TFB FIELD STRIP: Makarov Pistol And Licensed Copies

    After WW2, the Soviet Union was replacing its entire fleet of small arms. And while some Russian weapons that were accepted into service in the late 40s and early 50s, like AK-47 and SKS, became a timeless classic and overtime proved itself, there was at least one gun that did not make much sense. I am talking about Makarov pistol, also known as PM (Pistol, Makarov).

    Its predecessor, Tokarev TT, was quite unsafe, lacking any reasonable mechanical safety, so it was impossible to carry it safely with a round in a chamber. In addition, it was not drop-safe which consequently put eternal fear into the hearts of Russian Army officers, who, to this day, are afraid to carry a round in the chamber. In fact, the Army wanted to replace Tokarev even before the war, but when the Germans invaded on June 22, 1941, priorities quickly changed, and Tokarev remained to be the main service pistol through entire WW2.

    But after the war, instead of looking at amazing Browning HP, Polish VIS, Walther P38 or even Colt 1911, Soviet generals made an inexplicable decision that new army service pistol will be based on Walther PP. To this day I have no explanation of this decision, perhaps it was just another case when people who do not use guns are in a position to write technical requirements.

    As a result, Makarov is small and compact, uses proprietary 9×18 round and has a single stack magazine that holds 8 rounds. It was produced in Russia, East Germany, Bulgaria, and China. And while Makarov pistol was an adequate self-defense weapon in the 50s and 60s, I would never understand why anyone would carry it in 21 century when so many better pistols are available.

    BEFORE YOU FIELD STRIP ANY WEAPON, REMEMBER the four rules of gun safety:

    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

    Step 1. Remove the magazine by pressing on the button of the heel magazine release with your thumb and pushing on the front edge of the magazine base plate. Lock the slide to the rear and inspect the chamber to make sure the weapon is unloaded.

    Step 2. Pull down on the front of the trigger guard and push it to the left or right side.

    Step 3. Pull the slide to the rear, lift it up, and ease it forward off the receiver.

    Step 4. Push the recoil spring forward, off the barrel.

    And just like that, disassembly is complete. The reassembly is done in reverse order. If you would like to know more, visit website for detailed manuals and historical information.

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    Vladimir Onokoy is a Russian defense industry specialist and firearms instructor. Over the years he worked in 15 different countries as a security contractor, armorer, firearms industry sales representative, product manager, and consultant.

    His articles were published in the Recoil magazine, Small Arms Review, Small Arms Defence Journal, and Silah Report, he also created several video series such as “Gun myths”, “Kalashnikov: around the world”, “Larry Vickers in Russia” and “Kalashnikov: evolution” that are available on YouTube.
    ► Email: machaksilver at gmail dot com.
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