Česká Zbrojovka - The Maker of CZ Firearms in Uherský Brod, Czech Republic
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|Czeska Zbrojovka (CZ) is a firearm manufacturer based in the Czech Republic. They manufacture handguns, rifles and shotguns for military, police and sporting purposes. This company profile was compiled after visiting the Uhersky Brod factory and talking with their management and employees.|
The story of Czeska Zbrojovka (CZ) is one of high quality gun manufacturing in spite of invasion by Nazi Germany in World War II and occupation by the Soviet Union through the Cold War.
CZ originated in 1936 when Czechoslovakian arms production was moved away from the German border due to fears of invasion. Initially, the factory produced anti-aircraft guns, but later began manufacturing small arms.
Even though CZ was born in world war, and spent much of its history behind the Iron Curtain, the majority of the firearms produced are sporting guns. Each year about 125,000 guns are made by CZ with most staying in Europe and about 30% going to the United States.
In addition to being a prolific firearms manufacturer, CZ is also a major producer of gears, gearboxes and air conditioning manifolds for auto companies like Ford and Jaguar. During the cold war, the CZ factory also made gears and gearboxes for light aircraft.
CZ makes some of the finest handguns, shotguns and rifles in the world. After touring the state of the art Uhersky Brod factory and speaking with their employees it is easy to understand why CZ is one of the top firearms makers in the world.
The Uhersky Brod factory in the Czech Republic is the largest small arms factory in the world. The facility is so massive that it is one mile long and houses more than 200 acres under roof.
By any measure, the CZ factory is huge, but it is a marvel in many other ways. Since the factory was born in the prelude of world war, the layout of the factory is broken up into individual buildings with streets running between them. This was done to fool bombers flying overhead into thinking the factory was really a village.
The Uhersky Brod factory employs approximately 1200-1300 personel. When the GunsForSale.com staff visited the factory, exactly 1250 workers were currently employed.
The factory uses 90 CNC machines manufactured in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, England and the Czech Republic. The machines are able to hold tolerances to 3/10 of one millimeter.
Polymer frames used in some CZ pistols are not made by the company, but are instead purchased from a third party. Magazines for all firearms are either made in the factory or subcontracted to MecGar.
About 75% of all pistols made are manufactured using a lost wax casting process. In this process, wax pellets are imported from England and formed into the shape of a pistol frame. The wax shape is then processed with sand and heat, which melts away the wax, leaving a silica mold, which is used to form steel into the frame.
The steel is heated to 1496˚ C and once poured into the mold, it is baked in a kiln. After baking, bead blasting is done to smooth the frame surfaces.
The melted wax is shipped back to England for recycling.
Also in the CZ factory are two hammer forging machines. One of the machines is new, costing the company $3 million US.
CZ-USA is the subsidiary company formed in 1998 to import CZ products into the US. CZ-USA is the exclusive US importer of all CZ guns, including the CZ shotguns from Huglu of Turkey and Brno rifles. Based in Kansas City, KS, CZ-USA handles all US-based warranty work.
CZ-USA is the holding company for Dan Wesson Firearms. Alice Poluchova is the president of CZ-USA.
Dan Wesson Firearms was acquired by CZ-USA in 2005. The Dan Wesson company was founded in 1968 by Dan Wesson, the great-grandson of D.B. Wesson, the founder of Smith & Wesson.
Originally known for high quality revolvers, Dan Wesson now produces finely tuned 1911 pistols. Dan Wesson 1911 pistols are hand fitted frame and slides, and all of the frames and slides are forged.
Dan Wesson 1911 pistols have an undercut trigger guard allowing for better hand fit to the pistol. Additionally, the ejection ports are lowered and flared while the magazine wells are beveled.
Returning to the Dan Wesson line up in 2011 are the classic .357 Magnum revolvers. The DW715 revolvers are built to be the most accurate, rugged and versatile revolvers on the market.
The initial DW715 revolvers will ship with a vented 6” barrel, and barrel kits will be available from 2.5” to 10”.
In 2006, CZ acquired Brno Rifles, which is also known as Zbrojovka Brno. Brno produces high quality single shot and double rifles and over/under shotguns. Brno Rifles officially opened in 1918, but can trace its history to the 1800’s. Brno served as an armory in the Austro-Hungarian Empire as part of the Viennese Aresenal.
Between 1924 and 1940, Brno manufactured the famous VZ24 Mauser rifles and the British BREN light machine gun.
During World War II, the Brno factory manufactured arms for Nazi Germany, and later for the Czecho-Slovak resistance. After World War II, Brno became part of the Czecho-Slovak National Enterprise under the communist regime.
Brno rifles are high end, fixed breach firearms made in the Czech Republic. They make over/under rifles, combo guns and single shot rifles.
CZ manufactures some of the most recognizable firearms in history. The CZ 75 pistol is considered by many to be the finest culmination of features from combat pistols around the world. The CZ 75 entered production in 1975, and in 2007, the 1,000,000th pistol rolled off the line. More than one million guns and 35 years later, the CZ 75 continues to evolve and maintain its status as a very fine combat pistol.
Designed by the Koucký brothers, the CZ-75 is a locked breech pistol that operates via the short recoil method. As the pistol fires, the slide and barrel recoil together for a short distance. Then, the linkless barrel cams downward on a track integral with the barrel as the slide stop pin, which crosses through the barrel track, mandates the movement of the barrel.
The CZ-75 pistol's trigger system is double action/single action (DA/SA), and the original models, as well as many of the newer production models, had a frame mounted safety which allowed the shooter to carry the pistol "cocked and locked" or "condition one" - a round in the chamber with the safety on and the hammer back. It was one of the first double stack, 9mm pistols to allow this type of carry.
The CZ-75 uses a double stack magazine that, depending on the model, holds 13 to 18 rounds of 9mm. The CZ-75 is also available in .40 S&W, and it's bigger brother, the CZ-97, is chambered in .45 ACP. Newer models of the CZ-75 offer decockers, as well as single action only and double action only trigger systems, in addition to the DA/SA with manual safety as introduced on the original. Newer CZ-75s have a "B" added to the end of the model - for example, CZ-75B - which denotes a firing pin block type safety device has been added to the internal components.
The CZ 75 is manufactured in a wide range of configurations including service and compact models. The newest member of the CZ 75 line is the CZ 75 SP-01 Phantom. The SP-01 Phantom uses a polymer frame with interchangeable grip inserts to customize the size of the grip to the shooter. Chambered in 9mm, the SP-01 holds 18+1 rounds and uses a traditional DA/SA trigger with a decocker in place of the safety lever.
Featured in many Hollywood action movies including The Matrix, Smokin’ Aces and The Dark Knight, the VZ 61 Skorpion is a machine pistol adopted by the Czechoslovakian military for their armored troops, drivers and others needing a compact weapon. Popular in many cold war thrillers, the VZ 61 has a mystique surrounding it that continues today. A semi-automatic version of the VZ 61 has been imported into the US, but was discontinued in 2010.
The Skorpion is chambered for the light-recoiling .32 ACP cartridge, allowing better controllability of the weapon in full auto fire. The cartridge does limit the effective range of the machine pistol to close distances, and it is unlikely to penetrate light body armor worn by many modern combat troops.
The CZ 550 rifles are considered by many people to be among the finest in the world. They use a Mauser-style claw extractor for positive feeding and extraction. The 550 line of rifles have cold hammer forged barrels and are lapped for accuracy.
The CZ 550 trigger can be set in the field for a light and crisp “target” trigger by pressing the trigger forward. The trigger will then click into the target mode. Not pressing the trigger forward, leaves the trigger in a standard hunting mode.
The CZ 550 offer a wide variety of stock choices including the use of walnut and Kavlar, and done in classic American, European and Bavarian Mannlicher stocks.
Firearms For Sale in the USA
- CZ P-07 Duty
- CZ 75
- CZ 75 SP-01 Phantom
- CZ 75 SP-01
- CZ 75 Compact
- CZ 2075
- CZ 557
- CZ 550
- CZ 527
- CZ 455
- CZ 712
- CZ 912