The Makarov gun
From between the wars until the end of the Second World War, the troops of the USSR (Red Army) were equipped with the Tokarev TT33, a single-action semi-automatic pistol. But this one, too powerful and dangerous to handle, was supplanted from the end of 1951 by the Makarov pistol, also known as the PM (Makarov Pistol). Since then, this efficient and cheap model has become an emblem of the Eastern bloc countries, and even beyond.
A weapon that was very much in evidence during the Cold War, but not only that
The Makarov equipped the troops of the USSR until its dissolution at the beginning of the 1990s. However, this dissolution did not mean the end of the pistol since it continued to equip the Russian army until 2003, when its replacement was announced.
Naturally, the PM spread widely in the "friendly" countries of the USSR throughout the Cold War. Production licences were thus granted to the GDR (German Democratic Republic) and Bulgaria.
Outside Europe, it was also produced in China. This is why it is fashionable to associate it, historically, with the long period of opposition between the two great East/West blocs.
But after the collapse of the communist regimes in the mid-1990s, the Makarov, a military weapon, became a civilian weapon for personal defence. The United States, a major consumer of weapons for personal use, then massively imported the Makarov pistol, which would of course have been unthinkable during the Cold War with the USSR.
A cheap weapon with simple operation
The durability of the Makarov is based on its excellent quality/price ratio. Made of machined steel, it is a model of great robustness. It is a compact, no-frills weapon, designed to be transported and handled with ease.
Its particularity is that it is made up of an extremely small number of parts. Whereas pistols such as the Glock or Beretta have 33 and 55 parts respectively when fully dismantled, the Makarov has only 27. Some parts thus have several functions. The spring serves as a magazine hook, a spring for the hammer, for the trigger tail... Its very compact shape puts the magazine and the firing chamber almost at right angles, which greatly minimises the risk of jamming and makes the PM a very reliable pistol.
Chambered in 9 mm, it is not a precision pistol but a weapon on which the user can rely in all circumstances. The overall simplicity of its construction allows quick and easy disassembly and reassembly. Very few tools are required to do this, making maintenance operations easier.
In the civilian version, very few modifications have been made to the original model. A few alterations have been made to the handle to make it more ergonomic. The possibility of inserting a larger capacity loader is finally the biggest difference.
Collectors will nevertheless have a preference for the original model. Symbol of an era that has left a lasting mark on the history of the world, the Makarov pistol also represents the quintessence of a certain aesthetic, marked by the search for efficiency to the detriment of all other considerations. A bias not so far removed from the socialist realism that permeated many sectors of culture and art in Eastern Europe and that is still found today.
The replicas available on the armoury
At Jean Pierre Fusil, we offer you several replicas of the Makarov under the Umarex brand. These are pellet guns used for leisure. Of a power of 3 Joules maximum, they are on sale free for adults.