There are some things that the Israeli Uzi SMG did right, but there are a ton of things it did wrong — especially for a gun designed to work in sandy desert environments. When the Polish military was looking for a new SMG in the 1980’s, they started with the basic Uzi design and then improved on it. Like, a lot. The result was the PM-84, and the latest and greatest incarnation of that firearm is the PM-06 . . .
Let’s start with where the Uzi went wrong, and high on that list is the open bolt design. Especially given the dusty environment that it was designed to operate in, having everything open to the elements can be a problem. Add to that the awkward safety and the odd sighting system and you’ve got a gun that only a mother could love.
Enter the PM-84, and today’s firearm the PM-06.
The differences start with the operating mechanism. The gun is still a direct blowback action like the Uzi, but it fires from a closed bolt instead of an open one. The design is such that the bolt actually extends past the chamber and wraps around the barrel, adding more protection for if the barrel should rupture and allowing for a shorter overall package with the same bolt weight.
That closed bolt design also allows for another convenient feature: last round hold-open. When the last round of a magazine is fired, the gun locks open to enable quicker loading of a fresh magazine. The release catch is conveniently located under the thumb of a right-handed shooter, and works much like a conventional slide release on a handgun. It’s simple, intuitive, and allows the gun to be reloaded much faster than its Israeli counterpart.
Also unlike the Israeli gun, the charging handle is on the side of the PM-06 instead of in the middle. The Uzi uses an Ingram-esque cocking handle with a cutout to aim down the sights. The PM-06 line uses a side-mounted integrated charging handle. It loses some points from me though because it’s fixed to the bolt and reciprocates with the action, but it tends to stay out of the way.
The disassembly process is similar to the Uzi design, with the top dust cover being held in place by a spring at the rear of the gun. Also familiar is the magazine placement and the general shape of the grip. However, there is a noticeable lack of a grip safety — something I appreciate.
While the general features of this line of firearms are nice, there are some significant improvements in the latest revision. One of those nice features is the extending skeleton stock. Not only does it extend out to a comfortable distance, but it tilts down to suit the ergonomics of the shooter.
Another feature is the palm swell on the foregrip. Older versions featured a vertical foregrip on the guns, but the circular palm grip not only allows for an easy-to-grip surface, but also allows for things to be placed inside that rather large circular space. Things like lights and lasers, and combinations thereof.
Out on the range, the gun is an absolute dream to shoot. The trigger is smooth and easy to pull, and the sights are quick to align and use. Which brings me to another improvement in this version of the gun: an integrated Picatinny rail on the dust cover. It’s not exactly the most accurate way to mount an optic. Then again, we’re not using this for long distance precision shooting. The PM-06’s iron sights are great, but a red dot would really work wonders on this gun.
The most surprising thing about this gun is how accurate it is. Even in full auto, keeping the rounds in the space of a human head is dead-simple. The rate of fire on the gun is pleasant, and recoil is negligible.
As a replacement for the Uzi, this pistol really shines. It’s a much more polished (and Polish!) product, with some great features. But compared to the rest of the field, it’s still a somewhat blocky and awkward design. There’s no doubt that this gun is bare bones — you can’t strip any more metal or space out of this thing without serious consequences — but it’s a decidedly last century design. Stamped sheet metal only gets you so far. Nevertheless, it’s still a hoot to shoot.
Polish PM-06 SMG
Size: 615mm extended, 319mm compact
Weight: 2.5 kg
Capacity: 25 round magazine
Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
(All ratings are relative compared to the other weapons in the gun’s category.)
Accuracy: * * * * *
Easy to control and easy to keep on target.
Ergonomics: * * * *
The safety selector is a bit awkward, but everything else falls neatly to hand.
Ergonomics Firing: * * * *
It’s great. Just don’t run it without the stock extended, at least not in full auto. The height over bore issue sucks.
There are apparently replacement parts for that forward grip, but you’ll never see them on the civilian market.
Overall: * * * 1/2
It’s fun and easy to shoot, but the package just isn’t as appealing as some of the other designs available on the market.