East German Makarov: A Cold War ClassicWhite - Friday, July 24, While the Makarov pistol was originally designed and manufactured in the Soviet Union, it was also produced by other communist countries including China, Bulgaria and, most relevant here, East Germany. The East Russian dbol 10mg variant was considered a rarity in the past, but after the collapse east german makarov grips the erstwhile nation inmany of these pistols were imported vrips the United States where they found their way into the hands of shooters and collectors as military surplus. The Makarov was originally designed by Nikolay Fyedorovich Makarov, a prominent young Soviet arms designer. East german makarov grips different designs were submitted for evaluation including ones by Makarov, Korovin, Rakov, Simonov, Sevryugin, Voyevodin and Baryshev.
American Rifleman | East German Makarov: A Cold War Classic
White - Friday, July 24, While the Makarov pistol was originally designed and manufactured in the Soviet Union, it was also produced by other communist countries including China, Bulgaria and, most relevant here, East Germany.
The East German variant was considered a rarity in the past, but after the collapse of the erstwhile nation in , many of these pistols were imported into the United States where they found their way into the hands of shooters and collectors as military surplus. The Makarov was originally designed by Nikolay Fyedorovich Makarov, a prominent young Soviet arms designer.
Several different designs were submitted for evaluation including ones by Makarov, Korovin, Rakov, Simonov, Sevryugin, Voyevodin and Baryshev. Ultimately, the Makarov was picked as the design that best met the specifications, and it was officially designated the PM Pistol Makarov.
The PM was the Soviet service pistol from the time it was adopted in until about There has been speculation that the pistol and the 9 mm Makarov cartridge were strongly influenced by the Walther PP pistol and the experimental 9 mm Ultra cartridge given that the Russians had access to the Walther factory at the end of World War II.
However, the extent to which these earlier Walther designs impacted the development of the Makarov pistol and its cartridge has not been documented.
It is unclear exactly when production began, but it appears that prototypes were made starting in The early pistols were manufactured using some die cast parts that exhibited breakage, therefore the factory reverted back to using machined parts fairly early in the production run.
It has been reported that plant officials were actually imprisoned for the problems related to the faulty manufacturing methods. It appears that very few of the pistols made in and have survived based on the limited numbers seen.
The manufacturing issues apparently were worked out and production continued through , making for a relatively brief production run. It is worth noting that several hundred commercial Makarov pistols were made from leftover East German parts and, possibly, some new parts in the mids. Most have a brown-to-plum-colored safety, hammer and extractor, although some have a mottled finish.
It is believed that these parts have a brownish coloration due to finish being applied after they were hardened. The barrel is chrome-lined, which protects the bore somewhat from the effects of corrosively primed ammunition. The barrel has four grooves with a right-hand twist.
The slide has 10 grasping grooves on the left side and 17 on the right. The overall fit and finish on these pistols is outstanding and is considered by some to be equal to or better than that found on many modern commercial pistols. Most guns have one-piece stocks made of a jet-black-colored plastic with fine checkering, although a few have been noted with a reddish-brown flecked appearance.
Some pistols have a black or green cloth lanyard that is secured inside the stocks using a metal clip. Others have simplified lanyards that are simply knotted and exit through an extra hole in the back of the frame. The magazine is open on both sides and is usually nicely blued and finished. The magazine follower has a protrusion that acts as a slide hold open. It can also be depressed to load the magazine more easily. The Makarov is easily fieldstripped.
First, ensure the pistol is unloaded and remove the magazine. Full disassembly is easily accomplished, but it is not necessary unless a part requires replacement. The round is also known as the 9 mm Russian Makarov or 9 mm Makarov. The bullet diameter of the Makarov round is greater than that of most 9 mm cartridges; 0.
Cartridges produced by East Germany were steel-cased and came packaged 16 rounds to a box. Markings Tell The Story Interestingly, the PM did not originally have any markings on it to indicate its model designation or country of origin. Several internal parts including the hammer—on some pistols—also have the last two digits of the serial number electropenciled on them.
The frame usually has a number under the stocks, but this is a part number since it does not correlate with the serial number. It appears that the serial number is electropenciled or put on using a series of small dots as opposed to being stamped. This results in a rather lightly etched appearance, which belies the quality of the pistol. The magazines often have numbers electropenciled on them, but they rarely match the serial number of the pistol. All pistols have a two-digit date code immediately after the serial number that represents the year of manufacture.
The date codes that have been personally observed are 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64 and 65, but the date code 58 has also been reported. It is possible that the and dated pistols were recalled due to parts breakage during the early years of production or perhaps they were simply made in smaller quantities.
Pistols also have one or two letters that precede the four-digit serial number. It appears that each unique letter code was for a block of 9, pistols. A range of serial numbers has been observed across the various letter codes for the years through ranging from 00XX to 96XX , which supports the idea that each unique one- or two-letter code was for a production run of 9, pistols.
It is not known precisely how many pistols were made, however the number could be several hundred thousand. The following letter codes have been observed or reported the original listing of letter codes found at makarov. J, K, L, N, U This is an inspection acceptance mark. There is also a small diamond with circle inside stamp on the rear of the left side of the frame and the left side of the slide to the right of the safety that is a proofmark.
It has been noted that many pistols have markings below the serial number. These are usually lower-case letters such as s, a, z, or y with marks at different points around them that are believed to document various steps in the inspection process.
It has been suggested that stands for Landespolizei Sachsen-Anhalt, and was stamped on guns that continued to be used after the fall of East Germany. Several variations of leather holsters were made in brown, black and white—used by the army, police and traffic police, respectively. They are of a basic utilitarian design having a flap with a strap and stud closure, and a side pouch to hold a spare magazine.
A shoulder holster with a separate magazine holder was also made. A popular holster with collectors is a cloth one in raindrop camouflage pattern, although it was not officially used in service. An army jacket with an inside holster was also produced. None of the holsters had a provision for a cleaning rod.
Another accessory is the seldom-seen. Original technical or repair manuals are another desirable, but uncommon, accessory. The type, size and location of import stamping varied a great deal by importer. Collectors tend to prefer pistols with smaller, less obtrusive markings because the appearance of the pistol is closest to original. The main importers are the following: This is reported to be one of the first importers of East German Makarovs.
The number following the MM marking appears to be the sequential number of the pistol imported. The pistols have the following marking on the front of the grip strap: The majority of pistols observed were imported by Century Arms.
The following markings are typically on the right side of the frame: The following marking is at the right rear of the frame in very small font: The following marking is stamped in very small font on the right side of the frame or on the bottom of the frame above the trigger area: The following lengthy, three-line marking is found on the right side of the slide of some of the pistols: Some pistols were imported with an East German maintenance manual or log that was serial-numbered to the pistol.
This is considered an unusual and desirable accessory. Most imported pistols had a thumb shelf installed, which was needed to gain points to allow importation into the United States. Most imported pistols were in excellent or better condition. They were often advertised as Stasi secret police pistols which added to collector interest. Based on observations at gun shows and online gun auctions, more pistols dated 60, 61 and 62 are seen relative to other years.
Any pistol with a 58 or 59 date is considered a great rarity and is seldom seen for sale. Further research is needed to determine how many pistols were actually imported into the United States; however, the number appears to be fairly significant since they are routinely seen for sale at gun shows, gun shops and at online auctions. First and foremost, the East German variant is a beautifully made handgun with a high level of fit and finish. They are prized by their owners because they are considered to be the most well-made of the Makarovs.
The gun also has a strong following among collectors of Communist-Bloc pistols and those who collect Makarovs specifically. Collectors like the fact that the pistol was not significantly altered for importation other than the import marking and grips with a thumb rest , which is not the case for other surplus pistols such at the TT, which had an external safety added.
Astute collectors also appreciate the engineering of the Makarov and its simplicity. For example, the pistol has only 25 parts, including the stock and stock screw, which is an extremely small number for a pistol of its type.
The Makarov also has a small but loyal following for those who use it as a highly reliable concealed carry handgun. Others simply enjoy the Makarov because of its excellent shooting qualities. Interest in the PM is growing as collectors have come to appreciate its fine qualities and numerous variations. NRA Member Programs I Have This Old Gun. Bray Memorial Scholarship Marion P. East German production of the Makarov pistol began in the late s and continued until —a relatively brief production run.
Samples made in are the most difficult for collectors to find. The rigs also contain a side pouch to accommodate a spare magazine. Comments On This Article.