Today we will be talking about the history of the PPS-43 from 1947 to 1955 manufactured in Poland. We will not be covering Russian or Chinese variants. This article will be structured by year and then manufacturer. We will go in depth of each manufacturer, looking into things like serial numbers, unique markings and subtle but important differences with the aim of preserving the history of the weapons. Many of us own these kits and with establishing a knowledge base by which we can put a personal value on PPS kits and parts, not all AK's, FAL's, ect. are worth the same and there is no reason in the end all PPS kits should be the same. These are special weapons!
(PROTOTYPE WEAPONS 1947-1949)
In 1947 the soviets went to HCP Hipolit Cegielski, in the city of Poznan, a company with a history of high quality manufacturing to begin production of the polish variant of the pps-43 also known as the Pistolet Maszynowy wz.43. In 1950 Poland was officially awarded the contract to produce the weapon. Only the 1947-1949 prototypes can truly be called a PPS-43 for this reason. The correct designation for ALL 1950-1955 polish produced pps-43 VARIANTS is " WZ-43".
From 1947 to 1949 the HCP plant made the machines and tooling that would later be sent to the other 4 plants. It is in our belief that the HCP plant did a "test run" on their machines to verify function before sending the machines off to other plants. We can accurately say this because a few examples exist of HCP marked PPS-43s with production dates of 1947 to 1949, with serial numbers that begin with a prefix of A or C. The highest serial number range found is c-6217. By pooling a sample of hundreds of guns pulled from a polish armory and imported as kits shows a whooping total of 11 HCP marked kits. They are easily identifiable by their encircled HCP logo and a date of 1947-1949. Their factory markings are a true high stress stamping. They are crisp and uniform which at its time was a feat in itself to get a crisp complex print into sheet metal that thin without printing the backside or a blotchy stamp. Most 1950-1955 roll marks are done with low stress dyes and upon inspection look rolled with something like they edge of a dime (low stress). The lower receiver is unique in the fact that it has the serial number stamped into the lower in the FCG area and an inspection stamp of a 2 inside a circle on the back of the upper receiver and it can also be found on the guard protecting the mag release. It has a different style pin that holds the lower and upper together and lastly the finish on the weapon is a dull matte black/blue finish. All in all, a rare gun that most certainly exist. we are fortunate to have 11 examples.
(First year production 1950)
in 1950 the contract was awarded to produce the PPS-43 now designated as the WZ-43 . from our literal TONS of guns we only find that one company- Huta Baildon, Katowice marked with an encircled number 12 made them for that year. all serial numbers of this year start with an E and like the HCP prototype the lower is numbered. typically these guns have more inspection stamps done at the factory than others. Definitely an uncommon kit and one of the better ones to have. Our data shows the highest serial #range of 16,000
in 1951 the HUTA plant (number 12) ramped up production and made the same quality gun with the same markings. A notable difference in these guns is the beginning letter of the serial numbers is an H. With these weapons we see the serial number cap out in the 50k range. More specifically H-50527. These again have a numbered lower
For 1952 were going to come full circle where it all started, HCP!
In 1952 the vast majority of guns we see are made by HCP. By this time there is no HCP marking, like the prototypes. Now it is an encircled 6 and the numbers are NOT stamped into the lower. Quality is all the same as their prototypes if not better. We see a lot more inspection stamps on these guns than usual. These serial numbers start as AB, BM, PK, MA. They made a lot of the total, not the most but a good 2nd. Notable that in late 52 they changed the HCP name to the Joseph Stalin Metal Works.
Another manufacturer we see come along in 1952 is Polish magazine factory Zaklady Metalowe Wifama in Lódz, marked with the encircled 53 factory code. Very few of these show up in 1952 and all have serial numbers below 2,000 which tells us they started in late 1952 in their production
1953 was a good production year. you see some variety in manufactures. We see the end of the HCP plant making guns with their serial numbers only with the prefix DK and not exceeding the 9,000 range but a lot more of the factory 53 ( Lodz) guns show up. Serial number prefix letters for the year 1953 at the Lodz factory are BC, KT, KM, MC.
For 1954 we see more of the same from Lodz (factory 53) with the only difference being the prefix letters AB, AD, DR and we don't see a serial number that breaks the 9,000 range.
1955 is the same as above with Lodz being the main player with the only difference being its prefixes again with the prefix of BR, KT, KM.
In summary, you can break PPS-43 kits in their differences by plant. Below is a guide to those differences.
- Prototypes (pre-1950, numbered lowers, HCP logo, stamped rollmarks)
- 1950 production ( E code serial number, numbered lower, factory 12, very uncommon)
- 1951 production ( H code serial number numbered lower, factory 12, , uncommon)
- 1952 production ( HCP/ Joseph Stalin Metal Works, NO NUMBER LOWER, common)
- 1953-1955 production ( lodz manufactured,NO NUMBER LOWER, very common)
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!!!
There is a secret manufacturer we find from 1952-1954 it is known only as plant 54. no idea where or what its name is but if you find one i can assure you its the least common of them all. we found 2 out of hundreds guns.