The Hungarian firearms manufacturer FEG has been quite prolific with pistols chambered in 9x18M. These include the SMC-918 (also available in .380 ACP as the SMC-380), the PA-63 (yes kids, this is not a true Makarov, and no you can't use Makarov magazines, grips, barrels, etc. ... sorry!), and several others. Also the Polish P64 and P83, along with the CZ82 and CZ83 pistols are Chambered in the 9x18 Makarov Caliber, but again, these are NOT Makarov Pistols.
The only True Makarov Pistols were made in Russia, East Germany, Germany, Bulgaria, and China.
My Dealer sold this to me as a Makarov - Some dealers are misinformed, and some are just plain dishonest and are trying to cash in on the popularity of the Makarov Pistol. If it was not made in one of the countries listed above, than it is not a Makarov Pistol.
But it is marked right on the Pistol "9mmMakarov" - This is part of the Importation markings required for handguns that are imported into the USA from other countries, it refers to the Caliber of the pistol, not the Model.
OK so its not a Makarov Pistol, so where do I get parts and accessories ? - Many times these pistols are not imported with a supply of spare parts, or in some cases any spare parts. We carry what we can find, and those parts and accessories are listed on our shopping cart pages, under the Model of Pistol. Spare parts for the P64, PA63 SMC series, etc are getting VERY hard to find, and in many cases, people buy a second pistol to use for spare parts. If we do not list a part you are looking for on the shopping cart pages, than we most likely do not have it, or it is out of stock. We do carry just about all the parts for the Makarov Pistols, except the frame, and some parts for CZ82 and CZ83 pistols, however these parts will not work in any other model pistols.
Ok so I have PA63 - The Recoil is Killing my hand, what can I do ? - Wolff Gunsprings makes several replacement springs for the PA63. The 13# recoil spring is designed for standard Milspec 95gr ammo. The 15# spring is designed for limited use of the Hotter self defense ammo such as Corbon PowerBall, Hornady XTP, Glaser, etc. Since the PA63 has an Alloy frame, and was designed for 95 gr Milspec ammo, it is both unsafe to fire ANY ammo with heavier than 95gr bullets. Doing so will cause jams, misfeeds, greatly increased wear on your pistol, and as some people have found out the hard way, even cause the pistol to become unsafe to shoot and cause injury to the shooter. Wolff also has a new mainspring for the PA63 that will reduce the DA and SA felt trigger pull by up to 40% depending on your firearm.
But what about the Polish P64 ? Wolff Gunsprings also has new Recoil springs for the P64, along with a Mainspring set that allows you to fine tune your pistol for more comfortable and reliable shooting. Since the P64 is a steel frame design, it is safe to shoot the heavier bullet weight 9x18 Makarov ammo in it, but because of the small frame, it will uncomfortable for most shooters. We suggest that you stick with 95gr Milspec ammo in this pistol also.
Can I use other Springs in my pistol ? This has come up several times over the years, and the short answer is Maybe. But think about this, Handguns are designed to work within a given set of parameters. When you pull that trigger on a live round of ammo, you can have as much as 40,000 CUP of pressure you are hanging on to. Do you really want to risk your body parts to a guess or unknown spring ? In a blowback design, such as most 9x18 Makarov Caliber pistols, the Recoil spring is what keeps everything working safely. We have heard of people forcing a Makarov Recoil spring onto other pistols, and sometimes you get lucky and it works.....but for how long ? Springs are designed to compress a given amount, over the full working length of the spring. If for example you have a 19# (19 pounds of resistance) Makarov recoil spring, and you stick it in a CZ82 pistol, what do you get ? Well the Recoil stroke of the CZ82 is about 1" shorter than the Makarov, (compare a Makarov recoil spring with that of a CZ82 and you will see what I mean.) So the Makarov recoil spring is only working at about 80% of its rated value, or about 15.2 pounds of resistance. Will it work ? Yes for a few rounds, you may even get lucky and get a box or two of ammo fired with no problems. But when it does fail, you run the risk of a cracked slide at best, or having the pistol come apart in your hand when you fire it at worst. Wolff Gunsprings makes replacement CZ82/83 springs.
If you are unsure what model pistol you have, or are unsure what caliber it is, please consult a gunsmith. The Pictures and text below may also help you.
Also see the CZ-52 information page
K.B.I., Inc,of Harrisburg, PA, began importing this small Hungarian-made
pistol in mid-1993, but its history dates back to the late 1950s. At about
the same time FEG began making the Model PA-63 (see listing below), it
also developed a smaller PPK-sized 9mm Makarov caliber pistol, called the
RK-59. An excellent little pistol, similar to Poland's Model vz.63, it is
highly regarded in military circles, serving the Hungarian military and
In 1991, Century imported about 3,000 RK-59s into the U.S. The small
of this gun makes it especially handy as a hideout gun, used mostly by
high-ranking officials, pilots and various vehicle crews who occasionally
need a pistol but are forced to work and fight in confined spaces. Handgun
expert Leroy Thompson has argued that the RK-59 is perhaps the world's
best military pistol, because it uses a fighting cartridge powerful enough
to be taken seriously, yet is compact enough to carry comfortably on the
person at all times.
A slightly improved version of the RK-59---the SMC-380---appeared in
1991. It's actually the same gun rechambered to the slightly less
powerful, albeit better known, .380 ACP round. Its frame is still a
lightweight alloy, but for commercial sales it is anodized black to match
more closely the blued slide of the pistol. In its military version, the
frame is left unfinished, as in the PA-63 described earlier.
The SMC-380 is of historical interest because it is the smallest gun
imported legally into the U.S. since the passage of the Gun Control Act of
1968 (according to which a gun cannot be imported if it is less than 4.0
inches in height). The SMC-380, which is barely 4.1 inches high, had to
have a target-type left grip installed to meet the government's stringent
importation criteria. The left target-style grip widened the pistol from
1.1 to 1.3 inches, but that was a small price to pay. A thinner, flatter
left grip panel is also available on request.
Like the PMK-380, the SMC-380 is available only in .380 ACP caliber.
alloy frame makes it smoother and two or three ounces lighter than the
PPK. It also carries better in a pocket than the higher-priced German gun
and it fits the average hand better. Its sights, while tiny, are easy to
line up quickly, thanks to the comfortable curve of the backstrap.
In testing an early SMC-380, the pistol proved quite accurate. One
25-foot offhand group placed five shots in a one-inch pattern, using
Remington 88-grain jacketed hollowpoint, the second-best group at the same
distance measured 1.1 inches across, using Samson 95-grain FMJ.
Unfortunately, the pistol used required an extended breaking-in period of
several hundred rounds before it fed consistently and reliably. Later,
though, a second SMC-380 tested much better, with only one breaking-in
jam. It's always a good idea to run at least 200 rounds (four boxes) of
any particular brand of ammunition through any gun, without a single
malfunction, before relying on that gun/ammunition combination for
In general, the FEG SMC-380 offers a Walther PPK level of performance
much less the cost than a German-designed gun.
When K.B.I. observed the popularity of the SMC-380 in the
U.S., it decided to import the 9mm Makarov version, the SMC-918. The
Hungarians had made this model (with slight modifications) since the late
1950s, with importation beginning in late 1994.
The debate continues whether the 9mm Makarov or the .380 ACP is a
defense cartridge. Neither is particularly powerful, though some of the
loadings---particularly the faster hollowpoints and exotic rounds (such as
MagSafe)---have caused incapacitating wounds when fired in self-defense.
The SMC-918 we tested handled well. With its clean lines and rounded
corners, this pistol carries comfortably in one's pocket and is light and
handy. It also boasts good instinctive pointing, with a trigger pull that
is noticeably smoother and lighter than that found in the SMC-380s tested.
Despite the improved trigger pull, however, the SMC-918 proved slightly
less accurate than the SMC-380. Whether this is a quirk of the 9mm Makarov
cartridge or an inherent situation is difficult to tell. Regardless, the
test pistol had no trouble feeding any ammunition tested, including
Hornady's XTP hollowpoint. Recoil with SMC-918 was sharp, similar to
firing a small .38-caliber revolver. The shape of its backstrap could be
at fault. By rounding off much more than that of the Walther PPK, for
instance, the Hungarian designers have created a gun that is smoother in
contour but a bit more difficult to fire. Compact guns are, after all, an
exercise in compromise.
The SMC-918 offers the 9mm Makarov cartridge in a package that is
appreciably smaller and lighter than the Soviet-designed Makarov pistol or
its derivatives. The SMC-918 is, in fact, the smallest pistol currently in
production for the Makarov round. The price to pay is a gun that is easier
to carry and slightly more difficult to shoot. Given its mission of
self-defense, though, that's a compromise many buyers will surely find
FEG began making close copies of the Walther PP and PPK in the late
1940s. The first of these -the Model 48- was nearly identical to the PP,
differing only in the location of its loaded chamber indicator pin, the
shape of its manual safety lever, and the configuration of its magazine
floorplate and grips. Chambered in .32 or .380 caliber, the Model 48
served Hungary's military and police forces, along with several foreign
nations (notably Egypt), and sold well commercially throughout Western
Europe as the "Attila."
In the late 1950s, FEG grew adventurous and departed more boldly from
original Walther design. Its much modified PA-63 in 9mm Makarov caliber
became a standard Hungarian military and police sidearm. The PA-63 had a
larger frame with more curved backstrap for a better hold. It also
dispensed with a loaded chamber signal pin altogether and replace the
steel frame with one made of lightweight aluminum alloy, reducing overall
weight by several ounces.
Reducing weight to the absolute minimum made sense in a pistol meant to
be concealed in one's pocket. Moreover, the reduced strength of the light
alloy frame was not considered a problem in low-powered calibers, as it
can be in pistols chambered for 9mm Parabellum and other larger,
high-pressure rounds. FEG later made the PA-63 in a .32 ACP version for
commercial sale and police use, and as .380 ACP versions: the Models AP9
In its 9mm Makarov military version, the PA-63 sports a brightly
aluminum frame. Although the military does not ordinarily care for guns
with such conspicuous finishes, having the two-tone finish saved the time
and expense of an extra process for these cost-conscious buyers.
Whereas the AP9 and PMK-380 are more reminiscent of the Walther PP, the
PA-63 is more competitive with the Soviet-designed Makarov. With its more
powerful cartridge, the PA-63 has more felt recoil than either of its
.380-caliber variants. This, combined with its small sights and heavy
trigger, hurts the gun's accuracy. A five shot, 25-foot offhand group,
using Norinco 94-grain FMJ, measured exactly 2 inches. And from a distance
of 50 feet, it was very difficult to fire an acceptable group, the best
try measuring 5.6 inches across. There were, however, no failures in
feeding, firing or ejecting three different brands of 9mm Makarov
ammunition. The PA-63 was imported in large numbers by K.B.I., Inc., of
Imported by Century International Arms of St. Albans, VT, the AP9 is a
commercial .380 ACP version of the PA-63 service pistol, with the same
white alloy frame and two-tone appearance.
In general, the AP9 shares the same strength and weaknesses of the
Walther PP/PPK pistols. Its most obvious drawback is a very heavy
double-action trigger pull. The magazine release is located just below the
slide at the front of the grip, rather than behind the trigger guard. As a
result, the empty magazine protrudes 1/8 of an inch from the bottom of the
grip instead of smoothly ejecting.
Despite a very heavy double-action first shot, the AP9 test-fired with
surprising accuracy. One offhand group, using Federal 95-grain FMJ, placed
five shots in a tiny 1.4-inch pattern; and a 50-foot group placed within
an incredibly small 1.7-inch pattern. That was, however, after a first
shot, fired double-action, had landed some 2 1/2 inches away from the
point of aim. The four remaining shots, all single action, were fired at
the first bullet hole.
The AP9 is a good .380-caliber pistol that can be purchased for much
than any Walther on the market.
This .380-caliber commercial version, imported since 1992 by K.B.I.,
Inc., sports a black-anodized frame. Offering a much sleeker appearance
than the other PA-63-type guns, the PMK-380 is nonetheless similar in
construction and operation to the Walther PP. Due to a backstrap that
curves out further than the PP's, the Hungarian gun boasts a considerably
larger grip that will fit, surprisingly, in most holsters made for the PP.
Large-handed shooters will undoubtedly prefer the PMK-380's larger grip
over the Walther's.
On the other hand, the PMK-380 is not nearly as refined or polished a
as the Walther pistols. Its sights are undersized; it has a heavier
trigger pull in both single and double action; the magazine release is
much stiffer (causing the empty magazine to release only partially from
the grip); and the recoil is sharper because of its lightweight alloy
In test firing, the PMK-380 produced a 2.9-inch pattern from a 25-foot
offhand group, using Samson 95-grain FMJ. The double-action first shot
landed more than two inches from the single-action follow-up shots, all of
which went into a tight pattern less than 3/4 of an inch across. Other
groups measured nearly 4 inches across, which is poor showing at 25 feet,
even when shooting offhand. In general, though, the PMK-380 is an
acceptable handgun for those seeking a low-cost, double-action
Barrel length: 3.9"
O.A. Length: 6.9"
Weight: 21 oz. (unloaded); 26 oz. (loaded)
See also the official CZ site.