The Makarov was adopted by the Soviet Union in 1951 because of its extreme reliability, simplicity, and ease of manufacture over other competing designs. For simplicity and economy, the Makarov pistol was of straight blowback operation, with the 9×18mm Makarov cartridge being the most powerful cartridge it could safely and practically fire. It remained in wide front-line service with Soviet military and police until and beyond the end of the USSR in 1991. In 2003, the Makarov was formally replaced by the Yarygin PYa pistol in Russian service, although as of 2012, large numbers of Makarovs are still in Russian military and police service.
The Makarov appears as Iraqi interrogator and North Vietnamese army and the Viet Cong secondary weapon in Conflict: Desert Strom and Conflict: Vietnam
The Makarov PMM appears as enemies secondary weapon in Conflict: Global Terror.