By Marc Kelley
Syndicated by: Montana News
If asked, which country in the world is best known for their firearms, many would instinctively reply, Germany, or Belgium.
While these countries do have a rich history in the firearms manufacturing industry, they are certainly not alone when it comes to producing outstanding weapons. One country you would certainly want to include in this list, is Czechoslovakia. Perhaps the best reason Czech weapons are not on the top of most peoples list of outstanding firearms, comes from the history of the country itself.
As long ago as 1924, the Czech armament industry began producing the vz 24 rifle, what today is commonly referred to as the Czech Mauser. The Czech vz 24, is descended from the iconic German, K98 Mauser, bolt action rifle, chambered in 7.92x57 or what is commonly referred to as the 8mm Mauser. Throughout the late 1920's and into the 1930's Czechoslovakia, produced hundreds of thousands of vz 24 rifles, which were sent throughout the world, to any region where an armed conflict was present. The Czech rifles commonly appear in South America, Japan, China, Africa and throughout the Middle East.
In 1939, when the Nazi's invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia, the Nazi's confiscated a huge number of the Czech rifles, which would be used extensively in WW II. In 1948, a communist coup d'e'tat, toppled the Government of the Czech Republic and all heavy industry, including weapons manufacturing, was cutoff from the Western export market. Taking their turn, the Soviets confiscated the hundreds of thousands of Czech small arms. The confiscated weapons were stock piled and during the Viet Nam War, these very same small arms, were distributed to the Viet Cong, and used against US Forces.
During the Cold War (1945-1990) most of the Warsaw Pact countries relied heavily upon the Soviet Union for weapons, while Czechoslovakian weaponry, remained largely relegated to civilian / domestic use. The Czech Communist Party would rule until December 29, 1989 when the people of Czechoslovakia would rise up in what is known as, The Velvet Revolution. The uprising would result in the dismantling of the Communist Government and the conversion to a Parliamentary system of governance. In June 1990, Czechoslovakia held its first democratic elections and by 1993, Czechoslovakia was split into two countries; to be know as, The Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The main threat to the newly formed countries was thought to be ethnic conflict between the Czechs and the Slovaks. However, this threat was greatly mitigated by moving toward a market driven economy, controlled, not by the government, but rather driven by the people and their desire for self reliance. Once again, Communism and Socialism, would be proven as flawed forms of governance, destined for failure and economic collapse. Thru a process of breaking up monopolies and the privatization of their economies, the success of the newly formed countries would depend upon development of business relationships and trade agreements, outside of their borders. One such business which was easily adapted to the new market, was the weapons industry; and by 1995, Czech weapons were beginning to make their presence known around the world.
For years, the Czechs produced some of the finest weaponry the world never got to see. Weapons, such as the famous British light machine-gun, known as the The Bren, was a version of the original 1935, Czech designed ZG vz 26, licensed for production by the British. Even the name BREN, reflects the collaboration between the Czechs and the Brits and comes from the combination of Brno, the Czech city where the weapon was designed and the British Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield.
During the mid-late 70's, several firearms manufactures began designing and producing pistols which would become known as the "Wonder Nines." Driving the popularity of these high capacity, steel framed, 9mm pistols was the iconic firearms author Robert Shimek. Perusing any gun magazine in the late 70's and 80's, you would find articles written by Shimek, singing the praises of the S&W model 59, the Browning High Power, the Beretta 92, the Sig Sauer P226, the H&K VP70 and a firearm almost no one had heard of... the CZ 75.
The CZ 75 was introduced in 1975. The new Czech side arm, would be chambered for the standard NATO, 9mm cartridge . The semi-auto, pistol utilized a staggered column (what we call a double stack) detachable magazine to increase its capacity, a slide which rode inside of the frame of the firearm, creating a stiffer overall design producing increased accuracy, a hammer forged tilting barrel and a short recoil action. While all of the "Wonder Nines" enjoyed market success, the popularity of the CZ 75 in the US was largely brought about in the mid 1990's when the pistol became popular with US Special Forces. As if the endorsement of our Special Forces was not enough praise for the CZ, Soviet Spetnatz Forces also adopted the pistol as their chosen sidearm. Even though the CZ 75 has not yet been produced in the same numbers; as say, the Browning High Power, the pistols seemed to be in use throughout the world and the legend of the CZ 75 was born.
I have for many years, carried a CZ 75, as my personal defense weapon. I chose the CZ, largely for its ability to function in both single action as well as double action. This feature allows me to carry the firearm with a round in the chamber and the hammer down. To fire the weapon, one needs only to pull the trigger engaging the weapons double action feature. A firearm which operates in double action, provides a much heaver trigger pull, adding a greater level of safety. Once the CZ 75 is fired, the weapon cycles, resetting the trigger into a single action mode, substantially reducing the trigger pull and increasing the accuracy of follow up shots. When you understand how the design of the 75, enhances its operation, it is no wonder this CZ pistol, developed its reputation among Law Enforcement and Military professionals throughout the world.
Today the CZ 75B, a second generation pistol, is available in both the full steel version as well as a polymer framed version. Variants of the pistol can be found in compact, semi compact, stainless steel and double action only versions. If you are considering spending your hard earned dollars on a high quality, high capacity, 9mm pistol, the CZ 75 is certainly something you should consider. Current prices for the pistols range in the $ 600.00 to $ 650.00 range. When your buddies tell you their Glock 17 is the King of the Range, in todays 9mm market… let your CZ 75 speak for itself. Only when they shoot the CZ 75, will they fully appreciate the fact, you own the best production, 9mm pistol in the world.