Cold War Weapons Are Hot

Show Notes

In this week’s No Lowballers podcast by GoWild presented by, we’re talking all about Russian Cold War Weapons! 

If one of us disappears by the end of the show, you know why. We open up with a discussion about how exactly to pronounce Makarov, pretty sure we still don’t have it down yet! Logan and Allen go into a discussion of the origin of the Makarov. From the ammo to the firearm itself, the Makarov has a super interesting background. With an extremely long shelf life from 1951 until present, the Makarov has been a staple in Russia and other communist countries. Dan asks a question about manufacturers of Makarovs specifically during the Cold War, the motto was if the government says you make make Makarovs. 

Then we pivot to the Stechkin APS, a select-fire machine pistol, by your fourth shot you’re sending lead at passing planes! The Stechkin had a very short shelf life, mostly due to the complete impracticality of them specifically in military scenarios, albeit they are super fun guns to shoot. While you can still find a Stechkin today, they are nowhere near as widely available as the Makarov, with many bringing a very large premium. 

We spend some time talking movies and how the bad guys always have the Russian firearms! Spoiler alert, if the good guy pulls out a Makarov, chances are he won’t be the good guy for long. Do you know of a movie where the good guy carried a Makarov? Another movie easter egg proves that we may have some double agents at the table, listen in to see how we know who it is! 

Allen gives us a run down on Russian surplus guns available on and how the market is changing due to parts kits being harder to source. 

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Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Hi everyone. Welcome to the No Low Ballers Podcast. I'm your host, Logan Metis of High caliber history. I'm joined here with the Go Wild guys and some folks from gun as well. And this week we are talking about the K G B and some of their firearms. So there's some really secret squirrel stuff.

Some Boris and Carlo Moose and Squirrel. Moose and squirrel must die. Yes. So someone's gotta do the really bad Russian accent. But anyway, so we're talking K G B stuff, spy stuff, cold war stuff. If. By the end of the show, one of us disappears. You know why? We are now on some list. Let's be honest, we've all been on multiple lists way before this started.

I send my N ss a guy a Christmas card every year. It's fine, right? I think my a t f guy sits up at night with this look on his face. Like what the. I'm like, I [00:01:00] posted that just for you, hi Dave. Hi Dave. Yeah, exactly. But anyway onto something a little more serious. Yeah. Let's talk k g b guns.

Let's this is a good one. I, for those of you watching and listening, we need you to sound off in the comments and let us know that we're wrong no matter how we're doing it. We're wrong because I say OV and Alan says ov. All right. I don't know which one's Molotov. I usually say Smirnoff, but s m, so Popoff.

Popoff. Yeah. Really and truly, I don't know which is correct. Ov someone knows they're probably both wrong, but tell us how much we're wrong in the comments if someone knows that would be. Be great. Alan, let, talk to us a little bit about the Makarov. The ov it's the p k of the Russian world.

Probably the easiest way to look at it, a similar design. It was kinda the standard issue for their security and their intelligent forces. Again, 'cause it was smaller, he easily concealable. It wasn't the most powerful gun they made. But the Russians, especially through the Cold War, never really were.

Big handgun people, their [00:02:00] handgun have always been kinda smaller caliber. Usually high, usually higher velocity. But, gr growing up like I did in the eighties and nineties the Russian surplus guns were always dirt cheap on the market. Yeah, you could pick up like a, the T 33 talker up TT 30 threes.

Yep. TT 33 moss and the got rifles and Carine, the SS K Ss was everywhere, for a few hundred bucks. And the ammo was also cheap. They brought it in pallet load from overseas. You could get. Several hundred rounds of 7, 6, 2 39 for 49 bucks. Those days long gone.

But for me at least, the ov whatever, makarov, let's just really mess it up. The Mac, I think really? The mov, Macka, Makarov. Yeah. There's a dance with that one, but I'm not gonna do it. Don't worry. It just added to the confusion of the nine millimeter. As the token gun guys in the room, we all get the questions, Hey, I just bought something.

It says nine millimeter. What do I buy? You buy nine millimeter lu NATO parabellum, which kind of were all the same thing, but nine millimeter ktz, ov, are you in a 7, 6 5, A seven 60? It's just seven three. Oh my God. Yeah. There's just so [00:03:00] nine. We're not even gonna talk about the 3 57 38 calibers.

Yeah. So nine millimeter, it's okay, great. I'm gonna just bring me the gun and I'll tell you from there. And again, in this era, they were so cheap. The mock rob was really prevalent. Not a lot of people I knew growing up their dads, or they didn't have at least one tucked away themselves.

Somewhere. They picked up for $79 at the local trading post. Yeah. And there's some interesting chicken or the egg stuff that, at least that's how I consider it. Chicken or the egg stuff with the mac of design, because you've obviously, you've got the pistol, the pm, the pistol at Rova but you've also got nine millimeter Mac, the ammunition, right?

And unlike some designs where the gun and the caliber are made for each other and they're in development at the same time and they're created 19 11 45. That is not the case with this gun. And actually the ammunition came first. And it's a nine by 18 cartridge.

Different than a three 80, which is also a nine by 18. Different than a three 80. This, I believe, was the parent case, would've been the nine millimeter Ultra.[00:04:00] And so it's based on that. And It's unusual that it even gets the name Nine millimeter Mov because Mr. Mov, I can't remember his first name.

Was it Alex? It's probably Alexander because he is or Nikolai. Anyway, that's not important. Mr. Mov, we'll call him Comrad. Macker. Comrad. Comrad Macker. Yes. Actually had nothing to do with the development of the cartridge. The cartridge was developed, I believe, in the late thirties. And the guy who created it, whose name I can't even remember because he's that important to history, that poor guy. I think I, no, I think his name was Boris seven. I think I could be totally wrong, but but yeah. Comrade OV actually had nothing to do with the development of the cartridge. The cartridge was already in existence and after. After a handful of years, I think it was in 1946 comrade OV starts designing this gun for this cartridge that again, he had nothing to do with, but yet it's his name that ends up associated with both the gun and the cartridge.

[00:05:00] And I just think that's really interesting that, he had nothing to do with it. And just wiped the other maybe that is very fitting. Very Russia, very k g b, they disappeared. The guy who created the ammo so the dude just creates a cartridge with nothing to shoot it with.

What's, what was he doing? Like where does, I mean we have a great history of Wildcat cartridges. Yep. That people decide that, 2 21 Fireball or any of the Roberts Cal or the JD Js, it's like here's a cool thing I can do. Ballistically, somebody might be a gun for this thing.

Yeah. At nine 50 j d j, can someone make me a rifle for this, right? No. Really what that comes out of is they're looking for something that, that has a little more power than what the M 1895 Negan revolvers. I. Were chambered for, they were looking for a cartridge with a little more ass to it.

And again, we've got the TT 30 threes and the other guns like that, they're looking for a cartridge that's, that they can improve on the overall quality of it. And that's and that's where you end up with the nine millimeter Mac or [00:06:00] of But again, and as we've seen with a lot of the wildcat stuff, the guys create the cartridge.

If you build it, they will come. It's the gun world's field of dreams. It's just, it cracks me up how it doesn't, as radically different as, the American military and Russian military, philosophies, cultures, whatever, are, we had a 38 K revolver that we wanted more room for.

They had a 7, 6 2 or a 38 caliber revolver. They wanted some more for, we went to a bigger, semi-automatic cartridge. They went to a bigger, it's just the parallels between the histories and the militaries and their changing needs are so closely linked for two bitter enemies.

It's just, it cracks me up every time. Yeah, absolutely. So this was, as far as the Cold War goes, this was created. The MOV was created like right after the end of World War ii, right? That's correct. Like this was that early fifties? The, yeah, the gun is actually like 1946. 1947, so yeah. Literally right at the end of the war.

Yep. So it seems like Russia had. All of this industrial might right after the end of World War ii, and they [00:07:00] developed cool guns for the times. And then how long did this stay in service? Like until the late eighties, right? Yeah. That gun is in service and not just in Russia, in, in a lot of the other communist block countries, and then, there's German macros. There's all yeah. Until the wall falls, in 91. Was, I think it was 91, 90, 91 in the early nineties. There, there's, there are MACRA variants made by other communist countries in service everywhere, and it's it's just a ubiquitous design that you saw.

In Europe at that time, and it was, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, so then on the US side, we're in the fifties just using our leftovers for World War II and not really developing new standards militarily or for the government until The late sixties, early seventies. Not till, handgun wise, not till the mid eighties.

Yeah. We don't adopt the Beretta M nine till 1985. The 1911 and 45 A C p ha it [00:08:00] goes down in history with having the longest service life of any US sidearm. It lasted for 74 years, from 1911 to 1984. And then we. We switched to the M nine and nine millimeter in 85 and then of course now we've got the M 17 in nine millimeter.

But yeah, we didn't, in terms of innovation, if you will, we were, worshiping the altar of St. Browning and, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, carry a 45 'cause they don't make a 46, so why is that? Because my. And the way I've heard about the Cold War was everything was erased.

And you had your space race and you had trade races and who can colonize what country and turn 'em of their political system? So why were we not threatened by the development of this gun? We're just happy with the 45. A part of it is, the handgun is such an afterthought by the military.

They're not issued to everybody anymore. It's really officer corps or vehicle born troops, tankers, that sort of [00:09:00] thing. And if you're down to your handgun, You've, you're in trouble already. Is that, so we just don't care. We're not, we're more worried about the new MIG 31 than we are the new handgun.

It's the space race. That's dude, who controls the moon? Not, no one really cares what nine millimeter handgun is in some K G B guys, shoulder holster, right? So these sort of developments, not only for the pistols, but also AK 40 sevens and stuff.

The US wasn't really super impressed. It's like it works for you stamping metal in these super simple systems, but we'll stick with what we got. I think, if your enemy has a nuclear bomb, you're less concerned about the pistol in their pocket. The pistol in their pocket. Yeah. Yeah.

You know what I mean? I don't care how many Mackers they turn out, I wanna know how many nukes they've got. Pointed at New York City and San Francisco and, rifle, we paid a little bit more attention to, the ak, which Kalashnikov obviously had some inspiration from the German s t g 40 fours.

You could draw out a roadmap where that takes us from rifle cartridges down [00:10:00] to the intermediate sized. 5, 5, 6 that we use today. So you could see some development in that spot. But a again, type or pistols really aren't looked that much more highly than typewriters. You still need 'em.

Both. Certain groups get 'em. They're just a commodity. You really get so un, unless somebody comes up with a. A handheld rail gun or something, just cra that really shifts the tide on the battlefield. We don't really care. We're more concerned about the ICBMs than we are the nine millimeter by 18.

Yeah. And and it's interesting. Side note, speaking of the ICBMs, did you know that one of the main companies that developed ICBMs also made M fourteens? Yeah, t r w they they licensed and made m fourteens and they also made intercontinental ballistic missiles. There you go.

Just a little side note that I find interesting and you cannot pick those up on gun broker, just case you the ICBMs. No, you cannot pick up an ICBM on gun burger, but you could get lucky and find yourself A T R W. Marked M 14. Probably just the receiver since m fourteens are select fire.

So it may [00:11:00] be a torched receiver that you might be able to rebuild, but at any rate, so these Russian guns. In the communist system. I'm guessing there wasn't a company that was producing it. It belonged to the government and they would shop it around to different factories and they could be the same gun could be produced by, the government would tell you what to make.

Yeah, you could be a tractor manufacturer, but if they needed some mock Robs made, then that's what they told you were making. And if you didn't make it, then don't expect steel, electricity, water, whatever. It's it. They control that. And again, every country they went into much the same way we look at Know, s k s is, oh, this is a Chinese made, this is a Bulgarian made, this is a, whatever ovs, all of the, those surplus guns are the same way.

So some were built better than others, Polish OVS are looked at pretty high regard. Bulgarian, not too bad. Some of the Hungarian ones, little questionable sometimes anything that says North Korea avoid. So it you really started to have the tiered system based on that.

Yeah. And if you can, if you're in the [00:12:00] market for a macro, there some of the few surplus handguns that still today are fairly affordable. Yeah. You can still get into a Mac, for a few hundred dollars. Which I think is cool because so much surplus stuff has just gone through the absolute roof.

Yeah, that's, we took a look at the gun broker sales and that was kinda one of the interesting things that popped up. Today, s kss have gone from a hundred bucks to 5, 6, 700 depending on country of origin. A k m receivers through the roof, even TT 30 threes are getting kind of crazy price.

But the mock robs maintain. Pretty good value. There's still a good supply of 'em out there. The price vari variation you're gonna see is in either condition or the country of origin. Yep. The one thing I will say, we are seeing a lot of import bans starting to fall in place all across Europe, especially on the ammunition side.

So if you've considered getting a mock off or really any of the surplus guns like that, that have, some unusual European calibers I wouldn't wait. They may not be there much longer. Get 'em while you can[00:13:00] stock up on the ammo while you can it, that may be a drying up supply quickly.

So was this nine by 18 millimeter? Was that. Cartridge adapted to any other guns that they were making? That's a good question and to, to my knowledge. Nine millimeter ov it was chambered for that handgun and that handgun. I don't know of any other guns that were chambered for the nine millimeter mac there.

There may be, again, someone in the comments can tell us we're wrong about things and and I would love to know if I'm wrong. About that. Yeah. Certainly not in wide distribution. At least not at the government level. Yeah. So why is that if it was such a popular gun? W was it not that great of a round?

Did a new round come along shortly after that was superior? I think they, they had that gun. They had a lot of that gun and it worked. Yeah. So why deviate? Is there a civilian gun market in Russia at this time, or is it all military driven? I believe it's all military driven at that point, at least on the proper markets.

Yeah. You're not walking into, [00:14:00] comrade Dick's Sporting Goods and buying a rifle off the shelf. Pretty much all firearms manufacturing is for military use. To Logan's point, they've got warehouses full of these things and the ammunition. And they don't necessarily wanna change, the, so the communist block countries weren't really big on change across the board.

And then you throw in that there's just no consumer market whatsoever to drive innovation like here. We'd probably still be in the 45 a c p if the consumer market hadn't gone nuts for striker fired guns like the Glock and pushed heavy to get that sort of a platform into there.

Into their general military run. The special units they can carry if they want. They went to Glocks years ago, so their experience and knowledge has trickled through, but it's all because of. That we have a consumer market and there is a monetary motivation to innovate where the Soviet machine just churned out what they churned out.

Firearms, but you can look at their cars, it's not exactly Ferraris and Porsches that they're building over there. They're still, yeah, still very utilitarian and just really haven't made much in the way of improvements until the wall fell. Then obviously game on. Yep. Yeah. Now that you can go to McDonald's, man, [00:15:00] it's all sorts of innovation.

The salt on those fries fired up the brain cells and they're making all sorts of new stuff. Hello capitalism. That's right. So besides that gun, what else were they doing? Yeah, so that's that's what I was gonna say is that even though there wasn't a lot of large scale adoption and trying to find things they did branch out into other guns.

And one of the really cool ones is the STE Kin. Pistol which is a select fire handgun, which is something that one you don't hear a lot about in, com block countries, but you don't hear a lot about 'em. Period. Every country though, tries every country. You have to try. Austria did the Glock 18, Beretta did the 93 R.

Yep. Czech had the scorpion. Czechoslovak had the scorpion. Everybody tries and then they realize why it's a bad idea. Exactly. There are a ton of fun, but there's, there is absolutely nothing. Practical about a fully automatic handgun. And these are one of those handguns that you could put a shoulder stock on, right?

That's exactly right. Yep. And they are cool as hell. They're, and frankly, you have to. Yeah. 'cause otherwise it's, if you [00:16:00] go full auto, it's target berm. Sky airplane. It's, they're just, Uncontrollable, and this was not a high power. This, these were what, 32 a c p or a 32 esque caliber?

Yeah, somewhere in there. So it's a smaller cartridge already. And they're still, but the rate of fire is what gets you, it's, yeah. Do they have extended magazines or something like that? You could get longer magazines for them. But it, it was just, it was meant to be something, for security forces and other specialized folks, K G B E folks, it was obviously not, a standard issue.

Military weapon, like the OV pistol was, it wasn't, here's your, welcome to the military. Here's your ov, here's your kin, yeah. Actually the complete opposite ends of the spectrum, the macro had that massive shelf life and just went on forever, and theskin really didn't stick around in service that long because, Comrade Raybar designed a wonderful little pistol, but it's just not practical for military purposes, special units makes sense.

It's like an, I look at it like an MP five. It makes sense in the right uses in the right units, but you're not gonna equip a brigade of Red Army troops [00:17:00] with stet kins. It's just. It would've been really cool though. Oh, it would've been, the sound would've been, yes. Absolutely. Yeah. I personally, I'd like to see a whole regiment of guys with clock eighteens.

That would be really neat though. Ton of fun to shoot. But there just really is no. Practical purpose for that. Now, I'll be the first one to say that practical purposes should not drive what guns you own. I own a lot of stupid shit. I own a single shot, Altor pistol, nine millimeter with a nine inch suppressor on the end of it, just because I can, so practicality shouldn't factor into these things, but.

But from a military standpoint, and and from a Soviet standpoint, which is where they're at, everything's gotta be very practical. And the stet kin just wasn't practical to, to adopt or issue on any kind of a large scale, so they are. Harder to find, obviously, 'cause there were fewer of them made.

And also because they're select fire, at least in, in this country, that puts them as an N f A item and things have to be registered just a Glock 18 would be, or a Beretta 93 R would be. So you [00:18:00] can find them but you gotta be looking for 'em and you gotta be prepared to pay up for 'em and to have heavy restrictions on 'em once you own them.

Where you do see them prevalent though in everywhere is every. Country's movie Armor Studios. So like I s stacked the gills with these. 'cause for 50 years at least, every bad guy in every movie carried a mock off. Every bad spy had akin, that's just, that's how you like these days.

You watch. And if they're using an iPhone, they're a good guy. 'cause Apple won't give you the phone unless you're the good guy. So you see, I didn't know that. Oh, yeah. Yeah. If you're watching a movie and you see someone using an Android, And they're a good guy. No. They're gonna be, they're, that's the big twist.

If they've got an apple, doesn't matter how evil they are, they're still gonna be a good person at the end. Did you know that movie nerd? No. So that, yeah, my wife runs movies all the time going, oh, he's using an Apple. He's not really the bad guy. But now, okay, so now we have to go off on a slight tangent.

I want to know what everybody has. I have an Android. What do you have? V Must Faith because I have an iPhone. Android. [00:19:00] Android, iPhone. All right. So we're split. At least it's a fair fight. The plot twist is they're secretly the double agents. Yeah. If it's going down. Exactly. So that was always the tell.

I think the only good guy who probably carried a mock Rob was from the man, from uncle, he's now ducky in the N C I S Donald whatever, or David I'm blanking on his name, but that was probably the only good guy who carried Robinson n c I s. C ss i c s i, one of the initial shows.

I don't know. So that was the easy giveaway. If they pulled out a mock Rob, didn't matter how good or bad they were a bad guy. Even going back to Ronan when Elle's guard or when am I blanking? His scar's guard pulls, he's, he twists him over in the bad thing and had a RA the whole time.

Obviously he was the bad guy. How did you miss that has to be, that's right. Yep. How do you know who watches N C I S. People have iPhones. Yeah, that's true. I don't watch N C I Ss that. That is a great point. I do not watch it. Yeah. Random question, random answer. Did we ever, did anyone ever make a full auto 1911?

Yes. Yes. Oh, [00:20:00] so honey, you'd think someone didn't listen to today's podcast episode that went, yeah. Oh, was it the, did we talk about it earlier on this? Because you said the Glock and the Beretta. It, so we talked about it in a previous episode here when we were talking about gangster guns.

They were not it was not a factory made firearm by any stretch of the imagination. But I believe it was Dillinger. Who had it and it was a 1911 with a Tommy gun, four grip mounted on the bottom of the slide and an extended magazine, and it was in 38. Super. And it was full auto. Yeah. And it comp cuts compensator off a Tommy gun as well.

Yeah. It was a weird looking thing. It's cool as hell. Yeah. But definitely not something that was ever mass produced. It was it was not. John Browning approved, let's put it that way. It was not Speaking of Browning. Was Cold War when the Browning high power was made. Wasn't that like fifties? So the high power has an a very interesting history.

It's actually less of a John Browning [00:21:00] design and more of a de and a save design because Browning. Passes away before the high power actually makes it to market. And so there are a number of modifications and different design changes that are done by de save to bring that gun to market.

But but yes that gun is in a heyday, if you will in some regards. During the Cold War, they made a lot of them in the fifties and the sixties. And those are your really collectible eras. Yeah. Some early, obviously World War II stuff, when they were made, those are gonna be, ever popular.

And that was a new caliber as well, or correct? No, that's nine. That's in nine millimeters. Is it nine millimeter? Yeah. A lot of the NATO countries adopted the high power over the 1911 because nine millimeter was very prevalent in Europe. Tons of it over there. A lot of the other pistols were chambered, nine millimeter, where 45 was an American thing and we weren't the only NATO country to carry it, but there wasn't a lot of 'em who adopted the [00:22:00] 1911.

The high power was very popular among the, obviously the sidearm, the British Army for. Ever. Ever. Yeah. And all the special services several of their associated countries. So Canada and Australia, same thing. Yep. Yeah. Inglis and Canada making the high powers. Yeah. So that might be the capitalist ov.

That's an interesting way to, to look at it. Yeah. Yeah. That's my quote of the day. I am done headset off. I con I contributed to you capitalist macro. It's the Cat Mac. Yeah. TN trademark. Yeah. So Alan, what what interesting things have closed on gum broker in the last week that, that might peak the interest of some folks?

That's a great question. I did, kinda look at the Russian surplus guns this morning and take a look at that. That's where we've, again, really shocked at the values of some of the surplus stuff that's gone crazy. Where the market really is holding strong.

Back in the eighties, nineties, you could buy parts skits. Yep. So basically they would take an A K M, which everyone calls 'em an AK 47, but the AK 47 only had a. [00:23:00] What, a couple years shelf life, very short before it became the ak modified the A K M anyway, torch the receiver in half. So you buy everything.

You'd get a flat piece of steel, go home, bend it all up, drill holes, run rivets through it. You'd make your AKs. The parts kits dried up years ago. But they're apparently, I dunno if they've un found a rail car or one of them starting to see the parts kit starting to trickle back in here and there a little bit.

The pricing's crazy parts kits used to be a couple hundred bucks, now they're, closing in on a thousand dollars from what we've seen. But the really interesting part of the flat receivers, it was the original 80% receiver. 'cause it was a flat piece of metal.

Yeah. That market is I don't know where it's at. If anyone knows where or anybody's still making those, throw it in the comments because that was just, Yeah. None to be found. So I dunno if that obviously follows the fact that the parts gets dried up, but now that there's a little bit resurgence there, I'm curious to see if those receivers are coming back.

Yeah, that would be interesting. Cool. Guys I appreciate you joining us on this episode of the No Low Ballers Podcast. Congratulations to every one of us sitting around the table. No, no one got disappeared. [00:24:00] Congratulations to all the listeners and watchers, if you're still here. I did see someone coming on Underneath your car out in the parking lot.

Oh man, it looked like he was putting something. No, he's just cutting off the Cadillac and very welcome to Kentucky. By the way, today's really scary. It's raining outside, so everybody's carrying an umbrella, so I'm really nervous today. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. But no. So if you've made it this far in the episode, that means you didn't get disappeared either.

But it also means we need to make sure that you're subscribed to the podcast on your favorite platform. Leave us a review on your favorite platform. Otherwise you will get disappeared and you won't be here for the next episode. And that would be an absolute shame because we love having you guys here.

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