Gun of the Week #22: Polish Radom PA-64 in Markarov caliber

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My Pa-64

Freddy’s Note
This gun was the first C&R handgun that I purchased.  It was my first Makarov caliber gun as well. I now have 6 9X18 hanguns.  I paid $225 for it over 3 years ago at Collectible Arms and Ammo in Merrimack NH. It my carry gun for a while as well.  I stopped carrying it because would occasionally do a sort of slide fire and it would fire a second round accidentally.  has a spring issue.   I have since replaced the spring and it fires ok now. Some people say it is a ripoff of the Walter PPK.  I post the following photo of my PPK next to the PA-64.  You be the judge. It is a cheap ok gun.  I like my Walther PPK much better.  You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.

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Top PPK. Bottom PA-64

The P-64 is a Polish 9mm semi-automatic pistol designed to fire the 9x18mm Makarov cartridge. The pistol was developed in the late 1950s at the Institute for Artillery Research (Polish: Zakład Broni Strzeleckiej Centralnego Badawczego Poligonu Artyleryjskiego, which later became the Military Institute of Armament Technology, Polish: Wojskowy Instytut Techniczny Uzbrojenia w Zielonce—WITU) by a team consisting of: W. Czepukajtis, R. Zimny, H. Adamczyk, M. Adamczyk, S. Kaczmarski and J. Pyzel. The P-64 is also known as the CZAK[1] (an acronym of the designers’ last names with the exception of J. Pyzel, who joined the team after the name had been established).

Development

The P-64 was drawn from a competition for a new service pistol issued in 1958. At the prototype stage, two versions of the CZAK pistol were created: the Model M (Milicyjny), with a magazine capacity of 6 rounds and chambered to use the .380 ACP (9x17mm Short) cartridge and the Model W (Wojskowy), with a longer barrel than the Model M, a 6-round magazine capacity and chambered for the 9x18mm Makarov round.

Design
During the evaluation phase which took place in 1961, both pistols were compared and the Model M was selected over the Model W.  It was then rechambered for the Makarov round and improved with a modified slide catch (the external catch button was removed) and better ergonomics. In 1965, the P-64, manufactured at the Łucznik Arms Factory in Radom, entered service with the army, police and security forces under the official designation 9 mm pistolet wz. 1964 replacing the 7.62mm TT pistol.The P-64 is no longer produced, and is being replaced by the WIST-94 pistol in 9mm NATO caliber. However, the P-64 remains in the inventories of the Polish Armed Forces and the police services.

The gun has made it’s ways into many surplus vendors around the country. At the time I published this article, it was available at most of usually surplus vendors again, after being unavailable for over a year.

 

Gun of the week #21: 1960 Interarms Walther PPK/S (updated with video)

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New to me, 1960 InterArms Walther PPK

Every week (when I publish)I feature a gun from my collection. This week it is a mint condition InterArms 1960 Walther PPK/S that I bought off a local NH vendor off gunbroker.com. I have been looking for another PPK for a few years.  My first handgun was a newer PPK/s made by S&W in Maine. The gun was one of the one under a recall for a defect.  I never did get it fixed.  The gun did not shoot well and so I traded-in to a local gun store ( I think the gun barrel was out of spec and and slightly warped). I was a big James Bond fan growing up, which is why my first handgun was a PPK. So anyway, I was browsing Gunbroker last week and found one with no bids and 1 day remaining.  The price was $550, for a mint vintage InterArms PPK/s with the original box and paperwork. It was a steal and since it was over 50 years old, I used by C&R for an easy pickup from the local home based FFL dealer.  It shoots well and I now am using this as my summer concealed carry piece.  I carry the Beretta 92 in the months where we wear more clothing in New England. You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.

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Gun came with original box, export paperwork, original factory target , warranty card and manual.

Video of my shooting it at the range
This is the first time I shot this gun. This video was of the 3rd and 4th magazines I shot in the gun.

The PP and PPK
Walther introduced the PPK in 929 and the PPK was introduced in 1931; both were popular with European police and civilians, for being reliable and concealable. During World War II they were issued to the German military and police, the Schutzstaffel, the Luftwaffe, and Nazi Party officials; Adolf Hitler shot and killed himself with his PPK (a 7.65mm/.32 ACP) in the Führerbunker in Berlin. Moreover, the Walther PPK (also a 7.65mm/.32 ACP) pistol is famous as fictional secret agent James Bond’s signature gun in many of the films and novels: Ian Fleming’s choice of the Walther PPK directly influenced its popularity and its notoriety.

The current James Bond holding a PPK

The current James Bond holding a PPK

History
The most common variant is the Walther PPK, the Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell (Police Pistol Detective Model), indicating it was more concealable than the original PP and hence better suited to plainclothes or undercover work. Kriminal refers to the police detective (criminal) division.Sometimes, the name Polizeipistole Kurz (Short Police Pistol) is used; however, the accuracy of that interpretation is unclear. The PPK is a smaller version of the PP (Polizeipistole) with a shorter grip and barrel and reduced magazine capacity. The PP and the PPK were among the world’s first successful double action semi-automatic pistols that were widely copied, but still made by Walther. The design inspired other pistols, among them the Soviet Makarov, the Hungarian FEG PA-63, the Argentinian Bersa Thunder 380, the Swiss SIG P230, the German Mauser HSc, the Spanish Astra Constable, the American Jennings J-22 and Iver Johnson TP-22, and the Czech CZ50.

Post War
Walther’s original factory was located in Zella-Mehlis in the state (Land) of Thuringia. As that part of Germany was occupied by the Soviet Union following World War II, Walther was forced to flee to West Germany, where they established a new factory in Ulm. However, for several years following the war, the Allied powers forbade any manufacture of weapons in Germany. As a result, in 1952, Walther licensed production of the PP series pistols to a French company, Manufacture de Machines du Haut-Rhin, also known as Manurhin. The French company continued to manufacture the PP series until 1986. In fact, all postwar European-made PP series pistols manufactured until 1986 were manufactured by Manurhin, even though the pistol slide may bear the markings of the Walther factory in Ulm, since German law lets manufacturers use the final assembly point as the place of origin.

US Manufacture
Ranger Manufacturing of Gadsden, Alabama was licensed to manufacture the PPK and PPK/S; this version was distributed by Interarms . This license was eventually canceled. Starting in 2002,Smith & Wesson (S&W) began manufacturing the PPK and PPK/S under license. In February 2009, S&W issued a recall for PPKs it manufactured for a defect in the hammer block safety.

Walther has indicated that, with the exception of the PP and the new PPK/E model, S&W is the current sole source for new PPK-type pistols.

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Difference between PP and PPK
The PPK/S was developed following the enactment of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA68) in the United States, the pistol’s largest market (Hogg 1945:164). One of the provisions of GCA68 banned the importation of pistols and revolvers not meeting certain requirements of length, weight, and other “sporting” features into the United States.

The PPK failed the “Import Points” test of the GCA68 by a single point. Walther addressed this situation by combining the PP’s frame with the PPK’s barrel and slide to create a pistol that weighed slightly more than the PPK. The additional ounce or two of weight of the PPK/S compared to the PPK was sufficient to provide the extra needed import points.

Because United States law allowed domestic production (as opposed to importation) of the PPK, manufacture began under license in the U.S. The version currently manufactured by Smith & Wesson has been modified by incorporating a longer grip tang (S&W calls it “extended beaver tail”),[8] better protecting the shooter from slide bite, i.e., the rearward-traveling slide’s pinching the web between the index finger and thumb of the firing hand, which could be a problem with the original design for people with larger hands or an improper grip, especially when using “hotter” cartridge loads.