This week’s feature can feel more like a shotgun than a submachine gun at times, and begs to be used in much the same way. Make room for it in your loadout though, and you just may find it to be the right gun at the right time where it can cause quite the upset even against better-equipped adversaries.
Dropping in with the 0.47 update alongside it’s .380 little brother the Makarovpistol, the RAK is a peculiar automatic that both amazes and frustrates in equal measure at times. Join me as I talk about how this gun can be used to maximum benefit, and find out why you should give it a chance to shine in the right situations.
FB PM-73 RAK
The RAK in DayZ is really a derivative of the PM-63 RAK made by Fabryka Broni Radom in Poland. Designed as a collaboration between several leading Polish engineers in the 1950’s, the RAK — whose name means “commandos’ hand-held automatic” — was the result of the call for a light automatic weapon to be used by soldiers serving in support roles. It is an early example of a personal defense weapon (PDW), slotting in below a full submachine gun but above a handgun.
The RAK’s unique and unconventional design does have some merits, featuring an open bolt and slide design that has the moment of firing occur as the slide is moving forward which helps to reduce recoil. It also has a built-in retarder to bring the fire rate down to a more controllable 650 rounds per minute rather than the gun’s natural 840 rounds per minute cycle. The smart design includes a spoon-shaped compensator at the front to resist recoil, and uses a small number of total parts as well.
The original PM-63 design used 9x18mm Makarov rounds, but subsequent variants used 9x19mm Parabellum (PM-70) and 9x17mm Short (PM-73). We are given the smallest caliber variant in DayZ with .380 Auto (also known as 9x17mm Short or .380 ACP). In real life, all variants of the gun feature a folding front grip and folding rear stock which are intended for use during full-auto firing. When folded up, it can be fired one-handed like a handgun in semi-automatic mode. The version we have in DayZ cannot be folded up.
Image via TheTruthAboutGuns.com.
It’s no secret that the RAK operates with a very limited range for a number of reasons. The low stopping power of it’s .380 ammunition, difficult fixed sights, and recoil that must be actively fought against by the user all conspire to make this gun an exercise in frustration at anything outside 150 meters. It is capable of semi-automatic fire even simply by being light on the trigger, but this does little to increase your chances of putting down a target farther out.
Where it really shines then is at extreme close range. Forget the idea of shooting across an open field, instead this is the weapon you take with you into a city to patrol tightly packed streets as you move from cover to cover. Limit yourself to short bursts, and targets at 50 to 75 meters will have a tough time fighting back against the flurry of bullets.
Since it falls into the smaller submachine gun category, the RAK is able to fit in backpacks and large vests. This increases its usefulness immensely when paired with a rifle that can tackle long range duty. In such an arrangement, a handgun becomes unnecessary, instead leaving the survivor with a more ideal arrangement of two diverse primaries.
This little pocket submachine would be even more useful if it were able to be folded up, but we do not currently have that capability. Despite that, it remains a good use of space, and serves as a fine primary in the beginning stages of your journey from the coast.
Choice of Bad Guys Everywhere
Despite looking like something a Bond villain’s henchman would wave around, the RAK does not carry with it a reputation for being intimidating. The low-range “pop” of the .380 firing from its short barrel doesn’t instill fear, but that also makes this gun a bit of an underdog — something you can use to catch your enemies with their guard down.
This little weapon is surprisingly good at playing a support role, but it’s dependent upon a few things: a 25 round magazine and boxes of ammo. With .380 being so plentiful, there is little excuse not to have lots available, and in combination with the higher capacity magazine you can sling bullets at your enemies all day long without feeling guilty about wasting ammunition. Work with a friend and keep your targets distracted while the other person sneaks around behind.
Being successful with the RAK is dependent upon being well supplied. Fortunately this isn’t too difficult, as .380 rounds can be found just about everywhere and the magazines are an easy grab from police stations. You’ll have to decide for yourself how much inventory space you’re willing to dedicate, but the more magazines the better.
Having all of those magazines at the ready will make things easier when you find yourself in combat and inevitably need to put down a lot of fire on your enemies. The RAK reloads quickly, getting you back in the action with only a momentary pause.
What You See is What You Get
Unfortunate as it may be, the RAK belongs to a very small list of weapons in DayZ that has no real attachments. This is partly due to its design not accommodating these things, but it’s possibly just as much because the gun simply doesn’t need anything else. There are few attachments that would enhance its capabilities given its limited range, the lone exception being a suppressor perhaps.
Instead, your only choice is magazine size. It’s not as straightforward as it would appear however. Usually bigger would be better as far as capacity, but with the RAK magazines you have to decide between taking up one slot or two per magazine as well. If you don’t plan on using it much and can deal with the reduced capability, then the smaller mags may suit your inventory needs better.
At extreme close ranges, the .380 should not be underestimated. It may be a small fry in the grand scheme of ammunition in DayZ, but at short distances a bullet is a bullet — and this one will put you down. A single shot isn’t likely to kill anyone, but some patience with the recoil and a quick trigger finger can net you the win in the right situations.
Try this gun on some zombies first to get comfortable with it, and it just might surprise you. At the very least, perhaps you’ll have more respect for it in the future when you encounter it on the coast. Be wary, the moment you begin to snub your nose at it is when someone will come along and put you down with it.