This Polish P-64 was manufactured by the Lucznik Arms Factory in Radom, Poland. According to a date stamped on the right side of the slide it was made in 1970. The P-64 is a self-loading, semi-automatic pistol that operates using the blowback design. It is chambered for the 9 x 18mm Makarov cartridge. The pistol has been designed to operate as either a double or single action firearm that utilizes an external hammer. The steel frame has a blackish blue finish. The sight system includes a square blade front sight that is part of the slide and is not adjustable, and a square notch rear sight that is dovetailed onto the top of the slide and is drift adjustable for windage only. This pistol is fed by a single column 6 round detachable box magazine with vertical inspection windows along the sides. On the bottom of the pistol and located behind the magazine is a European style heel magazine release lever that is pushed towards the rear of the pistol to remove the magazine. An empty magazine will eject from the pistol under its own weight once the fingers of the operator are out of the way. The pistol features a thumb safety lever that is located above the left grip at the rear of the slide. When engaged the thumb safety acts as a decocking lever and also moves a mechanism in place which surrounds the firing pin on three sides blocking its access to the hammer. The rear of the slide features a loaded chamber indicator that visually indicates the presence of a round in the chamber. The P-64 has a 3.33 inch barrel and an overall length of 6.3 inches. The pistol has an unloaded weight of 21.9 ounces. This weapon does employ a slide hold open mechanism to inform the operator that the last round has been fired. The black checkered grip panels which wrap around the backstrap are made from plastic.
It should be noted that the P-64 is not a Makarov, no matter what you may have been told or have seen in the way of advertising. Granted, on some P-64's it has been stamped on the left side of the slide with "Cal. Makarov", and the P-64 does use the 9x18mm Makarov round, but truth be told, they are not the same weapon.
The P-64 is also known as the "CZAK pistol" in some circles. This is an acronym of the first letter of each of the designer's surnames with the exception of Jerzy Pyzel, who joined the team after the CZAK name had already been established. The design team consisted of Polish army officers: Witold Czepukajtis, Romuald Zimny, Henryk Adamczyk, Mieczysław Adamczyk, Kazimierz Kowalewski, Stanisław Kaczmarski and Jerzy Pyzel. The P-64 was developed in the late 1950's at the Department of small arms artillery research center which would later be known as the Military institute of armament technology which is located in Zielonka, Poland.
The development team actually designed two different prototypes of the CZAK pistol. The model M(milicyjny) militia or police model, had a magazine capacity of 6 rounds and was chambered for the .380 ACP(Automatic Colt Pistol), 9x17SR mm round. The second prototype was the model W(wojskowy) or military model which had a longer barrel then the M version, a 7-round magazine capacity, and it was chambered for the 9x18mm Makarov round. The evaluation phase of the two models took place in 1961. The Model M was eventually selected over the model W, and was redesigned to use the 9x18mm Makarov round. Other modifications included an improved slide catch which did away with the external slide catch button. In 1965 the P-64 replaced the TT-33 pistol and entered service with the Polish army, police, and the government security forces under the official designation "9mm pistolet wz. 1964" or 9mm pistol wzor(pattern or model) 1964.
The P-64 is some what similar to the Walther PPK, but the P-64 is an original design and holds the Polish patent number of 54822. This patent applies to the unique disconnecter which is shaped like an elongated plate that slides vertically inside of the pistol's frame. This mechanism provides an internal safety, decocks the hammer when the manual thumb safety is engaged, ensures that a trigger pull is required for each shot fired, and allows a round to be chambered even if the safety is on.
The P-64, while a some what decent pistol design, had several shortcomings which included an extremely heavy double action trigger pull of around 25 pounds, poor sights, short sight radius, unpleasant recoil due to the grip design, and a limited magazine capacity. So in the early 1970's some minor changes to the design were incorporated which included a larger hammer spur and a slight modification to the trigger mechanism. Even with these changes, the operators of the P-64 were not completely satisfied which led to several prototypes being produced. The first of these was in 1972 with the P-70 which had a 14 round magazine, a slide that was made from a type of copper welded stamped steel, and a frame that was made from a lightweight alloy. Then in 1976 another prototype was introduced that was designated the P-75. This design had a itamide synthetic frame. Later in 1978, the P-78 was introduced that had a 12-round magazine and featured a modular trigger group, but production was abandoned due to the P-83 Wanad which was chambered in the 9x18mm Makarov cartridge winning the bid as the new service sidearm for the Polish army and police forces. The production of the P-64 ended in 1977 with 190,000 pistols being produced.
The 9 x 18mm Makarov
The 9 x 18mm Makarov cartridge(57-N-181S Soviet designation) was the standard pistol caliber for many eastern European countries and is still in use there today. The actual caliber of the bullet is 9.220mm or .363 inches which is larger then the 9 x 19mm Parabellum which is 9.017mm or 0.355 inches. On average, a 9 x 18mm Makarov round with a 95 grain FMJ(full metal jacket) bullet leaves the muzzle at a velocity of 1050 FPS(feet per second) and produces 230 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. The 9 x 18mm Makarov round is ballistically inferior to the 9 x 19mm Parabellum cartridge and is much more on par with the .380 ACP(Automatic Colt Pistol) round. The .380 ACP round can propel a bullet with a weight of 95 grains to 980 FPS which produces around 203 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle.