Sniper's Paradise

Go for the X!

Makarov ... Magic? Print
Product Reviews
Written by Jacob Gottfredson   



 by Jacob Gottfredson ©



I found myself enjoying one of my favorite activities one evening a while back.  A few of us were sitting around the camp fire embellishing our hunting stories, munching beef tenders, and sipping a cold one.  The conversation turned to hunting rifles and then to pistols.   One of the fellows began telling us about the two, not one but two, Makarov semi-automatic pistols he had purchase recently for the scant sum of $130 each.   I had a mild interest in his story since I was looking to replace my wife’s revolver that had been taken from her new Mazda 929 in a most unappreciated manner.


This fellow suggested that it was among the most accurate of its kind he had ever owned.  Obligingly, he produced one from his truck.  I was impressed with the quality of the little firearm, considering the price.  I pondered over the economic consequences to the US of flooding our market with such imports.    I smiled politely and handed the jumble of, from-behind-the-iron-curtain, metal back to its owner.


On my return home,  I began to pay a little more attention to the rags and the catalogs that constantly find their way to my mailbox.  Since my blood runs pure rifle,  I don’t tend to notice these little, short barreled creatures.    Sure enough, this particular pistol was plastered everywhere.  Geez, for the paltry sum of $175,  I could have the pistol, two boxes of .380 auto Fiocchi ammo, an ugly leather holster,  two magazines,  and a nice rubber grip to replace the original plastic uglies the pistol came with.   As I am used to, my resistance began to ebb.


I promptly ordered, telling my spouse that it might fill her need for protection.  That was a bit of a lie, of course, since I wouldn’t give anyone an automatic for protection unless they frequently spent time practicing with it ... and I knew she wouldn’t. 


The hunk of potentially moving metal parts arrived, was admired, and tucked away.  Some weeks later, I grabbed the thing on my way to the range to fireform some 6PPC brass and ready myself for an upcoming match.   When this was finished,  I dug around in the back of my van trying to locate any sort of old, used target that might be there.  I found a 200 yard Benchrest target with only one 6mm bullet hole in the bottom sighter portion from some previous match or other.   I cut the record portion off the top and walked to the backer.  I hung the sighter portion with the single hole 6mm hole that appears to the left of the bull in the photo.  I took five large steps in retreat, turned and faced the target, thinking it to be approximately 12 to 15 feet.   I figured this was all the little toy machine was good for.   If I could spray a few rounds down range without incident (misfire or jam) and have any of them hit this 8 inch by 8 inch piece of paper,  I would feel satisfied with my expenditure and call it a day.   That was all I needed for what I intended the pistol ... scare them and maybe they’ll go away.


The thing has adjustable sights, which blows my mind.  The little accompanying booklet describes the pistol as a training aid to be used in shooting galleries.  I guessed the adjustable sights were included so one could learn how to deal with such things.


I took aim at the center of the mothball and fired.  To my surprise, this first round poked a nice little .38 hole inside the mothball at 8 o’clock.  A fluke, surely.   I fired a second round with the same result.  I assumed I had missed the target entirely until the third round opened the hole slightly.   


This thing was beginning to get my attention instead of my goat.  I took careful aim and fired again.  The hole opened slightly again.  I continued this exercise until all eight rounds were expended.  The hole grew, but only slightly.   The included photo shows the eight round group in the bottom of the bull with the 6mm hole hanging all by its lonesome at nine o’clock like some orbiting moon.   Shown with it are the pistol with rubber grips installed and the magazine with the Fiocchi .380 rounds.


I stood dumbfounded, looking at the target and then at the pistol.  I could not help feeling that if extreme accuracy in today’s world is measured by 6 inches or so at 1000 yards by expensive, heavy rifles with big bore cartridges,  or aggregates of .2 inches at 100 yards by 10.5 pound Benchrest rifles, then why not also a hole like this from a snub nosed toy auto at 15 feet? 


No, I’m not going to test other ammo.   No, I’m not going to repeat the test.  No, I’m not going to fire 100 groups to see if the statistical average supports this first group.  In fact, with some luck, maybe I’ll never have to fire the thing again.    I spent years trying to figure out how and where to get into Benchrest competition.  In my travels I ran across a pistol club which I joined in desperation.  I spent the next five years shooting a great deal of standard and international pistol competition both in and out of college. I wont say I didn’t like it some,  but the day I figured out how to get into Benchrest and back to my rifles is the day I quit shooting pistols.   That was 20 years ago.  Now they, the pistols, just sit around in my safe waiting ... with no regrets from either them or me.


But I did gain an appreciation for what pistols are capable of during that sojourn,  and it gave me a healthy respect for them.   I’ve seen Rob Lathem demonstrate his prowess in person.  It strikes awe in the souls of men.   But geez,  this little machine is a tiny piece of assembly line metal, not the sophisticated and super efficient machines used by the handgunners of today.   But as a tactical back up pistol … maybe.


I stared at it for moment longer and was finally content to conclude:  it must be some kind of Makarov Magic?