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…. is the #1 source for education, enjoyment, and enlightenment of real-world firearms delivered through: training, videos, radio, books and articles.

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

    1. It IS the best of both worlds. We all debated for years about what the real truth was about the std AK ammo round and whether its somewhat squatty design was responsible for a lack of consistent long range accuracy. Well now we know. With the .223 round, this PISTOL is hitting silhouettes at five hundred yards!!! With consistency. It has become one of my favorites and I have been shooting for over sixty years.
      My ideal: Single point shoulder strap. Scoped and fitted with a laser for short range. Easy to maneuver in tight spots. Does require cross draw of your sidearm to keep them from hitting each other when you are on the move. So what’s not to love?
      I put the laser contact switch, running from the laser via a small cable, usually supplied with quality lasers, on the forestock so I can activate it with my thumb. Nothing fancy here. Its held in place by two pieces of electrical tape. I am a right hand shooter so my left thumb activates the switch. Laser is at 50 yds and the scope at 250 yds.
      I have nothing to compare it to. It is in a class of its own. I can see no way even the most experienced shooter could possibly be disappointing in the least by owning this ‘pistol’.
      As always I strongly remind you to break in your new barrels. Shoot about a dozen rounds with plenty of time for the barrel to completely cool. Winter is a great time to do this for a number of reasons. Then take it in and thoroughly clean the barrel. You are good to go for many years. I cant believe the way people spend their money on fine firearms and take them out an shoot a couple of boxes of bullets, one right after the other! You would be very smart to take the advice of an old shooter on this.

    2. The right of the people to own and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED! PERIOD! Many of the States are filing law suits called the 2nd Amendment Protection Act. Removing all federal and state power to interfere with our GOD given Rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The Right to Life is the Right to Protect yourself from those who wish to take it! Read it, Learn it and get busy contacting your Senators and Representatives and demand the Constitution be obeyed as the Rule of LAW. This Law Repeals all Gun Laws and anyone federal or state that violates this sacred right shall be punishable with fines and or jail time. Arizona SB1330 just passed it and many other states are following suit. It’s time we the people, who consent to be governed get back to the chains that the constitution bound the government from becoming a tyrannical and destructive force against we the people. Enough Said!

    3. 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.

    4. 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….

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