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Model 74 “Carpati”: Cugir’s Romanian Walther Clone

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The Model 74 “Carpați” is a copy of the Walther PP made by the Cugir factory in Romania. The project began at the direction of the Romanian secret police, who delivered a worn out Walther to the factory in 1972 with a request that they produce a domestic copy. Work on the design took two years before the final product was ready in 1974, and was adopted at the Model 74 (although it is colloquially known as the “Carpați”, after the Carpathian Mountains around Cugir).

The Model 74 has an aluminum alloy frame and a 90.5mm barrel, almost exactly splitting the difference between the barrel lengths of the PP and PPK. It is chambered for .32 ACP, and is pleasant and easy to shoot, capable of better accuracy than most would expect thanks to its fixed barrel design. It is a single/double action gun, with a decocting lever. The magazine capacity is 8, although users typically load 7 to reduce magazine fatigue – and in police use that standard set up was two magazines each loaded with just 6 rounds. The gun was designed for a minimum lifespan of 3,000 rounds fired.

Entering production in 1974, it quickly scaled up to 6000/month. Production ran until the early 1990s, with hundreds of thousands made. They were used by police and military forces in Romania and also exported widely. After the fall of communism in Romania, a Model 95 was made in two variations. One was a steel framed version in .380 caliber, made in small quantity mostly for export. The other was a copy of the Model 74 chambered for 9mm blanks, which was reasonably popular on the Romanian civilian market. It could be fitted with a less-lethal rubber ball launcher, and the purchase permit for such a pistol also served as a carry permit, allowing them to be kept for at least a minimal form of self-defense.

Thanks to A.N.C.A., the Romanian national firearms collectors’ association, for organizing the trip that made this video possible!

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