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Old February 22, 2014, 10:00 PM   #1
IM_Lugger
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Makarov, single or double stack?

Haven't been on in almost 2 years...Looking at picking up a brand new Baikal Makarov pistol thinking of going with one in .380, but can't decide between double stack and single stack. What are your thoughts?
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Old February 22, 2014, 10:07 PM   #2
doofus47
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How big are your hands? Do single stack pistols usually fit you better than doubles? That would be my only consideration. The platform itself is pretty hardy.

I have a single stack Mak in 9x18 that I love, but most everything I get is single stack.
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Old February 22, 2014, 10:21 PM   #3
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Most of my guns are double stacks, I have average sized hands (medium-large) no issues with my Beretta 92 but it does feel on a large size.

I actually have a Makarov BB pistol that appeares to be to a 100% replica of the single stack, but no idea how double stack model feels like.

Any difference in reliability? grip choices?
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Old February 22, 2014, 10:41 PM   #4
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Double stack Magazines for Makrovs are a lot harder to find than the single stack mags.
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Old February 22, 2014, 11:41 PM   #5
lee n. field
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Quote:
Haven't been on in almost 2 years...Looking at picking up a brand new Baikal Makarov pistol thinking of going with one in .380, but can't decide between double stack and single stack. What are your thoughts?
Single stack, no question.

The double stack Makarov magazines I've seen have been "funky". They're also rare. Single stack magazines are more common, and work.
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Last edited by lee n. field; February 22, 2014 at 11:46 PM.
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Old February 23, 2014, 12:07 AM   #6
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^^^Agree^^^

Single stack.
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Old February 23, 2014, 01:43 AM   #7
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I have a single-stack Baikal in the safe and it feels just about perfect, so I don't see any reason to go any larger. I'd stick with the original 9x18 because it shoots fantastically and, quite honestly, there are plenty of better and price equivalent .380s out there. Ammo isn't as easy to find, but that shouldn't be a problem if you intend to roll your own.
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Old February 23, 2014, 07:52 AM   #8
hAkron
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If it makes you happy, get a double stack .380 Makarov, but to get the true experience, also get a nice single stack in 9x18.
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Old February 23, 2014, 11:45 AM   #9
carguychris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lee n. field
The double stack Makarov magazines I've seen have been "funky". They're also rare. Single stack magazines are more common, and work.
I'll add some more detail because I like to do that.

The double-stack Mak magazine is an unconventional 2-into-1 design that merges the two columns into a single column. Although I've not heard any particular reports of unreliability in the Makarov specifically, I've read technical articles that characterize this design as inherently unreliable in the handful of military firearms that utilized it.

Single-stack Mak magazines can be used in the double-stack pistols, but they fit loosely; I would be hesitant to use one for carry.

There is essentially only one single-stack Makarov magazine design, regardless of whether it's 9x18 or .380, or whether the pistol is commercial or military; there are obviously some cosmetic variations, but they all work the same.

I have been adamantly warned that the double-stack mags are hard to obtain, particularly the pre-AWB 12rd version. The pistols did not sell particularly well, most only came with a single magazine, and the importers reportedly did not bring over many spares.
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Old February 23, 2014, 02:12 PM   #10
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I would recommend a single stack. I had a double stack and even with factory mags it wasn't as reliable as a single stack. Factory double stack mags are going to be very hard to find and expensive. On a side note single stack mags will work in a double stack gun. They are a little sloppy fitting at the base of the magwell but they work.
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Old February 24, 2014, 05:35 AM   #11
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Single stack. If you want 12 rounds, get an East German. Or just get a CZ-82.

My advice is to stick with 9x18. It's a bit more powerful, and various companies, including Hornady, now produce good hollowpoint ammo in it.
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Old February 24, 2014, 08:06 AM   #12
Walt Sherrill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carguychris
The double-stack Mak magazine is an unconventional 2-into-1 design that merges the two columns into a single column. Although I've not heard any particular reports of unreliability in the Makarov specifically, I've read technical articles that characterize this design as inherently unreliable in the handful of military firearms that utilized it.
The only times I've heard bad things about Makarovs, its been associated with the double-stack models. (Weren't they only made by the Soviets?) No personal experience, and I've never really even SEEN one in person.

I've had a couple of the single-stack guns, including an East German one made in Suhl; they've been great.

That said, all double stack mags merge two columns into one -- apparently the way they did the Makarov wasn't as well done as some.
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Old February 24, 2014, 09:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt Sherrill
The only times I've heard bad things about Makarovs, its been associated with the double-stack models. (Weren't they only made by the Soviets?)
AFAIK the only double-stack Maks commonly seen stateside are commercial models made in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. These were usually labeled IJ-70-18AH or -17AH and were sold under a wide variety of brand names, including IMEZ, Izhmash, Baikal, Big Bear Arms, and KBI. Every one I've seen had the black rubber grips and the large screw-adjustable rear sight generally seen on commercial Maks. (Only a handful of commercial Maks had the military-style drift-adjustable blade rear sight, and the only ones I've seen have been single-stack.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt Sherrill
That said, all double stack mags merge two columns into one -- apparently the way they did the Makarov wasn't as well done as some.
The double-stack Mak doesn't merge the two columns at the top like most autoloaders. The columns merge several rounds below the top, giving the magazine a rear profile similar to a wine bottle shape; I don't know the technical term for this. I'm told this was done so that the standard trigger drawbar could be used.
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Old February 24, 2014, 10:04 AM   #14
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My own experience with a .380 Makarov PM, a Baikal double stack is this:

Great gun, double stack feels good in the hand, and is still very concealable.

BUT...

The .380 cartridge is just enough thinner (in diameter) than the 9X18 that extraction is unreliable. It is a blowback operation, so extraction happens with or without the extractor is most cases, however, if the extractor doesn't have a solid hold on the case when it hits the ejector, the empty case frequently just spins in place. I tried a new extractor thinking mine was perhaps worn, I tried a new ejector, I even bent the old one in a little more, in case it was missing the empty case altogether. I tried every recoil spring made for the gun, and loaded every imaginable power level of .380. Nothing made it 100% reliable. FTE were random, but happened with enough frequency to keep me from carrying the gun (I would say average was 1 out of 25). .380's were VERY accurate, but I ultimately re-barreled to 9X18.

Runs fine now.
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Old February 24, 2014, 01:29 PM   #15
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The .380 cartridge is just enough thinner (in diameter) than the 9X18 that extraction is unreliable. It is a blowback operation, so extraction happens with or without the extractor is most cases, however, if the extractor doesn't have a solid hold on the case when it hits the ejector, the empty case frequently just spins in place. I tried a new extractor thinking mine was perhaps worn, I tried a new ejector, I even bent the old one in a little more, in case it was missing the empty case altogether. I tried every recoil spring made for the gun, and loaded every imaginable power level of .380. Nothing made it 100% reliable. FTE were random, but happened with enough frequency to keep me from carrying the gun (I would say average was 1 out of 25). .380's were VERY accurate, but I ultimately re-barreled to 9X18.

J Nad: I will not dispute your experience, but my commercial Mak in .380 has been 100% reliable and is the most accurate Mak I own. I prefer the 9mm Makarov ctg to the .380 but can not bring myself to mess with such an accurate handgun.
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Old February 24, 2014, 07:14 PM   #16
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I guess I'm just too much of a traditionalist. To me, if it's not a 9x18 it's not a "real" Pistolet Makarova.
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Old March 1, 2014, 03:59 AM   #17
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[quote-IM_Luger]Haven't been on in almost 2 years...Looking at picking up a brand new Baikal Makarov pistol thinking of going with one in .380, but can't decide between double stack and single stack. What are your thoughts? [/quote]

If you want a Makarov, get a single stack 9x18 Makarov.

If you want a double stack, look for a CZ-82- much better implementation of the double-stack approach for the same caliber.

The double stack Makarovs are very difficult to find. I wouldn't bother.

Incorrect information redacted.

Last edited by JimmyR; March 1, 2014 at 05:23 AM.
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Old March 1, 2014, 04:47 AM   #18
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Quote:
The .380 cartridge is just enough thinner (in diameter) than the 9X18 that extraction is unreliable.
As an experiment, I fired three magazines of .380 through one of my 9x18 Maks a number of years back. All rounds fed perfectly, fired and ejected perfectly. As this was strictly a functional experiment, there was no accuracy check, which was probably dismal at best.
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Old March 1, 2014, 04:51 AM   #19
gyvel
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The double stack Makarovs only squeeze in 2 extra rounds, and are very difficult to find. I wouldn't bother.
The original double stack Mak mags were 12 rounds. During the Clinton AWB years, only 10 rounders were available, but they were easily converted to 12 rounds.

As a side note, contrary to the single stack guns, I found the Pearce grips for the double stack to be much more comfortable than the stock grips, and were actually more comfortable than the Pearce single stack grips.
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Old March 1, 2014, 05:03 AM   #20
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It depends, are you wanting a collectible or a shooter/carry gun? In the U.S. at least, double-stack Makarovs are uncommon enough to have become collectible and usually carry collector's price tags. The prices of double-stack Maks are high enough now that for the same or less money you can usually find a CZ-83 that will offer you all the same virtues along with a better assortment and availability of accessories such as holsters, grips, and magazines.

Single-stack Maks, on the other hand, can still be found significantly cheaper than comparable guns of comparable quality. Also, many people find the slimmer grip of the single-stack Makarov to fit their hands better. Finally, the single-stack Makarov was the most widely used by Warsaw Pact militaries and thus, to some people, has more historical value.

From a collector/investment standpoint, however, the double-stack Makarov is much less common than either a single-stack Mak or CZ-83 and thus will be more likely to grow in value.
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