In my last post on the P83 Wanad three months ago I talked about the gun itself, its history, and how it disassembles. Today I finally managed a trip to the range with the pistol (and a few others). As you can see above I took a few boxes of Geco 9x18 Makarov ammunition that I chose in part because it was the cheapest I could find. After all, a reliable pistol designed for combat use shouldn't be picky about ammunition- and this one wasn't picky. Every shot fed and ejected perfectly. As to accuracy...
Fixed barrel pistol like the P-83, P-64, and Walther's PP family are (or should be) intrinsically more accurate than delayed recoil pistols like the John Browning designed 1911 pistol. In a 1911, the barrel moves rearward and down with every shot, and depends on the mainspring and the tight fit of the moving parts to return to its initial position. Tiny difference in position on successive shots can make a big difference downrange, which is why the gunsmiths who tune the 1911 for bullseye competition spend most of their time tightening up all the tolerances and polishing barrel bushings. The fixed barrel on the P-83, on the other hand, is in exactly the same position for every shot.
The target above was shot outdoors at 50'. It was a moderately windy day, around 66 degrees. My first shot missed the target entirely. You can see a few shots on the bull, a few below, and many more high and to the right. The gun was shooting about a foot low and 8 inches right at 50', and I had to walk the shots onto the bull, starting in the upper right corner of the silhouette target. That's not really a big issue as the sights can be moved or filed. I'd like to get it shooting to point of aim at 25 yards.
Firing behavior was sharp, but not terribly uncomfortable. My hands weren't at all sore after 50 rounds fired slowly over half an hour. Double action is heavy but smooth, and single action is light and crisp, with no creep at all on my sample. The safety/decocker is difficult to reach, but the heavy DA pull means that this pistol, like the PPK, can safely be carried uncocked with the safety off. The grips look and feel rugged enough, but their shape doesn't make it easy to get a good, repeatable, hand position. I'm thinking of ordering a set of wood grips ($69) from Grips4U.net, where they have wood grips for 122 different classic European and American pistols.
On the whole I like this pistol a lot. It's very reliable, and ammunition isn't expensive- the Geco can typically be had for $15-16 a box of 50, and the steel cased Russian Brown Bear and Silver Bear can usually be had for for between $8 and $9 for a box of 50. Its good enough to be issued to Russian troops, so I assume it's reliable. The P-83 is not only reliable enough to use as a carry piece, it's also a great historic collectable, and I suspect the price will go up when the current supply runs out- remember when Nagant revolvers were selling for $119? Next time out I'm going to work on zeroing the sights and then I can test for accuracy.