The Weapon

Briefly after world war II, the Soviet Ministry of Defense ordered to develop a pistol which "uses the best elements of handling and construction of all in wars used pistols all over the world". Furthermore they desired to favor the calibers 7.65 mm or 9 mm. The gun should be used by officers of Soviet Forces and police officers for self defense and should replace the 1933 established pistol 7.62x25 mm.

Different designers took care of this task: Tokarev, Simonov, Korovin, Vojevodin, Rakov and Makarov. Nikolai Fedorowitsch Makarov built his model similar to the in two calibers: 7.65 mm Browning and 9 mm. His solution had advantages over those of the competitors. The pistol was compact (made up of approximately 30 peaces), manageable and with a good accuracy. Both versions had acceptable results. The army preferred the 9 mm-one due to the higher power in the target, a crucial factor in a combat situation. 1951 the army and the police forces accepted the pistol Makarov PM 9 mm.

1951 the production started in Russia. The German Democratic Republic GDR (1958) and China (1959) followed up in the late fifties. 1960 Bulgaria started the production. All weapons were substantially equal except their marks.

The pistol Makarov was used from the forces of the Warsaw Pact as well as from the agents of the Komitet Gossudarstwennoi Besopasnosti (committee for the safety of the state services) KGB. A lot of police corps grabbed the pistol in their arsenals. These weapons were used in many wars, for example in Vietnam and in Afghanistan. Until today the gun is used in Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Cuba, Laos, Libya, Malta, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Poland, Romania, Russia, Somalia and Syria.

On October 23rd 2002, a disreputable, worldwide attention occurred when hostage-taker attacked the Moscow Dubrowka theater. These terrorists were armed with Makarovs amongst others.

The Inventor

Nikolai Fedorowitsch Makarov (undated, based on the medals, picture was taken between 1966 and 1974)
Nikolai Fedorowitsch Makarov (undated, based on the medals, picture was taken between 1966 and 1974)

Curiculum vitae:

1914 Birth Nikolai Fedorowitsch Makarov at Sasovo, Russia
1929-1931 Apprenticeship as locksmith at the vocational school Ryazan', Russia
1931-1935 Railway engines depot Sasovo, maintenance and repair of steam engines
1936-1944 Study in mechanical engineering at the university of applied science Tula, Russia
1941-1945 Work as foreman in an armament factory, Zagorsk, Russia and Vyatskie Polyany, Russia
1945 Promotion to chief design engineer at Tula's KBP Instrument Design Bureau
1946-1951 Development of the pistol Makarov PM 7.65 mm and 9 mm
1952 Distinction with USSR State Prize
ab 1952 Development of the aircraft cannon AM-23
ab 1962 Development of the antitank missile Fagot (AT-4 Spigot)
1966 Distinction with the Order of the Red Banner of Labor
1967 Second distinction with USSR State Prize
1971 Distinction with the Order of Lenin
1974 Distinction as Hero of Socialist Labor (together with the second Order of Lenin)
1974 Retirement
1988 Death in the age of 74 years at Tula
Map Russia
Map Russia

On May 9th 1914, Nikolai Fedorowitsch Makarov was born at Sasovo im czaristic Russia as son of Pelagia and the locomotive driver Fedor Makarov. He and his five brothers and sisters grew up in poor circumstances, mainly during and after the Russian Civil War 1918-1920 the family had problems to pull through.

In elementary school Nikolai was especially talented in mathematics. After finishing this, he enlisted in the vocational school at Ryazan’ on 1929 and completed his education as locksmith. From 1931 until 1935 he maintained and repaired steam engines at the locomotive repair shop in the Sasovo's depot. 1936 Nikolai Makarov commenced his engineering (mechanic) study in the university of applied science at Tula. At the beginning of the World War II he was ordered to Zagorsk near Moscow to a company which produced the submachine gun Shpagin PPSch for an externship as engineer. After short time the production site was dislocated to Vyatskie Polyany due to the approaching German Armed Forces. He worked one's way up from foreman to designer. In these functions he learned about the production of automatic weapons and worked as designer under Georgi Semjonowitsch Schpagin. At a later date Makarov described Schpagin as a great source of inspiration. 1944 (dependent on the source 1943) Makarov completed his study, he passed with distinction.

Following he worked on the design of a new generation of the submachine gun Shpagin PPSh. This project was canceled by end of Word War II, the weapon was never produced.

Nikolai Fedorowitsch Makarov with his wife Nadeschda (née Mandelstam; undated picture)
Nikolai Fedorowitsch Makarov with his wife Nadeschda (née Mandelstam; undated picture)

During the post war years, Makarov developed a pistol with caliber 7.65 mm and 9 mm. The soviet armed forces adopted the 9 mm version, wherefore Makarov was honored with USSR State Prize.

Thereinafter Nikolai Makarov and Nikolay Afanasyev developed the aircraft cannon Afanasyev-Makarov AM-23, which was in service between 1953 and 1972. As an example the cannon was installed in Iljuschin Il-40 aircrafts to defend the retral half sphere. Furthermore, Makarov was involved in the development of the antitank missile AT-4 Spigot from 1962. Therefore, he was honored with USSR State Prize the second time.

Almost 30 years, from 1945 until his retirement caused by illness by 1974, Makarov worked for KBP Instrument Design Bureau Tula, Russia. 36 inventions were accredited to him. He received the USSR State Prize twice, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, the Order of Lenin twice and was distinction as Hero of Socialist Labor by 1974.

Nikolai Fedorowitsch Makarov (undated, according to the medals the picture was taken after 1974)
Nikolai Fedorowitsch Makarov (undated, according to the medals the picture was taken after 1974)

During his retirement, he was twice elected member of the Oblast Tula's Council of the People's Deputies and was member of the regional council. During his leisure time, he loved to fish and to paint.

akarov was described as a modest man. His famousness would assure him a special position in the socialistic Russia, however he did not pray for preferential treatment. According to his wife Nadeschda (née Mandelstam), he lived with her for 44 years, he did not spoke about his inventions at home and he did never show her his famous pistol.

Nikolai Fedorowitsch Makarov died after his seventh apoplectic stroke by May 13th 1988 in the age of 74 years at Tula.