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PM-63 RAK

Submachine gun

PM-63 RAK

The PM-63 RAK had a number of unusual features, but was unloved by the Polish soldiers

 
 
Country of origin Poland
Entered service 1965
Caliber 9 x 18 mm
Weight (unloaded) 1.6 kg
Length (stock extended) 583 mm
Length (stock retracted) 333 mm
Barrel length 150 mm
Muzzle velocity 320 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 30 - 90 rpm
Practical rate of fire 600 - 650 rpm
Magazine capacity 15, 25 rounds
Sighting range 150 m
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 military formations.

   The PM-63 was a relatively light and compact weapon, intended for close combat role. It was significantly lighter and smaller than contemporary Heckler & Koch MP5. The PM-63 is well balanced and could be fired from one hand, just like ordinary pistols.

   The PM-63 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.

   Thie PM-63 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.

   An unusual 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.

   When the 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.

   Magazine of 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 Israeli Uzi were also influenced by the MCEM-2.

   Originally 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 problem.

   The PM-63 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.

   This 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.

   The PM-63 RAK can mount a sound suppressor.

 

Variants

 

   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 customers.

 

 
PM-63 RAK

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PM-63 RAK

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PM-63 RAK

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PM-63 RAK

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PM-63 RAK

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PM-63 RAK

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PM-63 RAK

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PM-63 RAK

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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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