ZPAP92: 7.62×39 AK Pistol Review

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Chances are that if you are reading this article, you either already have at least one Kalashnikov rifle of your own or are considering it strongly.  It’s estimated that there’s one AK for every 70 people on Earth and that alone says a lot about it. The Serbs are one of those that took inspiration from the AKs and made their own masterpiece out of it—the Zastava M70. Later on, they made its pistol form, the ZPAP92.

So, if you’re a fan of AKs and would like to see them in pistol form, then the ZPAP92 is something that will excite you.

Pros
  • Classic and robust
  • Predrilled receiver
  • Reliable and great for the range
  • Zastava Arms USA warranty
Cons
  • Welded thread protector
  • Heavy pull stock trigger weight

Rifles vs. Pistols

So, what sets pistols and rifles apart? It seems like a basic question until it doesn’t — the rise of AK Pistols made that sure. Now, let’s look at the fundamentals. 

Rifles must have a minimum barrel length of 16 inches under the National Firearms Act (NFA). Those shorter than that are what qualify as short-barreled rifles (SBR). These guns, by definition, have stocks and are shoulder-fired. The smaller profile of SBRs makes them more concealable than the standard rifle. Because of that, they are also regulated strictly. 

Owning one would require you to register it by paying the $200 tax stamp. There’s also the paperwork on top of that. You have to file for an ATF Form 1 if you made your SBR, and Form 4 if you bought it as it is. 

Now going back to the pistol vs. rifle case. The line between the two started to blur when AR- and AK-style pistols arrived. These rifle-pistol hybrids have no stocks, with barrel lengths shorter than 16 inches. Since this variant doesn’t check any of the rifle criteria, it is essentially a pistol. That means owning one isn’t as heavily regulated as SBRs.

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Enter the Pistol Brace

ZPAP92: 7.62x39 AK Pistol Review ZPAP92 with a red dot sight and stabilizing brace
ZPAP92 with a red dot sight and stabilizing brace (from Guns.com)

The murky waters were tested once more when the stabilizing brace was introduced. It was designed to help shooters fire by using only one hand. There is no denying that these braces look very much like stocks and can function as one if you want to. Firing it from your shoulder, however, would break the definition and make your AK pistol an SBR in an instant. 

There’s still a lot of confusion surrounding SBRs and pistol braces. In recent developments of this issue, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) issued a proposed rule that includes factoring criteria in categorizing AK pistols. Clearly, this wasn’t good news for stabilizing braces.

About Zastava Arms

ZPAP92: 7.62x39 AK Pistol Review Zastava Arms gun foundry in 1856
Zastava Arms gun foundry in 1856

Zastava Arms is a Serbian manufacturer that exports firearms and hunting weapons. It was founded in 1853 when it cast its first cannon at the foundry in Kragujevac. Not only was this event memorable for the company, but it also marked the development of the country’s military industry. 

The company experienced considerable damage after World War II. It focused on artillery and armaments before but saw an opportunity in small arms post-war. 

The production of the rifle M48 kick-started in 1953, followed by Kalashnikov-based M67. From there, the famous Zastava M70 was born. More products were added along the line, ranging from pistols to rifles to machine guns.

Being in business for more than 165 years, it’s common to hear about Zastava Arms when it comes to firearms. In 2019, the Zastava Arms USA was established to bring the Serbian-made firearms even closer to the American market. Centralizing was a good move for the company, putting an end to the rough patch it had gone through with importers before.

The Zastava ZPAP Series

Zastava Arms’ ZPAP Series brings in four lines of semi-automatic pistols and sporting rifles. All are imported to the United States in accordance with the NFA standards.

ZPAP92

The ZPAP92 is a semi-automatic version of the M92 carbine. It is chambered with the same cartridge but unlike the latter, it got rid of the under folding stock. It has the same 10-inch barrel but is significantly smaller and lighter. This more compact variant is, by definition, categorized as a pistol in the United States. I have heard many great things about the ZPAP92, so I decided to look at it myself in this review. 

ZPAP85 

The ZPAP85 is a semi-automatic pistol chambered with 5.56x45mm. It took inspiration from Zastava M85 but shaved off the buttstock in the process. In addition to the caliber, it also differs from ZPAP92 in its magazine design. Other than that, the two are just about the same.

ZPAPM70 

As the name says, the ZPAPM70 was based on the time-tested M70 automatic rifle. This semi-automatic version is imported as a hunting and sporting rifle in the U.S. It retained the 16-inch barrel length and uses the same cartridge (7.62 x 39mm).

This gas-operated rifle series uses a double stack bolt. It weighs 7.9 pounds and holds a 30-round magazine capacity. Other features include adjustable iron sights, a 1.5mm receiver, and a bulged trunnion. The safety lever has a bolt hold-open notch.

Variants for the ZPAPM70 include walnut and polymer furniture options. The dark walnut wood has a real classy look to it. Meanwhile, the polymer model has a sportier look, with an adjustable buttstock.

ZPAPM90

The ZPAPM90 is another semi-automatic rifle patterned from the famous M70. It has an adjustable gas block and is chambered in 5.56×45mm. Just like the rest of the ZPAP series, it holds 30 rounds and has a bulged trunnion. It has a good handguard design and ergonomics, and options for Picatinny rail additions. 

At 18.25 inches, the ZPAPM90 has the longest barrel length among the ZPAP AKs. It weighs 8.5 pounds and has an overall length of 39 inches. Still, it wouldn’t be a pain to transport since you can shorten it to 35 inches thanks to its folding stock.

The ZPAP92 in Detail

Zastava torture-tested their rifles throughout time. Still, the modern touch on these rifles proves that they’re also made to conquer the civilian market. The war staple Zastava M70 inspired the M92 carbine, and from there the ZPAP92 was born.

Specs and Features

ActionSemi-Automatic
Caliber7.62 x 39
Capacity30 rounds
Barrel Length10 inches
Threaded BarrelYes
GripSynthetic
HandguardWood
SightsKrinkov style rear, post front sights
Weight6.6 pounds
Overall Length19.3 inches

The semi-auto ZPAP92 is chambered in 7.62×39. It holds the standard 30-round magazine, which is guided by the dimpled receiver. The 10-inch barrel was hammer forged to ensure durability and great dimensional accuracy.

The chrome-lined barrel was made to resist abrasion and corrosion. This also ensures barrel longevity, allowing it to endure continuous and heavy cycles. The bolt carrier is sturdy as well.

It may not look like it but the barrel is threaded. Under the welded thread protector is a 26mmx 1.5mm pitch left-hand thread for accessories.

The ZPAP92 has a synthetic grip with some line textures. It retained the classic wood handguard common among Yugo rifles as well as the three vent holes. This AK pistol comes with a Krinkov-style rear that aligns with the post-front sight. 

The hinged top cover is a convenient feature when cleaning and checking the ZPAP92 inside. With an overall length of 19.3 inches, it is significantly shorter than the 21.65-inch M92 with the stock folded. This compact version also weighs 1.27 pounds less.

Up Close

Even before Zastava Arms USA began its operations, the ZPAP92 has long been making the rounds as the new range toy favorite. I have been itching to have one myself but was kind of skeptical with all the importer issues. But now that Zastava has taken matters into its own hands, I joined the bandwagon right away.

ZPAP92: 7.62x39 AK Pistol Review Shut up and take my money
Shut up and take my money (from Giphy.com)

Getting one wasn’t that easy as I had to wait for about a month. Availability was thin because, as it turned out, people were just as hyped up as I am (and also because of issues related to COVID-19). By the way, the pistol came with a 1-year warranty with Zastava Arms USA. 

left side of the Zastava PAP M92

The ZPAP92 arrived in a box with strange writings that give you that Serbian vibe. Of course, I didn’t understand any of it but it was exciting all the same. Upon opening, the AK pistol looks impressively high quality. The wood was stunning, and the pistol still had factory oil on it.

Aside from the owner’s manual and guide, the box includes a magazine and cleaning rod. The sights are as described, and it’s a good thing that nothing bars the view when you use them. However, the top could use some Picatinny on it as I’m planning to put a red dot as my main optic.

right side of the Zastava PAP M92
ZPAP92 photographed on the right side

There was this strange-looking rubber plug at the rear of the receiver. After checking, it was actually a predrilled hole. It’s a neat addition as one of the first things a new ZPAP92 owner would want to add is a pistol brace adapter. You can also request ahead of time and Zastava USA will ship your pistol with braces included

The hinged top cover is convenient, and also holds the gas tube lock on the other side. Taking it apart, or at least the internals is effortless. I saw other units come with a muzzle booster but mine had a thread protector like most ZPAP models. I may not use it now but removing it might need some visit to the gunsmith.

muzzle weld on the PAP M92
ZPAP92 with welded thread protector

Now for the appearance, we can all agree that this pistol is such a beauty. I should say it’s the dark wood that wins it all the way. My ZPAP would see many modifications, but the handguard is going to be a permanent fixture. The Alpha and Tactical models are also great to check out for other variations of this pistol’s look. 

Overall, this pistol is quite robust and solid. It has a certain touch that can only be achieved through time. It is yet to see action, but I can say I am totally sold right out of the box. 

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Performance

ZPAP92: 7.62x39 AK Pistol Review Shooting at an indoor range
Shooting at an indoor range (from Making History at Giphy.com)

Going to the range has not been that easy now with all the restrictions, but my ZPAP92 has seen some indoor action. Loaded with some Wolf and Fiocchi ammunition, I can say the 7.62×39 power is hard to ignore. I haven’t installed any buffer tube or brace yet so that might also be it.

Zastava PAP M92 sight picture
…and the sight picture.
Zastava PAP M92 front sight post
…and with dot flipped down

The pistol weight was just right as it also helped with recoil. It became easier to maneuver after some visits at the range. Like everything, the ZPAP92 gets better with familiarity, although this is more on my part than the pistols. Still, the 5 to 6 pounds stock trigger pull weight is something I wouldn’t want to retain in this pistol. I’m eyeing the ALG enhanced trigger for it already.

ZPAP92: 7.62x39 AK Pistol Review Shooting range targets
Shooting range targets (by Yaletown Yuppie at Flickr.com)

Performance-wise, the ZPAP92 delivers the punch and has great accuracy. It still has tight groupings at around 200 yards and performed even better with a red dot installed. With nearly 1,000 rounds on, my ZPAP92 still has it going strong. I haven’t seen the rivets issue yet, although I think Zastava USA has addressed this problem.

It’s true what they say: the ZPAP92 is a real gem that packs the same dynamite power as its predecessors. It never puts to shame the legacy of its rifle ancestors. With this new generation of Yugo AK, we can only imagine the great M70 beaming like a proud grandad.

Now, we are yet to see new developments and changes in ATF’s new rules and firearm classifications. The brace issue is still not in the clear and so are AK pistols. As for my ZPAP92, I would want to keep it as a pistol. Save for the paper works, I have no doubt this versatile platform is also a great SBR as some have been using it as one.

Similar AK Pistols

It’s hard to forget about ZPAP85 when talking about ZPAP92. It has the same history and is just as impressive. 

Another AK pistol to consider is the ultimate shorty Micro Draco. As if living up to its name, this Romanian-made pistol only has 6.25 inches of barrel length. It’s also semi-automatic and is chambered with 7.62 x 39mm, with a 30-round capacity. 

Since it has a short barrel, the distance capacity of Micro Draco is also cut short at around 300 yards. Still, it made for short ranges and close-quarter situations. Not only is it a good range pistol, but it’s also ideal for home defense. 

The IWI Galil Ace is also a great pistol to have aside from the ZPAP92. It chambers the same caliber and has an 8.3-inch barrel length. A friend of mine has one, and it was also fun shooting steel plates with.

ZPAP92 Accessories

The ZPAP92 is good as it is, no doubt about that. But we all have our preferences. We can all agree that customizing brings out the character in our pistols. I have installed the ALG enhanced trigger and it does wonders. It is much smoother now and is far lighter than the factory trigger.

As for me, I’d rather have the iron sights as a backup for a trusty red dot. I’m using the Aimpoint Micro T-2 and, so far, my ZPAP92 has never been better. It’s a 2 MOA dot with an 18mm lens that is also compatible with night vision.

The receiver’s rear could use some support and SB Tactical has something for that. The BA-AK1913 Adapter connects the FS1913 Pistol Brace and completes the pistol gear-up.

If SB braces are not your thing, you should consider a folding triangle brace. Palmetto State Armory already includes a Picatinny adapter, so fitting it won’t be an issue.

Conclusion

It might not be long before the ATF decides how we use it, but the ZPAP92 sure excels both as an SBR and pistol. All things considered, this one is a great range shooter that also serves well for home defense. It’s the kind of gun that leaves the range with flying colors — all while getting the occasional glance or two.

Are you looking for other fun stuff about AKs? Check out our best AK-47 list that also includes the leading AK-style pistols on the market. Also, if you’re planning on getting a good scope, our AK-47 scopes article will be a great buying guide.

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6 comments
  1. As comes as no surprise, great article Mike! Thanks for reviewing this AK-47 pistol! I wish you all the best and a speedy recovery from your illness.

  2. Mike,
    IMHO, This is no doubt a “FUN GUN” and a Room Broom. Much like a MAC/COBRAY/M-11/9mm. Only with a more powerful round.

    First I must say I am not sure when you last had a chance for ammo of any of the so called “Popular Calibers” IF you will allow the term OR the prices of such when One can find such IN STOCK.

    Given the barrel length and making accurate hits and the velocity and FPE of the round at 100 Meters/Yards, let alone 400 Meters/Yards and given that the 7.62×39 Russian is ROUGHLY the equivalent of the 30.30 Winchester….and the Spire Tip on the Russian is an improvement over the Flat/RN/ MOST 30.30 Winchester use.

    As a Handgun, I would not seriously consider it to be very reliable or useful beyond 50and MAYBE 100 Meters/Yards.

    There are numerous handguns that can easily make such shots RELIABLY within the 100 Meter/Yards…or perhaps further. The FN Five Seven, The Desert Eagle and many numerous others.

    There are numerous carbines that make GREAT “Truck Guns” and good for at least 100 Meters/Yards and beyond quite reliably. Granted they do take up more space.

    But keeping such a weapon for Personal Defense and within realistic ranges I do BELIEVE if would have a role as such. IF Bad Guys are in your Dwelling or surrounding your vehicle and showing CLEAR INTENT they are making a clear Threat and you can LEGALLY use Deadly/Lethal Force. Yes If should nicely fill such roles, and definitely have more UMPF than a 9mm NATO.

    At 6 pounds of weight and the 30 round magazine…..make it sort of Bulky and Unbalanced. At least that is my impression without handling the weapon. The FN Five Seven and the the Ruger 5.7 offer 20 rounds and take up much less space and are far easier to handle and IMNSHO are more accurate and have far more less perceived recoil.

    Before laughing off the 5.7×28 as nothing but a .22 Magnum. It was originally designed as a replacement for the 9mm NATO and would penetrate Body Armor.

    The Major that went Nutzo in Texas made 15 Center Mass hits and all 15 were killed/murders with an FN Five Seven and the rest were hit in their extremities, Arms/Legs.

    Would this weapon be more effective?? I cannot say. BUT I can say the weight and space it takes because of the magazine in a vehicle where legal…..I would rather have the 5.7×28…..or maybe a Desert Eagle or perhaps other weapons of appropriate calibers…. THAT is until I could actually handle one of these and see how it feels in my hands and how reliable and accurate it is for me.

    I understand why you wrote this article the way and the evaluation you provided, and I do HOPE and Pray you have made a Speedy and Full Recovery.

    But taking some elses Word that you trust I understand that too! I could hand you my most accurate firearm and you could get totally different results…..Maybe better or Maybe nowhere near the accuracy out of it,

    NOTE: I do not own any special firearm designed for Match shooting. They are all out of the box and have not had a Gunsmith or Accuracy work done to them.

    Just saying,…..Thank You for your articles and writing! I am quite sure others have a very different opinion than mine. But that is why we have so many choices to choose from with more choices being offered to all of us every year! Something for everyone that they might like and some they don’t care for…. Leaving room for everyone to choose from and for firearm writers like you, to keep their job on evaluating and informing people as best you/they can and keep writing articles for “us Deplorables” to enjoy!

    God Speed your Hopefully Full Recovery!

    1. Bingo. well said. I appreciate your comments – sounds like you’ve been there, done that. This gun does have a purpose – I guess everyone might have to come up with their own uses for it. As you say, that’s why there are many different guns out there – everybody has a different take. Thanks for writing!

      1. Mike,

        I have and I didn’t get a T-Shirt! We have different strokes, for different folks. There are weapons that people swear and use to put their Lives and other Lives by.

        A good example that has been proven over ONE HUNDRED YEARS! The 1911 .45 ACP. There are numerous manufacturers that are making and providing various platforms of it
        for people to choose from.

        Then there are the “Wonder Nines” with Double Stack Magazines and double or more capacity to the 1911 .45 ACP.

        Then Para-Ordnance produced the 1911 .45 ACP with a Double Stack Magazine bringing the 1911 .45 ACP forward into Modern Day/Times.

        It is extremely easy to start an IMMEDIATE debate/ argument over which caliber is better!

        Then there is the .40 S&W to add to the debate/argument.

        Then people will bring other caliber firearms…..The debate/argument has been and will no doubt go on and on and on and on and on.

        The REAL ANSWER is what works for the individual that “FEELS GOOD” in their hands and they can shoot it accurately and consistently and works for the Individual.

        Among other improvements in firearms to offer are the 12 Gauge Semi-Auto shotguns based upon the AR or AK platforms some capable of holding 20-25 round drums….Some might or would consider the perfect firearm for CQB or clearing rooms or for Self Defense/Home Protection Depending on the loads…..Then again there are those that would “POO-POO” at the thought of carrying such for whatever reason and prefer something else.

        Of course such a shotgun would not be for EDC but firearms are tools and no matter the firearm, they have are made IN GENERAL for specific J-O-Bs and to accomplish certain things.
        Like any tool they can be used for other purposes and even made to do certain JOBs such as target firearm for competition and Match Shooting in various calibers.

        Hunting small game hunting and plinking such as the venerable .22 LR. Yes there other small caliber firearms that also are made to do the same purpose.

        There are Rifles and even Handguns made for hunting large game Deer, Elk, Moose, Bears of various species, Then there are calibers made and designed for Dangerous Game such as the .460 Weatherby Magnum.

        Each is a tool and like any tool, firearms can be easily abused. Only the person holding and using a firearm can ultimately decide HOW the firearm is going to be used and Only a person/individual can decide what works for them and suits their personal needs/comforts/ purposes.

        I have good friends that I HIGHLY TRUST and I do respect their opinion and are good sources for information.
        BUT until I actually have whatever firearm in my hand/s and find out how it feels in my hand/s, The Grip may not fit my hands, It may not balance very well, Etc.
        It may well be the Best Thing since Hot Showers, Cold Brew, or Indoor plumbing for them and others but it might not be such a fit for me.

        The next thing is the Muzzle Blast from such a short barrel. I have fired some off the shelf in a .357 Magnum that if a person was within 15 feet or closer the Muzzle Blast/Fireball would take out a Bad Guy even if you didn’t hit them and when fired at night would temporarily blind the shooter.

        Shooting Rifle Calibers in short barrels without proper Flash suppressor tend to do the much the same…..depending on the powder used in the load I would suppose.

        I can only imagine trying to shoot this weapon with any sort of accuracy with that 30 round magazine making it bulky and controlling it with a single hand.

        No doubt it is an EXTREMLY FUN GUN and No doubt will impress at least a Few Shooters at the Range and ones friends and is a “Great Stress Reliever”.
        I do see a practical Hold on the weapon with one hand on the pistol grip and the other on the Fore Stock/ Fore Grip in various ways and stance. Making an accurate shot beyond 100 Meters out of such weapon I believe is quite possible for some or those that practice enough with it.
        Making a 400 meter/Yard shot with it…..Well even a blind hog can find an acorn…..How-So-Ever, I would consider such to be MORE LUCK than Skill! No doubt there are those out there that well could display such skill and I am not insulting or putting such shots in The IMPOSSIBLE Category but I would put them in the Near Extinction Category.
        Again I do wonder what the Velocity and FPE would be of the projectile at such range out of such a short barrel.

        Thank you Mike for letting me Bloviate and to Opine and Thank You for all of your articles.

        Again I Hope and Pray that God Speed you a full and speedy recovery!

        You Keep Writing and WE WILL KEEP READING!

        1. Bingo, it’s always a pleasure to read what you write. I’ll keep writing if you will! Thanks for your comments.

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