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What's a good surplus 9x18?

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by bwells, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. bwells

    bwells Longview Member

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    I recently got money for a new gun, and I'm thinking about getting one of the various surplus 9x18s. The ones that I'm looking at are a Bulgarian Mak, a Polish p-64, Polish P-83, and CZ-82. I'm leaning towards the CZ because it looks like it has an ambi safety, and I'm a lefty. I'm mainly looking for a cheap plinker, but also a cheap carry gun for when I'm fishing/don't want to carry my full-size colt. Are the CZs good guns? And how safe are they for CC? TIA
     
  2. raftman

    raftman Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I believe they're all quite safe for carry, but I don't have any direct experience with the P-83. Have owned and carried the all others you've mentioned, though. I am also left-handed, by the way.

    I think if size is a concern, CZ-82 is probably not the way to go. It's a great gun, very durable, reliable, and accurate, with a decent trigger, but easily the bulkiest and the heaviest of the bunch. Noticeably thicker than a standard 1911. The CZ is also a bit snag-prone. It may seem like the ambi safety is nice for lefties, but I've found that I've never used it. Always preferred to carry with a round chambered and the hammer down. The safety on the CZ can only be engaged only when the gun is cocked. The other pistols mentioned can also be carried safely with a round chambered and the hammer down.

    The P-64 is the most concealable of them all, and is also durable, reliable, and accurate. On the downside, some people are put off by a 6+1 ammo capacity. These guns also have really nasty recoil and horribly heavy DA trigger. But these two problems can be alleviated somewhat with inexpensive, easy to install aftermarket springs. If I recall correctly, with the safety engaged (the safety also serves as a decocker) you are still able to work the slide, you so can chamber a round without cocking the gun. From time to time, I still regret selling off my P-64. IMO, as a weapon, it's very bit as good as something like a PPK, and in some ways better, and available for a fraction of the price.

    The Makarov, like the others is also known for impressive reliability, durability, and accuracy. This gun basically falls in between the other two. Offering more concealability than the CZ-82, a less snag-prone design, and with a higher ammo capacity than the P-64, with more manageable recoil and a better DA trigger. The Makarov also has the edge in terms of overall simplicity, with probably about half as many parts as the CZ-82. The safety on Makarov is a decocker that also locks the slide and the hammer.

    Ultimately, you can't really go wrong with any of them, none of them are bad guns. It's basically a spectrum with ammo capacity on one end and concealability on the other.
     
  3. onearmedswordsman

    onearmedswordsman Hillsboro, OR Member

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    Raftman provided a very good summary. Left very little to add. I carry a Bulgi, and installed a threaded bbl to another Bulgi for suppressed plinking (once the holy paper clears). I love both. These are the pistols I shoot the most.

    The Makarov and the Polish have the mag release at the heel of the handgrip. You need to practice tactical reloads a lot. The CZ has them where we are used to find them.

    I don't believe there is any surplus 9x18 left. I've been shooting Wolf Military (about 2000) steel case (biggest bang for the buck) with zero miss feeds. Carry with Hornady 95gr HP XTP. Barnaul makes great brass "plated" ammo. I normally Wolf ammo in 9x18 from Sportsmansguide.
     
  4. doobee8

    doobee8 Salem, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The Hungarian Pa-63 with some new wolf springs to lighten the trigger pull is a real dandy 9x18 weapon. An original EAST GERMAN russian-style Makarov is great too. Smoother triggers compared to other countries. German quality.
     
  5. tiber1

    tiber1 Portland New Member

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    I love my p-64. Can carry it in your front pocket in a pair of shorts and no one is the wiser. Sure it only has 6+1, but we are not in a freaking war zone. If you need more then that carry a spare mag, need more then that better grab a 16, 47 or a 12g cause your arse is hosed!

    Plus, you can get one in your hands for less then $200!
     
  6. bmw2

    bmw2 Mount Vernon, Wa Active Member

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    I was astounded the first time I shot a Makarov. One of my new favorites. Despite the fairly heavy trigger pull they are very accurate. The mag release does take some getting used to and if one was going to use it for defense, a lot of practice would be in order. The CZ is a nice gun and does offer a fire power advantage at, I believe, 12 rounds versus the maks 8 but for a plinker/fishing gun I don't think it matters. The smaller guns like the pa-63 have an alloy frame and are a lot lighter but carry fewer rounds and are a little too light for comfortable plinking.

    By the way, I heard that Buffalo Bore will is planning to release a 9x18 round pretty soon.
     
  7. e28rusty

    e28rusty Newberg Member

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    I daily carry a cz-82 and love it, it is a bit big, I find myself leaving it home in the summer because I can't conceal it well under a t-shirt. Stupid accurate though, and never had a reliability issue.
     
  8. raftman

    raftman Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The issue with the Pa-63, is that some will allege the aluminum alloy frame doesn't hold up as well when it comes to higher round counts, when compared with the all-steel guns (like the aforementioned CZ-82, Makarov, and P-64). I didn't own one long enough to find out first hand if this is really a problem, but there is a fellow on this very board who did experience said issue and now has an inoperable Pa-63. I ended up buying the few hundred rounds of 9x18 ammo he had stocked up, since it was of little use to him without a functional pistol.
     
  9. PDXFirearms

    PDXFirearms PDX Member

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    I would go with the Makarov, best of both worlds.
     
  10. bwells

    bwells Longview Member

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    Thanks for all the great information everybody. Now I really don't know which I want. I guess I'll have to hit up the gun shows and see what I can find. Or order a couple different guns :D
     
  11. raftman

    raftman Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    That may be the way to go. I ended up a few different ones before finally deciding on a Makarov. If capacity really matters, you may also try going for a Russian-made double stack version of the Makarov, these come with either 10 or 12 round magazines. Still slightly lighter than the CZ, and still more concealable. With rubberized aftermarket grips, it's really comfortable to shoot, too. Only downsides are: the mags are a bit rare and expensive and some people don't like the adjustable rear sight. However, the rear sight can be replaced with a fixed one.
     
  12. shoggoth80

    shoggoth80 Greater Seattle Area Member

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    I'll put a plug in for the CZ82. I used to carry one a lot, and shot the snot out of it when I first started going to indoor ranges. Reliable, accurate, ambi-safety (cocked and locked), or you can carry chambered with the hammer down as long as your trigger guard is well covered. You may be a little limited for holsters though. If you check out an 82, bear in mind the rifling is a really REALLY fine polygonal, and you won't be able to see it with your naked eye. Great guns for the money. CZ83 mags interchange, and those are pretty available when last I looked.

    Actual Makarovs are really nice pieces of work from all I can tell. I don't own one, but a range that I go to has one to rent. There is a batch of Bulgarian surplus Maks on the market now at pretty good prices all else considered.

    The FEG P-63 is similar to a PPK in appearance. I believe this one has an alloy frame... so it will pop more. I haven't heard much else bad about this model other than that.

    Lots of guys seem to have swapped out their springs in the Radom P-64s to help cure the DA trigger pull. These are also very pocketbook friendly guns, as I think they sell online in the $165 range (shipping and transfer not included).

    If you can handle the extra heft, and hide the extra bulk of the double stack 82... go for it. I seriously doubt you will be disappointed.