Zastava PAP M92

[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.

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

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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!

  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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Hi! I'm Mike, one of the oldest writer of Sniper Country! If you have any feedback or question about my articles, please submit it here, it's always appreciated!

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