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Old April 5, 2020, 11:39 PM   #1
TruthTellers
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What are some good, cheap 9x18 Mak pistols?

I had the thought that with the panic buying of ammo the common/popular calibers making for some pretty significant supply shortages that it was time to think of what less popular calibers would be good options to think about buying in the future and for some reason 9x18 Mak stood out. Sure, it's not as powerful as 9x19, but it is more powerful than .380 and .32 ACP. It's cheaper than .38 Super, .357 Sig, and .45 GAP and Hornady makes good JHP ammo for the caliber.

So, I'm thinking of what pistols are available in the Mak because there are multiple variants of the Makarov from the Warsaw Pact countries out there, plus some that aren't based on the Makarov at all.

One that's jumped out at me is the Cz 82, that seems to be one of the larger size pistols in the chambering and has mags that 12 rds.

I hear a lot of bad things about the Radom, so I know to avoid that, but of all the pistols in 9x18, which do you think is the best value and which do you think is just the best overall?

Also, which pistols have the easiest magazines to acquire? I don't want to get something that's like the Beretta 81 with extra mags that are nigh unavailable.
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Old April 6, 2020, 12:28 AM   #2
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Probably the CZ 82. There are not many pistols chambered in 9x18 makarov. The ones I know of are: CZ82, Makarov pistol, FEG PA63. Expect to pay at least $30 for a magazine for most any of them.

Honestly, if you want to stack up magazines on the cheap, anything Glock is the best. Cheapest OEM mags, lots of aftermarket mags cheap too. Ammo right now- not so much.

Not a Glock fanboy by any means, but their popularity lends itself to lots of options. 9x18 makarov is a boutique cartridge.
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Old April 6, 2020, 12:41 AM   #3
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IMO, a better solution is to wait until the prices get really good again and buy a large batch of ammo for whatever handgun(s) you already have and store it for emergencies. For the cost of even a cheap handgun, you can buy a lot of ammo to store.

My perspective is that being PREpared means already having what you need before things go wrong, not coming up with a plan for being able to find things you need in a panic situation after things are already a mess.

In this situation, for example, which is better, being able to go out and spend time in a store getting exposed to other potentially sick folks to buy ammo that is (due to your planning) available, or being able to stay home because you already have all the ammo you need and feeling sorry for all the people who are scrambling around POSTparing?
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Old April 6, 2020, 01:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by veprdude View Post
Probably the CZ 82. There are not many pistols chambered in 9x18 makarov. The ones I know of are: CZ82, Makarov pistol, FEG PA63. Expect to pay at least $30 for a magazine for most any of them.

Honestly, if you want to stack up magazines on the cheap, anything Glock is the best. Cheapest OEM mags, lots of aftermarket mags cheap too. Ammo right now- not so much.

Not a Glock fanboy by any means, but their popularity lends itself to lots of options. 9x18 makarov is a boutique cartridge.
I know Glock mags are the cheapest, that's one reason I got into the platform because I didn't like the idea of mags that cost $30-$40.

I will make exceptions to that rule at times tho if it's something unique or something that fills a niche. A 9x18 fills a niche, the niche of uncommon/unpopular ammo that's reasonably cheap.

I don't consider 9x18 a boutique cartridge, it's nowhere near that high in price and it's reasonably available online.

Speaking of Glock's and 9x18, I just remember there are conversion barrels available for the G42.
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Old April 6, 2020, 01:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by JohnKSa View Post
IMO, a better solution is to wait until the prices get really good again and buy a large batch of ammo for whatever handgun(s) you already have and store it for emergencies. For the cost of even a cheap handgun, you can buy a lot of ammo to store.

My perspective is that being PREpared means already having what you need before things go wrong, not coming up with a plan for being able to find things you need in a panic situation after things are already a mess.

In this situation, for example, which is better, being able to go out and spend time in a store getting exposed to other potentially sick folks to buy ammo that is (due to your planning) available, or being able to stay home because you already have all the ammo you need and feeling sorry for all the people who are scrambling around POSTparing?
I'm already well prepared and I agree that's the right way to do things, but I always think in the theoretical.

Dunno why you assume that my first source of ammo is to go to a store, that's my last source to be honest because prices and selection sucks. No, it's internet first and the interest has lots of 9x18 ammo.
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Old April 6, 2020, 02:23 AM   #6
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Dunno why you assume that my first source of ammo is to go to a store, that's my last source to be honest because prices and selection sucks. No, it's internet first and the interest has lots of 9x18 ammo.
I just used one example. Buying on the internet isn't a solution to all the possible issues surrounding ammo shortages. Prices tend go up, along with wait times and availability often becomes an issue.

For example, one of the major sellers that had lots of 9x18 ammo was so swamped that they completely closed down for several days filling orders. If you needed ammo during that period, you were out of luck in spite of the theoretical availability of 9x18.
Quote:
I'm already well prepared and I agree that's the right way to do things, but I always think in the theoretical.
I don't know exactly what you mean by "thinking in the theoretical", but here are some undeniable truths:

1. Having all the ammo you need before a shortage beats trying to buy ammo in the middle of one. You can almost always get better prices. Instead of spending money on ammo in the middle of a shortage, you can save it to deal with other possible contingencies surrounding the shortage. You can spend your time during the shortage dealing with other issues instead of looking for ammo. You don't have to go out and buy ammo or deal with trying to schedule deliveries so the shipment doesn't sit on your porch in the rain or so you can be there to sign for it. You can avoid contributing to the shortage by not buying ammo because you already have what you need so those who haven't planned ahead have a better chance of getting what they need.

2. You can buy a lot of ammo for what it costs to buy even a very inexpensive gun. And that's before you get into the cost of buying necessary accessories and ammo for the new gun. In other words, instead of paying $200 for a 9x18 pistol and then spending another $200 on a case of ammo, you could spend all of that money on 9x19 ammo (assuming you already have a 9x19 pistol) and have twice as much. And you wouldn't have to spend any extra on magazines or holsters or accessories for another gun. That's either more preparation for the same amount of money, or the same amount of preparation for about half the money depending on how you look at it.

If you just want to buy a new gun in 9x18, that's a worthy goal, all by itself, but IMO, it's not a purchase that can be justified in terms of preparedness for ammo shortages.
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Old April 6, 2020, 04:38 AM   #7
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That's fair John, and I don't disagree with you. I personally don't need it.

That said, let's say somebody just got their $1200 check, didn't have the money to buy a gun and ammo a month ago, but do now. The common and inexpensive ammo (.22, .380, 9, .40, .45, .38/.357) is all gone, is the 9x18 a good choice for them to get?
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Old April 6, 2020, 01:07 PM   #8
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Makarov PM, FEG PA-63, CZ-82, and the P64 Wanad are the only 9x18 Makarov pistols that I'm aware of, but they're all good firearms and tend to be inexpensive since they're all old Soviet Military surplus firearms.

Personally, I like the FEG PA-63 the best because it looks almost exactly like a Walther PP, and that's a mighty fine-looking pistol.
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Old April 6, 2020, 06:13 PM   #9
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While some are nice... none of the ones mentioned are as reliable, rugged, simple, accurate, easy to shoot, easy to maintain, and easy service as the one and only Makarov. While Bulgarians have gone up in price the last few years, they are still certainly priced nicely considering they will continue to go up as supply dwindles. Depending on how much you want to spend, used but functional ones can still be had in the $200 range, all the way up to "unissued" numbers matching for around $400-450. Mags are available and typically run $10-20 for used to new.

But if you want one, best jump now as this will likely be the last round of them seen in the U.S.



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Old April 6, 2020, 09:13 PM   #10
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The 2 best choices have been mentioned; CZ82 and Bulgarian Makarov. Given the choice.....CZ all the way.
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Old April 7, 2020, 12:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
That said, let's say somebody just got their $1200 check, didn't have the money to buy a gun and ammo a month ago, but do now. The common and inexpensive ammo (.22, .380, 9, .40, .45, .38/.357) is all gone, is the 9x18 a good choice for them to get?
I definitely agree that if one were already in the middle of an ammo panic and needed to get armed, going with an unconventional but capable caliber would probably be wise--both in terms of firearm availability AND ammo availability.

From that perspective, this discussion could be quite valuable.

9x18 is a good option. I found at least one website selling CZ82 pistols for about $200 and the ammo is out there too, at good prices.

Some of the less mainstream commercial calibers could also be good options. I remember that during one especially prolonged shortage, I was able to find 10mm ammo fairly easily and at reasonable prices even though there was absolutely no 9mm to be had anywhere.
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Old April 7, 2020, 12:50 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by JohnKSa View Post
I definitely agree that if one were already in the middle of an ammo panic and needed to get armed, going with an unconventional but capable caliber would probably be wise--both in terms of firearm availability AND ammo availability.

From that perspective, this discussion could be quite valuable.

This is the reason I made the thread. Less about my personal wants/needs and more others. I added my own tastes on magazines because I'm sure most share the same opinion.

Quote:
9x18 is a good option. I found at least one website selling CZ82 pistols for about $200 and the ammo is out there too, at good prices.

Some of the less mainstream commercial calibers could also be good options. I remember that during one especially prolonged shortage, I was able to find 10mm ammo fairly easily and at reasonable prices even though there was absolutely no 9mm to be had anywhere.
And with how 10mm has become more popular since the mid to early 2010s, it too could be a good choice. The potential for some 10mm guns to shoot .40 without any changes is a possible reason to strongly consider 10mm.

Thoughts on other less popular, but easily available and affordable calibers?
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Old April 7, 2020, 01:59 AM   #13
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Sticking with the surplus theme, 7.62x25 is a possibility. Again, there are guns and ammo available, and I wouldn't expect either to be significantly impacted by a typical panic/shortage.

7.62x25 guns tend to be a little more "off-the-wall" than what you find in 9x18, but there are workable options out there, and usually at very reasonable prices.
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Old April 7, 2020, 02:33 AM   #14
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Just wonder if anyone in here has had to use even one box or bullet due to corona virus.

...


Sounds like you know enough about Mak to go buy one. You're just justifying it to strangers

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Old April 7, 2020, 10:10 AM   #15
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I’m also in favour of the simple rugged and reliable Bulgarian Makarov

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Old April 7, 2020, 01:20 PM   #16
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Dang Classic12, YOUR house is the one I want to go to for a play date. (Although bus fare from Minnesota to Switzerland might be a touch problematic.)

Amazing collection of guns and EXCELLENT photo's, even more remarkable since you say your taking them with your cell phone. I have to suspect you just might know what you're doing with guns AND cameras.
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Old April 7, 2020, 11:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Just wonder if anyone in here has had to use even one box or bullet due to corona virus.
My guess is that the entire amount of ammunition used by civilians out of actual need as a direct result of the whole COVID19 mess will be less than the number of rounds in a full capacity pistol.

But people do like to keep up their shooting routines even during shortages and given that handgun skill is perishable, it's a legitimate concern. From that perspective, planning to insure a continuous supply of ammunition is on hand for practice during shortage-inducing events makes good sense.
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Old April 8, 2020, 02:44 AM   #18
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I'd always assumed that Makarovs were communist junk, in a weird caliber to boot. That is until I got to shoot a friend's three examples. He had Russian, Chinese and E. German guns, IIRC. We shot ball ammo in all three, no malfunctions whatsoever. I doubt Makarovs were designed with JHP ammo in mind, but we ran CorBon JHPs through all three. Again, 100% reliable. I was surprised and impressed, to say the least.

I came away with a much higher opinion of the Makarovs. I have no experience with the CZ or other 9X18 pistols, so were I in the market for a 9X18 pistol, the Makarov would be my first choice....
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Old April 8, 2020, 05:00 PM   #19
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Truth Tellers: Are you willing to pay the market price for a very reliable handgun? Or is price more important?

My .380 Russian Makarov--the basic .380 rds. have nearly identical muzzle energy to the 9x18 Makarov rds.--used about 1,000 rds. with Zero Issues. Starting bids for these "Izhevsk" or "IJ-70" on Gunbroker are still sometimes $300.
I just saw one on GB, a minute ago.

Single-stack 9x18 and .380 magazines are >>completely interchangeable<< and 100% reliable---as long as they are from True Makarovs.

---Verify that people who are unfamiliar with the Maks clearly understand that several guns types Chambered in 9x18 Mak are Not actually Makarov handguns----

* Makarovs were produced only in the Soviet Union, "East" Germany, Bulgaria and Communist "Corona China".

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Old April 11, 2020, 06:00 AM   #20
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Hell, the problem not is no place for many of us to even shoot a firearm. I have memberships to three different ranges and all closed down. Thankfully I do get range time with my collection of Air Pistols. (by the way, one of my favorite is the Makarov. Air gun enthusiasts know this gun well. Low cost and very well made. My shoots the Same FPS from the day I bought it to now 10 years later.
Sorry to get off track. Just something to think about.

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Old April 12, 2020, 03:55 PM   #21
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Interesting topic as it actually is happening. I picked up a FEG R61 in 9x18 last year just for this and I’ll be darned if every thing on the ammo shelf in every GS around here is gone “ covid 19 worries “except yes you guessed it, 9x18.

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Old April 13, 2020, 09:22 PM   #22
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When I was younger and broker, I used to carry a Bulgarian Makarov.
A bit heavy since it was all steel, but dead nuts reliable and accurate.
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Old April 14, 2020, 03:14 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa View Post
IMO, a better solution is to wait until the prices get really good again and buy a large batch of ammo for whatever handgun(s) you already have and store it for emergencies. For the cost of even a cheap handgun, you can buy a lot of ammo to store.

My perspective is that being PREpared means already having what you need before things go wrong, not coming up with a plan for being able to find things you need in a panic situation after things are already a mess.

In this situation, for example, which is better, being able to go out and spend time in a store getting exposed to other potentially sick folks to buy ammo that is (due to your planning) available, or being able to stay home because you already have all the ammo you need and feeling sorry for all the people who are scrambling around POSTparing?
Best answer of all. Now you know why he is one the staff of this forum.
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Old April 14, 2020, 10:48 PM   #24
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I own a Bulgarian PM Makarov, a Polish P64, and a pair of CZ82s.

They are neat pieces of Cold War history, but to be honest, none of these 9x18mm Makarov-chambered pistols are as pleasant to shoot or as useful to me as a small modern 9x19mm pistol. Being blowback operated, they all exhibit more felt recoil than a locked-breech 9x19mm design, despite the weaker cartridge and heavy all-steel construction. And they all have their peculiarities that keep me from really falling in love with them for anything more than historical value.

The CZ82 is certainly the most modern, and it's neat that they are all C&R pistols, but despite their svelte look, the overall dimensions (length, width, and height) are almost identical to a Glock 19, which holds more rounds (that are more powerful), is lighter, and has less felt recoil. The ambi mag release is cool, but the shape of the stock military grips makes it hard to actuate, even with my long fingers. Also, the lack of a decocker is a minus for me, and somewhat inexplicable on such a recent DA/SA design. They are very reliable though, despite being the single most complicated modern pistol design I've ever encountered. Seriously - don't ever try to detail strip one unless you really know what you are getting into, and are willing to build a few tiny specialized tools in order to reassemble it.

The Makarov PM is a simple little tank, but I've never warmed up to the ergonomics for some reason, and the slide-mounted safety/decocker has always felt awkward to me.

The P64s are surprisingly beautifully-built. That is literally the only good thing I can say about them. A six-round magazine is laughable for what was designed to be a service pistol, those magazines are horrendously expensive today, and the less that can be said about the trigger, the better. But I'll discuss it anyway. The single-action trigger is just OK, but the double-action trigger is hands-down the worst I have ever encountered. I'm a pretty strong guy, with a very good hand strength, and I can honestly say that, with stock springs on my excellent-to-possibly unissued example, it took two fingers to pull the trigger on double action. This is not unique to my example. Even with the much-touted Wolff replacement trigger springs, the trigger went from completely non-usable to just horrible. From a practical standpoint, I can only see these as having been useful as a badge of rank, to wave in the face of conscripts, or to execute bound prisoners. But they do look nice!


.

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Old April 17, 2020, 05:19 AM   #25
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I have Over half a dozen Makarov pistols, Russian, EcGerman and Bulgarian the shooters mainly Bulgarians but shoot they do quite successfully. My Bulgarians ( five of them) came from the batch of unissued pistols with the maintenance logs so they have been broken in by me. Whenever I purchase a firearm I also purchase a supply of ammo amount depending upon the projected use. Always there is an adequate supply on the shelf for times like these when others are stripping the supply. I am fortunate that my friend and I have a private range and can shoot anytime we wish, the “stay inside” order has not stopped our hog hunting or range use here in Texas.
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