Country of origin
9 x 18 mm
Length (stock extended)
Length (stock retracted)
Cyclic rate of fire
30 - 90 rpm
Practical rate of fire
600 - 650 rpm
15, 25 rounds
Range of effective fire
50 ~ 75 m
The PM-63 is
a Polish submachine gun. The acronym RAK means Reczny Automat
Komandosow, or commando's automatic weapon. The same
abbreviation in Polish also means crayfish. This weapon was
developed in the late 1950s by Piotr Wilniewczyc. It has an unusual, though appealing
design, with a number of uncommon features. Preparation for its mass
production began in 1964. This submachine gun was officially adopted
by the Polish military and law enforcement forces in 1965. Its
official name is Pistolet Maszynowy wzor 1963. Full-rate production
began only in 1967. Deliveries to the Polish army and law
enforcement forces began only in the late 1960s. Soon it became a
standard sidearm used by reconnaissance units, special forces,
platoon leaders, staff
officers, vehicle and artillery crews, anti-tank missile crews and
some non-frontline units and even elite anti-terrorist teams.
Approximately 70 000 - 80 000 of these submachine guns were made
when production ceased in 1977. Together with the Czechoslovak
vz.61 Skorpion these were the only Eastern Bloc submachine guns
produced in large numbers. However operational service revealed that
the Polish PM-63 RAK was a rather unsuccessful design and had a
number of design flaws. Some of them were fixed over time. Polish
soldiers did not like this weapon. In 1984 the Polish military and
law enforcement forces adopted a new
PM-84 Glauberyt submachine gun, as a successor to the PM-63 RAK.
The new PM-84 Glauberyt was a much more successful design. A number
of PM-63 RAK submachine guns were exported to Cuba, East Germany,
Iraq, North Korea, Vietnam, and possibly some other countries. From
time to time this submachine gun emerges in various military
conflicts or appears in the hands of terrorists or irregular
was a relatively light and compact weapon, intended for close combat
role. It was significantly lighter and smaller than contemporary
& Koch MP5. The PM-63 is well balanced and could be fired from
one hand, just like ordinary pistols.
submachine gun was chambered for a Soviet 9x18 mm Makarov
ammunition. At that time Poland was part of a Warsaw Pact and used
weapons chambered for standard Soviet ammunition. However the Soviet
9x18 mm ammunition was weak comparing with the 9x19 mm Parabellum
ammunition, that was standard in the West.
is a blowback operated weapon, which fires from an open bolt. It has got a
firing rate reduction mechanism, which slowed the rate of fire from
1 000 rpm to more controllable 600-650 rpm.
feature of this submachine gun is a slide, that protrudes in front
of the barrel. This weapon could be cocked in a traditional way, or
simply by sticking the protrusion into hard objects, such as walls,
ground and so on. So the shooter could easily cock the weapon single
handedly. The protrusion also acts as a compensator, which deflects
some of the gases upwards and reduces muzzle climb.
weapon was fired, slide traveled backwards in the same manner as it
travels on pistols. Though soldiers were frightened, that the reciprocating slide will knock
their teeth out or damage their eyeball.
The PM-63 is
a selective fire weapon, though there is no usual fire mode
selector. The trigger itself is used to control the mode of fire.
Pulling it half the way, will result in a single shot, while the
full pull will result in full-auto fire. Even though this concept of
progressive trigger was not new, it was not commonly used.
this weapon is housed inside the pistol grip. This feature reduced
overall dimensions of the weapon. Such magazine
location was influenced by an experimental MCEM-2 submachine gun,
which was designed in 1944 in UK by another Polish arms designer, a
colleague of the Piotr Wilniewczyc. The Czechoslovak Sa vz.25 submachine gun an
were also influenced by the MCEM-2.
this weapon appeared with a 25-round capacity magazine. However
there were problems with this long magazine, as the soldiers were
carrying this weapon in the holster with the magazine removed.
Otherwise it would excessively stick out. It made impossible to open
fire immediately once the weapon was removed from the holster. Later
a shorter 15-round capacity magazine was introduced to address this
problem. The original exposed magazine could be accidentally engaged
and drop-out the magazine anytime. Since the introduction of this
weapon, the magazine catch was twice redesigned to eliminate this
submachine gun has got a simple retractable wire stock with a
buttplate. When not in use it slides back into the weapon. There is
also vertical grip, which folds into the foregrip when not in use.
Though operational service revealed that the buttplate was wobbly
and the vertical grip was braking off.
submachine gun has got simple iron sights. The rear flip-up sight is
adjustable and has 2 settings for 75 and 150 meters. However the
front sight post was mounted on top of the slide, which was
reciprocating during firing. So only the first shot was more or less
aimed. The shooter could not aim the weapon accurately while firing.
It was a serious drawback of this weapon. Effective range of fire is
only around 50 meters due to weak round and poor accuracy.
RAK can mount a sound suppressor.
PM-70 is a
version chambered in 9x19 mm Parabellum ammunition. It was
originally intended for export. However only a small pre-production
batch of 20 weapons was ever made.
PM-73 is a
version chambered for 9x17 mm (.380 ACP) ammunition. It was another
weapon intended for export, but never produced in quantity.
Type 82 is
an unlicensed copy of the PM-63 RAK, produced in China. These
submachine guns were captured by the Chinese forces in Vietnam in
1979 during the Sino-Vietnamese war and were eventually reverse
engineered. The Type 82 had some local modifications. Reportedly
there were versions of this weapon chambered for 9x18 mm Makarov
ammunition, as well as much more powerful 7.62x25 mm Tokarev
ammunition. However eventually the Type 82 design lost competition
to the Type 85, which was adopted by the Chinese military and law
enforcement forces. The Type 82 was produced in small numbers. Until
the early 1990s it was proposed by NORINCO to international