Polish P64 Review


June 10, 2012, 02:39 PM
The P64 is a DA/SA blowback pistol that appears to be (because it is) very similar to Walther's PPK. The designers of the pistol deny that it's a PPK clone and insisted it is an original design---sure...:D

In my opinion, the fact that it's very similar to the PPK is a good thing in my opinion, the PPK is a quality pistol as is the P64. It's been 100% reliable since I've picked it up and for $189 it's tough to complain.

The 9x18 Makarov round could have a post of its' own, and it's often debated whether one using the round should carry JHP rounds or FMJ to increase penetration. I'll leave that debate to another day but I chrono'd some common loads in the video. For what it's worth, I spoke with Kevin Underwood two weeks ago of www.underwoodammo.com and he told me that he was currently developing some 9x18 defensive loads. When they come out, they'll probably be my carry load for this handgun (pending performance testing of course) since he has a reputation of producing good affordable defensive ammo.

Cost--$189 for a gun of this quality is tough to complain about
100% reliability thus far.
All steel construction, seems like it will be very durable
Replacement parts, should you need them, are very inexpensive
The single action trigger is excellent
Fires an affordable round ($10/50 on most internet sites).
Carries and conceals easily
Gun appears to be in excellent shape for a surplus weapon

Heavy (22oz) for a carry gun by modern standards
Blowback design is inherently a dirty firing design
Many shooters experience slide bite (I only noticed some abrasion after about 100 rounds, and I have large hands)
Sights are miniscule, but usable
The OEM hammer spring causes the worst DA pull I've ever experienced (easily replaceable for about $5)
Some people claim the recoil is stout, but I think it's on par with most modern pocket/slim 9mm type guns.

Here's a quick video with some shooting, disassembly/assembly, and chronograph tests.


Chronograph Data:

Hornady 95gr XTP: 990 fps, 207ft/lbs of energy
Silver Bear 94gr HP: 1042 fps, 229ft/lbs of energy
Brown Bear 94gr FMJ: 1075 fps, 241ft/lbs of energy

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June 10, 2012, 04:02 PM
You're lucky it's later production piece with triangular hammer spoor. You can pull the hammer back and fire first shot SA mode avoiding the 25lb+ DA trigger pull. It's hard to believe that was military/police sidearm. I would rather have P-63 the DA pull is also horrendous but it's lighter to carry. The name FEG kept me away from buying it choosing LCP instead.

June 10, 2012, 06:09 PM
Wolf spring kit costs 8 bucks and dramatically improved my DA trigger. I can easily hit 8" plates at 25 yards now DA with it. Big problem is transition. The SA is SO light, I double tap when I don't want to.

The PA63 is probably a decent gun, but the P64 is the BEST if one wants to pocket carry of all the 9x18 eastern block guns. I think I want a CZ82 next if I get another 9x18 blow back.

BTW, recoil IS stout. My Kel Tec P11 is quite the powder puff by comparison and it's 14 ounces empty and has near TWICE the energy at 410 ft lbs firing a heavier bullet. Go figure. The Marschal grips I got do help as well as does the stiffer recoil spring I installed with the lighter hammer spring.

June 10, 2012, 06:12 PM



June 11, 2012, 05:05 AM
I had one that always worked well for me, my wife had jams constantly, this gun seems to be somewhat prone to "limp wristing" related malfunctions. I also found it to be fairly uncomfortable to fire despite my medium/large hands. After a long range session the web of my hand would actually be bruised.

I gave it to my brother for his birthday and it continues to work great for him or in other trained shooter's hands but often experiences jams when handed off to a novice.

June 11, 2012, 05:51 AM
I love my P-64. I put some Marschal wood grips on mine, which improves the looks and makes it a lot more comfortable in recoil due to improved grip shape. I fitted it with an 18-pound hammer spring and the strongest recoil spring Wolff makes. My father and I both carry these pieces, and they've always been 100%. Yeah, you have to be careful to not double when making the transition, but once you get used to it, it's fine. And even if you do double, its recoil characteristics mean the second shot is still on target.

I also have a PA-63. Nice gun, and the double action trigger isn't bad once you put a 13-pound hammer spring in it (they make an 11 pounder, but I had constant ignition failures with it. No problems whatsoever with the 13, though). The PA-63 is a beautiful piece, but due to its shape it either fits you well or it doesn't. For me, it's fun to shoot, and fits my hand perfectly (I have large, but not huge hands). It's probably my favorite of my 9x18 guns overall.

Lastly, there's my Bulgarian Makarov. It has an excellent double action trigger, but it's the largest and heaviest of the three. Nice gun, and I'd probably carry it over the P-64 if I were a larger-framed person, but as it is I keep it for the range and carry its little brother, the P-64.

June 11, 2012, 11:47 AM
As far as the 9x18 pistols go my choice would be the CZ-82 by far. I've shot all and own the CZ and the PA63. The 63 gives you the cool James Bondish feel and is a pretty slim gun. The sites are miniscule and only have a 7+1 capacity. The 82 has 12+1 capacity with much better sights and ambi everything. IMO its just a much more functional firearm and is 100% reliable. I can see why it is still used and carried by some com-block countries today even though they are slowly being phased out for 9x19.

June 11, 2012, 03:05 PM
After a long range session the web of my hand would actually be bruised.

At first, I wore a glove to shoot the thing and avoid this. Now, that's not necessary with the wood grips which are wider and smoother. Those plastic torture handles had a knife edge at the back, seemed like. They HURT.

Another gripe I have with the gun is it launches brass into the next county. I just buy Monarch at $9.95 a box at Academy and forget trying to police brass for reloading.

Auf Grosser Fahrt
June 11, 2012, 07:58 PM
Hey, let's also see everyone's P-64s. I'd like to see the condition of the pistols coming in.

Appreciate the review!

June 11, 2012, 08:17 PM
Nice review and video. A working man's budget can afford a descent gun after all and he can still keep the lights on.

June 11, 2012, 08:18 PM
Here's mine:


They look great IMO but aren't a very comfortable range toy. My Kel Tec P40 is actually more comfortable than this little beast.

June 11, 2012, 09:02 PM
I was able to improve the discrepancy between the DA and SA trigger pull after installing a Wolf hammer spring and then making my own trigger return spring from larger diameter music wire. The SA pull went from 3 lbs to about 5 which is better in a self defense firearm. I also painted the rear face of the front sight with Testors white model paint to improve front sight acquisition. I widened the notch in the rear sight as well. The white paint definitely helps.

June 12, 2012, 04:30 AM
Just a note of caution for all those carrying around a loaded P64. With one in the pipe, hammer down, safety off, the gun has been reported to ND when dropped. I read two different posts where this was claimed. It seems like if it falls and lands on the hammer, the "half cock notch" may fail under this abuse. The manual safety positively blocks the firing pin, so it ought probably to be used, despite the horrendously heavy DA pull.

For the uninitiated, the P64 has a novel approach to drop safety that is an obvious fail. The hammer comes to rest a fraction of an inch away from the firing pin. Inertia is what brings the hammer all the way to the firing pin. There's no way to lower the hammer all the way down against the back of the slide. The hammer rebounds back to this rest position with a gap between it and the firing pin. So when dropped on the hammer, the only thing keeping the hammer from smacking into the firing pin is a half cock notch, which is not up to the task.

If you wanted to carry DA safety off, you might consider completely grinding off any exposed part of the hammer spur.

June 12, 2012, 07:45 PM
I honestly don't consider it a major issue. People carried non-drop-safe pistols for decades and there were only a handful of incidents nationwide. Suddenly it's this scary, dangerous thing to carry a non-drop-safe pistol. Fact of the matter is, a good holster like a Don Hume M-715 Makarov holster eliminates any possibility of it falling out under normal use, especially if worn handle-forward cavalry style. The ONLY time I've ever had it come out of the holster is when I'm taking a crap, pants around my ankles, and it's already on the floor. It's called being responsible and buying the right holster for your gun.

June 12, 2012, 09:20 PM
If you wanted to carry DA safety off, you might consider completely grinding off any exposed part of the hammer spur.

Or, maybe, just sayin'....DON'T DROP IT. Just sayin'......

The safety can be worked, of course, but I leave mine off as my other carries fire with a DAO no safety. There's one guy on here that bashes the Kel Tec P11 for supposedly drop firing to which I find illogical since the hammer is of a non-inertia design. Whatever, I carry it one up the spout, too.

Actually, though, grinding off the hammer spur might be a good idea, anyway, on the P64. It is something that can hang on a pocket if you pocket carry. I've found it does that much worse than my P11 OR even my snub revolver with exposed hammer spur. I don't want misfires, though, and the light spring MUST stay in it to hit anything in DA mode.

June 12, 2012, 09:37 PM
If you have a P-64 with the round hammer, there's nothing to catch. I prefer those. The larger hammer serves no purpose in my mind.

June 12, 2012, 09:42 PM
The larger spur is easier to cock, probably, for a first SA shot. That's the only advantage I can see. I suppose I could round off the point on the triangular spur to make it less catchy on clothing, leave most of the metal there. :D

Auf Grosser Fahrt
June 12, 2012, 10:04 PM
gorgeous grips, Kiln

June 13, 2012, 01:49 AM
gorgeous grips, Kiln

Yeah I always thought they added a classy look to the gun. They weren't very comfortable though, at least not to my hands. I'd give you the info on where you can get some but to be honest I don't know, they were on the gun when I bought it.

My younger brother has this gun now and it still works fine, he shoots it pretty frequently too. The P64 is a decent bargain for what you get but it isn't a great range toy.

June 13, 2012, 03:05 AM
My father and I both carry these. We paid $160 for them. In all fairness, you get a lot more value and reliability out of a military design than almost any of the modern compact autos. The closest equivalent would be a Bersa Thunder .380, and it's both larger and has a MUCH worse trigger. The Bersa owner at the range commented that he loved my P-64's trigger. I couldn't say the same for his. The trigger pull on the Bersa was so long and heavy that you start to lose strength due to loss of leverage.

June 13, 2012, 10:13 AM

Yeah I always thought they added a classy look to the gun. They weren't very comfortable though, at least not to my hands. I'd give you the info on where you can get some but to be honest I don't know, they were on the gun when I bought it.

My younger brother has this gun now and it still works fine, he shoots it pretty frequently too. The P64 is a decent bargain for what you get but it isn't a great range toy.

The grips are "Marschals" grips made by Dennis Marschal in Europe (Hungary I think?). He makes nice grips for many com-block surplus pistols.

The wood Marschal grips for the P64 have been problematic though. The early versions would frequently break at the rear tang. As I understand it the grips have been beefed up in this area and a dowel connecting R and L halves has been added. Haven't heard much about the durability of the newer style but hopefully they are holding up better.

P64 is great value and is beautiful IMO. Not a perfect gun but I'm glad I bought mine.

June 13, 2012, 12:11 PM
Mine was purchased (and handpicked for year and condition) from SOG a couple years ago, soon after becoming C&R eligible.

It came in what appeared unissued condition and stamped with my year of birth as well, for giggles.

Mine is surprisingly accurate, thanks to the crisp and unbelievably light SA trigger. The DA on mine is simply not usable if the bullet is actually suppose to hit the target, so I consider mine a SAO pistol.

It feeds everything I've tried just fine. I've carried this pistol on occasion and consider it similar to a J-frame in effectiveness.


With SilverBear 94gr JHP

With SilverBear 95gr FMJ

June 13, 2012, 03:52 PM
I highly recommend putting the wolff spring in there. It brought mine down to around 11-12lbs as shown in the video. It really helps. I'm no sharpshooter (reference my miss at 12m :banghead:) but I was hitting the 10'' plate consistently at that distance using the DA pull. There's a 0% chance I could have done that with the OEM spring.

June 13, 2012, 11:07 PM
By the way, if you want more visible sights, go to SiteGlo.com and order some sight paint. Their stuff is the real deal, and won't rub off in normal use. It's also easy to apply. I put it on my gun well over a year ago and it's still strong. I also put it on my PA-63.

June 14, 2012, 12:05 AM
Great gun for the money, very well made and accurate. She is a bit painful to shoot with factory loads, someday I'll make up some milder handloads. I think I paid $139 plus shipping for mine about 8 years ago.


June 14, 2012, 12:07 AM
Got Lead, get some Marschal Grips (www.marschalgrips.com) and she'll be a lot more pleasant to shoot. It also makes your old milsurps look like a million bucks.

June 14, 2012, 01:06 AM
Wardenwold and MCgunner. This gun isnt "not dropsafe" like a pre series 80 1911 isnt dropsafe. As in if u drop it, it might put a hole in the floor. It's "not dropsafe" more like a Colt SA Army revolver isnt dropsafe. As in if you dropit on the hammer it can put a hole through your head. So yeah, people were carrying non dropsafe firearms for centuries, but they were adjusting manner of handling to suit the firearm.

Guy on the p64 forum dropped his from waist high and put a hole in his ceiling. Another guy wasnt as lucky and took a bullet through his arm.

June 14, 2012, 02:26 AM
They were carrying it by the holster and not the grip when it happened. Frankly, that's the crux of the problem: bad handling. They were carrying it in a way that allowed it to drop free and hit the floor. With a decent holster, these things aren't going anywhere once they're on your belt. But some peoples' safe handling thoughts stop when they take the gun off. Carry it by the grip, and lay it firmly on a flat surface, and you'll never have a problem.

fallout mike
June 14, 2012, 02:33 AM
When I got mine I was expecting crazy recoil from what I had read. Was not the case at all. Just a little snappy. Just a bit more than my Bulgarian makarov.

June 14, 2012, 02:50 AM
I own both. They're both good guns. The Makarov is a lot more fun to shoot, and has a much nicer trigger (I love that smooth double action trigger pull). The P-64 just carries better, though. The P-64's recoil isn't crazy, just a little rude. Not fun to shoot more than a couple of mags with the stock grips, but once you upgrade the grips it's fine for three or four.

June 14, 2012, 03:55 AM
They were carrying it by the holster and not the grip when it happened. Frankly, that's the crux of the problem: bad handling.
IMO, the crux of the problem was awareness. If either of them knew that the gun could discharge if dropped in this condition, I bet they wouldn't have intentionally left them loaded and unlocked. Most people assume a handgun with the hammer down is safe to handle, esp when the trigger pull is close to 50 lbs. Note that the gun could ND even if you dropped it secured in a holster. If you have a masters degree in not accidentally dropping things, I guess you have nothing to worry about. :)

My phone cost way more than this gun, and it's way more important to me. And I've dropped it dozens of times. I've dropped an unloaded gun twice. Once, I managed to let my CCW fall out of the holster onto the floor during a movie in a theater. (Noticed on the way back to the car, went back and recovered it! Whew!) No way I'm carrying a P64 with the safety off. Yeah, I'm a clutz, but so are most of us! Once I have a shooting grip on a handgun, I have an uncanny ability to keep my finger off the trigger and the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Yet, I still manage to drop things. Luckily, I got to live and learn how to carry in a more secure fashion. Someday, someone who does not have this info will only get the chance to learn.

June 14, 2012, 04:27 AM
Well, if you can figure out a way to get my pistol to fall out when I'm wearing it other than me doing handstands, by all means. Considering I've been known to wear it all day, even at home, and have even occasionally slept with it and always had it remain holstered and on my side, I'm not worried. I've carried it for years this way, in the same holster, and I know how to keep it safe.

June 14, 2012, 05:48 AM
I always used the safety, it makes the gun drop safe and only adds a second on to the time it takes to deploy the gun if you need to.

To each his own. I have dropped a couple of guns in my day (including a striker fired Raven which to my amazement didn't go off) so I try to keep in mind the safety quirks of the gun I've got around at the time.

fallout mike
June 14, 2012, 03:51 PM
Wardenwolf, I concur, the makarov is more fun to shoot, feels better in your hand, and is extremely accurate. Both are great guns.

Gun Master
June 14, 2012, 09:50 PM
I too am a fan of the P64 , and liked the bargain price . I got mine about a month ago , and love it , even in the present SAO state . I'm going to get Wolff springs next , then skip the original Mak , and go for the CZ-82 . Is DA OK in the stock CZ-82 ?

June 14, 2012, 10:25 PM
I'd respring the CZ-82. I fired my friend's CZ and the double action was okay. Not as nice as the Makarov, but okay. The CZ-82 is a much bulkier and heavier gun than the original Makarov due to its double stack magazines. I'm not a huge fan, personally. It just lacks a lot of the elegance of the Makarov.

Gun Master
June 14, 2012, 10:30 PM
I've been meaning to ask , can you get .380 ACP drop in barrels for the P-64 and/or CZ-82 ? The .380 chambers in my P-64 , but I understand there will probably be headspace problems , especially if fired often . Anybody have comments ?

Gun Master
June 14, 2012, 11:02 PM
Thanks WardenWolf . I'm just trying to see if there is some " light " CC auto , suitable to replace my S&W Airweight Bodyguard .38 Special . It's better in your pocket , than in the drawer at home . Otherwise , I'd prefer a 1911 .

June 15, 2012, 01:33 AM
If you want a light gun in 9x18, check out the PA-63. It's a fine piece, and very nice-looking. It has an alloy frame, so the recoil is a little snappier than a Makarov or CZ-82, but it's not bad at all.

There are .380 barrels available for the Makarov and CZ-82. However, they are hardly "drop in". These guns use fixed barrels, pressed in with a pin. You can have a new barrel fitted to it, but it will require a gunsmith, and the new barrel won't fit quite as tightly due to the wear on the gun caused by changing it out, and the fact that it's no longer a factory match. The CZ-82 has a commercial version called the CZ-83. It was primarily chambered in .380. Their barrels are interchangeable, as are most other parts. However, if you want a .380 CZ or Mak, you're better off just buying one in .380.

As for shooting .380 in a 9x18 gun, yes, it will work in a pinch. However it's not particularly a good idea. The technical name for the .380 round is 9x17mm. The case is 1mm shorter. Shooting .380 in a 9x18 gun will result in additional leading and wear on the forward shoulder of the chamber. This buildup would eventually fix any headspace issues, though. Additionally, Western 9mm rounds are .357 in diameter. The 9x18mm round is actually .362. This is intentional, because the Soviets did not want the Allies to be able to use captured ammunition. As a result, .380 rounds would also suffer a loss in accuracy.

Bottom line: don't shoot .380 rounds in a 9x18 gun, unless it's an emergency. They'll feed and cycle, but it's not good for the gun, and it won't be accurate.

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