9×18mm Makarov

The 9×18mm Makarov (designated 9mm Makarov by the C.I.P. and often called 9×18mm PM) is a Soviet pistol and submachine gun cartridge. During the latter half of the 20th century it was a standard military pistol cartridge of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, analogous to the 9×19mm Parabellum in NATO and Western military use.

9×18mm Makarov
9×18mm Makarov cartridge
(Full metal jacket bullet and steel case)
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
Used byRussian Armed Forces,
Polish Armed Forces
Armed Forces of Ukraine,
Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces,
People's Army of Vietnam,
Military of Bulgaria,
People's Liberation Army,
Military of the Czech Republic,
Military of Slovakia, others
Production history
DesignerB.V. Semin
Case typeRimless, tapered
Bullet diameter9.27 mm (0.365 in)
Neck diameter9.91 mm (0.390 in)
Base diameter9.95 mm (0.392 in)
Rim diameter9.95 mm (0.392 in)
Rim thickness1.25 mm (0.049 in)
Case length18.10 mm (0.713 in)
Overall length25.00 mm (0.984 in)
Case capacity0.83 cm3 (12.8 gr H2O)
Rifling twist240.00 (1 in 9.45 in)
Primer typeBerdan or Boxer small pistol
Maximum pressure162.03 MPa (23,500 psi)
Ballistic performance
Bullet mass/type Velocity Energy
95 gr (6 g) FMJ 319 m/s (1,050 ft/s) 313 J (231 ft⋅lbf)
95 gr (6 g) FTX 305 m/s (1,000 ft/s) 286 J (211 ft⋅lbf)
Test barrel length: 97 mm
Source(s): C.I.P.[1]


During the Second World War and the early Cold War, the 7.62×25mm Tokarev was the standard automatic pistol round for the Soviet Union and its satellites in Eastern Europe. This ammunition is still in use by many of these countries today. During the war the Red Army had found a few shortcomings of its 7.62 mm TT-33 pistol, one of which was a tendency to inadvertently drop its magazine while in operation. The army wanted something that was lighter, with a heel release instead of a button and different ammunition. A direct blowback design was chosen for the pistol's operation, since it would be quick and cheap to manufacture, as well as accurate, due to the fixed-barrel design allowed by direct blowback operation.

The 9×18mm round was designed by Boris V. Semin in 1946, and was intended to be a relatively powerful round with modest bolt thrust that could function safely in a simple or direct blowback pistol. It was based on the 9×18mm Ultra cartridge which was developed in 1936 by Gustav Genschow & Co. for the German Luftwaffe, as a more powerful alternative to the 9×17mm used in the Walther PP, also a simple blowback design pistol. Nikolay Fyodorovich Makarov went on to design the Makarov PM pistol around the 9×18mm round in 1947.[2] In 1951 both the Makarov pistol and the round were accepted by the Soviet Army, hence the round became commonly known thereafter as the Makarov as well (it is not its official designation).[2]

Calibers in the USSR were measured between the lands in the rifling and not the grooves. As such, 9×18mm Makarov ammunition uses a larger diameter bullet than other common 9 mm rounds, measuring 9.27 mm (0.365 in), compared with 9.017 mm (0.355 in) for 9×19mm Parabellum. After its introduction in 1951, the 9×18mm Makarov round spread throughout the militaries of Eastern Bloc nations.

Cartridge dimensionsEdit

The 9×18mm Makarov has 0.83 ml (12.8 grains H2O) cartridge case capacity.


9×18mm Makarov maximum C.I.P. cartridge dimensions. All sizes in millimeters (mm).

The common rifling twist rate for this cartridge is 1 in 240 mm (9.45 in), 4 grooves, ø lands = 9.00 mm, ø grooves = 9.27 mm, land width = 4.50 mm and the primer type is small pistol.[3]

According to the official C.I.P. (Commission Internationale Permanente Pour L'Epreuve Des Armes A Feu Portatives) rulings the 9×18mm Makarov case can handle up to 160.00 MPa (23,206 psi) piezo pressure. In C.I.P. regulated countries every pistol cartridge combo has to be proofed at 130% of this maximum C.I.P. pressure to certify for sale to consumers.[3]

The 9×18mm Makarov is ballistically inferior to the 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge. While there are no official SAAMI pressure specifications for the 9×18mm Makarov cartridge, tests indicate that surplus ammunition develop pressures in the mid 20,000 psi, significantly less than the 35,000 psi or more generated by 9×19mm Parabellum (+P) loads.[4] As such it is designed to be used in low-powered blowback semiautomatics, much like the .380 ACP cartridge, rather than locked-breech designs encountered, but not always required, for higher pressure cartridges like the 9×19mm Parabellum.

Basic specifications of 21st century Russian service loadsEdit

The 9×18mm Makarov rounds in use with the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are designed for pistols and submachine guns. In 2003, there were several variants of 9×18mm Makarov produced for various purposes. All used clad metal as case material.[5]
The 57-N-181S cartridge is loaded with a steel-core bullet and is designed to kill personnel at a range of up to 50 m (55 yd). The bullet has a clad metal envelope totally covering the core. The bullet’s nose is spherical with no distinguishing colour of the tip. It can penetrate a 1.3 mm thick St3 steel plate or a 5 mm ordinary steel plate at 20 m (22 yd).
The RG028 cartridge is loaded with an enhanced penetration bullet and is designed to kill personnel wearing body armour. The bullet has a core of hardened steel.
The SP-7 cartridge is loaded with an enhanced stopping effect bullet and is designed to defeat live targets. The bullet has a black tip.
The SP-8 cartridge is loaded with a low-penetration bullet and is designed to engage personnel.

Cartridge designation[6] 57-N-181S RG028 SP-7 SP-8
Cartridge weight 10 g (154 gr) 11 g (170 gr) 8 g (123 gr) 8.5 g (131 gr)
Bullet weight 6 g (92.6 gr) 6 g (92.6 gr) 6 g (92.6 gr) 5 g (77.2 gr)
Muzzle velocity 298 m/s (978 ft/s) 325 m/s (1,066 ft/s) 420 m/s (1,378 ft/s) 250 m/s (820 ft/s)
Muzzle energy 251 J (185 ft⋅lbf) 317 J (234 ft⋅lbf) 417 J (308 ft⋅lbf) 156 J (115 ft⋅lbf)
Accuracy of fire at
25 m (27 yd) (R50)
32 mm (1.3 in) 32 mm (1.3 in) 32 mm (1.3 in)
  • R50 at 25 m (27 yd) means the closest 50 percent of the shot group will all be within a circle of the mentioned diameter at 25 m (27 yd).

Firearms chambered for 9×18mm MakarovEdit


Submachine guns and machine pistolsEdit



  • 9mm Makarov
  • 9×18mm
  • 9×18mm PM
  • 9mm Mak
  • 9×18mm Soviet

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "C.I.P. TDCC datasheet 9 mm Makarov" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-03-15.
  2. ^ a b Erenfeicht, Leszek (2018) (in Polish). From Russia with Love. Pistolet Makarowa. „Strzał.pl” No. 6/2018. III (19), p. 25-26. ISSN 2451-4942
  3. ^ a b C.I.P. TDCC datasheet 9 mm Makarov
  4. ^ Speer Reloading Manual No 12. Blount Inc. 1995. p. 495.
  5. ^ 9mm CARTRIDGES
  6. ^ Russian 5.45x39mm Assault Rifle Rounds, Land Forces Weapons Export Catalog, page 90 Archived 2011-12-16 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Manowar perpetuum-mobile@juno.com. "Fémáru FÉG R-61 Police Pistol Rendõrségi Pisztoly R61 Cal.9mm". Hungarian Weapons - FegArmy / FEG Pistols. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  8. ^ Manowar perpetuum-mobile@juno.com. "FÉG RK-59 Police Pistol". Hungarian Weapons - Femaru FEG Pistols. Retrieved 8 June 2014.

External linksEdit