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View Poll Results: Makarov/Pseudo-Makarov 9x18mm: Effective cartridge for concealed carry, yes or no?
Yes. 159 89.33%
No. 11 6.18%
I am unsure. 8 4.49%
Voters: 178. You may not vote on this poll

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Old November 21, 2010, 12:29 PM   #1
JQP
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Makarov 9x18mm: Effective cartridge for concealed carry, yes or no?

Makarov 9x18mm: Effective cartridge for concealed carry, yes or no?

What is the FiringLine consensus on the 9x18mm cartridge for self-defense in a concealed carry application?

How do the better 'Makarov' cartridges stack up to 9mm Luger, .38 special, and .380 auto?

Would you deem it an acceptable performer in the role of a concealed carry self-defense firearm?

Please share your thoughts, data and experiences.
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Old November 21, 2010, 12:37 PM   #2
Scout
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It's no .44 magnum, but I trust it for my purposes. The Mak is light, durable, concealable, and reliable.
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Old November 21, 2010, 12:49 PM   #3
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It will serve you well if you can put the rounds where they are supposed to go. IMHO its all about shootability of any given caliber by the shooter in question which determines a rounds effectiveness. There is a broad range of acceptable calibers but in the end it comes down to what you shoot best. Its a lot more subjective than people think.

If you cannot hit the broad side of a barn with a .45 ACP but are lights out with 9mm which one is a effective concealed carry cartridge for you?

If you shoot the Mak well and score positive hits with it then it is an effective round for you. It is not my personal choice but YMMV.
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Old November 21, 2010, 12:56 PM   #4
t45
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The Makarov is considered in between a 380 and 9mm and far as performance so I would say yes to a defensive weapon.
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Old November 21, 2010, 01:19 PM   #5
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A few years ago I carried a russian mak loaded with wolf 100gr FMJ and never felt under gunned.
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Old November 21, 2010, 01:35 PM   #6
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A little hard to find, but Hornady makes a 9X18 with a 95 gr. XTP JHP @ 1000fps. As good as any 380. I have carried my CZ 82 with that round without reservation.
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Old November 21, 2010, 02:16 PM   #7
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Good topic I was going to post the same question. WVsig said it the best. I picked up a BG mak and a Polish Radom P64. I have not shot the mak yet but I have put 200rds through the P64. I have to say my accuracy was better than what I can do with my PM9. I hope the Mak is just as good. If i can shoot that Mak as good as my P64 I'm going to re-think my carry weapon. I'm curious about 9x18 vs the 38. If the 9x18 is similar to the 38spl than I think that would answer alot of questions. I'm sure there are some re-loaders and some folks that can offer up some stats for us?
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Old November 21, 2010, 02:19 PM   #8
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One thing the Makarov has in its favor over most .380ACP pistols is great accuracy. The fixed barrel helps. It is a little bulky for a .380/9x18, but the great accuracy goes a long way to make it effective.
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Old November 21, 2010, 02:46 PM   #9
dreamweaver
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i say yes. i carry .380 +p in a sig 328 and i like the ballistics. 9x18 is very similar, just not as many ammo options. both are sending a 90gr (+/_) bullet downfield with the 9x18 having slightly higher velocities than standard .380.
penetration is also similar with a slight edge expansion for the 9x18 (the bullets are slightly larger to start with).
wolf fmj ammo for the mak is still relatively cheap, while cordon, blazer and hornady sd rounds cost about the same as .380 sd.
38spl has slightly lower velocity, but is throwing a bigger bullet, 126-158gr, so more energy.
big attraction for the mak is price. you'd be hard pressed to find a better gun anywhere near that price.
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Old November 21, 2010, 03:05 PM   #10
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The 9x18mm Makarov cartridge is said to be the most powerful that can be chambered in a straight blow-back pistol. This cartridge is considerably more powerful than a standard velocity 380 auto cartridge, but not as powerful as a standard 9mm Luger (9x19mm). However, the bullet diameter is slightly larger than a 9x19mm (9mm Luger) bullet, and the 9x18mm Makarov ball round appears to my naked eye to be slightly blunter than a standard 9mm ball round, too. In a pistol thats weighty enough (such as the Makarov pistol that the cartridge was originally designed for, and some of that pistols imitators) recoil is mild enough to allow for accurate rapid-fire follow-up shots.

I once (a long time ago, now) astonished a couple of police officers who were firing newly aquired 9mm semi-auto's right next to me at the Ft. Lee , Va. firing range, by emptying my surplus East German Makarov's magazine, rapid fire, into the head outline of a life-sized head and torso target at ten yards distance. Every round except the first hit at least two inches inside the head outline. (The first round, which was actually my best-aimed shot, was fired double-action and the trigger pull was longer than on my single action follow-up shots, which cost me some acuracy, but I still hit the chin area of the target with it, about 1" inside the outline.)

The police officers shooting next to me were just as accurate as I was with deliberate fire, but neither one was nearly as accurate or as fast as I was with rapid fire. (For one thing, neither of them was real familiar yet with their new guns, and for another thing, their guns both jammed several times, but my EG Mak, manufactured in 1964, never missed a beat.)

To me, it is that rock solid reliability of the Makarov pistol and the ability it gives the shooter to hold it on target for single-action follow-up shots that makes the Makarov pistol and the 9 x18mm Makarov cartridge a great marriage.

I'm not sure though whether any of the numerous other pistols that been chambered for the 9x18mm Makarov cartridge since it was first developed are nearly as accurate or as reliable with that cartridge as the pistol that the cartridge was designed to be shot in is (which is the pistol that N.F. Makarov designed for the Soviet Union, that we today refer to as "the Makarov pistol", which were manufactured in Russia, in East Germany, in China, and Bulgaria, and nowhere else).

Interestingly, so far as I know, no manufacturer has yet attempted to use a 9x18mm Makarov cartridge in a small last ditch defense gun like a Kel-Tec P3AT or a Ruger LCP. I would think that the 9x18mm Makarov cartridge might be a great round for that type of gun too, if such a lightweight pistol could stand up to that rounds power, which it might not.
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Old November 21, 2010, 04:09 PM   #11
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If you get a Makarov, many of them are roughly finished and have very sharp edges, like on the underneath of the slide. These can slice the we of your hand into mincemeat. And the trigger can feel like gravel.

All it takes is some emery cloth and a Dremel polishing bit to do a "fluff 'n buff" and that trigger will be silky smooth and no sharp edges.

That was a good point about the Mak taking very affordable Wolf steel case ammo for practice.
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Old November 21, 2010, 04:30 PM   #12
Jim Downey
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I was intrigued by how good the numbers looked for the Mak when we tested that cartridge this summer. Yeah, I'd carry one without too much concern.

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Old November 21, 2010, 04:41 PM   #13
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I carry a Polish p-64 in 9x18. I can carry this weapon due to to accuracy ( which is amazing) and the compactness. As far as the round's effectiveness, who knows. It's faster than a .380. At close range, a few rounds to center of mass would most likely get you out of trouble. I carry mine in a flap holster during the cold months under my winter coat. During the summer, you can hide the thing anywhere, although it is all steel and rather heavy.
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Old November 21, 2010, 08:06 PM   #14
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I'd answer yes. Sure it's far from the most effective handgun cartridge out there, but it's also far from the worst. Especially if you're to accept that effectiveness is more than merely ballistics. If you do your part, the round will get the job done.
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Old November 21, 2010, 08:55 PM   #15
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I appreciate all the feedback, everyone.

Jim Downey, that is a fantastic data chart that I have now bookmarked. Thank you.

I tend to lean towards the position that the 9x18mm is a an acceptable cartridge for close range defensive use, in a carry application.

Here are some additional questions:

Is there a best of breed Makarov or pseudo-Makarov, like the CZ 82/83, aside from the near impossible to find E. German ones?

Is there one that has a first DA trigger pull that is somewhat acceptable?

Are replacement parts hard/easy to find, as well as magazines?

Is there a custom form holster, designed for IWB/OWB carry, that's more modern than the milsurp one?

Finally, why would a 9x18mm cartridge be significantly less effective than a slightly longer 9x19mm one?

Last edited by JQP; November 21, 2010 at 09:03 PM.
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Old November 21, 2010, 09:19 PM   #16
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I would feel fine with one. I did have an East German Mak which I foolishly traded away on one gun or another. The East German Makarov was as nicely finished as any Walther PPK I have ever seen. The trigger was heavy in DA but smooth, and crisp in SA. Very good accuracy. I have no recollection of the gun I traded it away for, but I miss the Mak I traded away.
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Old November 21, 2010, 09:44 PM   #17
raftman
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Quote:
Is there a best of breed Makarov or pseudo-Makarov, like the CZ 82/83, aside from the near impossible to find E. German ones?
First, with the nitpicking... pseudo-Makarov isn't quite accurate, but I suppose that's beside the point. It's hard to say what's best because that may depend on what your preferences are. For example, if you want the most concealable one (the smallest/lightest) it would be the Polish-made P-64. Of course there's the drawback of having the smallest ammo capacity of all of your choices (6+1), and also has nasty recoil and a heavy double action trigger. The recoil and trigger pull can be tamed somewhat using affordable, easy-to-install aftermarket springs, but the magazine capacity is something you're stuck with. The CZ-82 has the advantage of ammo capacity (12+1), although some Russian-made commercial Makarovs also have 12-round mags. It has a decent double action trigger, but it's the bulkiest and heaviest of the 9x18's. The actual Makarovs (regardless of what version) fall somewhere in between. There's some variation in fit and finish, but all of these are going to durable, accurate, and reliable. The only 9x18 I wouldn't whole-heartedly recommend is the Hungarian Pa-63. They're not bad guns all around but the aluminum alloy frame reportedly has durability problems.

Quote:
Is there one that has a first DA trigger pull that is somewhat acceptable?
The CZ-82 and the actual Makarovs (Russian, E. German, Bulgarian, etc) all have an alright DA trigger pull, it's the P-64 and Hungarian Pa-63 that will give you trouble.


Quote:
Are replacement parts hard/easy to find, as well as magazines?
Somewhat. The mags for any of them aren't as cheap as they should be. The nice thing about the actual Makarov pistols is they're composed of extremely few parts and there's really nothing in them that's particularly prone to failing.



Quote:
Is there a custom form holster, designed for IWB/OWB carry, that's more modern than the milsurp one?
Yes, for example there's Fobus holsters for the Makarov pistol.

Quote:
Finally, why would a 9x18mm cartridge be significantly less effective than a slightly longer 9x19mm one?
It's a question of chamber pressure. The Makarov was originally designed for extreme simplicity and reliability. Made it cheaper and easier to produce, and also to easier to maintain by those to whom the gun was issued. In trying to achieve that simplicity and reliability, they figured it would be best to make the gun blowback operated, and the 9x18 was considered the most powerful round a blowback operated firearm could handle while making the firearm of a size and weight that could easily be carried.

Hi-Point has shown that you can make even a 9x19, .40S&W, or .45acp blowback operated, but basically these guns look, feel, and weigh more like power drills than pistols.
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Old November 21, 2010, 10:22 PM   #18
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raftman, thank you quite a bit for writing such a detailed and helpful response for a 9x18mm noob like me.

Since you obviously know your subject matter, and since I can't seem to find a satisfactory answer after doing quite a bit of research, if you were buying your first and maybe only 9x18mm right now, which species would you purchase?
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Old November 21, 2010, 10:30 PM   #19
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I had a 9x18 for a few years and I never found any HP ammo. Never saw it in a store and it was always out-of-stock online.

With HPs it's probably ok but with FMJs the 9x18 is lacking.
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Old November 21, 2010, 10:36 PM   #20
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One of the better HP rounds in 9X18 Makarov is Buffalo Bore's 115-gr. Hard Cast Flat Nose Wadcutter (Item #34B). Next, I suggest FMJ is your have feeding problems.

A hardcast wadcutter load is preferred because it permanently cuts through flesh and bone, rather than temporarily just pushing it aside as FMJ does. Be sure to test any and all loads in your weapon for reliable functionality.
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Old November 21, 2010, 10:43 PM   #21
Hairbag
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There are some EG maks around. There is a guy on gunbroker that has a few Russian military maks and they look mint from the pics but there are not cheap $750. I would assume the Russian military Maks are the most desired Followed by the EG?
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Old November 21, 2010, 10:45 PM   #22
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Quote:
I had a 9x18 for a few years and I never found any HP ammo. Never saw it in a store and it was always out-of-stock online.
I think the Russian steel cased stuff like wolf and Silver Bear is easy to find in HP. Hopefully when Hornady gets caught up with everything else they will make a bunch more of their XTP Hollow Point 9mm Mak ammo.
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Old November 22, 2010, 07:28 AM   #23
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I have two P-64's. The P-64 is a very well made and reliable pistol. Unfortunately, other than magazines and aftermarket grips, there are virtually no spare parts available for these pistols. (I purchased a second pistol just in case I might need any parts in the future.)

I still have 13 Hornady XTP cartidges remaining that I use for summer carry (6+1 and an extra magazine). Winter carry is FMJ for more penetration (due to the extra clothing and heavy coats worn here in New England).
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Old November 22, 2010, 07:38 AM   #24
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A simple yes-
My Russian Mak is with me every day---
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Old November 22, 2010, 10:37 AM   #25
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http://mashburnssafarimilitarygoods....5mmto10mm.aspx
9mmx18 Makarov
Silver Bear 115gr FMJ
Box of 50 Item Number: A918RFMJN

A 21# recoil spring on a Makarov is prudent with that. It should sting.
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