH, FF

* One person noted that his gun was marked 'AP' and '62,' so there appear to be inconsistencies.

Not terribly much is known about these, except that they were brought in as Norinco Model 59. Not many are available, so they often command a premium over other Makarovs.  On the whole, the quality of these is not as good as some of the others, but there have been notable exceptions. Very rarely you may run across a Type 59 with an Arsenal mark (number) in a circle.  Most common found are 56 and 66.  These were Military pistols that were remarked and packed for Commercial Export.  A Chinese Makarov with "SHI" mark is of Military issue, and normally if found in the USA means it was a War Trophy "bring Back" from some conflict, and commands a Premium price.  With bring back papers, these can cost as much as $2,500, without the papers, about half that.  If it has the original issue holster, add another $100 or so to the price.

The Bulgarian Arsenal Makarovs are the only ones that are currently being imported into the country. Miltex had an exclusivity agreement with Arsenal before they decided to get out of the small arms business. Many other Bulgarian Makarovs are out on the market including some military surplus. As the Bulgarians start to switch to other guns as standard police and military issue, these should continue to pop up everywhere and can be purchased at a very good price. Fortunately for US shooters, these are very nicely done and some interesting variants were delivered by Miltex. Again, since Miltex is out of this business, collectors might want to consider picking up one of the Miltex "Special Edition" Makarovs still floating around on the market.

In recent years, the Bulgarians have held the most market share of all the Makarovs.  As such, there are variants among these, primarily in grips and markings, including police, military, commercial, and even mis-marked Russians. 

Bulgarian production codes

To find the Year of Manufacture of your Bulgarian "Circle 10" Military Makarov, look at the serial number (S/N), normally found on the left side of the frame, above the grip. The first two letters are the Production series, the next two digits are the Year code, see list below. The last four digits are the unit number in that production series.  Please note, the 1970 date is start of all Production at this plant using the "Circle 10" code, the Makarov was first produced under Russian supervision in 1975, and first year of Production under Bulgarian control was 1976.  Some Bulgarian pistols made in 1975 will have the Russian Date format, with the full year in place of the later date codes.


Bulgarian "Circle 10" military proof mark


Year Code Year Code Year Code Year Code
1970 = 10 1971 = 11 1972 = 12 1973 = 13
1974 = 14 1975 = 15 (Begin Makarov Production under Russian Supervision) 1976 = 16 (first year Makarov Production, under Bulgarian supervision) 1977 = 17*
1978 = 18* 1979 = 19* 1980 = 20* 1981 = 21*
1982 = 22 1983 = 23 1984 = 24 1985 = 25
1986 = 26* 1987 = 27 1988 = 28 1989 = 29*
1990 = 30 1991 = 31 1992 = 32 1993 = 33
1994 = 34 1995 = 35 1996 = 36 1997 = 37
1998 = 38 1999 = 39 2000 = Date codes dropped, year of production added after S/N. Production Series dropped to one letter, S/N moved from 4 digits to 6 digits to 9 digits with leading zeros used as placeholders.

*= Limited or interrupted production years

Some Late 1999 Production models may be found with a "39" S/N code and the Year 2000 after the S/N. These are pistols that were assembled from parts and frames that were made in 1999. Some Makarov pistols made for commercial export are also stamped with year of production, or non-standard S/N series at the request of the Importer. (Example, Miltex Commercial and Special Edition series and "Arsenal Brand" export models)


Old Style numbering system AB 21 1441 = 1981 production, 1441 unit in the "AB" series

New Style numbering system A001441 2001 (full year given, no Dash used) or A001441 - 01 (last two digits of year used, dash between S/N and Year)

It is possible to have a two pistols with the same unit number but a different series number under the Old Style Numbering system.


AB 19 1441 and KO 19 1441 are two different pistols. This is what lead to the X’ing out of non-English letters in the S/N, or in some cases a new S/N being issued to a pistol for importation to the US if the modified S/N was already of file with USA BATF, or the resulting number did not conform to guidelines.

Bulgarian date code information compiled from information from Patman, ScottB, M. Madden ( and SlimTim from the / Makarov Forum and Mr. "O" of the "Arsenal" Factory (name with held at his request).  Copyright, LLC, 2002, Hurricane, WV. This information may not be copied, printed, stored, or reproduced without written permission, except for personal use.

Germany (post-unification)
Please see the Simson Suhl page for a more complete report on these.

How do I know which is which?

Most gun stores will specify. You can also go by the guidelines above. The East Germans, Chinese, and Bulgarians typically have fixed rear sights; the Russians (except for the early military version) have "target" adjustable sights. Check the markings (from Russian Makarov) engraved into the frame. The Russians will often say Baikal, Izh-70, or "Made in Russia". The Russians are the only ones that are "high-capacity" and have 10-round double-stack magazines.  Bulgarian Makarovs are often made by Arsenal and this should be engraved on the slide and frame. East German Makarovs were made by Ernst Thaelman and some (although not all) have the Thaelman mark on the front of the grip metal. The importers made these engravings, so if yours doesn't have this, it's perfectly normal.

What markings should I look for? What do they mean?

Importer marks will vary depending on which company imported it. For example B-West is the now defunct B-West importer in Arizona. C.A.I. is Century Arms, International. KBI is in Harrisburg, PA, Big Bear Arms, PW Arms, and so on.

Most of the Russian Makarovs are new production and have either Baikal or Izhmech markings, including "Made in Russia." Model numbers are typically IJ-70-18A. "18" means 9x18M caliber; "17" means 9x17 or .380ACP. "A" is the standard capacity; "H" is the high capacity (double stack magazine).

East Germany
These are often, but not always, marked "Ernst Thaelmann," which is the factory in Suhl, German, where they were made. Note that the importer, such as Century Arms International, usually made those marks. Therefore, if your East German Makarov doesn't have those markings, it's perfectly normal. Ernst Thaelman was apparently a communist party official of some notoriety. Iaco Saca means International Arms co. Sacramento California. Apparently they were the original importer. 9.25mm is the actual size of the caliber.

Most are production and bear the "Arsenal" factory name. Some are police and military surplus. Also, special editions are imported by Miltex.  See also the discussion on Bulgarian Makarov above.

Which Makarov is best?

While this is a somewhat subjective question, there are some guidelines. First ask yourself what you want to do with your new toy. Shoot it, right? Well, not everyone does.

If you're looking for a pure collector's piece, look for an original Soviet or Chinese Makarov. Also, consider the limited-run Simson Suhl and the discontinued Miltex.

If you want a shooter, look for a good quality East German gun. For a gun with good fit and finish right out of the factory, get a Bulgarian Arsenal Makarov. For around $150, they're quite a bargain. The triggers can be a bit gritty with the brand new guns, but they break in nicely. FFL fees may add a few more $, but for under $200, you've got an excellent shooting gun.

The Russian Makarovs are also quite competent, but they have some rough edges. These can be worked over, of course, and from a pure shooting and reliability standpoint, these are quite good as well. If you wish to use the Makarov for concealed carry, the target sights can snag on clothing, particularly if you use an inside-the-waistband holster. We used to offer a replacement fixed rear sight for Russian Makarovs, but these are now out of production.  As the effects of the voluntary trade restrictive agreement with Russian become apparent, the Russian Makarovs are beginning to be less ubiquitous.

While some people just can't seem to stuff enough rounds in their pistol, we do not care for the high-capacity 10/12-round double-stack Russian Makarovs. In our opinion, they were hurried onto the market and some engineering was left unfinished, particularly in the magazine.

Some people have reported problems getting the last two rounds into the magazine, leaving you with the same capacity as the standard Makarov, whose design has been proven in over 50 years of service. Also, magazines are often difficult to find. 12-round magazines are quite rare and expensive.  The 10-round magazine that probably came with your gun is often poor quality, largely because they were not original Russian.  ProMag makes a replacement, but our experience (and that of our customers) suggests that they do not load or feed reliably.  The original Russian 10-round magazines are much better because of their dual spring system and heavy nylon follower. 

Note that you can use a standard 8-round single-stack magazine in your high-capacity Makarov. The magazine will seat and function properly, although it's loose at the base. We used to carry a floorplate conversion made by MJ Facets that slips on to any 8-round Makarov magazine and allows it to seat properly in a high-capacity Makarov. It's investment cast brass with a black oxide finish, just like the other floorplates we used to carry from MJ Facets.

One thing helped us get comfortable with our 10-round test gun: the 10-round Pearce grip. The 10-round Pearce has the same outside profile as the 8-round, making the grip much more manageable compared with the huge squarest block of hard plastic the Russians chose to call a grip.

What's my Makarov worth?

Price is always difficult to nail down because ultimately it comes down to what the buyer and the seller are willing to agree upon. Having said that, here are some guidelines for the most common Makarov pistols. We assume that the pistol is in very good to excellent condition and includes at least 2 magazines. Aftermarket and original accessories are extra.

Which Makarovs are considered Curios and Relics?

For those not familiar with the Curio and Relic FFL, visit the page.

While the list of C&R weapons includes both the East German and Russian Makarovs, the general consensus is that only the original Russian military Makarovs are included among the Russian guns. That is, the commercially produced Baikal IJ-70 with a rear target sight does not qualify under the spirit of the C&R law. While there are some dealers that will sell IJ-70s to C&R licensed individuals, we recommend that you do not engage in such a transaction. The Bureau of ATF has not made a definitive written statement about the IJ-70, but in our opinion, it does not qualify under C&R. The East German guns are clearly C&R eligible.

The Bulgarian (including Miltex), Chinese, and Simson-Suhl are not considered curio & relics.  Note that occasionally, dealers will have a batch of Bulgarian Makarovs with a Russian military Makarov tucked in among them.  Know your markings.  Of course, convincing the dealer that it's a Russian and thus C&R may be an uphill battle.

For a complete list of C&R Firearms, check out this BATF Firearms Curios & Relics List (167K PDF file) - requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free at the Adobe web site

Will 8-round magazines fit into the high-capacity Makarov?

Yes, they will fit and function. They may be loose at the base, but our experience is that they work flawlessly. Since many 10-round magazines are bad at feeding well, we used to have an extended magazine floorplate  for the 8-round magazines that will keep it from flopping around so much in the high-capacity Makarov and make it easier to remove.

Can I change my 8-round Makarov to accept high-capacity 10- and 12-round magazines?

No.  The 10- and 12-round magazines are wider and can only be accepted by the Russian commercial IJ-70-18AH and 17AH (or similar) wide-grip Makarovs.  Short of altering the frame, there is no way to use these magazines in standard 8-round Makarovs. 

We found a stash of the +2 magazine extenders for 8-round magazines with the folks who make the Pearce grips.  We had a chance to test them, and we came up with a solution to both problems of the magazine release and the mag spring power. These are now sold out and not available any longer.

How do I pronounce "Makarov?"

The correct pronunciation of Makarov is actually "Mah CAR ahv" and not the more frequently heard "MACK uh rahv."

I'm not really sure I have a Makarov. What other guns like this are there?

There are a number of Makarov look-alikes and act-alikes. Also, with the popularity of the 9x18M cartridge on the rise, several manufacturers have begun offering other pistols that use the 9x18M. If you think you have a Hungarian, Romanian, Czech, or Polish Makarov, it's probably not a Makarov, but another similar pistol. For more info and pictures of some common pistols of this type, see the Other Pistols Page.

It turns out I have a Hungarian FEG (PA-63, APK, SMC, etc.). Are these OK?

The Hungarian guns are quite nice, but they're not Makarovs, even if the dealer told you so. If it says "9mm Makarov" on the slide, this refers to the caliber, not the gun. We don't say "they're not Makarovs" to be snobby, but to make you aware that the similarity ends with the superficial external appearance.  Magazines, grips, barrels, parts, etc. do not interchange with Makarov parts.  We do carry parts and accessories for both at (see next question, below).

The FEG guns are quite nice in that they're the Walther design, are slimmer and lighter than the Makarov, have a thumb magazine release, and seem to be reliable and most of all, cheap. 

Many people who buy FEG guns end up buying a Makarov as well.  Each has strengths and weaknesses.

Will Makarov parts interchange with the FEG guns and were can I get accessories?

Well, that's exactly the do not interchange. This includes magazines, replacement grips, firing pins, etc.

The PA-63 magazine will fit and function in an FEG APK and SMC (note they will stick out further in the SMC-series, but they will fit, lock into place, and function).

My Makarov didn't come with a manual. How do I field strip it for cleaning?

Most importers will send you a manual for free. We also have a Baikal instruction manual on-line. Also take a look at the picture of how to remove the slide.  Also, there's a disassembly guide on the tech info page.

I took my Makarov apart and it has no firing pin return spring. What's up?

The short answer:  That's just the way it is. It's part of the design.  Live with it. 

In any case, keep the firing pin clean and lightly lubricated.  If this still gives you the willies, you may have to carry it with no round in the chamber. The only real safety you need is the one between your ears. Practice proper gun retention and basic safety and you shouldn't have any problems. SKS rifles are another story, although I suspect this is also largely due to, what we call in computer support, "user error."

You'll probably have to jar it pretty hard (like drop it on its muzzle from 4 feet up) to get it to go off.  The state of California (despite all its faults with respect to gun laws) tested and approved the Makarov for safety including a drop test. 

However, if you reload, make sure you seat primers below flush with the butt of the case. report the following:
"I have no input on the dropped gun question, but I have slam-fired my .380 Makarov on CCI primers that were slightly (and only slightly) high. I inadvertantly used a 9mm shell holder when reloading, and the resulting primers were almost even (just barely recessed) with the head face."
So, reloaders, please be careful with this!

The cross-sectional picture gives a better look at how the pistol is put together.

Here are some more thoughts on the "drop worthiness" of the gun with respect to the firing pin from a reader:

I have conducted my own drop tests using my Mak 9 mm hi-cap model manufactured by Imez and imported by KBI. Although not scientifically done, I am satisfied that my firearm, at least, won't discharge by dropping.

I removed the ball from a 9mm Mak round manufactured by Cor-Bon, emptied the propellant, but retained the primer. I then cleaned the bolt repeatedly with solvent until the firing pin would move back and forth easily. A drop of oil was added and movement was again affirmed. The floor was a pine board to protect the firearm as well as the real floor, and the firearm was dropped 200 times, per the CA test. The drop height varied from table top to ten feet. The primer round was in the chamber and the safety was engaged. Twenty-three of the drops resulted in the firearm landing slightly askew as its center of gravity made muzzle drops from more that three feet difficult. Nevertheless, of the 177 successful drops not one resulted in so much as a mark on the primer cap. This is probably due to the low velocity of the drop at such minor heights, but I suspect that the minuscule mass of the firing pin and the fact that it can only travel about three millimeters at best precludes sufficient energy transfer to impact the primer.

Anyway, I feel confident that my gun, at least, is safe for carry. I have talked to a number of Mak owners since my first email, and no one has heard of such a faulty discharge.

A.B. - Bellevue, WA

I like the gun, but I want to replace the sights

Common Model paint in bright colors can be used to enhance your stock Military sights, or even the newer Glow in the Dark paints can be used for a "Poor Mans Night sight", however these are prone to wear, and will fade fast.

Beyond that, you'll have to spend some money. However, the difference in sight picture can be amazing.  If you have a Makarov with fixed rear sights and want something easier to spot,'s Custom Shop  used to offer Custom sight work, but no longer does.  Many gunsmiths still do this type of work, contact a local gunsmith in your area for more information and pricing.. 

What caliber should I get, .380 or 9x18 Makarov?

By all means, get one in the original caliber of 9x18 Makarov, unless you are already familiar with the .380 ACP and reload for it. 9x18 Makarov ammunition availability is no longer an issue. In fact, you can often get surplus 9x18 Makarov ammo cheaper than .380 ACP! Note that you can now buy aftermarket replacement barrels in both 9x18M and .380 ACP. So if you made the unfortunate mistake of buying a .380 ACP Makarov, there's still hope for you (just kidding). Also, if you have .380 ACP ammo hanging around, feeling lonely, you can retrofit a barrel in .380 ACP and you're all set.

Changing a barrel requires some mechanical skill and we highly recommend a barrel press.  Barrel replacement is not a simple procedure, but can be done by mechanically inclined people. My general rule of thumb is that if you can change the oil on your car, you can do this. Read more about how to do this here.  You will need to completely disassemble the gun in order to be able to press the barrel out.  We have a complete disassembly instruction page here.

Can I fire .380 ACP ammo in my 9x18M Makarov?

NO NO NO NO NO !!! There are those that disagree with me including an author of an article in Handguns magazine and gun dealers who wants to sell you a Makarov. The 9x18M cartridge is not a "true" 9mm because it's really 9.2mm. Therefore the bullets are sized .364" and .365" (barrel sizes vary...slugging yours is best to find out your bore size). Yes, you can probably get away with it a few times, but accuracy will suffer, you'll get gas blow-by, your barrel will wear out faster and for what? Save a few pennies? Hardly. 9x18M ammo is usually cheaper since you can get it surplus. If you absolutely want to shoot .380 ACP ammo from your Makarov, then buy a .380 Makarov or a .380 replacement barrel.

For a car analogy, have you ever seen or owned a car that burned oil? How long did the engine last after it started blowing blue smoke? Probably not long. The reason is that the pistons and rings are now smaller than the cylinders and each explosion sends gasses by-passing the piston ("blow-by"). You're literally burning the sides of your pistons now and engine death is imminent. That's basically what you're doing by shooting undersized bullets.

I have a .380 ACP pistol and want a little more power. Can I shoot 9x18M in it?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! This is even worse than the other way around. The bullet is too big (.364") to fit into the barrel (.356"), the cartridge will probably not even chamber, and even if it does, you may blow the gun and yourself up. Really, 9x18M Makarovs are not that expensive...just get one if you want to fire 9x18M. You can also change the barrel and you gun will now fire 9x18M.  And if you want more power, get a .454 Casull.

How about 9mm Parabellum? It fits in the chamber.

Holy smokes...what are you trying to do? Kill yourself?!? 9mm Parabellum is a very high pressure round intended for locked-breech pistols. Look, fire .380 ACP from a .380 ACP pistol. Fire 9x18 M from a 9x18 M pistol. Fire 9mm Parabellum from a 9mm pistol. It's that simple. If you want multi- calibers, get a .357 Magnum; then you can fire .38 Special from it.

I see on Baikal's web page that there's a 9mm Parabellum Makarov. Are they available?

According to the director Russian Affairs at former importer B-West, they tested the 9x19 Makarov available from Baikal. The way the 9x19 Makarov works is that the chamber is scored or serrated, the brass gets blown out into those serrations thereby retarding blowback. The result is that the brass is shredded and unusable for reloading, the brass is tossed into low orbit, and the recoil of the gun is horrendous. For liability reasons, B-West refused to import these.

Similarly, reaming the chamber of a .380 ACP pistol by 2 "silly millimeters" is discouraged. Naturally, if you want to shoot only handloads and know what you're doing while working up a load, you can try this. I suggest a good life insurance policy first though.

I found a good deal on 9x18M ammo. Can I fire it in my 9mm Parabellum?

AGAIN...NO! Like with .380 guns, 9x18M should not chamber and may rupture your barrel. Don't do it!

OK, I get the picture...what 9x18M ammo is best?

Best for what? We make (i.e. reload) the best 9x18M...for us and our Makarovs, but we don't sell it. :-) If you don't feel like reloading (can we talk you into it?), Norinco, Sellier & Bellot, B-West (now defunct), Fiocchi, and CCI Blazer (aluminum case), Tiger, RAM, Barnaul, Novosibirsk, etc. are perfectly OK for normal target shooting and "plinking." 

Please see the Load Data page for some chronograph tests on CorBon and Blazers. Some shooters have reported problems extracting Blazers, but they work fine for others. Note that Norinco and some other surplus rounds have steel jacketed bullets and thus are often prohibited at indoor ranges.

Some of the Russian TCW is pretty hot and we recommend changing to a 19# recoil spring. Choices for self-defense include CorBon (discontinued), Barnaul JHP, RAM, Tiger, Novosibirsk JHP, Hornady XTP, CCI-Speer Gold Dot, Fiocchi, and MagSafes. The new Silver Bear has promise, but many people report feeding problems.  "Your mileage may vary."  Try different loads in your gun and see how they work for you.

Again, with any of these high-performance rounds, you might want to consider a stronger Wolff Gunsprings 19# recoil spring (the original is 17#).

What's the best place to buy 9x18M ammunition?

Here's a list of mail order vendors

Of course, the best and cheapest place to get ammunition is from your own reloading press. Think about reloading 9x18M. and even casting your own lead bullets made from scrap wheel weights. 

Are 9mm Kurz (Short), 9mm Makarov, 9x18 M, 9x19, 9mm Parabellum, 9mm Long all the same?

Some are, some aren't. Here's a quick run-down of the popular 9mm cartridges:

There are others such as 9mm Ultra, 9mm Police, 9x21, 9mm Largo, etc. Note that none of these, except those with equal signs, are the same things. Do not exchange them for what your gun is chambered for.
Also try this link from the rec.guns FAQ: Comparison of 9mm Diameter Calibres and get this picture of various 9mm case dimensions.

I bought some surplus ammo that says "corrosive". Can I fire this and not ruin my gun?

Sure, no problem. Just make sure that you clean it properly after you come back from the range. And we mean right after you come back.  Moisture in the air is drawn to the salts that are formed when firing corrosively-primed ammo and salt water + carbon steel = rust.  That includes all the nooks and crannies of your gun.

We've always just cleaned our guns with boiling hot water before starting the normal powder solvent and gun oil routine. The boiling water dissolves the corrosive mercuric salts that are left in the gun after firing corrosively primed cartridges. Why boiling hot water? Better solubility and it evaporates faster when you're done. Check the gun a day later for any signs of rust and repeat for a few days...just in case.

Should I keep all the spent cases from the surplus ammo?

Surplus ammo is typically Berdan primed and often steel cased. Berdan primers use an anvil that is in the case, not the primer itself and has two flash holes inside the case. If you try to punch them out with a Boxer depriming tool you risk breaking the depriming tool and the case will be worthless when you're done. You may put a bigger hole than a Boxer primer and this is a safety hazard. There are special tools for removing Berdan primers, but the primers themselves are hard to find. Steel cased ammo will probably ruin your reloading dies. We don't recommend messing with them. Toss the Berdan and steel cases (and aluminum Blazer cases).

I am looking for a CCW Holster for my Makarov. Do you have any suggestions?

There are a number of option for concealed carry and we carry a good assortment of them. Probably the best quality are the Falco custom-molded holsters. Falco is a shop in Slovakia that does excellent quality work for ridiculously low prices by western standards. Sadly these are no longer imported into the USA.

There are also some lower cost options such as a nylon "pancake" belt holster, and an inside-the-waistband nylon holster. Again, we carry these and customers have found them to work well with the Makarov. See our online Shopping cart for more options.

Are there any parts that fail frequently for which I should have spares?

Not really. The Makarov is an extremely robust gun that doesn't really have a weak point like the CZ-52's brittle firing pin. Typically, we recommend "fix on failure," i.e. don't bother replacing stuff unless it breaks.

If you were to be out in the field for a while with your Makarov as your only gun, you might consider having a spare firing pin and a spare safety. The safety can lose its pressed-in detent spring and thus always be on fire. Also, it is then loose and can fall out of the gun if it rotates back far enough. If the safety falls out, the firing pin comes out very easily and can be lost.

The only other parts probably worth having as spares are the slide release (it can wear and no longer hold the slide open after the last shot) and the extractor assembly (extractor, spring, and plunger). If the extractor wears, it no longer pulls the cartridge out reliably. If you take it out (see the tech info page for extractor maintenance procedures), be sure to keep track of the plunger and spring...they are under lots of tension.


Will parts interchange between countries of Makarovs?

Yes, as long as they're real Makarovs and not one of the other Makarov-like pistols (FEG PA-63, etc. - see discussion above).

I bought a 10-round Makarov and it doesn't seem to feed right. What can I do?

First of all, get rid of that aftermarket junk magazine and get a sturdy Russian-made 10-round or 12-round magazine.  The "original" magazine shipped with some high-capacity Makarovs were actually contracted to a US manufacturer whose Makarov magazines simply don't work well. 

The aftermarket are glossy black, whereas the original Russian are more of a dull gray. 

Also, a reader reports:"The model came with 1 mag and I purchased another. The extra [10 round magazine] I purchased would jam every time with XTP's in it. It had a web that was not filed or ground in the front of the mag where it was welded together. The hollowpoints caught this and hung up. Hardball would feed fine. I filed it down with a 3/8 inch chainsaw file inserted through the bottom of the mag after disassembling it. I have yet to have the first jam in this mag now. I also lubed and wiped them with rem-oil(teflon) to make the bullets glide better. "

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