By J.I. Galan, GUNS Magazine
The Umarex Legends line-up of action CO2 pistols now has another worthy member. It is a spittin’ image of none other than the redoubtable Makarov PM semi-auto pistol developed in the old Soviet Union. The real powder-burning Makarov is the brainchild of one Nikolai Makarov. It first appeared back in 1948 and incorporates some of the function features of the Walther PP, with single- and double-action operation.
The Makarov pistol has seen widespread use for over 50 years as the issue sidearm of Russian military and police forces. It has also been produced and used in most former and current Communist countries. Introduced to the US civilian market years ago, the compact Makarov has also remained fairly popular in this country. This concludes the history lesson.
Although looking almost identical to the real 9x18mm Makarov, the Makarov Ultra from Umarex differs from the original in some key function aspects. For instance, the 9mm Makarov features single- and double-action operation. The Ultra has single-action operation only. Also, the real deal has a slide-mounted safety that also serves to decock the hammer, while the Ultra’s safety simply disconnects the trigger. Despite those functional differences, the Ultra is a superbly realistic semi-auto BB pistol.
The Umarex Makarov Ultra is an ideal low-cost training pistol also adding quite of bit of realistic fun for recreational shooting practice, due to the recoil of the slide as it cycles.
The Legends Makarov Ultra (above, bottom gun) is a faithful look-alike of the real thing. Both the real Makarov (below) and the Ultra can be fieldstripped the same way. The CO2 capsule fits in the Ultra’s BB magazine.
The Ultra is powered by one standard 12 gram CO2 cartridge with a rather potent blowback action and impressive recoil. The CO2 capsule fits in the detachable magazine (the latter can load up to 16 steel BB’s, by the way). Like the real Makarov, the Ultra’s slide remains open when the last BB in the magazine is fired. Tests yielded an average muzzle velocity of 355 fps with Crosman BB’s. While definitely not meant for serious paper punching, the Ultra on test-blasted empty tin cans and other traditional plinking targets at a distance of 10 yards without fail. Many of the cans—not the flimsy soft-drink kind—were drilled and bounced around by the hail of BB’s from the Ultra. The accuracy delivered by this BB-spitter is more than adequate for a BB pistol with a short 3.5-inch smoothbore barrel.
Construction of this little beauty is all cast alloy with a matte black finish. Weighing a hefty 1.4 pounds, the Ultra is just a few ounces lighter than the real thing. The grip plates are checkered plastic, like those found on the original.
The fixed sights also duplicate those of the 9mm original: basic but adequate for short-range action. The single-action trigger was a bit mushy, also comparable to the triggers I have experienced in most of the 9mm Makarovs I have fired.
I have owned several 9mm Makarovs over the years and have found they are adequate as personal defense sidearms. In fact, I know a couple of local police officers who carry Makarovs as off-duty pieces.
Another interesting feature of the Ultra is it fieldstrips just like the powder-burning original. Pulling down on the triggerguard permits the removal of the slide from the lower receiver. I think this is a nice feature and one handy for training.
There is no doubt that the Umarex Makarov Ultra is an impressive piece, suitable for both backyard plinking and firearms training. Its decidedly affordable price is another reason sure to make the Ultra popular with a lot of folks.
Maker: Umarex USA
7700 Chad Colley Blvd.
Ft. Smith, AR 72916
Caliber: 4.5mm (.177-inch) steel BB’s
Power source: 12 gram CO2 capsule
Mechanism: Single action, blowback
Magazine capacity: 16, Length overall: 6.375 inches
Barrel: 3.5-inch smoothbore steel
Weight: 1.4 pounds
Source: GUNS Magazine