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Romanian ZB-30 LMG: Improving the Already-Excellent ZB-26

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Brno’s ZB-26 was one of the best light machine guns of the 1920s, and it was widely adopted by countries that did not have domestic arms design and production capacity (and it would eventually become the British Bren gun as well). It was designed for the 8mm Mauser cartridge, and had a simple fixed gas system that ran very well – until countries began following the German lead in moving to standard use of s.S. (schweres Spitzgeschoß; heavy ball) ammunition. This put undue strain on the ZB-26 mechanism, and so an improvement was made to include an adjustable gas system that could be set to accommodate a variety of loadings. This experimental model was the ZB-27, and it was tested by Romania in the late 1920s.

Romania like the design, and adopted it in 1930, purchasing guns from Brno and also buying a license to produce them at the Cugir factory complex in Romania. Today we are taking a look at two examples of Romanian ZB-30s, one Czech-made and one Romanian-made. They both incorporate a number of improvements over the ZB-26 (improved barrel latch security, rear monopod socket, bipod locking lever, etc) but also have a few minor differences between each other.

Thanks to the Southern Iceland Shooting Association for helping me film these and other cool guns in Iceland!

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