Preview – Century Arms N-PAP HI-CAP
Photography by Henry Z. DeKuyper
Illustration by Ced Nocon
Avtomat for the People
The N-PAP: Yugoslavian Design, Serbian Execution, American Improvements
It’s safe to say that any industrial product that’s still going strong after 110-million units have entered circulation has something going for it. Which is not to say that it can’t be improved, but you’d better think carefully before bolting a bunch of plastic crap onto the base model and proclaiming it a great leap forward.
We procured one of Century Arms’ latest offerings in its AK lineup, and while it’s not in the same league as say, an Arsenal, it’s also less than half the price. This being RECOIL, we sought to improve the ergonomics and performance to the point where it could be a viable AR alternative at a reasonable cost.
One of the biggest attractions of the AK is the caliber — if 7.62x39mm wasn’t all that and a bag of chips, why would we spend so much time trying to replicate its ballistics out of Stoner’s design? The .300 Blackout is benchmarked against the 7.62x39mm and unless you’re running it suppressed, its much-vaunted superiority is mainly marketing hype; compare ballistics for the 125-grain-class projectiles and you’ll get the idea. Despite Russian adoption of the 5.45mm cartridge (a move that Kalashinkov himself reportedly fought), Soviet satellite states were loath to give up the .30-caliber AK — and for good reason. Quite apart from the logistical nightmare of switching over to a new round, at typical infantry engagement distances, the 7.62x39mm offered better barrier penetration and, when loaded with the Yugoslavian M67 cartridge, pretty decent terminal effects on soft targets.
One of the biggest proponents of the .30-caliber AK in the European theater was the JNA, or Yugoslavian People’s Army. With a combined force of 2.6-million ground troops, the Yugoslav doctrine of total war in defense of the homeland required that regular forces would fight a delaying action, wearing down an invader before the general population could engage in partisan attacks over a wide front. Despite being a socialist state, Yugoslavians were fiercely independent, having successfully fought the Nazis in WWII and having been kicked out of the communist party by Stalin.
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