The P-83 Wanad, a Polish blow-back pistol was the successor to the P-64 and used by both the Polish military and police. Produced by the venerable Radom factory,
As with all standard-issue East Bloc pistols of the time for military use, it is chambered in 9x18 Makarov.
It has an eight round box magazine, a two round improvement over the P64. The magazine release is located on the butt of the pistol, and pressing the release drops the magazine quite smartly out of the pistol, unlike most other such releases, making it easy to quickly reload without having to grab the empty magazine to get it out of the way. The hammer has a large curved spur, making cocking into single action simple as compared to the small hammer on the P64. The sights are small but functional.
Both the double and single action trigger modes on this pistol are superior to that of the P64.
Interestingly enough, the safety is pushed down to take the gun off safe, instead of being pushed up to fire as on most Walther PPK and East Block Makarov chambered pistols. As a result, getting a firing grip on the pistol is marginally faster as the thumb proceeds from swiping off the safety right down into a firing grip rather than the up-down motion on similar pistols. The slide can still be moved with the safety on, unlike the typical Makarov pistol.
The Wanad has a clever takedown scheme. Instead of pulling down on the trigger guard, a lever inside the guard is pulled down with the trigger guard remainign a slid part of the frame. Dis-assembly then proceeds like most other east block pistols, by pulling the slide back and then up and removing it from the frame, then remove the recoilspring from the barrel and you're all set to clean.
In terms of size, it is slightly larger than the P-64 but feels lighter in the hand.
The P83 fits the hand and points quite naturally, and is a welcome addition to my 9x18 collection. The pistol will fit easily into a front jeans poacket and a Desantis Nemesis type holster would be recommended for such a carry method. Shooting at the range today, the difference between it and the P64 is readily apparent. Felt recoil was much less than the P64. Instead of it smacking the hand between the thumb and forefinger, right into the web,, the P83 instead distributes the recoil better, making it much more pleasant to shoot. The P83 proved to be quite accurate, knocking down plates with ease even with the small sights.
Continuing the Natasha scale of firearms, the P83 was rated only slightly below the CZ-82 for ease of trigger usage in double and single action modes and was only slightly harder to draw back the slide than the CZ82. Its lighter weight compared the CZ82 was a plus, as is its thinner grip due to its single stack magazine.
The P-83 also has gained literary fame, prominently being used by the protagonist Lisbet Salander in Stieg Larsson's book The Girl Who Played with Fire. I haven't seen the movie yet so i can't tell you if the Wanad gets a role on the silver screen or not.
For an East Bloc piece of history under $200, you really can't go wrong with a P-83.