By Bob Walsh
GUN OF THE WEEK
The Gun of the Week this time around is the Comblock Makarov Pistol.
The Russian’s had long wanted to replace the TT33 Tokarev pistol, but the needs of WWII led them to go with what they had. After the war they put some serious development resources into a single pistol that would do the job of both a uniform duty pistol and a concealed carry pistol. As is usually the case the compromise is not the best of either world, but they did a pretty decent job of hitting both targets.
The Makarov is a blowback pistol, as opposed to a locked breach pistol. This makes it much cheaper to make and requires less skilled machine operation. They ended up with the 9.3X18mm cartridge, which is somewhat more powerful than the .380 automatic but still safely functional in a blowback pistol.
This weapon entered service in 1951 after about three years of testing and development.
This pistol uses an eight round single column box magazine and is a double action-single action design. The safety is also a decocker. It actually has a decent double action trigger. It also has the usual mediocre military sights though more recent Russian produced U. S. imports have the legally required adjustable sights. They were made in Russia, China, Bulgaria and East Germany.
The pistol has only 27 parts not counting the magazine. This is quite a feat of firearms engineering, making it much easier to build and maintain that a more complex weapon would be.
The Makarov was formally replaced in Russian service in 2003 although a large number of them remained in service long after that.
Most of these weapons are in the 9mm Makarov cartridge, although a fair number were built in .380 automatic for export. The once-plentiful supply of surplus ammo has dried up, though commercial U.S. manufactured as well as modern production import ammo is easily available.
I own two of these weapons myself, a Bulgarian version and a Chinese version. I would like to have a German one but have yet to find one at a price I am willing to pay. The way they are designed you cannot put a full magazine in them with the slide closed. For a self-defense pistol I do not like that feature, so I altered a small number of the magazines to enable them to seat properly with the action closed. One the rare occasion when I used to actually carry one of these those are the magazines I used. I had to replace the springs in the Chinese pistol with German ones as the Chinese ones were crap, but after that it ran just fine. Both pistols will feed the Hornaday hollow point round without problem.