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9×18 Makarov PM

9x18 Makarov

The 9×18 Makarov PM cartridge was the result of the development of a caliber suitable for smaller, blowback-operated pistols. Apparently this work began in the USSR just prior to start of the Great Patriotic War (WW2). A few pistols were tested, but with the outbreak of war development came to a halt.

Soon after the end of WW2, the Soviet army seriously re-considered the role of the military pistol, and selected the improved 9×18 round as the future standard military cartridge. While this round was only marginally powerful by Western standards, it proved to be adequate for personal defence weapons. Soviet tactical doctrine at the time had no use for submachine guns, which usually require a more powerful pistol-type cartridge to be of any military use.

Adoption..

Officially adopted in 1951, this cartridge was also imposed upon Warsaw Pact countries during the 60’s and 70’s in an attempt at standardization. So far the 9×18 PM remains in active military and police service in most ex-USSR republics, including Russia. Pistols for this cartridge were manufactured in the USSR and in Russia, as well as in Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), Hungary, and Poland. Ammunition is still manufactured in Russia, as well as in the USA (for commercial use).

Just prior to the Moscow Olympic Games of 1980, Soviet ammunition factories developed several specialized loads at the request of the KGB. These included expanding and frangible bullets, as well as improved penetration loads. The Army and police continued to use standard issue jacketed ammunition. During the early 90’s, the Russian Army tried to extend the effectiveness of this round with the introduction of the ‘Improved’ or ‘high impulse’ PMM loading, with a more powerful propellant charge and lighter bullet, but this was never adopted for safety reasons.

The 9×18 cartridge is generally known as ‘9mm Makarov’ or ‘9mm PM’ after the popular Makarov (Пистолет Макарова – PM) pistol that originally used it. It was not actually designed by Makarov, but by the designer Syomin. It has a straight, rimless case usually made of lacquered steel (military issue) or brass (some commercial loads). The standard Soviet military / police load used a round-nosed jacketed bullet with a composite core, made partly of lead and partly of mild steel (as a less expensive alternative to pure lead).

The steel insert is of mushroom-like shape which does not help penetration when compared to similar bullets with pure lead cores. Other loads include some specialized rounds, such as the frangible SP-8. This specialised ammunition was developed in 1980 to be used on board aircraft. It must be noted that many Soviet commercial aircraft crews of the time were armed with pistols. These were stored in the pilot’s cabin in a special safe, in order to resist plane hijack attempts.

Other specialized rounds include expanding and armor-piercing ammunition for law enforcement. Commercial ammunition, made in Russia for export as well as commercially in other countries, is available with either jacketed bullets with lead cores, or with more or less traditional expanding JHP bullets.

Designation

Manufacturer

Bullet weight, g

Muzzle velocity, m/s

Muzzle energy, J

Comments

57-N-181S

USSR, Russia

6,1

315

302

Standard issue

57-N-181SM (7N16)

Russia

5,5

410

462

‘Improved’ PMM round

PBM

Russia

3,7

519

498

AP round, limited issue

Vz.82

Czechoslovakia

4,5

400

360

Czechoslovak military issue round for Vz.82 pistol and Vz.61 Scorpion sub-machine gun

SP-7

Russia

6,1

325

322

With expanding bullet; hollow cavity in the bullet nose is covered by polymer plug to improve feeding

SP-8

Russia

4,1

255

133

Frangible ammunition for onboard use in aircraft

FMJ

Winchester, USA

6,16

310

296

Commercial load

JHP

Russia

6,16

321

317

Commercial load

JHP +P

Cor-Bon, USA

6,16

342

360

Commercial load

JHP

Russia

7,45

310

358

Commercial load