ryg...nice job running that down for us. The link worthy of adding to my files. For those who later, the link may (some reason) not work for, or can't translate, the article goes on to state:
The true 1960 production of 59-type military gun grip pads are almost all shields have five five-pointed star logo, in addition to some of the "August" is a special gift gun, while the export of 59 - style products in the grip on the film is a ring within a large five - pointed star. This is the main feature of identifying guns for military use and later-produced civilian guns (with a few exceptions).
Hello Meerkoos, sorry to be late in replying... Yes, I got both my Chinese Makarov from Hermann Historica (actually, in a couple of years I got seven Mak from them : three Russian 1973-79-87. two DDR 1960-61 and the two Chinese, all stone mint).
And yes, I saw how many nice cutaway they have from time to time. I did not bid a year ago on a nice DDR Makarov cutaway because it was missing the safety lever. And, yes again, they have wonderful items. Too bad so many have spurious German proof marks, but...this is the law.
Here are my proposed theories: (please discuss)
1958-1959: USSR ships tooling and plans to the PRC, Factory 626 (Arsenal 66 as you call it), is assigned production.
1959-1960: First batch of serial production starts, difficulties due to Chinese-made ammo political climate and production bugs, production interrupted? stopped?
1961?: New ammunition developed? Military use suspended? Police use? Manufacture restarted?
1980?: Civilian or military? production by Norinco and Zhong Zhen
1982: Adoption of the Type 82 (PM-63 copy) <--- Maybe linked to further ammunition developments?
It does not surprise me that Chinese sources 'speculate' ( as noted by Meerkos above) from known information about the production of the type 59 and its various uses. I fear that many Chinese people who knew about production of every Chinese gun have died, were silenced during the great leap or the cultural revolution or records are lost or scattered or they have forgotten with age. Apparently there are few if any written records for even Chinese to reference. ( We also have little information on production, and even serial numbering systems for the SKS and the type 53 leading to questions on dates of production , etc.)
The grips shown in post #48 above and on a Vietnam bring back in the sticky of show me your best makarovs at post #82 are the grips used on PLA issued Military Makarovs. We know this because the grips illustrate certain identifiable special features associated with the Peoples Liberation Army ( PLA) and the government of China. The star in the center has the Chinese symbols for 8 and 1. The PLA use this star symbol as it represents the uprising at Nanchang (sp.?) on august 1, 1927 regarded as the start of the Chinese communist army. The cog at the bottom and the wheat shaft around the sides ( or is it rice ?) represent industry and agriculture and are a part of the symbol of the Chinese communist government.
Another example of a bring back gun with these grips is found on page 69 of the book "Veteran Bring backs, vol. II" by our fellow board member Edward Tinker. This Makarov with these grips, was brought back in 1970 so these grips are not of new manufacture.
As these guns are found with 3 and 4 million serial numbers it is understood they were made in 1962 or 1963 (or 63 and 64). All we can do is share what people have collected, observed and put them in historical context including history of China and the recent research of Chinese scholars.
It appears that the difference between the shield and stars gripped Makarov (see sticky of show me your best Makarovs at posting # 84 and the PLA issued Makarov ( post #82))is that these different grips were used to distinguish which Chinese agency ( army or police) the Makarov was to be issued. The guns themselves fall in the same serial number range and are identical in every other way including serial number style of markings, etc.
-PLA (military issue) Type 59: Grain stalks, cog and "八一“ symbol on grip.
-MPS/PAP (police and military police issue) Type 59: Shield with 5 stars (symbolising Chinese flag) on grip.
-Civilian: Soviet-style star on grip.
We are certainly going somewhere with this.
If you want to believe that the serial numbers in the millions on various guns were done for reasons so inscrutable that even other Chinese couldn't understand it, be my guest. In the absence of actual documentation being released by the secretive Communist government, what has been learned about serial numbers by studying Type 53 carbines and Type 54 pistols makes sense and one would think it would also apply to Type 59 pistols. I seem to be wasting my time.
I agree that production resumed. I also agree with rygs dating system. Thanks.
Among the very few VN PLA Makarovs, the serial numbers are in the 3 and 4 million range. I stand corrected as I think the serial numbers are consistent with years produced just as the Tokarevs. And the Tokarevs have the dates stamped so we know how they correspond.
Given what I have learned from the various postings, it makes sense that production stopped in 59 or 60.Remember, the USSR pulled out all advisors, parts, jigs, fixtures, blueprints etc by 1960 as part of the differences between Mao and Khrushchev. ( disagreements on communist ideology and china's making the bomb in violation of promises to the USSR not to, etc.)
And, 1959 was a time of horrific famine due to the great leap forward debacle. Probably up to 40 million died of starvation and disease brought about by starvation. There are whole books written about this time and so it makes sense that production of weapons, even given priority, was disrupted. In fact I don't recall seeing any Tokarev type 54s dated from this time.
Anyway, great discussion and it is bringing out lots of information and examples. Except, nobody here or elsewhere is able to post pictures. Administrator problem I think...
Meekoos, based upon research I've done, if everything goes well it takes about 2 years between the adoption of a Soviet small arm and the actual production. Initial production is low, consider it more of a time to train the local engineers and workers. They use a lot of Russian parts at this point. With in the next year the locals are more in control of the process and more parts are being locally made. Full production comes in with the next year or so. Also, initially, a batch of the actual small arms with be obtained early on to start arming the military and security forces. If the PRC went through roughly the same process the split with the Soviet Union would have seriously interrupted initial training of the work force and early production. This is of course sheer speculation, but it was fun! Of course Venezuela went through all this to make the AK-103 and they started in 2008 so the timeline on that one goes out the window. Cheers, ABTOMAT
Thanks to all for this most interesting thread on the Type 59. I am currently finalizing a large chapter on Chinese Makarovs and unfortunately many basic facts remain unclear. I had originally thought that the Type 59s were made from 1959 through 1962, but it may be as likely that they were only made in 1959. One fact that may support this is that observed serial numbers seem to continually increase as opposed to start over each year. Total production of the Type 59 seems to be between 65,000 and 70,000 based on observed and reported serial numbers (about 40 pistols).
Please see my article on military and commercial Chinese Makarovs in the July-August 2016 issue of Man at Arms magazine. That article represented my thinking on these pistols up to the point I wrote it. By the way, I estimate that around 10,000 commercial Chinese Makarovs were imported in to the US based on observed serial numbers.
co-author of The Makarov Pistol Soviet Union & East Germany by Brown and White 2016
After reviewing the many contributions to this posting, I decided to do a little thinking out loud. I will try to consolidate many good thoughts.
First we are talking about 2 distinct types and periods of production of the Chinese Makarov type 59: Military/police and commercial.
Some of us have collected the military and the police type 59s especially those from Vietnam war.
It looks like initial production in 1959 was started and then halted ( not stopped altogether) due to internal turmoil ( great leap forward) departure of soviet advisors and equipment and some problems with ammunition. Considering the usual system of numbering, it looks like it resumed as we have seen type 59s in the 2, 3 and 4 million range. So it may be presumed that production reoccurred in 60 (2 million serial numbering) 61 (3 million serial numbering) and 62 (4 million serial numbering). It may also be assumed that the gun was dropped to consolidate manufacturing on Tokarevs and other weapons during a time when the struggle to pull the country together out of the chaos of the great leap forward was happening (61-65).
Now on to commercial production.
Meerkoos suggests commercial production started in or about 1980. We might ask why?
To me that makes sense.
Mao died in 1976 and Deng Xiaoping slowly took over proclaiming a new economy based on communism with capitalist characteristics ( or was it the other way around... LOL). Desperate for foreign exchange, and to economize, the size of the military was greatly reduced, senior military officers were retired but allowed to form corporations in lieu of retirement payments. ( there was no retirement system in the military) NORINCO was expanded and POLYTECH was incorporated in 80 or 81. Production by year from about that time can now be examined. ( polytech was formed and owned by retired senior military officers).
So began the era of cheap firearm exports from China, with China getting most favored nation status and a trade agreement in 1980.
So this outline, gleaned from all the posters above and my research, gives a starting place to further our knowledge in this area. We may revise it, change it or expand, but to me, this is a decent place to start.
Last edited by sksguide; 01-31-2017 at 10:56 PM.
I wonder how many there are floating about in China now?.I have been trying to obtain one from there recently,but despite having people who have good contacts over there in the arms trade,who can speak their language,making enquiries for me.....thus far they can not come up with any.Plenty of other stuff but no Makarov's.