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The Polish Radom P64

By Oleg Volk

The Polish P64 is a simple blowback pistol that, at first glance, resembles both the Walther PPK and Makarov designs. Designed in the late 1950s and adopted in 1964, it was both the police and the military sidearm until the mid-1980s. While it looks like a PPK, it shares more technical features with PM (Makarov). Of relatively simple design and manufacture, it had advanced features like a drop safety. For a sidearm that was carried far more than it was fired, the safety improvement over the previously standard TT33 was important. The rest of the gun’s features may only be described as “a decent first try.”

From 1793 to 1920, Poland didn’t exist as a country. Prussia, later Germany, then the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Russia controlled its various parts. As a result, it had no real arms industry. During its brief independence, Poland produced minor modifications of American, German, Belgian and Russian arms, with Radom Vis 35 pistol being the only semi-original development. After WWII, Poland was squarely under the control of the USSR and used primarily Soviet arms. For some reason, expediency or national pride, Poland attempted to develop its own arms, with such oddballs as the PM63 machine pistol as the result. Unlike Czechoslovak designs, both conventional and unconventional Polish arms remain basic—the P64 is a vivid example of that.

The fit of parts and the quality of the finih are actually quite decent. The pistol, though heavy at 22oz empty, is very compact and streamlined, a good fit for concealed carry. Why that was considered important for an army pistol, I have no idea. It’s not surprising that the Polish army never fully adopted the P64, continuing the use of the TT33 alongside of it. Only a small portion of the 190,000 produced were used by army officers, with the rest of the production going to police or exported. Once replaced by better designs in the late 1970s and early 80s, many ended up exported to the US where they were sold off cheaply. The low price made them somewhat popular despite serious shortcomings.

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This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N3 (April 2017)
and was posted online on February 17, 2017

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