The P-64 was drawn from a competition for a new service pistol issued in 1958. At the prototype stage, two versions of the CZAK pistol were created: the Model M (Milicyjny), with a magazine capacity of 6 rounds and chambered to use the .380 ACP (9x17mm Short) cartridge and the Model W (Wojskowy), with a longer barrel than the Model M, a 6-round magazine capacity and chambered for the 9x18mm Makarov round.
During the evaluation phase which took place in 1961, both pistols were compared and the Model M was selected over the Model W. It was then rechambered for the Makarov round and improved with a modified slide catch (the external catch button was removed) and better ergonomics. In 1965, the P-64, manufactured at the Łucznik Arms Factory in Radom, entered service with the army, police and security forces under the official designation 9 mm pistolet wz. 1964 replacing the 7.62mm TT pistol. The P-64 is no longer produced, and is being replaced by the WIST-94 pistol in 9mm NATO caliber. However, the P-64 remains in the inventories of the Polish Armed Forces and the police services.
The P-64 is a double-action blowback-operated pistol. It has a spring extractor mounted within the slide. The rotating slide catch, installed inside the pistol's frame, contains a protrusion which acts as an empty case ejector. The pistol's trigger mechanism includes a disconnector (which ensures semi-automatic-only fire); a double-action trigger (which allows the pistol to be both cocked and fired with one pull of the trigger); and an exposed hammer. The slide features a loaded chamber indicator (which, both visually and by feel, indicates the presence of a round in the chamber) and a manual safety lever that prevents the weapon from being accidentally discharged with the hammer either cocked or released. This feature also allows a round to be chambered with the safety engaged or toggled off. In the "safe" position, the firing pin is locked and the trigger bar is disconnected from the hammer notch. If the hammer is cocked and the safety is engaged, the safety will release the hammer. In the 1970s the trigger mechanism was slightly modified and the hammer spur was enlarged.
The P-64 is fed from a 6-round single-stack box magazine. After the last round has been fired, the magazine follower lifts the slide catch, which locks the slide open. The slide can then be released by withdrawing the magazine a short distance and pulling the slide back. The pistol is equipped with a fixed front sight, and a dovetailed rear sight with a square notch. The sights are calibrated for firing at 50 m. The all-steel P-64 is manufactured mainly by machine cutting. It is issued with a spare magazine, a leather holster, and a cleaning kit. This pistol has a harsh recoil caused by its relatively small size coupled with the potent 9x18mm Makarov round.
Despite its similarity to the Walther PP, the P-64 is an original design, holding a Polish patent, number 54822. The patent applies to the unique disconnecter (an elongated plate sliding vertically inside the pistol's frame) which provides an internal safety, decocks the hammer when the safety is engaged, interrupts the weapon's cycle after every shot fired, and allows the weapon to be reloaded with the safety on.