Andy, it is you who don't know about good defensive pistols. You love the cheapos like the Star Bowel Movement and the HP22 because thats what you can get from the 'ho. We have a choice of 100's of quality pieces and personal experience with many of them.
Magnum, thank you for posting this series about the Makarov. Teddy Jacobson, for those who don't know, is a pistolsmith of excellent reputation who does a buch of work for law enforcement officers. He is also one of the most outspoken people around and kisses no man's butt for any reason. Thats one of the reasons I like him.
If Teddy Jacobson says that the MAK is a good gun then you can absolutely bet your last dollar on it.
Steven Camp, Teddy Jacobson, not to mention quite a few people less famous, people who know what they are talking about and have VERY good reputations in the field, seem to like the Mak. Yet the guy who thinks they are no better than a .22 has a rather sullied reputation, even off of the 'net, spent half his adult life in the slam, and hasn't shot in about 20 years.
Anyone who think's the Makarov is not a viable defensive arm does not know firearms. I retired my .22 BERSA as a back up gun and bought a German Makarov to take it's place. Even with the non-expanding ammunition available then, I knew it was a more effective weapon. (That Russian Ammunition is corrosive and smells like rotten eggs, I still have 400 rounds of it.) With the introduction of expanding bullet's, like the 115 Grain Silver Bear, it became a stopper almost on par with the 9MM Parabellum round. The thing I like about the Makarov is that when you pull the trigger, it goes BANG! Everytime. I'm not throwing my Glock away, but the Makarov usually accompanies it when I'm out and about. It's too bad when you take a silly stand and then aren't man enough to back down from it. Hmmm? Oh, and RIKA, you better not find a Chinese Makarov before I do, it's the last one I need. If you do, I'll bring Starlight to your house after she's rolled in a nice ripe Carp.
Since andy likes to lay claim to things that "hack" has allegedly said I'll post this published by Ken Hackathorn.
East German Makarovs are by far the best quality PMs ever made. Those made in Bulgaria are okay, and they sell for less money than the East German versions. Either will do. I have shot both and find the East German pistols to have slightly better triggers.
The Makarov pistol is a double-action auto that's easy to load, fire and make safe. The accuracy of these pistols is outstanding, and for anyone with limited shooting experience, the recoil is easy to master.
My only complaint about the Makarov are the small-profile sights. Faster-to-pickup sights would be nice to have. If I had a choice, I would install better sights.
I have seen a number of Makarov pistols with Novak sights installed, and the result is superb. Last year, a student in one of my shooting programs had a Makarov on which he had had his gunsmith install a set of Ashley express sights. The result was outstanding. Inside of 10 yards, this little Makarov was a joy to shoot, with speed and accuracy better than I could have hoped for.
While custom sights would be nice, their cost quickly increases the price of the pistol to beyond the "good, cheap" limit. As issued, the basic PM will do just fine.
Phobus offers a holster for about $20, and this will make for a great concealment rig in the "good, cheap" arena. You can buy a case of 9x18 ammo for about $100. Ads in both Gun List or Shotgun News will show you the source. This means a box of 50 rounds will cost about $6 to $7 with shipping.
Don't worry about the power of the 9x18 rounds. Place the bullets where they belong, and things will be okay. One thing that both the good and bad guys share is a reluctance to leak vital fluids. Two or three 9x18 slugs in the upper chest will convince even the most hardened bad guy to exit the kill-zone as fast as possible. Remember, it's not the gun that wins the fight, it's the user.