Educational Zone #16 – Great Firearms – The 9 X 18 Makarov

The 9 X 18 Makarov is a fairly “new” round in the USA, but it has been a staple of firearms in Europe for a long time and is one of the most common police and military rounds in some countries.

It is usually classified in power as between the .380 ACP and the 9 MM Parabellum.

I believe that it is a little closer to the 9 MM in its hottest loadings.

I have a couple of pistols that shoot this round.

Here they are.

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They are a Hungarian PA-63 (bottom) and a Russian Baikal IJ-70.

Both are fine little pistols and a pleasure to shoot.

The PA-63 is a little lighter in weight, but a little more punishing in recoil.

More on this later.

If there is a main problem with this round, it is that no one makes a really “quality” defense round for it.

I wish I could buy Winchester Ranger SXT rounds for it, but I can’t.

I load several rounds for the pistols, from left to right, they are a lead target load, a lead cast bullet, a JHP load, a round of Wolf Ball, and a round of 9mm to compare to size.

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I load a 100 grain Round Nose Lead bullet in a light target load.

I use 3.3 grains of WW-231 for a nice shooting and accurate target load.

This brings us to an important fact about this round and the pistols.

They are amazingly accurate.

There are a couple of reasons for this.

One is the sturdy way in which the barrel is fixed to the frame.

Let’s look at the disassembly.

First, after making sure the pistol is empty, you pull down on the trigger guard and pull it slightly to one side.

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Next, you pull the slide completely to the rear and lift it.

Then allow it to go forward, off of the frame.

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Here you can see the way in which the barrel is positively attached to the frame.

It does not pivot or move in any way.

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Another plus in the accuracy department is the sights.

On the Russian Makarov, the sights are very fine.

The rear notch is less than an eighth of an inch wide. This makes fine sighting easier.

We have determined that this pistol may shoot as accurately as my Colt Gold Cup .45 ACP.

That is no joke, the accuracy is simply amazing.

With hotter loads, these little pistols can produce recoil that stings, especially with the PA-63, due to its lighter weight.

But the target loads are nice and easy to shoot.

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Here I am at the range giving the PA-63 a workout.

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Here it is in action.

Notice the piece of brass in the air.

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Here I am shooting the Russian Mak.

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A neat pic with the action opening.

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Conclusion:
Ejection on these pistols is “positive”, to say the least. We measured an average and found that the brass was thrown approximately 20 feet to the right rear. If you want to reload the brass, you need a “brass” man to watch where it goes.

These pistols can be found at very reasonable prices at gun shows and are an enjoyable pistol to shoot and own. If you haven’t got one, give them a good look.