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In Search of Hard Currency: Prototype 9x19mm vz52 Pistol
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The vz.52 pistol was originally adopted by Czechoslovakia as a short-term option, with an intention to quickly replace it with something better. The problem was that without a viable domestic pistol, the Soviet Union would have forced Czechoslovakia to start production of the TT-33 Tokarev. Out of national pride, they did not want to do this – and successfully avoided producing the other standard Soviet bloc small arms as well (like the AK). Well, no alternative was forthcoming for more than 20 years.

In the 1960s, the CZ factory began looking at options for a 9x19mm pistol to export for hard currency, as there was really no Western market for a pistol in 7.62x25mm Tokarev. The project became more serious in 1970 with a real potential for export sales from a Belgian business. At that time, the only option is CZ’s catalog was to simply convert the vz52 to the 9x19mm cartridge, and that was explored. What we have today is one of the factory prototypes of this conversion. It was originally a standard military pistol, retrofitted with a new barrel and ejector, and remarked “vz70” and “9mm PARABELUM” [sic].

Of course, the problems of the vz52 in 7.62mm carried right over to the 9mm version. It had ergonomic problems, reliability problems, and durability problems – and the Belgian business connection was not really excited in trying to market it. Instead, they found a new pistol in development that looked much more promising; the gun that would become the CZ75. But that is a story for a different series of videos…

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