Saturday, July 9, 2011

Picture Lacking Range Report Pt. 1: CZ-52

A good day shooting. I'm going to start my picture lacking range report with my favorite pistol of those I own.
Not a picture of my personal CZ-52
Note I said my favorite not my most accurate or powerful. The Czechoslovakians were not happy with the geopolitics that left them behind the Iron-Curtain so while most Russian satellites just reproduced whatever the USSR made for infantry weapons they Czechs never passed up a chance to be as different as they could without having Russian tanks in their streets.

One of the unique things about the CZ-52 compared to the Russian equivalent is that the Czechs supposedly made their pistol to be able to shoot hot loaded sub-machine gun ammo that if it were to be shared with their Russian "friends" would have a decent chance of blowing up their pistols when they went to shoot deserters. The nice thing for the 52 owner then is that you can pretty much shoot any cheap 7.62x25mm ammo that you can find.

The challenges are multiple. The sights are thin and difficult to pick up quickly. The grip is long and narrow so it is easy to shoot wide to either side. Finally due to the firing-pin safety(nice for not having a slam fire or similar problem) the single-action only trigger is heavy(meaning it is also easy to shoot very high or low) and has a tendency to abuse your trigger finger.

So why is this gun my favorite. Well besides the fact that my wife gave it to me a few Christmases ago(yes we give eachother guns and yes we are still happily married so go find your own), like the Czechs I enjoy being the "odd duck" and pulling out a cold war relic from a relatively small country typically qualifies you for odd. Even if the other shooters somehow miss you breaking out this gun the concussion as it starts sending out bullets half-again as fast(1500-1600fps up to 500mps for my metric audience) as their .40 S&W quickly gets noticed. The ejection is to say the least positive(spent shells kicked 10-15yards), but since the ammo isn't typically reloadable this simply means that if you aren't at the right end of the firing line your brass typically sails over whoever you are shooting with.

There is a wonderful sweet-spot of accuracy within this gun. As I've said it isn't an easy gun to shoot well, but when you do it seems more rewarding. I was actually shooting this gun better today than my CCW(more on what that some other time), I'm far from the world's most experienced pistol shooter but my 7 yard groups were staying in the 8 ring and I was shooting at a quick but not unaimed pace.

I was also shooting with people who have forgotten more about marksmanship than I will ever have the time to learn, still going against my own previous performance with the gun I'm pleased with myself. As a bit of post shooting fun with this gun you typically get to surprise someone as you break it down to clean it. Since the communist surplus ammo is corrosive I typically field-strip the gun at the range and squirt Windex down the barrel to wash out the corrosive salts(there are more ways of cleaning corrosive ammo but this is what I was taught) after swabbing it and then running a Hoppe's #9 patch down it the gun will safely keep until you clean it that night. After years and thousands of rounds(ah cheap surplus ammo where are you going?) my barrel has no rust or signs of corrosion.

As always any day shooting is better than those spent with a great many other activities.


  1. Interesting stuff, I never knew that about the Czechs. I just assumed they made their own kit because they felt like it.

    And my wife and I gift each other guns as well. Nice to find someone you not only want to share your life with but your hobbies as well.

  2. The 52 is just the most extreme example. The vz-58 looks like an AK but has internals more similar to an SKS and a magazine that isn't compatible with AKs because the Czechs wanted the bolt to lock back on empty.