The Makarov PM (pronounced mack-ARR-off (PM) Pistolet Makarova, Russian: ÐŸÐ¸ÑÑ‚Ð¾Ð»ÐµÑ‚ ÐœÐ°ÐºÐ°Ñ€Ð¾Ð²Ð° ÐŸÐœ) designed by Russian designer Nikolai Fyodorovich Makarov is a semi-automatic pistol which was manufactured and designed in the late 1940s.
For many years, it was the Soviet Union's standard military side arm.
The Makarov PM or Pistolet Makarova is a straight blowback action, medium sized barrel handgun. The key to the blowback design, is that the only force holding the slide closed is the recoil spring. When the gun is discharged, the slide and barrel do not unlock, as opposed to locked breech design features. The blowback design is a more accurate and simple design utilizing a tilting, recoiling or articulated barrel. Blowback pistol designs are also limited overall by the weight of the slide. The largest useful caliber in the blowback design is the 9x19 cartridge. The Makarov PM is a bit heavy for its size, which is an asset for this gun because the inertia against recoil is reduced due to the heavy slide.
The Makarov PM comes with a free floating firing pin and no firing pin block or firing pin spring. Therefore, the weapon may be accidentally fired when the firearm is dropped on its muzzle. The Designer, Makarov believed the firing pin of smaller mass would constitute a major danger. The Makarov modeled in Bulgaria is government approved for sale in California and passes the requisite drop safety test.
Some key PM features are its economy and simplicity of parts; many of the parts do more than one task. For example, the slide stop on the firearm is the ejector as well. Also, the mainspring powers the trigger and the hammer on teh pistol. The lower end of this piece is the magazine catch. Makarov parts are very durable and seldom break with normal wear and tear. They are also easily replaced with simple and common tools.
The Makarov pistols have a SA/DA single (single action / double action) functional operating system. Upon loading and charging the firearm by manually pulling back the slide, the pistol can be transported with the hammer facing downward and the safety switch engaged. In order to fire the weapon, the slide mounted safety level is moved down toward the fire position. After which the shooter pulls the trigger to effectively fire the gun. The action of pulling the trigger for the first shot of the weapon has the affect of also cocking the hammer. this action requires a strong and long pull of the trigger. The shooting and cycling of the action then re-cocks the hammer for additional firing. The weapon can then be fired in single action with a light, short trigger squeeze. When pushing up the safety lever to safe, the hammer will be safely lowered. The operation of the Makarov PM is semi-automatic and therefore the weapon can be fired as quickly as the user can squeeze the trigger. Used cartridges are discharged to the users right and rear generally a good 5-7 feet away.
The Makarov PM's traditional magazine holds eight rounds. Upon firing the last round of the weapon, the slide locks open. When a loaded magazine is inserted, the slide is closed shut by pressing a lever on the frame of the weapon or by withdrawing the release of the slide catch. Either one of these actions loads a cartridge into the chamber. Once this is complete, the pistol is ready to be fired.
Makarov PM in the United States
From the mid-1980's through the 1990's it was difficult to find 9mm Makarov ammunition in the United States.