NOTICE - This page provided for
Informational purposes ONLY. We no longer sell these conversion kits.
Please do not ask us where you can get one.
For many years, both Military and Civilian shooters have used sub Caliber conversion kits for training, low cost plinking, introducing new shooters to the shooting sports, and many other reasons. The Makarov pistol was no different, and the East Germans made and used a .22 LR conversion kit for Training, indoor target shooting, and even qualification in areas where time or range facilities did not allow the use of center fire ammunition.
The East German Conversion made use of "Carrier Cartridges", where a 22 Rim fire round was inserted into a steel "Cartridge", and loaded into the standard Magazine. A new slide and barrel insert were installed on the frame of any Makarov, and it could be loaded, aimed and fired just as it would be if center fire ammunition were being used. The recoil would be much less of course, and cost per round fired would be about 1/10 that of center fire pistol ammo.
For reference, the East German kits (when they can be found...and we've never seen one) reportedly fetch in excess of $2500.00!
The Russians and Chinese never made or used a sub-caliber conversion kit for the Makarov, that has been reported. The Bulgarians however, did develop their own .22 rim fire conversion kit for training purposes. It used a barrel insert and new slide, much like the East German units, however the Bulgarians opted for a new Magazine that would feed the 22 LR (Long Rifle) cartridges straight from the magazines, rather than fool with a separate carrier cartridge. This resulted in a better and easier to use system, and was much cheaper to manufacture.
Conversion Kits now available !
The hunt has long been on for these 22 conversion kits for the Makarov, and in early 2004, Makarov.com connected with an Importer, and secured less than 50 of the Bulgarian made and Euro Proofed conversion Kits. These kits sold out in a record 9 hrs from the time they were first announced, until the last kit was sold.
Bulgarian Conversion slide, with Euro Proof marks
Then with the help of Coles Distributing, another batch of these kits has been made available to the US market, and were available only through Makarov.com, LLC.
The New production kits from Bulgaria have all the features of the original Bulgarian Military kits, and include a New Alloy Slide, a rifled barrel insert with lock Nut, a new recoil spring, a new 8rd Magazine, barrel wrench and scaled down cleaning kit for the 22 rimfire barrel.
They come shipped in the original pasteboard box with Bulgarian label and instruction manual. Each Unit has its own Serial Number. An English instruction sheet came with each unit.
Installation is very simple, and only requires field stripping the
pistol, installing the barrel insert,
replace the recoil spring with the one from the kit, put the conversion slide on the pistol in place of the center fire version, and swap magazines. You are done and ready to go shooting. Since these do use a bore diameter barrel insert, they will only work with stock length milspec 9x18 Caliber barrels. Tight bore aftermarket barrels are normally too tight for these conversion barrels to work properly.
Makarov pistol with 22 conversion kit installed
The design of the Bulgarian conversion kit allows the use of aftermarket accessories such as the extend magazine floorplates.
Plus it uses a
standard Makarov Safety, so if the detent ever wears out (doubtful)
than it can be replaced with a standard surplus part. The Slide stop does not function with these conversion kits, so wear of that part is not an issue.
These kits can be picky when it comes to ammo selection, depending on the pistol it is installed on, but normally any brand name factory Standard Velocity or High Velocity 22 LR ammo will work just fine. You may want to try several types in your pistol / Conversion setup to see what functions and groups best for you. The target shown is a 8 round group of Aguila "SuperExtra" High Velocity Hollow point, fired from 7 yards.
Suppressed .22 Makarov
If you have Class III .22 Suppressor (or just a dummy suppressor), we used to have a threaded barrel nut adapter that will let you use your suppressor on the Makarov .22 Conversion Kit. Here's what it looks like installed on a Gemtech Outback II. I found that .22 Sniper Subsonic works particularly well since the small case ejects well.
For the Collectors, a total of 49 of the first production run kits were imported, these all had the German Proof marks on the slide. They were shipped in a hard plastic storage case with a clear top and gray foam padding.
The Second batch had a total of 250 units, and none of these had ANY proof marks on them. About 200 were shipped in the Brown paste board boxes as shown above, about 25 or so were shipped in the same plastic storage case as the first batch, and 25 of them were included in combination sets with pistols. Also the barrel nut is slightly different on the second batch, and the barrel nut wrench was done away with from the kit.