Technical Information

As both the supply and demand of technical information, particularly of maintenance items and problems, has increased, this page should serve as a repository of such information. If you don't see the information that you're looking for, try taking it to the general public via the WWW Message Board.

Click here to see some Older Makarov Accessories that are no longer generally available.

Detail Stripping

Detail stripping refers to the complete disassembly of the pistol into its component parts beyond normal field stripping.

Complete disassembly of the Makarov is helpful or even required for several operations. These include detail cleaning, barrel replacement, refitting of certain parts, and upgrading to the Simson-Suhl safety set. Read on...


Tips and Tricks

Grip Screws

There has often been some confusion about the two different grip screws that were issued on the Makarovs. Here are some quick facts:

Grip screws: large diameter head on the left; narrow/long head on the right

Makarov exploded viewTroubleshooting "Automatic" Slide Dropping when Inserting Magazine

The Makarov, like many modern semi-auto pistols, locks open the slide when the last shot has been fired.  This works when the magazine follower tab travels to the top of the magazine after the last round has been stripped out of the magazine and pushes against the slide stop.  The follower tab, in case you didn't know, is that thing that sticks out of the side of the magazine and rips your thumbnail when you try to load your magazine without a mag loader. 

The follower tab is integral to the magazine follower (part #27 on exploded view).  The slide stop (which also acts as the ejector) is part #11 on the exploded view (click thumbnail to expand).

During normal operation, the slide stop is pushed up by the follower tab and engages its mating surface on the slide to lock the slide open once the gun is empty.  The slide stop is a stamped piece of metal and is therefore more prone to premature wear than some of the other parts of the pistol.

So... if your Makarov no longer reliably keeps the slide locked open or you find that inserting a full magazine automatically drops the slide, you may have a worn slide stop.

The first test is to see if it's a magazine problem.  Does it happen with all the magazines?  If no, you may have a goobered follower tab on one more magazines.  If it does happen with all magazines, it's either the slide (woe to you) or the slide stop.

They are fairly cheap, so it's usually worthwhile to start there.  To install it, just follow the Detail Stripping instructions.

If the problem is your slide, this is more difficult to fix.  Replacement slides are typically not available and you'll want to consult a gunsmith before modifying the slide.

Magazine Disassembly

Magazines are often dirty when buying them used or even right out of the box. Magazine feeding problems can often be solved by a good cleaning, which involves disassembly. Fortunately, this is a simple process:

1) Hold the empty magazine with your weak hand such that the floorplate is facing you and locate the portion of the magazine spring that is protruding through the floorplate.

2) Using a small screwdriver, press the magazine spring into the magazine housing through the floorplate. You can also do this by compressing the spring upward through the sides of magazine.

3) Once the spring has been retracted, slide the floorplate forward partially.

4) Using your thumb to hold the spring in place, remove the floorplate the rest of the way.

5) Release the spring gradually and the rest of the magazine pieces will come out.

6) Reassembly is reverse of disassembly.

Extractor Maintenance

Safety first! Wear kidding!  Also consider getting a large plastic bag and work inside the bag.  This will prevent you from having to buy another extractor plunger from us when it goes flying.

1) Field strip the pistol such that the slide is removed from the frame of the pistol.

2) Secure the slide, e.g. in a padded vise.

3) Use a tool such as the cleaning rod provided with many Makarovs (the one with the big loop on one end and a point on the other...see below) to push the extractor plunger towards the rear of the gun. Compress the spring to the point where the plunger is flush with the frame of the gun.
Makarov cleaning rod 

4) Using your finger, rotate the front of the extractor into the ejection port until it falls out. If this doesn't work right away, while the plunger is depressed, try to move extractor a little backward (in the direction of the plunger), then rotate. Find the position when it rotates slightly moving it back and forth.

5) Slowly release the plunger. Don't let it pop out or you may not find it for a week.

If you've done any kind of shooting with the pistol, you'll be amazed how much grime is in there. If you've been shooting corrosive ammo, those corrosive salts are probably in there as well.

Soak the 3 pieces in cleaner/lubricant such as BreakFree CLP. Use a firing pin channel cleaner soaked in the solvent to clean out the extractor assembly hole.

Inspect the extractor for signs of wear, particularly the face the clips over the cartridge rim. This is one of the weak points of the Makarov.  You can tune it by smoothing out the face with a fine grade polishing wheel.  We also have replacement available.

To reassemble:

1) Insert the plunger into the spring. On my pistol, there was only one correct end of the spring into which the plunger fit.

2) Insert the spring-plunger assembly back into the slide.

3) Using the cleaning tool, compress the plunger back into the hole so that it is flush with the slide. This may take some effort, and take care not to let this fly.  Again, working inside a plastic bag works well to avoid ballistic plungers.

4) Insert the extractor in reverse as it came out. Once it is on its pivot axis and rotated towards your extractor tool, you can release the plunger and snap the extractor into place.

The whole process can take as little as 10 minutes.

Barrel Replacement

Click the link above for the notes on this. Apologies that we haven't had time to write that up properly.

Improving the Trigger

Thanks to Jerry Kielley for this well-written documentation.
Please refer to this illustration.

The "stand-alone" documentation is also available in this Zipped Word Document ( or for you anti-Microsoft people, there's the quick and dirty HTML version (Thanks to Bill Legge for the HTML).

The Makarov is a superbly reliable and accurate pistol. With a little trigger cleanup, and a feed ramp polishing, I think it is the best in its class. The following is my simple method of improving your trigger.

I recommend firing several hundred rounds through your Makarov before you do the following cleanup. Doing so will allow you to see points on the parts where contact rubbing has taken place, so you can more accurately polish those surface areas.

Improving the trigger of a PA 63

Thanks to Steve Steven for this contribution.

Although the PA 63 is not a Makarov, it looks similar and has been widely sold by the same importers. The main difference is the aluminum frame of the PA 63. The firing mechanism is a closer copy of the Walther than the Mak is.

I found the trigger on my PA 63 to be too stiff in both single and double action mode. Here are some of the steps I took to remedy that. I have done these mods to six of these pistols so far, one would not fire commercial ammo reliably the first time, and required a stronger hammer spring. Two others would not reliably fire surplus European military ammo the first time.

First, I want it understood this dissertation is strictly an account of my own actions. I do not recommend or promote this as something anyone else may want to do. I do not advocate unsafe modifications of any firearm. These changes I have made might not be in the best interest of all owners, especially if utter reliability is required.

That said, letís see what can be done to relieve the stiff trigger. I was unimpressed by the sloppy fit of the sear pivot pins. They were very loose in the frame, falling out when spring stress was relieved. I fabricated new pivot pins that were a light press fit into the frame with a close sliding fit in the sear holes. This will give a more consistent action, and reduce the take-up in the travel, both single & double action.

Next, and before installing the new pins, I polished the obvious parts. All pistol trigger work is essentially the same, careful attention to detail in relieving friction, excess take-up and over travel. Beginning with the sear (sometimes called the "stirrup"), stone the curved top with fine Arkansas stone to smooth it up. Most PA 63's don't need much. Then, with a sharp cornered Arkansas stone polish the notch on the underside of the sear where the hammer rests in single action mode. I have not been decreasing the depth of this notch, but believe it could be done by about 20% without a problem. It is essential to not "rock" the stone when doing this. A jig to keep the stone operating in a smooth straight line is necessary, I use my vise jaws to keep the stroke straight not curved. (I periodically recut the jaws in the mill!) Polish the flat bottom of the hammer extension where it fits into the notch. I do not worry about the top of this extension which is only used in single action when thumbing back the hammer. Polish the underside of the hammer fly where the sear lifts the hammer, and the front where the sear rides on it as the trigger goes forward. A word of caution, POLISH does NOT mean GRIND! Arkansas stones, #600, #800 Ϩ silicon carbide paper is what I am talking about, and the silicone carbide is for drastic work only.

Next, look at the springs. The hammer spring is the worst offender, being far too strong for a decent trigger. I experimented with several springs to get a lighter but workable spring, and have not yet found the perfect one. I am sure Wolff Springs has one, I am impressed with their selection but they reflect the cost of limited production items. I currently make a new mainspring from a Brownells spring kit (p/n 080-950-100) using the .032 wire dia., .260 OD spring. It is 10 turns/in. I make the spring 2.65" long, and counter bore the spring plug to a depth of about 3/8" to allow a longer spring. The longer a spring is, the less percentage change in the spring force for a given compression, all other things being equal. Be prepared to make and discard several springs in the pursuit of the best one. If the spring is too weak, you can shim this counterbored area. Next, remove the trigger return spring and reshape it to weaken it. Do not go too far with this, I had to restore some strength once. Replace the spring for the firing pin lifting plunger with a softer one, I have a selection of springs from electrical contactor work that never fails to provide a suitable one. I have not tried to lighten the operation of the firing pin spring, but I suppose it would help.

After all these mods, reassemble the pistol with the new pins and test it. If still not suitable, try a lighter hammer spring since this is the major way to lighten the pull. The double action length of pull cannot be improved on much, and the single action creep will still be there (unless you decreased the depth of the sear notch).

Flight path of the 9x18M

Courtesy of Rik Hovinga
Made with a great little freeware(!) MS-DOS program which you can find right here:
9x18M Flight Path

Cleaner/Lube for Firearms

Courtesy of Greg Samplawski

Here is the formula for my cleaner/lube. It is cheaper to make than buying any gun stuff I have found yet! It will leave a light oil
film on metal and will displace water.
TO MAKE: ††††††††††††† ††††††† ††††††††1 Gallon ††††††††††††† 4 Gallons 
Kerosene or Diesel fuel (40%) ††††††† 2/5 (.40) Gal.††††††††  1-3/5 (1.6) Gal.
Mineral Spirits (40%) †††††††† ††††††† 2/5 (.40) Gal. ††††††† 1-3/5 (1.6) Gal.
Marvel Mystery Oil (15%) ††††† ††††††† 3/20 (.15) Gal. †††††††††††††† 3/5 (.60) Gal.
††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† or 3/5(.60) Quart††††††††† or 2-2/5 (2.40) Quart 
Rislone oil (5%) †††††††††††††††††††† 1/20 (.05) Gal. †††††††††††††† 1/5 (.20) Gal.
††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† or1/5(.20) Quart ††††††††††or 4/5 (.80) Quart 
Use thickwall HDPE containers with tight fitting lids. I use buckets from the local home center. Look for the HDPE symbol on the bottom
of the container. I have NO experience with any other type of container. (HDPE= High Density PolyEthylene)
You can round up the numbers if you want. This is not rocket science.
Using 5 or 10 weight motor oil as a substitute for Marvel and Rislone oil is O.K.It doesn't work as good but is a suitable substitute. I
use odorless Mineral Spirits. Marvel Mystery Oil and Rislone Oil is usually available in auto parts stores.
EXAMPLE: Kerosene 45%, Mineral Spirits 45%, 5 weight motor oil 10%.
REMOVE ALL GRIPS, STOCKS, SCOPES from the gun BEFORE USE!! You could test your rubber and plastic grips in a hidden spot to see how it
reacts. I remove the grips.
NO WOODEN GRIPS OR STOCKS. This stuff will soften wood finishes!
Not strictly necessary but, I wear rubber gloves to protect my hands.
This cleaner is meant for short term cleaning. I have dunked the whole gun (without the grips) in this stuff and cleaned with no problems. I
have left BLUED guns in it for months with no problems.
For nickel or chrome finishes it is fine, no problems. DO NOT leave nickel or chrome plated guns in this solvent for LONG periods of time
!! The red dye in the Marvel Mystery Oil will soak into the pores and leave a yellowish cast to the finish. As I said it is fine for
cleaning nickel/chrome just don't leave it in the cleaner for 2 months! ;)
Cleaning night sights is o.k. I haven't seen any problem with Triticon etc.. Just don't leave the gun in there for marathon soaking sessions
over night. The solvent properties may loosen the glue. Soak for a few minutes then, Clean it off right away! 
Scopes definitely won't like being dunked in this stuff!! Just use common sense.
I and others have soaked: old, new, blued, rusty, stainless, polymer and bare steel in this stuff for over two years with no ill effects
other than the yellow stain on nickel or chrome finish mentioned earlier. It has no effect on stainless steel I can see. 
When the cleaner gets cruddy: I just let it sit and pour the cleaner off the top into another container leaving the crud in the bottom. I
let the solvent evaporate off the crud and then dispose of rest wrapped in newspaper in the trash. You can also dispose of used stuff
just like old motor oil, (NOT DOWN THE DRAIN !! ) take it to your local used motor oil recycler. Most auto parts stores here in SO CAL
take used motor oil.
I have HAZMAT MSDS forms for those that really want to see them.
E-mail me: for address to send Self Addressed
Stamped Envelope. 
For Makarov Pistols: I remove the grips, then soak the gun over night.
The next day a simple brushing and wiping and the gun is clean in about 2 minutes!!!! NOW THAT'S WHAT I LIKE...... 
My 1911A1 pistols clean up just as easy. I use a long, narrow, shallow plastic flower planter to soak my long guns. (without the wood
stocks/scopes, of course ! ) I have also used this to clean tools and car parts!!! It leaves a light oil film on metal and displaces water.


Cleaning with hot water after shooting corrosive ammo

Why clean with water? The corrosive salts that are left as residue in your gun after shooting corrosive ammo are water soluble, so you need to get those out before you clean regularly.
Why clean with boiling hot water? Hot water dissolves the salts better and will also evaporate from your gun faster, minimizing the risk of rust.
How do I do it? Put some water on the stove to boil; a few quarts should be enough. Unload the gun, remove the magazine, field strip it, remove the safety and the firing pin. Remove the grip. Do the rinsing outside, in a laundry tub, or into a bucket. You don't want your spouse coming after you for messing up the kitchen or bathroom sink. Use a pair of tongs or leather gloves to hold the pistol to avoid scalding yourself. Pour the water liberally down the bore, into the magazine well, on any magazines you used, into the firing pin hole, onto the firing pin and safety, and into the inside of the slide. Let the parts drip dry and evaporate on an old towel for a few minutes. Displace any remaining water with WD-40 (note: "WD" stands for water displacement). Then clean the gun normally with a good powder solvent and gun oil. Make sure you get the firing pin hole clean, dry and *lightly* lubed. Reassemble. Check your gun every day for a week for emerging rust spots.


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