Fire your pistols in ‘Macedonian style’!

Modern historyFire your pistols in 'Macedonian style'!

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Well, we do not want to request that you shoot somebody, we just want to introduce you into a shooting technique invented by Macedonians. And this technique “shooting in Macedonian style” is known as “Macedonian shooting”. In Russia, were they teach it to this day, they call it “Стрельба по-македонски” (Strel’ba po-makedonski).

In the Russian military language this term is used to describe two-handed shooting with firearms, primarily with two pistols. But why do the Russians call this “in Macedonian” while in the “western world” this type of firing is called “Akimbo”?

The Russian version of Wikipedia presents two versions how this name was achieved:

Assassination attempt in Marseille

The Serbian King Alexander was murdered in the assassination attempt in Marseille, which was planned by the Croatian Ustasha movement under Ante Pavelić in cooperation with the Macedonian revolutionary movement VMRO (IMRO). The attack was carried out by the Macedonian revolutionary Vlado Chernozemski (some prefer the term terrorist because of the attack). He shot at the vehicle of the Serbian king.

The Russian Vladimir Bogomilov is named as the “inventor” of the name in the first version when he used the term in an article in “Komsoljiskaya Pravda” when he wrote about the assassination. However, in the history and knowledge after the assassination it becomes clear that Chernozemski only shot with one pistol – a Mauser C96 – but did not use his second pistol – a Walter revolver.

Bogomilov explained that Chernozemski had “special skills” for firing firearms and justified the use of only one weapon by saying that the guards of the Serbian king had been careless and the assassin managed to empty the 10-round magazine of the Mauser and mortally wounding French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou. Both died shortly after the attack due to the many targeted hits by Chernozemski.

The technique was developed in the Macedonian struggle for freedom

In the second version to explain the term it is briefly stated that the Macedonian freedom fighters used this type of shooting in order to be more effective in the course of the struggle to liberate Macedonia from the Ottoman occupiers. Not necessarily in an open battle, but in the numerous attacks that the revolutionaries carried out against the Ottoman occupiers. The Balkan Wars of 1912/1913 are mentioned here as the time span, but I have to add something here.

As I briefly indicated, this type of shooting was not necessarily used in open battle. Rather, in the case of attacks or assassinations, however, this did not only refer to attacks against the Ottoman occupiers. The Macedonian freedom fighters also fought bloody battles among themselves.

There were different factions in the course of the Macedonian freedom movement, there were also death sentences by the movement against “traitors” or heads of the other factions that were also viewed as such. If you follow the history of the Macedonian freedom and revolutionary movements in the time since such organizations were founded, there have been many attacks on the street or in places where the victims were targeted.

Macedonian style shooting – Fast and effective

Since you were fighting underground you had to carry out the attack quickly and effectively. As a result, the executor used two instead of one pistol or revolver to fire more shots and to allow a wider angle for the act. In the Russian military literature it is also stated that the inventors of the “Macedonian shooting” had practiced a special foot position in order to be able to shoot at a larger area in the shortest possible time with a short turn.

Only truly skillful shooters could shoot from two barrels at once. This method involves the use of two pistols of similar parameters, which are held in outstretched hands. Such a technique requires accuracy and remarkable physical strength. The fire is often carried out in the direction of movement, which imposes even more responsibility on the shooter, but also protects him from enemy attacks.

The hands are kept parallel to each other during shooting in Macedonian style. Sometimes interlocked with both thumbs for better balance and accuracy. The advantage of this method is a double increase in the firepower of one shooter. If the fingers are locked, then the recoil from the shot is slightly reduced. The disadvantages include the increased reload time of two weapons at once and low firing accuracy.

Youtube clip showing former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin (currently serving as Director General of Roscosmos responsible for space flights, cosmonautics programs, and aerospace research since 2018) demonstrating this type of shooting in Macedonian style. Starting from 0:40

Even Soviet counterintelligence officers did not practice this method for long due to its inconvenience. In addition, in the 50s, compact submachine guns with sufficient firepower to replace the 2 barrels of the old models became widespread. Such a weapon is more convenient to hide, and there is more sense from it. These days, Macedonian-style shooting has probably remained only on cinema screens.

It is difficult to overestimate the method of shooting “Macedonian” for an operative who cannot carry a machine gun with him for secrecy of work. It was widespread both among Russian special services and among the Germans. It was used as long as there was an opportunity to “get hold of” the second pistol.

In the 50s, a mass seizure of unstable weapons began from the operational staff, a second pistol was not provided for the operative’s armament, and with the departure of the old personnel, they forgot about the method of firing two pistols from two hands. Nobody else cultivated it either in our country or in the West – with the advent of small-sized submachine guns, it became unnecessary.

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