The Chiappa Firearms PAK-9 is a 9mm pistol conceived to provide fun to anyone passionate with the Kalashnikov design, one of the most popular of all times
The heyday of the so-called “Assault Pistols” – semi-automatic handguns based upon popular sub-machine gun designs – may very well have been in the 1980s, but most of those designs never really died.
Large, bulky, heavy, those full-sized handguns chambered in calibers such as 9mm, .45 ACP or .380 ACP sported a killer look, offered high magazine capacity – and not much more. A vast majority of those designs proved to be less than practical.
Sure, UZI pistols and MAC-styled pistols are still fully in production and hot sellers. And definitely they’re household names due to their appearance in many a movie or TV show. But when it comes to personal protection or home defense, they had – and still have – many drawbacks, which contribute to make them more of a range toy than anything else.
Nevertheless, they persisted: the evolution of firearms manufacturing technologies allowed the industry to make those firearms better, and to spice up the variety. The past couple of years saw a plethora of AR-15 type, handgun-caliber pistols hit the global civilian markets. AK-based designs in pistol calibers have so far been way less common.
Or at least they were far less common until 2017, when Chiappa Firearms announced the launch of its own AK-based pistol.
The Chiappa Firearms PAK-9 is packed with features that make it an interesting choice for the modern shooter and gun enthusiast. For example, the PAK-9 is built on receivers built under contract in Romania, in the industrial heartland of many current AK makers.
The PAK-9 stamped receiver is very well made and bears all the distinctive traits of a long tradition in AK making. It's not just a standard AKM receiver modified to host a smaller caliber, as found in many other AK-based pistols: the PAK-9’s receiver was designed from the ground up and is manufactured specifically to match the size of 9x19mm.
Captivatingly “bad” in looks, the Chiappa Firearms PAK-9 pistol is all black. The receiver is matte black. The slightly curved, serrated polymer pistol grip with shallow finger grooves is all black; and the polymer handguard, featuring a bottom MIL-STD 1913 rail for tactical accessories, is likewise black.
The baseline version of the Chiappa Firearms PAK-9 pistol comes without a stock, replaced by a mere sling swivel. Shortly after its launch, however, some third parties started to offer specifically designed stock adapters following the PAK-9’s immediate success.
Following this trend, the Italian company Chiappa Firearms then introduce a new version of the PAK-9, featuring an AR-15 type buffer tube adapter to dub as a mounting point for collapsing stock or armbraces; a welcome upgrade indeed, since the 2,7 kg (6.1 lbs) of steel in its construction make the PAK-9 a hell of a heavyweight.
The PAK-9 pistol features a classic AK-style front sight and a removable rear sight mounted on a Picatinny rail installed on the top receiver cover; indeed, mostly everything in the PAK-9 – from the controls configuration to the technical layout and field-stripping procedure – has been kept as faithful to the original AK/AKM design as possible in order to help shooters familiarize with the new platform.
But the key difference between the Chiappa Firearms PAK-9 and the AKM design stands out as soon as the pistol is stripped. The bolt assembly of the PAK-9 – albeit very similar to that of a standard AK – not only has been modified to adapt to the 9mm cartridge, but lacks a gas piston completely, relying instead on a full metal front rod to add the necessary mass to lock reliably, being the Chiappa PAK-9 a straight blowback design.
The PAK-9 thus does without a proper gas block, which in this case dubs as a mounting point for two more Picatinny rail sections.
The PAK-9 sports a fixed, 16 cm / 6.3” barrel – bringing the overall weight to about 37 centimeters, or just over 14 inches – and is fed through a polymer magazine well, itself featuring a prominent side-mounted magazine release button.
The typical AK-style magazine release paddle was retained on the PAK-9, but it now dubs as a retaining point for the polymer handguard, allowing it to be removed for cleaning.
The magazine well of the PAK-9 is a most interesting modular feature; the PAK-9 comes factory-issued with two Beretta 92-type double-stack magazines, but Chiappa Firearms also provides an optional drop-in adapter allowing the PAK-9 to use Glock magazines.
For price and availability please refer to your local Chiappa Firearms dealer.