By Dan Shea
In Volume 5, Number 1, of Small Arms Defense Journal, we provided the first real guide to the small arms used by North Korea. In our descriptions, we were missing pictures of the current issue North Korean 9x19mm handgun. Until the 1980s, North Korea’s military used the Type 64 and the Type 70 for high-ranking officers and the Type 68 for others who needed sidearms. In the late 1980s, the Type 68 was gradually replaced by a new handgun, the Baek-Du-San (White Head Mountain), in 9x19mm. This is a very close copy of CZ75 of that era, but experts doubt that technical support to make it was actually supplied to China as is assumed. The Chinese happened to make a copy of the CZ75 (their NZ75) around that time. Unlike the NZ75, the Baek-Du San is designed very closely after the original CZ75 (rumor has it that this was adopted because of the late Kim-Jung Il’s personal orders). He was a known collector and shooter of firearms, and he had ultimate power in his country. If he actually ordered them to adopt it, nobody in North Korea would resist. The fact that the CZ75 is an excellent handgun notwithstanding, of course.
SADJ contributor Heebum Hong, from South Korea, recently had the opportunity to photograph an original Baek-Du San pistol, and its markings. We’ve added this to our online articles at www.sadefensejournal.com and www.SmallArmsOfTheWorld.com to complete the photo set. We have photos of a number of suppressed pistols captured from North Korean spies, and will bring those to you as soon as we can.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V17N2 (June 2013)|