Gun Digest

Ammo Brief: 9mm Makarov

9×18 Makarov

The 9mm Makarov, or 9×18mm Makarov, is a Soviet pistol cartridge popular not only for its history but oddity compared to other 9mms.

Basic Facts Of The 9mm Makarov:

9mm Makarov Historical Notes

The 9mm Makarov is the current Russian military cartridge used in the Makarov and Stechkin auto pistols. It was adopted shortly after the end of World War II, and its design may have been inspired by an experimental German cartridge called the 9mm Ultra. Other countries from the former Warsaw Pact also use the round. Chinese-made Makarov pistols have recently appeared on surplus shelves, along with 9mm Makarov ammunition.

General Comments

The Soviet 9mm pistol cartridge is intermediate in size and power between the .380 Automatic and the 9mm Luger. Technically, 9mm Makarov can be described as a 9x18mm, although it differs dimensionally from the 9×18 Ultra and isn’t interchangeable with that cartridge. It’s a well-designed cartridge for its purpose, although a little underpowered by Western standards.

It’s satisfactory for small game, when loaded with hunting-type bullets, which are now available. Loading data and components are available from various manufacturers. The Makarov pistol is of medium size and is similar to the German Walther. The Stechkin is a selective-fire type that can be used with the holster stock as a submachine gun. Both pistols are well made. Cases are easily formed by passing 9mm Luger cases over an expander ball and then trimming to length.

Editor's Note: This article is an excerpt from Cartridges of the World, 16th Edition.

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