This is the long-awaited P64 range report. I thought I was going to get back and write something along the lines of "good, but not great". I was wrong. The P64 proved itself to be utterly reliable through 150 rounds, and was surprisingly accurate. I dare say I shoot it better than I shoot my M&P9C. I used Silver Bear 94 grain full metal jacket rounds and loaded a "Barney bullet", or topped off the magazine after loading a round into the chamber. The mag holds six, so with the Barney bullet I had a total of seven. The little gun hurled the empty cases between 25 and 30 feet to my right, and just slightly behind me. I had no problems of any kind.
The trigger was the sticky wicket, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. I replaced the hammer spring with a Wolff 17lb spring and put an extra strength firing pin spring and recoil spring in it before I ever fired a shot, so a bone-stock P64 might not shoot this well. I guarantee the double action pull is horrid without these upgrades. In interest of full disclosure, I polished the hammer, sear, and a big section of the trigger linkage that drags on the disconnector. This helped the double action pull get a little slicker, but it is still very heavy and has a pronounced "stacking" effect--meaning the resistance gets stiffer as you pull through it. I'm not sure of a way around it. At least not a safe one. A competent gunsmith could probably cure it, but then it would cease to be a cheap gun and you'd be better off spending the money on a PPK or PPK/s. The stiff and sort of clunky DA pull made my first round hit a little low and a little left of my point of aim. The next six rounds fired from SA would all find the same hole, or close to it.
I shot the target below from 10 and 15 yards with 7 rounds from each distance, and there really isn't a difference in the group. The two holes low on the target were the first shots of each string. I threw one high, and strung a couple out, but most went exactly where I wanted them to and made very tight groups....and a little closer...
The only "problem" I had was that my grip is very high, and the P64 lacks any kind of beavertail to protect the web of your hand between forefinger and thumb from the slide under recoil. I got a little bit of slide bite and it just barely cut me open on the side nearer to my thumb. Of course, it took about 100 rounds for it to do that. I still prefer my high grip because it affords a bit more control, but those with larger *cough* fat *cough* hands might get scuffed up substantially more.
The recoil itself was maybe a tiny bit snappy, but really not any more than any other small pistol I've shot. The muzzle rise is considerably less than my S&W 442 in .38 Special. It also didn't seem as loud, but that could just be my seasonal allergies clogging up my head. All in all, the P64 handles very well. The recoil doesn't slow down double taps as much as the long reset of the trigger.
My general impression is that, with the upgraded springs (another $20 all together), this pistol could very easily hang with the better-finished PPK any day of the week. Keep in mind that a PPK is about $490, while the P64--after the spring upgrade kit--is about $217. Ammo for the P64 is also cheaper, more plentiful right now, and slightly more powerful than the PPK's .380ACP. The 9x18mm Makarov is about 100fps faster than the .380ACP at their most common projectile weights. Additionally, most small pistols are very obnoxious to shoot. This one is not. It is fairly docile, and I imagine the PPK is as well, since they have more similarities than differences. I have no qualms about suggesting the P64 as a concealed carry piece. None at all. It is small, reliable, and accurate. That's a great formula for a defensive weapon. The Polish P64 is a truly great little pistol, with a tiny bit of work anyway. I thought about riddling this article with Pollock jokes, but if you don't get a P64 while the price is right, the Pollock joke is on you.