Peace Dividend – Part 3
Today we examine a different flavor of East Bloc sidearm. The Czechs must have chafed at being dominated by the Soviet Union, and went with their own design when selecting a miliary sidearm, the CZ52. No other nation adopted it. The full name is “Ceskoslovenska Zborjovka Vzor 52″. This single-action pistol uses a roller-locked design like the German MG42 belt-fed machinegun. It fires a hotter loading of the 7.62×25 Tokarev cartridge (1600fps!) from an 8-round single-stack magazine. 200,000 were made between 1952 and 1954, to replace the Vz. 50 as the Czech military sidearm. Since the Vz. 50 fired the .32acp cartridge, it was a considerable upgrade in firepower. The CZ52 was phased out in the mid-1990s.
(click the title for more)
Original military finish was either Parkerizing or a gray oxide coating. Some arsenal-refinished examples are blued.
The Gun Tests guys were impressed with and enamored by the CZ52, for its intricate and complicated design and manufacturing excellence (September 2002 issue). It is heaver than a TT-33 Tokarev, but it better be with a hot round going down the barrel. The front sight blade is machined into the slide, with a dovetailed rear sight notch. The grips held on with a spring clip around the rear of the grip. It shot 3″ groups at 15yds. Gun Tests said it experienced no malfunctions.
There is a 3-position safety (which blocks the sear): Fire-Safe-Decock. It worked as advertised during the Gun Tests analysis, including making the single-action trigger pull a bit heavier than some other single-action guns. In addition to the manual safety, there is a trigger-actuated firing-pin block that prevents the CZ52 from firing if dropped. Warning: according to some people, if the safety is worn or if you trim the firing-pin block spring to improve the trigger, the decocker will fire the pistol!
There are some 9mm conversion barrels floating aroung. Some claim that you can experience some feeding issues since 9x19mm is a shorter cartridge than 7.62×25.
The CZ52 allegedly has a fragile firing pin; best not to dry-fire (snap-caps are available on the internet). More info here.
Despite those potential problems, the CZ52 is a well-designed and competently-made gun firing a potent cartridge.