Poland was under communist rule from 1945 until 1989 and, despite the heavy influence by the Soviets, the Poles maintained a largely separate small arms defense industry which produced several notable guns of the Cold War period including the FB PM-63 machine pistol (detailed elsewhere on this site) and the FB PM-64 semi-automatic service pistol - the latter being the focus of this article. Development of the pistol began in the latter part of the 1950s by the Institute for Artillery Research and ended with service introduction of the P-64 in 1965. Manufacture was undertaken by the storied concern of FB Radom (Lucznik Arms Factory, Radom) and the series continues to be found globally today (2018).
The gun was designed to use the Soviet 9x18mm Makarov pistol cartridge - the East's counter to the West's 9x19mm Parabellum German pistol round. Six rounds were carried in a spring-loaded magazine inserted into the grip's base. The slide covered all of the upper portion of the frame in the usual way and the trigger was curved while protected in a semi-thick ring. Internally, the action revolved around the blowback principle (double-action trigger mechanism). a rear notch and front blade was used for sighting and effective ranges were out to 50 meters. Muzzle velocity of the outgoing bullet reached 1,000 feet-per-second.
Origins of the P-64 begin in 1958 when the Polish military sought an all-modern replacement for its various services to succeed the Soviet TT semi-automatics in 7.62mm chambering. An official competition was drawn up and formally launched within years and two pistol forms, the "Model M" in .38 ACP and the long-barreled "Model W" in 9x18mm Makarov, were both evaluated. Both held six ready-to-fire cartridges in their magazines and were more or less conventional semi-automatic sidearms. The competition began in 1961 and findings resulted in the .38 ACP frame being selected - though this was ultimately rechambered to fire the ubiquitous 9x18mm Makarov cartridge instead and several other requested modifications were implemented to make for a better service-oriented pistol.
The P-64 managed a healthy service life for its time and saw some use overseas - the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong both operated the type during the Vietnam War (1955-1975). With the fall of communism and the opening of ties with the West, the pistol made it into the hands of private collectors in the United States. In 2008, some 1,000 units were gifted to the Lebanese Army as Polish forces moved to adopt the WIST-94 semi-automatic NATO-standard pistol following induction into NATO.
There were some attempts during its service life to advance the line: the P-70 was a prototype of 1972 (with 14-round magazine) and the P-75 was a proposed model of 1976. In 1978, the P-78 offered a 12-round capacity with modular trigger unit to Polish police and security forces but this proposed form lost out to a competitor.
During its heyday, the P-64 was consistently mistaken for the West German Walther PKK pistol (detailed elsewhere on this site). It was also called the "Polish Makarov" due to some system similarities between the two. It remains in widespread circulation today (2018) despite it no longer being actively manufactured.
Lebanon (post-2008); Poland; United States (private sales); Vietnam (North Vietnam)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Pistol / Sidearm
Compact design for close-quarters work or general self-defense.
160 mm 6.30 in
84 mm 3.31 in
1.37 lb 0.62 kg
Rear Notch; Front Blade
Blowback; Double-Action (DA); Semi-Automatic
One shot per trigger pull; self-loading or auto-loading action aided by internal mechanism; trigger management (and initial cocking) typically required by the operator; subsequent shots are aided by the unlocked / moved bolt.
Gas pressure from the rearward movement of the ignited cartridge case provides the needed bolt movement, ejecting the spent case and stripping a fresh case from the magazine.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)
Rounds / Feed
6-Round Detachable Box Magazine.
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources. **Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
265 ft (81 m | 88 yd)
1,000 ft/sec (305 m/sec)
FB-64 - Base Series Designation
P-70 - Proposed model of 1972 with stamped steel slide and 14-round capacity.
P-75 - Proposed model of 1976 with synthetic frame.
P-78 - Proposed model of 1978 with 12-round capacity and modular trigger group.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.
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