Could this Gun be the Best of Both Worlds?

Zastava PAP M85 NP Pistol
Zastava PAP M85 NP Pistol
Student of the Gun White Logo Black Background
Student of the Gun White Logo Black Background

Biloxi, Mississippi — ( – Having been involved in the firearms world for the last three decades, I rarely get excited about new products. A mixture of jaded and cynical would best describe my outlook.

Early this year while perusing the quarterly catalog/flyer from Century Arms I came across a product that piqued my interest. The Zastava PAP M85 NP is advertised as an AK-style pistol chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO feeding from standard AR-15/M-16 magazines.

Zastava PAP M85 NP Pistol
Zastava PAP M85 NP Pistol

An AK chambered in .223/5.56mm is not a new item. Such guns have been around for years. The biggest issue I’ve had with .223 AK’s is that they tend to be more expensive to own and shoot than the 7.62x39mm versions. Specially designed .223 AK magazines also have tended to be hard to find and rather costly. Why pay more for privilege?

Standard configuration Kalashnikov pistols really don’t blow my skirt up, but the advent of the new M47 “stabilizing brace” has changed all that. To be quite frank, the new brace has changed the AK pistol from a quaint novelty to a practical tool.

The current situation with AR-15 magazines is quite positive. Manufacturers have caught up with all of the back orders and AR mags can be had at rather attractive prices. By the same token, .223 Remington ammunition is now plentiful and priced at pre-2008 levels.

I suppose the natural question on everyone’s mind when they seen an AK with an AR magazine sticking out of it is; “Will it actually work?” That was my quandary. Jarrad and I packed our range bags, plenty of .223 ammunition and a variety of AR magazines at head to the Mississippi Combat Training Academy.

After launching somewhere around 250 to 300 rounds of .223 through the gun this past weekend, I can say “Yes, the gun will run.” But that’s getting ahead of things.

For testing purposes we had GI aluminum magazines from Brownells, PMags from MagPul, and even a SureFire MAG5-60 sixty round version. The test ammunition came from ASYM, Black Hills, HPR, Silver Bear and Winchester….

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Student of the Gun's Paul Markel
Student of the Gun’s Paul Markel

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a United States Marine, police officer, professional bodyguard, and small arms and tactics instructor. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly 20 years, and has hundreds of articles in print. A regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows, Markel is a subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force.

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  • 4 thoughts on “Could this Gun be the Best of Both Worlds?

    1. Glad they could copy faxon firearms arak-21. Which I shot at the shot show 2014 at the Boulder rifle and pistol club way back in January….

    2. This looks like a less attractive version of the Joshua MK5 by Amendment Arms in Arden, NC. A “ground up” hybrid, chambered in 5.56, using standard AR mags. Barrel by Walther. Coolest rifle I’ve seen in a long long time.

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