Despite being quite the enthusiast I hadn’t owned a 9x18mm Makarov handgun before. Everything I had seen online mentions that it’s woefully under-powered and just an all-around terrible caliber. The NRA’s test of modern .380 ACP ammo a couple years back proved that it was a viable caliber thanks to the advances in ammunition making. Since the .380 ACP is actually a 9x17mm how far off could 9x18mm be? My interest spiked when I saw that Hornady makes 9x18mm defensive ammo. Adding to my interest were the Polish P64s imported by Century Arms. Neat little guns in great condition that copied the lines of Walther while still being as simple as a Makarov.
The example we received is freakishly accurate. I’m not sure what attribute to thank for that but the pistol is a tack driver. It’s most likely the itty-bitty steel sights that force you to take good aim, but regardless it’s a great little gun aside from the pain it brings. Direct blow-back operation makes for violent recoil and the lack of any beaver tail and limited real estate of the stock make it hurt to shoot. Of the dozen or so people that have tried it none have made it past three rounds before flinch kicks in and they seem to lose interest in firing much more.
My interest is peaked now in the 9x18mm round. A 94 grain bullet traveling at around 1,000fps isn’t the most promising, but I think there’s potential at least in having a fun caliber that may not disappear as quickly in the next ammo rush. In the future we’ll have to test Hornady’s Critical Defense 9x19mm against 9x18mm and maybe even get some .380ACP in there.
Pain included it’s a neat piece of history that is affordable to shoot and might make for a good backup gun. At worst it’s still entertaining to see the reloaders scramble for the brass only to be puzzled when they notice it doesn’t seem quite right. Our initial review on the P-64 Makarov can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xpaObM7JO4