This Ceskoslovenska Zborjovka Vzor 52 or CZ-52 for short was manufactured in 1953 and is a recoil operated, roller locked, semi-automatic pistol that is chambered for the 7.62 x .25mm Tokarev round. This pistol incorporates a blade type front sight and a V notch rear sight. It is fed by an 8 round detachable box magazine. The pistol has a barrel length of 4.7 inches and an overall length of 8.2 inches with an unloaded weight of 2.09 pounds. The manual safety which is located on the left side of the pistol, also acts as a decocker when pushed up beyond the safe position. Warning, if the firing pin has been replaced or the pistol has worn or damaged parts, an accidental discharge can occur if the decocker is used while there is a round in the chamber. When engaged, the manual safety blocks movement of the sear and prevents the hammer from releasing. The CZ-52 utilizes a second safety in the form of a spring loaded firing pin block. This safety prevents the pistol from being fired unless the trigger is pulled. This safety device is some times referred to as a "drop safe" meaning that an accidental discharge can not occur should a loaded pistol be dropped. The grip panels are a bakelite type of plastic with a single "U" shape steel clip securing them to the pistol.
The 7.62x25mm Tokarev pistol cartridge has a bottle-necked shape and at one time was widely used in the former Soviet Union and Soviet satellite states. The actual caliber of the bullet is 7.85 mm or .309 inches. When fired from a pistol, this cartridge has an unusually loud report and bright muzzle flash that can surprise any onlookers, a loud flame thrower might be a better description. On average, this 90 grain FMJ(full metal jacket) bullet leaves the muzzle at a velocity of 1340 FPS(feet per second) which produces 380 foot pounds of energy. The Czechoslovakian M48 version of this round traveling at 1600 fps has excellent penetration and can easily defeat lighter ballistic vests such as class I, II and IIA. Today, there are some police and special forces units in Russia and in China that still use this cartridge rather than the more popular 9 mm Makarov ammunition.
It is because of the strength of this cartridge that the CZ-52 has a some what complicated, yet strong, roller locking mechanism design. This roller locking mechanism is composed of the barrel, two rollers, and a locking cam. While in battery, the pressure of the recoil spring compresses the cam which then forces the rollers outwards and toward both edges of the slide, locking the barrel and slide together. When the pistol is fired, the barrel and slide recoil together while the cam block is held stationary by a lug in the receiver. After traveling rearward a short distance, the rollers are allowed to disengage from the slide via recesses in the cam block. At which point, the slide is now free to continue rearward, cocking the hammer, extracting the spent case from the barrel's chamber and ejecting it well clear of the pistol. The slide is returned to battery by the compressed recoil spring all the while collecting a fresh cartridge from the magazine and inserting it into the chamber of the barrel. Many modern Heckler & Koch firearms such as the model G8, 91, 93, MP5 and P9 pistol series as well as several other models, along with the old MG 42 German WWII machine gun, incorporated a similar version of this roller locking mechanism design.
After WWII the Czechoslovakian military was in the market for a sidearm and pistol trials were held beginning in 1948 to replace the aging CZ-27 pistol. There were seven prototypes that were being tested including some pistols that were chambered in the war time proven 9mm parabellum cartridge. None of these early prototypes were found to be acceptable, so starting in 1950 the Ceskoslovenska Zbrojovka or Bohemian Arms Factory located in Strakonice, Czechoslovakia concentrated it's efforts solely on a pistol design based on the Russian 7.62 x 25 mm Tokarev round. Initial tests in 1951 of this new design was unsatisfactory. Later an improved pistol design was tested in early 1952 that eventually became adopted by the Czech military in May of that year as the Model 52 or CZ-52. The pistol was designed by Jan Kratochvíl and Frantisek Myska and built by Presne Strojirentsvi in the town of Uhersky Brod in Moravia and by Ceska Zbrojovka in Strakonice. The pistol was manufactured between 1952 and 1954. It is thought that a total of between 150,000 to 250,00 pistols were produced.
In some circumstances, the CZ-52 also replaced the under-powered Vz-50 pistol used mostly by police agencies and chambered in the 7.65 mm Browning(.32 ACP) cartridge. The CZ-52 was officially adopted on May 17, 1952 by the Czech military and served with them for 30 years until it was eventually replaced in 1982 by the Vz. 82 which is chambered in 9x18 mm Makarov.
While there are some exceptions to this rule, normally only weapons adopted by the Czech Republic military will have "vz." in the name. I have called this pistol the CZ-52 instead of vz-52 due to that name being adopted erroneously by most U.S. firearms collectors and distributors. The letters "CZ" is an abbreviation of "Česká Zbrojovka" meaning Czech Armory and "vz" is an abbreviation of "vzor" meaning model.
The history of Ceska Zbrojovka of Uhersky Brod dates back to 1936, when based on a political decision by the National Defense Council, it was established as a branch plant of Ceska Zbrojovka located in the town of Strakonice. On January 2, 1937 production of military and civilian arms commenced. The first products were aircraft machine guns, military pistols and smallbore rifles. Then during the Nazi occupation period the plant was forced to produce and repair military arms for the German war machine.
Beginning in 1945 the plant returned to the production of military and civilian arms. In 1950 the Company became a separate state enterprise called "Presne strojirenstvi Uhersky Brod" or The Precision Machine Tooling Company located at Uhersky Brod, and was subsequently reorganized into a number of specialized directorates. In the 1970s and 1980s the Company merged with Agrozet Brno, where it engaged in its traditional production of arms while also taking over the production of parts for tractors and aircraft engines. In the mid 1980's, a restructuring process began, with an emphasis on the production of arms. Then on July 1, 1988 the Company split from Agrozet Brno and became known once again as Česká zbrojovka, s.p.
In 1990 production for the Czechoslovakian armed units ceased and the newly available manufacturing capacity was put to use in manufacturing arms for hunting and sporting purposes, as well as exports for police and military units. In the early 1990's, production of tractor parts was discontinued, and the production of aircraft parts was curtailed, this opened up space for the production of more recreational arms.
On 1 May 1992, the National Property Fund of the Czech Republic established the joint stock company Ceska zbrojovka a.s., Uhersky Brod in accordance with a privatization project. The Company has been granted the requisite authorization by the Office for Civil Aviation to manufacture and repair aircraft engine parts. The Company’s automotive industry manufacturing operation has received certification per CSN EN ISO 16949 standards. Today the company is located in Kansas and can be reached at CZ-USA, P.O. Box 171073, Kansas City, KS 66117-0073.