The Makarov PM (Pistolet Makarova) evolved from the post-WW2 Soviet Army requirements for a new pistol, which should me more compact, more safe and with greater stopping power, compared to the than-standard Tokarev TT-33 pistol. First, soviet designers developed new cartridge, about as powerful as possible to use in a simple blowback design. apparently, this work was based on a similar cartridge, developed prior to WW2 in Germany as the 9mm Ultra. But, it must be noted that the soviet 9x18mm PM ammunition is incompatible with either 9x18mm Ultra or similar post-WW2 9x18mm Police, due to larger projectile diameter of Soviet cartridge. The design of the new pistol was loosely based on the German Walther PP, one of the most successful pocket DA pistols of its time. In 1951, Soviet Army adopted the Makarov pistol as its new sidearm, and it continued to serve in this role until the end of the century. In 2003 it was officially declared obsolete with the adoption of the new Yarygin PYa pistol as a new Russian army sidearm, but it seems that it will see much more service before it will be finally phased out of service with Russian military and law enforcement.
During the last decades of 20th century there were numerous attempts o improve some of deficiencies of PM, most specifically its relatively low stopping power and lethality, and low magazine capacity. First, an improved version of the cartridge, with lighter bullet and hotter powder charge, was developed as 9x18 PMM. This cartridge developed muzzle velocity of 430 meters per second as compared to 315 meters per second of original 9x18mm ammo. Large capacity version of the PM was developed along with the new ammo, which included a slight grip frame redesign to accommodate thicker magazine. Grip panels also were improved. The PMM was offered for both military and law enforcement buyers but apparently found no luck. Instead, Russian Army finally went for a new, more promising pistol, developed at the same state-owned Izhevsk Mechanical Plant, the Yarygin PYa.
The Makarov PM is a simple, sound and inexpensive design, one of the best compact self-defense pistols of its time. While not extremely accurate and lethal at ranges beyond 15-20 meters, it is a formidable and reliable self-defense weapon.
Several versions of the PM were developed for export market and domestic security use, including IZh-71 pistol in 9x17mm Browning Short (.380ACP), available in both standard and high capacity variations, as well as Baikal-442, a commercial PM in 9x18mm, also available in standard and high capacity versions, with fixed or adjustable sights.
The Makarov PM is a blowback operated, double action pistol of all-steel construction. Manual safety is located on the left side of the slide, and, when engaged, safely brings hammer down from cocked position, and then locks the hammer, sear and slide. External hammer can be cocked manually for the accurate first shot in Single action mode, or can be cocked automatically by the longer and heavier trigger pull in Double action mode. All-steel magazine holds 8 rounds, and when last shot is fired, slide remains in the open position, thanks to the slide stop. To disengage slide stop, one must pull the lever on the left side of the frame down. Magazine catch is located at the bottom of the grip, but some export versions of Baikal-442 are available with button magazine release at the base of the triggerguard. PM is fitted with fixed open sights as a standard, with click-adjustable open sights available as an option on export models.
9x18mm PM; 9x18mm improved (PMM)
730 g (PM), 760 g (PMM)
161 mm (PM), 165 mm (PMM)
8 (PM), 12 rounds (PMM)