The Makarov Page - The Simson Suhl Makarov

Post-Unification German Makarovs

As early as the 1960s, the Russian Makarov pistol design was licensed to other socialist states, including East Germany. After the German reunification, the German Bundeswehr and republic came into possession of not only Makarov pistols, but the manufacturing site of Ernst Thaelmann in Suhl (state of Thueringen).

After some negotiations, the site became the Suhler Jagd- und Sportwaffen GmBH (Suhl Hunting and Sport Arms Ltd). The site included a substantial amount of manufacturing equipment, spare parts, drawings, and highly skilled personnel.

In 1994, the idea was spawned to once again make Makarov pistols from the existing stock of parts. One of the design features that was criticized was a cam that held the hammer in place (forward) when the safety was on "safe." This was removed on the new pistols such that the slide can now be racked when the pistols is on "safe," clearing the chamber if a round is present.

This retrofit can also be done on existing Makarov pistols by modifying the hammer and safety.  At one time we carried these parts, but we are running low on original safeties.  Also, minor variations in customers' pistols required some minor fitting, which most people are unwilling to do.

Several prototypes with various finishes and serial numbers V000001 to V000005 were made and V000006 through V000016 received a black finish. "V" is from Versuchsserie (trial series). One pistol was also made in 9mm Kurz (.380 ACP).

In 1995 then production of the mini-series starting with serial # 000001 began. The left of the slide was marked "SIMSON SUHL/THUR" (with Umlaut - the two dots - on the "U" in "THUR") and the right is marked with a blacksmith symbol and "MAKAROV 9x18mm". There appears to be some variation on this, since the pistols with serial numbers in the mid-400s and the ones in the 700s only say "SIMSON SUHL" without the "THUR." (see pictures below) Considering that the original production run was only scheduled to yield approximately 300 pistols and that serial numbers in the 700s are now being sold, it is conceivable that full-scale production has been resumed.

The pistols were shipped in either a black or blue plastic box with a manual and 2 new magazines that have the same raised area as the East German magazines. The manual gives the basic safety and operation of the pistol and a short paragraph on the history. The finish is black and the grips are a hard plastic with thumbrest and fine stippling on the sides and above the thumbrest.

The ones that found their way into the US are also marked with the importer's mark of "C.D.I. Swan. VT." The pistols were sold for a brief period during October-November 1997 by SOG.


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