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Discussion Starter #1
A couple of years back I handled a Makarov belonging to another member at my club on which he'd had the sights replaced with a set of XS "Express" ones by the folks at Makarov.com.

Unfortunately, I procrastinated about sending my slide in to have it done too long, and they no longer offer the service. Yeah, I know; ya snooze, ya lose.

Can anyone refer me to an outfit set up to do this work? Any and all leads much appreciated!
 

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Tim is right, Firearm Solutions quoted 80 dollars (give or take) for installing new sights on an extra slide I had. They make the sights 'on site' (so to speak) and they look excellent.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Many thanks for the lead! I'll check it out ASAP.

It doesn't have to be the XS outfit, although I have them on the OM-sized Para C7.45 LDA I now carry and like them a lot.

I find myself shooting my Mak a good deal more often lately. Especially since advancing osteoarthritis in my hands, wrists and elbows has pretty much limited the number of .45 ACPs I can comfortably fire to about 50 in a session, even though they're mostly very mild 200 gr. LSWC reloads at c. 780 f/s.

It doesn't hurt that (no pun intended!) I bought and stashed a good deal of 9x18 ammo back when I first got the Mak. IIRC, it was about $5/50 rd. box in case lots at the time. Easier on my geezering body, cheaper than reloads now that commercial cast bullet prices have skyrocketed, and more fun than .22 LRs.

The only fly in the ointment is the tiny, shiney stock sights. If I can fix that, I wouldn't be too uneasy if I had to downsize my CCW. The Hornady 95 gr. JHPs function perfectly and seem to open up reliably in casual testing. The problem is getting fast, accurate placement. If I've got to lose size and mass, I need as much precision -fast- as I can possibly get.
 

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<snip> The only fly in the ointment is the tiny, shiney stock sights. <snip>
Tiny you can't fix without replacement, but if your sights are SHINY - have you tried any of the cold blue you can buy from Midway, Brownells, and many sporting goods stores? I' ve used Birchwood Casey with great success on a variety of different guns (including a Bulgarian Mak that had fairly sharp edges on the trigger guard, which I rounded a bit with a Dremel tool and the touched up with blue.) It just takes rubbing alcohol (or another degreaser,) soap, water, cold blue and q-tips.
 

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Another option would be to paint the sights, or buy the stick on phopho-dots that are available -- I think Makarov.com sells 'em.

I painted my front blade flourescent orange recently...makes it a lot easier/quicker to get the sights aligned.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Actually, I'm having problems with both the "shiney" and the "tiny" factors.

I've tried blacking the front with the old carbide lamp from back in my 'flaming' youth. It doesn't wash out from reflected light anymore, but it's still 'fuzzy' looking and very slow to pick up and align. Likewise with Testor's model enamels in flat black, Day-Glo orange and flat white: somewhat faster to acquire, but still not clear enough definition for me to want to bet my Personal Favorite Behind on them.

The XS system works extremely well for me, bifocals and all. My draw-to-"A" zone hit and transition times out to 20 yds. went down fairly dramaticly when I switched to them from the stock Novak-style 3-dots on the little Para .45.

The reasons why I'm looking into modifying the Mak instead of buying a Kahr or the like are various and admittedly subjective.

At present, the only truly compact 9x19 I own is my old Star M-43. It's reliable, accurate and easy to hide. But the grip is very small and it's getting tougher to hang onto as my arthritis progresses. I can still tolerate a 9x19's recoil pretty well, but I no longer have the financial resources to support getting and trying a bunch of newer models until I run across a winner.

The Mak is paid for, was acquired cheaply enough to allow some leeway for modification without undue sacrifice, is 100% reliable with the best JHPs I can find and, with the Pearce grips, very easy on my wrist and hand. It's displayed impressive accuracy when I've been able to point it consistently, and it's of a size and weight that make it easy to hide discretely and and still shoot well with.

Around here we have quite a few 'garage tinkers', vanishingly few true Pistolsmiths, and only a couple of qualified 'job shop' machinists, which is why I'm asking for help finding an outfit who is already familiar with and set up to do this kind of job.

The only machinist locally who takes small private jobs and agreed to cut the necessary dovetails for me charges $50/hr for shop time (1 hr minimum, plus a $25 set-up fee), a blueprint or similarly dimensioned drawing including expected tolerances, that I absorb his costs for the cutters (which he would keep!), and will not replace my slide if it's ruined in the process.

Added to the cost for the sight set, I estimate that this would total about $225, or roughly half-again what I already have in the Mak. This pretty much makes going that route financially out of the question. I'm hoping that finding a shop who does similar work regularly would make enough cost difference to cover the shipping and still be affordable for me.
 

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There are factory extended magazines for the Firestar. Well, not extended, I don't think there's any additional capacity, but it has a thick plastic piece on the floorplate to accomodate a more significant grip purchase. I love my M-43. :)

SlimTim
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I've got a couple of the 8-rders w/finger rest, Tim. Unfortunately, they don't work reliably enough to suit me in my pistol. Seems as if they're sensitive to where and how tightly it's gripped. Very prone to 'nose-dive' feeding malfs unless you do it just right.

My best stopgap so far has been a Hogue "Hand-all" slip-on. You have to trim it a good deal to fit, but the palm swells do help. My main gripe with 'em is that they don't stay put very well and about the only way to fix that is to slather the inside with rubber cement. Messy, and liable to ruin the stock grip panels in the process. As replacements are tough to locate, I haven't done it. I pretty much have to do without it for serious carry anymore as it really messes up draw and presentation when it's twisted out of position.

I've been using my Starvel finished M43 as one of my primary CCWs, especially during the warmer months, for about 14 yrs. It's fitted with Meprolite tritiums and shoots to POA at 20 yds with several different 124 gr. loads. I love it, too, but without some very expensive custom grips (I've been unable to locate a single maker who offers a replacement set as a regular production item or includes the Star M43 in their availability list.) I'm afraid that its viability is slipping fast.
 
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