Range Report: FEG PMK .380 ACP...


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Stephen A. Camp
February 4, 2003, 10:23 PM
Hello. I bought this pistol in '93 for a bit under $200 with several extra magazines and a couple of boxes of factory ammunition from a friend who needed money. Initially, I was not too impressed with it as the finish appears to be blue on the slide, trigger, triggerguard, pins, and decocking lever. The frame and exterior of the barrel chamber seem to be painted or black anodized, but if the latter, it's very soft!
Toolmarks are not hard to find inside and out; I didn't even shoot the thing for quite a time. Eventually, I did and was pretty favorably surprised!

The Pistol: The Hungarian FEG PMK has a 3.9" bbl and is a conventional DA/SA semiautomatic chambered in .380 ACP. I believe some are chambered in 9x18mm Makarov as well. The single-stack magazine nearly holds 8 rounds, but actually only holds 7. With one in the bbl, the shooter has eight shots on tap in a fully-loaded PMK. The magazine release is behind the triggerguard, but higher than those on such known pistols as the 1911 and P-35. Sights are fixed and tiny with the rear sight drift adjustable for windage. The top of the slide's serrated as is the trigger-face. At the left rear of the slide, is the decocking lever which does remain down unless pushed back upward; when down it prevents the trigger from being pulled and is also an exterior safety.

The magazine is unusual on this pistol. The tab that activates the hold open device is a sprung piece that's part of the magazine follower. It is pressed in when the follower's in the magazine body and springs outward when the follower's all the way up. You can see it in the picture below.

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/p37261990d3745bda9c23260d1c7fb216/fcaf1436.jpg
I don't recall having seen this type of thing before!

The plastic grips are held on with one screw each and the rear gripstrap is more humped than the Walther PP it so closely imitates.

In this picture you can see the small sights, scraped blk anodizing in the ejection port where the aluminum frame surrounds the bbl and the "Waltheresque" look. The slide has a decent bright blue finish.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/pd34d45e05cb63f059aab66a3d9caed2f/fcaf1213.jpg

The pistol field-strips in the same manner as the Walter PP-series with the major components being similar. Internally, however, the two pistols differ and parts do NOT interchange.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/p77a2a936b181ddbb1f9e928490dd5180/fcaf1214.jpg

Ammunition: Since pistols of this type are not generally purchased for other than close range personal defense, the bulk of the loads used today are JHPs. One type of ball was used.

The rounds used are listed below and the 10-shot average velocity when fired from the PMK is shown in ft/sec.

Fiocchi 95 gr FMJ: 1004 ft/sec
PMC 90 gr JHP: 969 ft/sec
Winchester 95 gr SXT JHP: 953 ft/sec
Federal 90 gr Classic JHP: 1033 ft/sec
Federal 90 gr HydraShok JHP: 1036 ft/sec
Corbon 90 gr +P JHP: 1110 ft/sec
Glaser Silver 70 gr Pre-Fragmented: 1396 ft/sec

No handloads were used.

Shooting: Today's shooting tests took place at two distances, 7 and 10 yards. Shots were fired standing w/2-hand hold. No shooting at farther distances were done due to what most will use the pistol for and the small sights.

10 Yards: These are simply 5-shot groups done slow-fire and beginning with the pistol cocked.

Point of aim was 6 O'Clock on the yellow inner dot.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/p0769b2e2b9442b1af87db95064b1a0db/fcaf1211.jpg
Do not assume that the Corbon was truly the most inherently accurate as this pistol was difficult for me to aim with extreme clarity. Still, several of the loads shown produced darned decent groups.

I was very surprised to see that the 70 gr Glaser Silver grouped so very well! This is an improvement over the early versions. It appears that the shot being tightly compressed makes a difference!
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/p204ae448e7f68ba47e041e13bd75cd94/fcaf1431.jpg

7 Yards: This was simply done by raising the pistol from a low-ready to eye level and firing 8 rounds as quickly as possible. The first shot was fired double-action and is the one on the far left of the target. I used Corbon +P JHP as it had the sharpest recoil and would present the most "challenge" in recoil-control.

9' closer and the group's significantly larger than above. Speed does that. Maybe a balance of our own personal speed and accuracy levels would be a good thing to keep in mind should we have to fire defensively?
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/p0e29ef565c5f9e1e422d8e2a7ee8ca6e/fcaf1215.jpg

Continued....

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Stephen A. Camp
February 4, 2003, 10:25 PM
Observations: This gun is not ever going to be the top ten for surface finish or high-visibility sights. Finish is utilitarian and whatever the finish is on the frame, it scratches easily. The DA pull is very similar to that of the Walther PP, but the SA, while not bad, is a bit less "crisp" than on the German/French/American pistol. The reason for this is that as the trigger's pressed rearward, it lifts the firing pin upward into firing position. The firing pin's locked unless the trigger's rearward, something not the case with the Walther PP, PPK, or PPK/s.

In this picture you can see the rectangular rear of the firing pin in its downward position before the trigger's pressed.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/p1ba96979bc6401c5216894eb908832e2/fcaf1210.jpg
When the trigger's pressed rearward, it rises into the rectangular opening just above it.

...the firing pin ready to fire and in its upward position...
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/p896a031565a06dfb01a31d02bfd91527/fcaf120f.jpg

(That rear sight's a peach, ain't it? Hahahhaha!)

So, what's it good for? Well, that depends on the owner and his/her intended uses and perceived needs. I'd not thought about this pistol much in years and had previously shot it just to make sure it would function. Today was the first time I gave it a half-way real test. It passed. What needs to be remembered is that for some folks, buying even a $500 pistol is beyond their means; the price paid by some for a match bbl and subsequent fitting is likely more than others might be able to afford w/o doing without some necessity like electricity, etc. You get the idea. Power-wise, most of us would agree that it's at the lower end of the "ballistic comfort scale," but more powerful pistols using locked breeches do usually cost more. I'm not sure what these things are selling for now, but I'd assume they can be had new for $200 or so.

The biggest surprise of the day for me was that I did NOT get the dreaded Walther slide bite! Not even a scratch! This simply does not happen for me and I brought two or three bandaids for the inevitable; I can only surmise that the pronounced hump on the gun's rear gripstrap somehow keeps the hand down out of the way. The tang might be a bit thicker than that of the PP, but visually, I see no apparent differences.

You can see the position of my hand to the slide's bottom edges in this picture.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/pb9e9a6bbc30144c748961699e7808984/fcaf1434.jpg
The external extractor looks almost exactly like that of the Walther, but in checking both I noted that the FEG more securely grasps the hull's rim.

Continued...

Stephen A. Camp
February 4, 2003, 10:27 PM
Conclusion:

This gun is more reliable with a wider variety of JHPs than is my Walther PP which was bought brand new years ago. I know that statement's not exactly what I like to say being as I own the Walther, but it is what it is. This particular FEG PMK feed every brand of JHP tried today flawlessly except one, the Corbon. Even then, the failure to feed reliably occurred only when the first round was being stripped from the magazine. IF the magazine was fired holding only 6, it always fed fine. During the 7-Yard test above, I put one round in the pistol and fired it DA at the target. I then loaded 6 and chambered a round and loaded another round into the magazine such that I could get off the remaining 7 w/o a jam. This was obviously the most "potent" of the conventional JHPs and it grouped best as well, but for defensive use, reliability must supercede that. With everything else, it ran 100%.

Though visually very similar to both the HydraShok and especially the PMC JHP, the Corbon 90 gr JHP would consistently jam after the 1st shot when trying to feed from a full magazine.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/p9971572821f87d3f3ae199fe8e0be292/fcaf10b4.jpg
I checked the feed ramp for gouging today after these jams and the rest of the shooting but found none, though the finish is badly worn on the ramp.

The PMK's feed ramp is not steeply angled and I think this contributed to its very good reliability with most JHPs tested.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/p2cbfb1beb00e0de039cfe43ad93c366f/fcaf1437.jpg

Cases were ejected about 8' to the right with most of the loads and a couple of feet farther with the Corbon. I don't recall on the Glasers. I do recall their report being the sharpest and loudest of the bunch.

There was no tendency for the gun to shift position during slow or rapid fire and hammer bite did not occur.

Just for grins, I fired a Corbon 90 gr +P JHP into a couple of plastic water jugs. The expanded round is shown below and was caught in the second jug. I'd estimate penetration at 7 to 10".

At a bit over 1100 ft/sec, Corbon's 90 gr JHP expanded nicely with the recovered bullet weighing 88.9 grains and measuring 0.60" across the widest portion of the mushroom. Measuring out to include the one petal that did not fold back, you get 0.795".
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/pababd722ffc820ea67aaeed17ab6f99d/fcaf1441.jpg
Just how long this pistol would hold up to a steady diet of +P I don't know, but IF reliable in one's individual PMK, it'd likely handle more than the average user would fire.

I don't drink all that much milk so the following rounds were "tested" using the "scientific mud expansion test." I fired 'em into mud.

Impacting at 953 ft/sec, Winchester's 95 gr SXT did NOT expand well, although it appeared to've been trying! This bullet would like perform at 9mm velocities.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/p9d3b9e6c885ad3f2d00cce1fbf8a18e9/fcaf1438.jpg

These are the very first PMC 90 gr JHPs I've ever seen expand!
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/pb0d0c80b801032cb8fe14a0309e698e5/fcaf143c.jpg

Federal's 90 gr Classic Hi Shok JHP also did well.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid50/p33928ed500d0b88141ac07019628cb2e/fcaf143d.jpg

Without question, the Fiocchi ball and the Federal 90 gr JHP fed the slickest of all rounds tested. Were I using this pistol for protection, I'd probably go with the Federal's more rounded ogive. Even with expansion, assuming enough penetration at least for a frontal shot, I don't think that the added "power" afforded by a round that might hang up overrides the need for reliability and particularly placement with this caliber. Others might opt for the Glaser, but I fear underpenetration with it. Nothing we can do with this pistol's bullets are going to transform it into a really great "stopper;" placement will be the critical component in making a felon go down because he has to rather than just wants to.

It simply is not going to be a forty-five.

In recent years, the FEG pistols in 9x18 Makarov have gained a pretty good following. I can see why in that these little things are reliable and accurate for pocket guns. I've compared it a bit to the Walther PP-type pistols, but it should also be pitted against another obvious handgun, the Makarov. The latter's larger and heavier, but between the two, I do prefer the Mak; it's more comfortable to me and built like a tank. I find the PMK's grip not all that comfortable, but like the Mak's fine. I think that in a "torture test" of rounds fired the Makarov would likely outlast the PMK.

Still, I like the little thing and might just shoot it now and again for fun.

Best.

Schuey2002
February 4, 2003, 10:33 PM
Another brilliant range report by Stephen A. Camp.. :D

Thanks for sharing. :)

Stephen A. Camp
February 4, 2003, 11:32 PM
Hello. You are most welcome; glad you found it interesting.

Best.

Dave R
February 5, 2003, 01:13 AM
I really enjoy your range reports. Especially for guns I own! Well, sorta. I have the FEG APK MK II, which is apparently a very close cousin. I find it is still very accurate at 25 yards, and a drop of white/oriange nail polish goes a long way toward making the front sight more visible.

I also like the Remington 102gr. GS, which performed well in wet phone book testing I did a while ago. 8-9" penetration and good expansion through up to 5 layers of denim. More denim than that and expansion stopped.

Longbow
February 5, 2003, 01:22 AM
Its always nice to have the Stephen A. Camp monthly report, I hate to miss an issue!:) :)
Makes me wanna buy one too! Where can I get it and for how much? Is it similar to the Romanian M95 that SOG' selling?

Stephen A. Camp
February 5, 2003, 01:39 AM
Hello and thank you both for the kind words.

DaveR: Thanks for the information on the Golden Saber. I checked my ammo bin and flat don't have any of that. I'll try some and see what happens for me. I appreciate your information on it.


Longbow: I really don't know. I'm not a real FEG user like some here and on other sites. Hopefully, someone will see your question and actually know the answer. Sorry, I really don't know.

Best.

Longbow
February 5, 2003, 01:50 AM
Mr. Camp,
I have SOG's flyer in front of me and they do look very similar based on your pictures. Its on my price range too !:) ( I'm a frugal enthusiast from day one!). If they are the same, I'll ask my dealer to get me one right away. Thanks again!

Stephen A. Camp
February 5, 2003, 01:53 AM
Hello, sir. Good luck and please post if they're the same or not as others, including myself, would appreciate knowing.

Best and thanks in advance.

WhoKnowsWho
February 5, 2003, 03:15 AM
Thanks for these reports! I feel like a dummy buying magazines when I can get a full review, full color pictures, and ammo comparison all for free!

Kahr carrier
February 5, 2003, 06:37 AM
Excellent range report ,I also enjoy reading your range reports ,they are always well written and I also like that you test ammo choices.:D

PCRCCW
February 5, 2003, 08:02 AM
Excellent report as usual...:D The FEG SMC/PMK have been a favorite of mine for years. My first love was the rare and earlier mentioned SMC918 Makarov Chambered gun. Its the smallest Mak chambered gun and with hotter ammo it let you know it was there. FEG's are an enigma.....the feel, cost and most of all trigger all leave you wondering 'what have I gotten myself into?"
But then you shoot them and most fall for them just like me.

Ill mention..alot of people are confused by FEG's labeling of the guns....
The 3.9" barrel guns are known as the AP63 Mak and AP9 for the .380..they are the PP clones
The same frame and shorter 3.5" barrel is the PMK version...full 7 + 1 capacity with the SMC barrel/slide assembly.
The mini grip and barrel/slide is the SMC....much like the walthers in size comparison and models available.

FEG has Advertised and "marked" the AP9 as a PMK .380 on a couple of occasions...KBI and other dist.'s cant answer why this is! The PMK/SMC are a favorite of mine...very very dependable.
Most are well within the realm of being a good CCW for accuracy and function.

The Carpati M95 of Romanian manufacture is a completely differrent gun. While the styles are similar thats where any comparison ends..the Carpati guns are of much less quality than the FEG's are. The feel is similar except the god aweful grips used on the Carpati to get it into the country...the "finger/thumb rest grips allow is in as a target gun"..believe it or not.

For the money the FEG's are very hard to beat....the closest thing you will get for dependability within the same price realm is the much smoother controlled Bersa......'

From there your choices become much harder...Sig, CZ, BDA.........

Excellent report and its always great to read a second time.
Shoot well:evil:

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