Makarov PM in 9x18mm: From Cold War service to concealed carry pistol
By David LaPell
East German Makarov PM chambered in 9x18mm. This pistol was the service pistol for many Soviet Bloc countries, including Russia, during the Cold War. (Photo: David LaPell)
These days there seems to be an endless number of small concealable handguns and this trend shows no sign of letting up. The Smith & Wesson Shield, the Ruger LCP, and LC9, Beretta’s Nano and Pico, offerings from Glock and so many others the choices — it’s mind numbing. Regardless, I know of one often overlooked pocket pistol that has been around for almost seventy years and has a proven track record worldwide: the Makarov PM pistol.
The Makarov PM (the correct pronunciation is Mah-KAR-ov) was introduced in 1951 in the Soviet Union as a successor to the Tokarev TT-33 pistol. Essentially the Makarov was a copy of the venerable Walther PP pistol, but the Russians simplified the design and came up with a handgun with only 28 parts.
The Makarov was chambered in 9x18mm, a very capable round, falling somewhere between the .380 ACP and the 9mm Parabellum in terms of power. However, the 9x18mm has a slightly larger bullet diameter, .365 inch compared to the .355 inch of the other two. The standard 9x18mm