[Review] Zastava PAP M92: AK-47-Based Pistol

An AK-47-based pistol? What were they thinking? First of all, it’s an AK, not an AR. Second, it’s a pistol, not a carbine, I initially thought. Having just reviewed the Sig Sauer P556 AR pistol and having seen how quickly and easily these short guns are brought into action, I think I can see what “they” were thinking: rifle-caliber pistols can be really handy. And, as for the AK vs. AR thing, if you serve in the military of a country in most of the rest of the world where the American AR is not prevalent, chances are you will be shooting an AK-47 derivative of some type. Manufactured by the millions, this rifle is as common in most of those parts of the world as is kudzu in South Carolina. The cartridge most typically shot in this rifle is the mid-power 7.62×39, an intermediate .30-caliber load developed during the second World War by the Soviets. After a while, the AK-47 became the most prolific battle rifle in the world so it would seem that it might make a good platform for a pistol version.

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Who Makes This Thing?

Our example of the pistol-version of the AK is made by the Serbian company, Zastava. Here’s a little history…

Zastava Arms (Serbian: Застава oружје, romanized: Zastava oružje, for all you language buffs) is a large manufacturer of arms based in Kragujevac, Serbia. Founded in 1853 when it cast its first cannon, the company has grown to be a large member of the Serbic defense industry. Famous for its Kalashnikov-based M70 rifle, the company exports to more than 40 countries.

Without re-naming this review “The Complete History Of Zastava Arms”, let me just say that the company (in more modern times) produced the PAP M59 semi-automatic rifle in 1954. The caliber of choice was the 7.62×39. In January of 2019, Zastava Arms USA was formed to import and distribute guns in the U.S. You can visit their website here. Click here for more on the company’s history.

More On Our M92

The M92 is a shortened version of the select-fire M70 assault rifle although the one I have here in front of me is semi-auto only. It is nearly identical to the Zastava M85, the two differences being magazine design and caliber.

handguard of the Zastava PAP M92

The original carbine M92 had a folding paratrooper-style stock and was a blend between the Soviet AKMSU and AKS-74U carbines, chambered in 7.62×39. One difference that is easy to spot between our gun and the other two mentioned is that the M92’s handguard has three vents as opposed to the others’ two.

The original also had a flash hider in place at the muzzle. Our version does away with the stock and the flash hider. In its place is a welded-on thread protector. (I’ve heard of some owners firing up their Dremel, cutting the weld and replacing the thread protector with a flash hider – interesting!).

muzzle weld on the PAP M92

Capacity:30 rounds. Empty magazine weighs 12.4 oz.
Barrel length:10"
Barrel material:Cold hammer forged, non-chrome-lined
Sights:Krinkov-style rear 200- and 400-meter markings, adjustable post front with flip-up white dot
Receiver:Stamped steel, Black
Trigger pull:3 lbs, 5 oz. measured
Grip:Synthetic, Black
Weight:6.9 lbs., weighed on my scale with empty mag

Field-Stripping The M92

In order to clean the gun, you’ll need to take it apart, as usual. I will start you off by telling you how to get the receiver cover off and the bolt out. For further disassembly, look at the owner’s manual – you can find it here. The gun is simple to take down as are most AKs.

1. Remove the mag and check for an empty chamber.

2. Press the release button on the rear of the gun and raise the receiver cover.

takedown latch of the PAP M92

3. Lift the cover off.

latch popped on the PAP M92

4. Remove the recoil spring assembly.

5. Remove the bolt and bolt carrier.

As I just mentioned, click on the link for more detailed instructions. You will also see how to remove the gas tube assembly and upper hand guard, plus cleaning tips, etc.

Photo Gallery

Here are a few photos I took – not too many, but hopefully you’ll see what the gun looks like.

left side of the Zastava PAP M92
Mug shots

right side of the Zastava PAP M92

Zastava PAP M92 bolt
PAP M92 trigger
Zastava PAP M92 safety
Safety up close – nothing new here.

PAP M92 muzzle

Zastava PAP M92 front sight
Front sight with flip-up dot
Zastava PAP M92 front sight post
…and with dot flipped down

Zastava PAP M92 front sight side

PAP M92 rear sight 200
Rear sight. 2-dot 200-meter blade is up…
PAP M92 rear sight at 400
…with a 400-meter one 90 degrees away…
Zastava PAP M92 sight picture
…and the sight picture.
PAP M92 magazine
30-round steel AK magazine
handguard of the Zastava PAP M92
Three-slot handguard

Why Would I Want One?

I had often wondered about the usefulness of such a gun as this. After all, with no shoulder brace to steady your aim, it would be hard to hit a distant target or so it seems. All right, at least it would be for me… but maybe distant targets aren’t what this gun was designed for. I could see this AK riding around in a truck or car, where legal. Nothing would ruin a bad guys’ day faster than the sight of an AK muzzle being leveled at him.

Another use for it would be as an easily-stored home defense (or other static location) weapon. Being so short, it would be easy to maneuver around walls and corners, into and out of rooms – that might be one of the best uses one could utilize this gun for. A third possible reason to own this gun might be for when you head to the wild outdoors and set up your tent. A gun of this caliber might make a good companion if you’re in bear country or other location where predators, of the two- or four-legged variety, might be found.

So we see that short guns like this one can be very useful. If you are one who likes to take your rifle-caliber protection with you but likes it in a short package, here you go. I would imagine that there are some out there who might even try to wear this pistol in some sort of rig – talk about your ultimate concealed carry weapon! I don’t recommend it – at a bulky 6+ pounds you might lose at the least the element of surprise, not to mention your pants… At any rate, there are different uses for a gun such as this one as we have seen. Probably the greatest use that this gun gets is as a range toy – there’s a lot to be said for that. When ammo is readily available again and you can buy 7.62×39 for a reasonable price, I could see spending an afternoon just trying this out at different distances. I could even see, under the right circumstances, having this gun in a deer stand where legal for a close-range shot at an unsuspecting doe. It would be legal in my state, at least.

Why No Targets

I didn’t shoot this gun because I am recovering from an illness and have not had much of an opportunity to track down ammo for it. I figured that, given my mediocre shooting skills right now, I really didn’t need to show yet another target or two with holes spread about them in a seemingly haphazard fashion. Suffice it to say that the gun’s owner told me how accurate it is, so I felt like I didn’t need to re-invent the wheel. At least I got to see, research and photograph this fun gun – hopefully you’ve enjoyed this brief look at it, as well.

To Sum Up

I just talked about some possible uses for a gun like this. I don’t normally do that – usually, a gun is made for one or two fairly specific purposes. A small semi-auto pistol or revolver is usually considered for a concealed carry role (read our guide on CCW insurance), and a long-barreled, heavy-caliber revolver is designated as a hunting gun. Rifles tend to be even more regimented in terms of use…so why did I feel the need to describe possible uses for our M92? Because it is a legally-defined pistol that happens to be in a rifle caliber. It is basically the front two-thirds of an AK carbine, a length which lends itself to interpretation of usage.

If you are looking for something to add to your collection that is a bit unique (but not overly so), give this gun a look. If you end up with one and want to add a brace, the link above is a place to start. Matter of fact, there are customization options out there that would really allow you to dress this thing up and turn it into a very useful shooter. All it would take is exploring some possibilities. I do believe that the M92 or similar gun would be a great home defense, truck or range gun. Add in a shoulder brace and then you have a gun that could go with you as you track down that break in your fence or other problem on your property…coyotes within range wouldn’t stand a chance. For example, I know I have the permission of our farmer friend who owns the land across the road to shoot any coyote I see, no matter what the date is and the M92 would be an easy gun to keep handy for that reason. It would also be fun to throw in your ATV as you roam the river bottoms or that distant tree line… you get it. There are many reasons to own a gun such as this, and that list keeps growing. If you own one of these, feel free to chime in below. As always, keep ‘em in the black and stay safe!

Written by Mike

Mike has been a shooter, bullet caster and reloader for over 40 years. Never one to be satisfied with the status quo, he is often found at his reloading bench concocting yet another load. With a target range in his backyard and after 40 years of shooting, his knowledge of firearms and reloading is fairly extensive. He is married, with four sons and daughters-law and 9-and-counting grandkids.

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