Sometimes I buy guns merely for the fun factor involved in them. I don’t have or need a reason other than I want it. This has lead me to silly, but fun MAC pistols, an old school VZ 61 in 32 ACP, and now the Chiappa PAK 9. The PAK 9 is at it’s core a 9mm AK. My 9mm collection has exploded as of late, and it is my main go to fun caliber since 22 is impossible to find. I didn’t grab one of these to create a PAK 9 review, but now after having it for a few months I still see almost zero information about the gun out there. Oh, it also cost me $399 from the local gun store.
It is imported by Chiappa, but is made by a Romanian arms factory called NOVA. It’s actually an interesting and somewhat bizarre design. The receiver is all AK, the mag well is even cut for a standard AK magazine. However, a plastic magazine block attached to the handguard allows the weapon to feed from pistol mags. The PAK 9 actually feeds from Beretta 92 magazines, and comes with two ten rounders. Beretta mags are easy to source, and I purchased two 32 rounders the same day.
The magazine block is actually very easy to remove, and according to Chiappa’s website there is a Glock adapter coming to market. Circle 10’s Instagram account shows they are working on a Suomi conversion as well. So the PAK 9s options are growing.
It’s an ugly duckling for sure, but it solid, nothing rattles or feels loose. You have plenty of rail options, including the ability to mount an optic. What’s odd is that the weapon still has the AK lever magazine release. However, this does not release the magazine, it releases the entire front handguard. The actual magazine release is on the magazine block and is a push button. Other than that the controls are standard AK stuff.
It’s a heavy booger, but recoil is almost nonexistent. The tiny rear sight is a pain, and I quickly replaced it with a cheap Sightmark red dot for funsies. There is a sling adapter built into the rear of the receiver so you can go SAS style with it and a taunt sling. It’s certainly a fun gun and an attention getter on the range.
I used purely dirty, steel cased Tula ammunition to test the PAK 9. There some joke I could make about Romanians shooting Russians, but I won’t. Beretta Mags feed well, and the somewhat oddball system between the magwell and mag block worked perfectly fine. Even when holding the front magazine and applying pressure rearward and forwards. It’s worked without issue with both Tula and SIG brand ammunition for the first 300 rounds. It even ate 20 old 115 grain Winchester JHPs with zero issues.
Like any rifle or SMG turned into a pistol, it’s awkward. Commenters will probably say a Glock and a 33 round mag is better and they are probably right. It’s certainly less awkward, and lighter weight, while throwing down the same amount of lead. The PAK 9 is an affordable toy, and it’s one that gives me a dumb smile.
If one wanted to go the SBR route this would be one of the cheaper methods of going pistol caliber SBR. It is cheaper than a CZ Scorpion by a whole lot, cheaper than a SIG MPX by a metric ton, and cheaper than the other 9mm AK and AR 9 options so far. Beretta mags are already easy enough to and once the Glock magazine adapter comes out you can easily swap between the two. The Chiappa PAK 9 would be perfect with a side folder attached.
Whatever the reason, it’s affordable, reliable so far, and is simply a cool idea. For under a grand I can convert it to an SBR and buy a thousand rounds of ammo and have something useful, but until then I like my toy.