Around 1998, Miltex was working with the Bulgarian Arsenal factory that
produced Makarovs to modernize the Makarov and offered the pistol in a variety
of finishes and with value added features.
Miltex sent us a special edition Makarov for evaluation. We evaluated the
Our test gun came in a brushed chrome finish. The other choices are polished
blue and polished chrome. Most surfaces on our pistol are a non-reflective
chrome. Exceptions are the sides of the slide (polished chrome with
inscription-see pictures), and the trigger, sights, safety, slide release,
hammer, and magazine (blue/black). The standard grip is a plastic target grip
with thumbshelf, as required for importation by BATF.
The pistol came with two matching magazines inscribed with the serial number
and a plastic extended floorplate on each, cleaning rod, instruction booklet,
and plastic internally-padded carrying case.
We found no machining marks or imperfections in the finish on any of the
external surfaces. The finish appearance resembles the more polished name brand
pistols typically found in the US. The trigger guard did have some finishing
imperfections on the portion that is normally inside the frame; we had to pull
the trigger guard down (as done for field stripping) to see these. The slide
bears the inscription "Makarov Special Edition", "Cal 9x18", the Arsenal
trademark, and "Made in Bulgaria" on the left side; "Miltex, Inc", "LaPlata,
Maryland, USA" on the right side. The serial number is engraved on both the
slide and the frame.
The inside of the pistol had the typical machining marks found on nearly all
Makarovs. Presumably, the design and manufacture of the interior has not changed
in the last 40-some years.
Overall the quality of construction seems to have improved over the already
fine Bulgarian pistols previously available.
The distinguishing features of this pistol over standard Makarovs are:
We liked the brushed chrome finish, which highlights the beauty of the
design. The squared trigger guard is a simple but effective modernization of the
lines. The slightly enlarged trigger guard inside space might be enough for a
While the sights do not offer the same instant visibility of the
custom-installed sights, the white dots are a
definite improvement of the standard Makarov sights. Night sights or
phosphorescent sights would be a welcome addition.
The included grip is much better than the original red star grip. However, it
does have the required thumbshelf; this seems to be a love or hate option for
most people. The grip has more meat and as such is bulkier. Again, some people
like this; some hate it.
As many people have already discovered, extended floorplates can be a good
thing. This is especially true if you have large hands and your pinky tends to
slide over the edge of the grip. Of course, standard Makarov magazines will work
in this Makarov, so if you are concerned about bulk or sharp corners for
concealed carry applications, this can be remedied by a magazine change.
Miltex also sent along several other grips now available from the factory.
The standard red star grip is actually a much better quality molding than the
surplus offerings. The two wooden grips included looked remarkably similar,
until one looked inside. The first is similar to the Commercial walnut grips, except
that it also has a right-handed thumbshelf. The other wooden grip is actually
bonded to the outside of a plastic or bakelite Makarov grip, which vastly
improves the structural integrity. The US Postal service managed to snap quite a
few of the walnut grips we sent to customers in padded envelopes. It may also be
the solution for the walnut grips changing shape internally from repeated
firing, necessitating custom fitting with shims, etc.
The polished blue finish Miltex Special Edition Makarov had a suggested retail price of $250. The other finishes were $10-$20 more. The burning question most "Makarovniks" will have is "is it worth it?" If you consider how little $250 buys you these days in terms of a quality reliable autoloading pistol and its collectible status, the price of the Miltex Makarov is more than fair.
Miltex unfortunately stopped the whole Makarov program, but a few of these pistols are still out there. Primarily in collector and small dealer hands, they can sometimes be seen for sale at firearms auction sites like www.gunbroker.com or www.auctionarms.com. .
Click on the thumbnails to get larger picture of each.
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