Rifles have been in nationally featured marksmanship events in Europe and the United States since at least the 18th century, when rifles were first becoming widely available. One of the earliest purely "American" rifle-shooting competitions took place in 1775, when Daniel Morgan was recruiting sharpshooters in Virginia for the impending American Revolutionary War . In some countries, rifle marksmanship is still a matter of national pride. Some specialized rifles in the larger calibers are claimed to have an accurate range of up to about 1 mile (1,600 m), although most have considerably less. In the second half of the 20th century, competitive shotgun sports became perhaps even more popular than riflery, largely due to the motion and immediate feedback in activities such as skeet, trap and sporting clays.
So What's The Makarov's Appeal
The East German Makarovs have wide appeal to collectors and shooters for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the East German variant is a beautifully made handgun with a high level of fit and finish. They are prized by their owners because they are considered to be the most well-made of the Makarovs. The gun also has a strong following among collectors of Communist-Bloc pistols and those who collect Makarovs specifically. Collectors like the fact that the pistol was not significantly altered for importation (other than the import marking and grips with a thumb rest), which is not the case for other surplus pistols (such at the TT-33, which had an external safety added). Astute collectors also appreciate the engineering of the Makarov and its simplicity. For example, the pistol has only 25 parts, including the stock and stock screw, which is an extremely small number for a pistol of its type. The Makarov also has a small but loyal following for those who use it as a highly reliable concealed carry handgun. Others simply enjoy the Makarov because of its excellent shooting qualities. For all of these reasons, the price of these pistols continues to rise, with typical specimens selling between $350 and $500.
East Germany decided to upgrade the fortifications in the late 1960s to establish a "modern frontier" that would be far more difficult to cross. Barbed-wire fences were replaced with harder-to-climb expanded metal barriers; directional anti-personnel mines and anti-vehicle ditches blocked the movement of people and vehicles; tripwires and electric signals helped guards to detect escapees; all-weather patrol roads enabled rapid access to any point along the border; and wooden guard towers were replaced with prefabricated concrete towers and observation bunkers.