North Korean 9 x 18 mm cartridges (and pistol)

Has anyone seen “in hand” or in pictures any specimen of the 9 x 18 mm Makarov cartridge made in North Korea? Does anyone have knowledge of production of that pistol in North Korea?

Recent citations in sources and a brief viewing that appeared to show North Korean military personnel practicing with Makarov pistols have raised questions about the possiblity of NK production. The films were on television and between very, very bried screen time and the size of the images, it was difficult to tell for sure what pistols they were, but they did not appear to be the NK’s version of either the Tokarev, or their 7.65 mm Browning caliber pistol.

We were of the misconception that following the Korean War North Korea was basically an impoverished nation, lasting right up to today, although they are perfectly willing to spend money on advanced weaponry. We reasoned that they probably would not have used resources on a third pistol. We have since found out that in the period of the 1960s and 1970s, North Korea was economically very sound. We also found that there were a couple of military reports, unfortunatley un-named and carrying only a years dates of the 1960s, that basically said NK was producing the pistol that early. We still harbor some doubts about that, since there has never been, to our knowledge, any hint of production of the Makarov or ammunition of Makarov caliber in NK until the last year or so.

At any rate, we are looking primarily for documented fact. We will listen to opinion, but if that is given here, please indicate the lack of documentation.

Thank you.

Southern Africa and parts of Latin/South America have been good sources of info and examples of North Korean ammunition in the past. I’ve had some very good contacts for information on DPRK 7.62x25, 7.62x39, and 7.62x54R cartridges. In the 30+ years I’ve been researching these rounds I have never even had a hint of NK 9x18 production.
Take that for what it’s worth…just sayin’.

No other opinions fronm some of the Makarov fans in Europe, etc.? Jon’s opinion is partially shared by me and always sought and respected, but it would be nice to hear from others. One of the leading authorities in the USA on the North Korean military establishment believes they probably did make the pistol, and likely years ago to boot, based on U.S. declassified intelligence reports. A Russian government document lists them as one of the makers of the pistol along with USSR/Russia, East Germany, PRC and Bulgaria. Of course, since the Darra guns are rip-off copies, they don’t mention Pakistan.

If NK made the guns, it is likely they made the ammunition as well.

If so, and I’m not saying definitively that it isn’t, you would think that Kokalis would have had a hint of them in South America or that they would have been seen in either Angola/Namibia or Rhodesia/Zimbabwe.

From what I gathered from the RSA Crime Lab years ago, many of the small arms, and military adivisors found in Angola, were from the DDR. Russian weapons as well of course, with a fair number of Stechkin pistols. Can’t say for Rhodesia. Of course, Russian weapons found all over Africa.

I know some North Korean ammo was used by Perú. Peruvian made Makarov ammo came back from there, along with Peruvian 7.62 x 39, but there was North Korean 7.62 x 39 as well. I am told there were some NK small arms as well. The Makarov pistols were evidently Soviet (USSR) manufacture, and Russian advisors assisted the national police and military.

Jon - I have the same misgivings as do you. All of my information on any possibility of the Makarov in North Korea has come in the last few months, first in the Russian report, and then my own sightings on the NK propaganda films on TV with the “Great Leader” visiting ranges were soldiers were practising with AKs and pistols. There seemed to be several types of pistols, including what looked a great deal like Makarovs, but with the tiny size on screen and the very short time on screen, it is hard to say. Wish I owned that film. Now, in the last few days, comes reports of declassified U.S Intelligence documents from years ago that discuss NK production of small arms, including what they called Makarovs (but maybe were Type 68 - modified Tokarevs). I see there has been a lot of chatter on Forums, none of which I ever visit, on this subject as well, including others who seem to have seen the same news footage I did. Still, while I have to cover the subject due to the sources, down deep I just can believe they made the pistol or ammo or like you say, some would have showed up somewhere by now. Admittedly, though, it was several years that China made the Type 59 (Makarov) and ammo before it was mentioned in any published source, including stuff from the U.S. Government. I had one of the first Chicom T-59s in this country, which came from Cambodia,
and some called me mistaken when I mentioned I had a Chinese Makarov. It came with one contemporary Russian cartridge!

I was hoping some of our experts out there could shed more light on the subject, but it seems not. Thanks, Jon, for your input.

John, the only clip I saw of Kim Jong Un with a pistol showed a Tokarev-type pistol. It was pretty clear and I was yelling “What’s the headstamp?”, and “Get your finger off the trigger!” as I watched.
I do hope that some DPRK Makarovs do appear, but I have my doubts for the time being.

John, I came across a video showing several sequences of North Korean soldiers firing this pistol, which looks like a 9 mm caliber design based on the PM. Markings on the slide are also of the same format found in NK TT pistols. Do you, or anyone else, have information about it?

Fede - I know little about this pistol. It is a Type 70 Pistol, which is shown as being of cali ber 7.65 x 17 mm, which would square with known pistol cartridges from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It looks somewhat like a Makarov in general shape, although it is a single-action self-loading pistol, not double-action like the PM, and it lacks the drop-hammer safety on the left rear of the slide and also the slide stop design of the PM. In shape, however, it appears to have been influenced in general size and shape by the Russian pistol. One thing I noted in the pictures is that the bore appears, in relation to the pistol, to be large enough to be for a 9 mm cartridge. That could simply be an illusion, however.

Unfortunately, I have found no detailed information on this pistol, nor pictures of one disassembled so that we could see if it, in any real way, internally resembles a Makarov.

It is also true that Russian sources have recently started to include North Korea among the countries producing the PM. Still, this could be the same confusion I suffered when seeing small, low resolution pictures of the pistol on TV, being fired by the “Great Leader” of NK and by other officers. At first, I though they were Makarovs. Later, I found a picture of a row of NK soldiers posing with pistols presented, and they were clearly Type 70s.

Do you know the history of the pictures you showed here? Are they public domain. I would like to use at least one of them.

As to this being an ammo-related subject, I would remind that one of the things that began the conversation for me was rumors that NK was manufacturing the Makarov cartridge. If all pistols viewed are Type 70s, and in the 7.65 mm which is the only reported caliber for this pistol, then I would say the do not. But, I have no documentation that they are not making it, other than the fact that I know of no single student of ammunition that has ever seen a NK 9 x 18 mm cartridge, and as we know, that of itself is poor documentation.

John, thanks for clarifying this, because of its seeming large bore diameter it didn’t occur to me that this was actually a 7.65 caliber Type 70 pistol, which is reported to be a design based on the FN 1910. Here is a link to the video: … r-maniacs/

Great video…extremely poor and dangerous gun handling. Sure glad I wasn’t the reporter! The recoil of the pistol appears to be much stiffer than you usually see/feel with a 7.65 handgun. That might well be a 9mm Mak version of the gun.

If you look at this article scroll down the second page. It deals with NK handguns and the profile of the type 70 is quite different than the image Fede posted.

Scott - you missed something in reading that website blurb on NK Pistols. The picture of the silenced gun is their early Type 64 7.65 Pistol, modeled on the Model 1900 Browning. If you look right below the description of the type 64, you will find the Type 70. There is no picture of it. If you look at the picture of the gun that is a modified Tokarev, and scroll down, you will see the descritpion of it. It is not 7.65 x 17 but rather 7.62 Tokarev caliber. I already forget if they named that pistol, but in case they didn’t, that is the Type 68. In my search for information about an “NK Makarov,” I have become fairly well versed in NK handguns, primarily from A. B. Zhuk’s (Russia) fine book on Handguns, which I have in both the Russian and English versions.

The layout of that website could be better, and it is easy to misinterpret which pistol they were talking about. I had to do a double-take to spot the data on the Type 70 myself, since they had no picture of it. Zhuk’s book has an excellent drawing of it, although he makes a mistake, which I am sure was only a mind glitch and he knew better, of saying it was “modelled externally on the Tokarev.” I am sure he meant “Makarov” as he pictures and correctly describes the Type 68 as well.

To add to what John said, this is the illustration of the Type 70 pistol from Zhuk’s book (1995 English edition).

Looking at the thumb nail of the hand holding the pistol in the first picture, unless the guy has huge hands, that might well just be a 7.65 mm bore. Measured the same way, my thumb nail is about 15 mm wide, and the bore of the barrel in the picture is about half the width of the man’s thumb nail. Very scientific measurement, you know! :-( You can see that I am a technical genius. :-) My son not so long ago accused me of being a perfect a----le not so long ago, so at least I am perfect at something.


thanks for posting the picture. Hope you can help me with my email request. This was the only picture I had of a type 70 that was worth anything. I am pretty sure this is the “NK Makarov” that started to be mentioned in various places. Even the Great Boob of NK (oops, pardon me, the “Great Leader” is shown playing with a couple of cartridges on a plane on one of the videos or a still picture, and they are 7.65 x 17 and 7.62 x 25 mm, which reinforces my current belief, subject to change with documentation, that NK makes only 7.65 and 7.62 Tokarev in self-loading pistol calibers.


Thanks, read your post, reread the article ,then the light went on.