2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The CZ 27....Nazi cop Gun

Tom's CZ-27 as given to me for review.

I had a chance to examine a pistol belonging to my old friend Tom, a CZ 27 .32 ACP.  Being a newly "annointed Cruffler" I was pretty excited to get the chance to examine this C&R goldmine. It was given to him many years ago by another friend of ours (who was much older than us and whom I can only assume has passed on due to his ill health last time I saw him 20 years ago....RIP Smage) and I don't think Tom has fired it in years.  He has been asking me the past year about recommendations for a weapon for home defense so I decided to take a look at what he already has in the house and see if it would be a candidate for the roll already.

The CZ 27 was produced in Czechoslovakia in 1927 as an improvement on the CZ 24 and CZ 22 model pistols, of which the basic design was based on a license CZ (Ceska Zbrojovka) had for the Mauser model 1914 pistol.  After the German occupation in 1938 it was produced en masse for German Army and police forces.  Its production continued into the early 1950's for export to various nations with a total of about 650,000 guns produced, most while under Nazi rule.  The model Tom presented me with is a German Occupation model that should of had a phosphate/parkerized finish per the serial number.  Unfortunately a previous owner has painted the exterior of the gun with some type of spray on finish.   This does detract from the collectors value (as well as making it harder to make out the German proof marks (Waffen Amps) but does not detract from this pistol being a functioning weapon.  The slide has an easily identifiable "fnh" marking on the slide (denoting it was produced at the Bohmische Waffenfabrik armory in Prague) and a few small German Wehrmacht Eagles on various parts (denoting armament inspectors proofing and acceptance) again attesting to its validity as a German manufactured model.  Although apparently most manufacturing records were destroyed either during or shortly after the war, based on various sources and threads I have researched I would probably be safe in saying this particular pistol was probably made between 1944 - 45, with 1945 being where I would put my money at.

The pistol itself is an all metal frame and slide design with a phosphate/parkerized finish and plastic grips.  It's a tad over 6" in length and a tad under 5" in height.  It weighs in empty at 24 ounces, but in the hand it does not seem that big or heavy at all.  Its also fairly thin and would be quite comfortable for an IWB holster wear.  It is a straight blow back design, as are many of the designs of this period using the .32 ACP (aka 7.65 mm Browning) cartridge.  It utilizes a single action trigger and also has a unique two piece safety that only blocks the travel of the trigger and does NOT provide any type of drop safety or other firing pin block. This was of little concern back then when pistols of this type were carried with an empty chamber in a flap holster anyway.  It also utilizes a magazine safety (also only a trigger block).  It has a heel mounted magazine release which is fairly common on European guns.  As Americans we often worry about being able to quickly drop and reload magazines, viewing the magazine as a expendable piece of equipment in the "heat of battle".  The European view is more of that where the magazine is a part of the "weapons system" that consists of the pistol, magazines and holster or other carrying device.  As such, the heel mounted release forces the user to retain the magazine with the weapon. As the majority of pistols were issued to police and military officers where they would not be the primary weapons system, this is an realistic expectation to place on the shooter.  The magazine holds 8 rounds in a single column configuration.  Due to the lack of a firing pin block or other drop style safety, I would not recommend carrying this weapon with 8+1 capacity with a round in the chamber. Speaking of the magazine, the pistol was presented to me with a single magazine and holster.  I believe these would of been issued with 2 magazines, one for carry in the weapon and one for the magazine slot on the holster, a common characteristic of holsters of the period.  The holster seems to be of good leather and condition, although showing wear at certain expected points.

No its not a CZ-27, its the P-32, but it
shows how 7 rounds of .32 ACP can
fit in the palm of you hand at under 10
ounces...that is definitely carry capable!
The pistol shoots the JMB designed .32 ACP.  While considered under powered by many that live on the strip of land between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans between Canada and Mexico, the .32 has been around since the early 1900's and is in use around the globe.  Indeed in Europe the .32 is seen as quite adequate for self defense and police work.  Here in the US the .32 almost has a "cult following" as a mousegun round and the popular P-32 from Kel-Tec is a prime example of how it is still being used today.  Its small size and low recoil allow it to be incorporated into the design of many smaller firearms.  It is, however, far from a round for "mice" only!

From what I have been reading and seeing online, it appears most .32 round in around the 60 grain range will penetrate between 6" -12", which is below the FBI 12" minimum penetration threshold used in most testing when fired into ballistic gel.  The depth generally relates to the use of either FMJ or HP type ammo in the weapon.  I would think at the energy levels that this round seems to hover at, that bullet design to maximize energy transfer would not be as big and issue as trying to gain that few extra inches of penetration to reach vital organs, as all energy will indeed most likely remain in the target as over penetration and exit is not a concern. However, that's just my opinion, and I do carry HP rounds in my .380, which many consider itself to be under powered for personal protection. According so some date I have read, the .32 (60-63%) and the .380 (67-70%) have about the same effectiveness in actual use as far as 1 stop shots go...both the numbers reported in that source seemed a bit high to me, but then again maybe after being hit once with one or the other the offender didn't want to have that happen a second time! Here is a short video of a 60gr. Speer Gold Dot JHP .32 ACP round into gel just for kick and giggles and to show you that the .32 ACP is not to be considered an obsolete or weak round.  It is, after all, better than carrying nothing.  I used these same rounds on the range to verify the pistol would feed HP rounds and to check for accuracy.

Everyone claiming a .32 is a weak round, please step in front of the muzzle and hold all comments until after testing is complete. Thank You.

As I have pointed out before in my article on Stopping Power, this round is capable of any of the 4 types of means of stopping attacker, with psychological probably being the most effective here. I mean, nobody wants to get shot to begin with.

Its going to take more than a
few patches and runs with a
brass brush to get all of that
out..other than the carbon, the bore is in good shape!
As given to me, the pistol was in a bit of despair.  It had not been cleaned in a few presidencies and had a good amount of rust on some of the internals due to humidity and what have you.  Phosphate or parkerized finishes are very good for both wear reduction and scratch resistance on metal, but do squat to prevent rust unless given a protective coating of oil.  After some tender loving care with M-Pro7, some carburetor cleaner, brushes and 000 fine steel wool I was able to get most of the surface bearing parts clean enough to lubricate with Slipstream.   I also had to do a job on the magazine as the inside was heavily built up with crud and the follower and spring felt gritty as I worked them at first. I did not strip the pistol down farther than field stripping and then removing the firing pin (easy to figure out, remove the slide from the frame, push in on the rear of the firing pin, slide the retaining plate off the slide and the firing pin and spring drop free) as I did not feel comfortable not knowing the full design of the pistol.  There are a few resources to learn about disassembly of the pistol online but for just field stripping and cleaning use the video by Sootch00 on YouTube (at the end of this post) as a guide.  General field stripping is a bit tricky compared to more modern designs, but nothing to be afraid of.

A mix of hardened carbon, grime, lint,
rust and crud are soon to be a memory
on this pistol
So, after getting it cleaned up and lovingly lubed by the slickest stuff on Earth, the only thing left to do was to shoot it.  After taking it apart, cleaning and examining it I was not concerned with firing this 60+ year old piece of history.  Tom had given me a full box of Winchester 60gr. LRN (lead round nose) rounds he had for it from when it was given to him.  I grabbed a box of (Standard FMJ) and (HP) rounds to do some testing.  I didn't shoot all of them in order to give some to Tom for use as rounds for home protection as a way of saying thanks for letting me do the review.

OK, a disclaimer. I screwed up.  Tom had given me a box of lead rounds that supposedly went with the pistol. The box said .32.....S&W!  The .32 S&W is a different rimmed round than the .32 ACP designed for revolvers.  I totally did not pay attention to detail here!  But suprisingly the weapon still fired, but did not feed reliably with these, which isn't a big surprise I guess after all.  It seemed to go all the way into battery even with the rimmed case.  I got lucky though, you should never use ammo other than what was designed for your weapon...learn from my mistake!!
See the difference on the boxes? I didn't!
Again the .32 ACP is not a mosterous round, but still, for its intended purpose of up close defensive work it is a valid caliber for use. Here you can see the .32 ACP compared to other common rounds: (left to right) .22LR 40gr HP, .32 S&W LRN 85gr (oops), .32 ACP TMJ 71gr, .380 Hornady Critical Defense 90gr, 9mm 115gr FMJ, .40 S&W 155gr JHP, .45 ACP 200gr JHP
3 yard group with the 60gr Speer GD JHP rounds, other
than the flyer, this seemed to be a good round for the gun.
Overall, the pistol shot well with the right ammo.  I did not shot a lot of rounds but just a few to gain a sense of the accuracy of this pistol.  I shot mostly at 3 and 5 yards since this is where (statistically) most shootings take place.  I ran the target out to 25 yards once for a few rounds and got about the level of accuracy out of the pistol and myself that I expected.  I probably would be making torso hits at that range but forget about me in the Olympics with this gun (heck, with any gun with my skill level!) The 71gr TMJ (Truncated Metal Jacket) Winchesters shot fine, as most Winchester TMJ or FMJ rounds tend to do. With the .32 perhaps using a non-HP round in the winter may be prudent where expansion is not as much an issue as penetrating heavy jackets and such may be.  Where the gun really shined was with the 60gr Speer GD JHP rounds, the pistol really liked putting those where I wanted them to go and are a definite must have for the gun.  I just wish they were cheaper than $25/20 rounds so I could have put a few more down range and still had some to give to Tom.

3 and 5 round groups using Speer Gold Dot HP, again
not bad accuracy from these considering the small sights
Speaking of accuracy, the pistols sights will probably challenge some shooters.  Consisting of a small blade front sight and "v" notch rear, they do not scream "long range engagement".  Then again, given the nature of the projectile this is probably realistic enough for most people.  As you can see from the target the larger .32 S&W 85gr rounds did not fair as well as the ACP rounds. The reason you see only 3 rounds in the lower target where the .32 S&W rounds are is after 3 rounds in that string of 5 I realized my mistake!
5 and 25 yard groupings with both good and "oopsie" ammo...gotta pay attention folks!

As far as recoil goes...what recoil?  This pistol shot very softly due to a combination of both the round and all metal construction.  Most users will be comfortable shooting this.

I did have some feeding issues with the Winchester ammo (and definitely with the .32 S&W stuff!).  Out of about 40 rounds fired between the Winchester and Speer ammo I had a couple of FTF issues.  The bullets nosed up before they got to the chamber and the slide closed on them.  Upon a closer exam of the magazine it appears the one feed lip is a bit worn and out of shape, which may be allowing rounds to loosen and turn up before they should.  I normally fire a weapon on the range in 5 round strings (most 9mm and other centerfire bulk ammo package their rounds 5 to a row, seems like a good number to shoot a string with to me) but on one of these malf's I definitely remember loading the mag all the way full.  The extra spring pressure on the rounds combined with the bad lip may of caused the issue.  I have found a few places on the net that seem to sell replacement magazines for this pistol, but few seem to have any in stock...a semi-obscure pistol that hasn't been made in 60 years, go figure.
bad feed lips probably contributed greatly to the feeding issues

Typical mis-feed...nosed up round probably coming
off of the feed lips at a bad angle
Overall I think if my friend could get this gun to the range and shoot it for a while and get a feeling for it and how it feeds to verify it will function when needed, I think it would work for him as a home defensive pistol.  I would practice loading the mag and racking the slide to get used to bringing it into action, and then only load the magazine with 5 or 6 rounds of the HP ammo (to try and avoid the nose up feeding issue).  Again, only practice will allow him to determine if this is a weapon he would trust his life and that of his family on.

Even if he does get another weapon for that home defense role this is still a nice, if slightly diminished, historical piece that still has some sentimental value for both him and I.

And so you have it, a Czeck pistol made by the Germans and issued mainly to officers and the Police, like I called it,  a Nazi cop gun...just add doughnut.  Boston Cream for me....

Oh, and here is the video ol' Sootch00 did on it...it has a good video tutorial on disassembly in it...


Anonymous said...

The picture of the worn magazine looks like it is a little out of alignment with the left side (good side). What are your thoughts on a little "adjustment" with needle nose pliers to turn the right side a bit to the left to straighten it out. Or is it a bad idea to ever mess with the magazine in that manner?

Huey said...

Well, broke is broke, if it was broken before I mess with it I really can't break it again...however, it does seem to feed well enough with5 or so rounds so I will leave it to the discretion of its rightful owner...personally I would try and find a repro mag to use and keep that for the collectors value (if any)

Anonymous said...

I had the same issue. I'm chasing my tailall over creation trying to see if there's a difference between .32AP and .32ACP, thinking that was the issue(it seems there isn't). I've recently got a spare mag from David Rachwal http://www.handgunsoftheworld.com/page/page/4114971.htm which I'm going to try tomorrow. It looks almost new, and very different on the lips. I will take your 5-6 load advice to test also! Nice review on a nice piece! Happy shotting! John

Anonymous said...

I have one without "Official" Serial Number.
Only Serial like "U"& 4 Digits
Very rare.

I search a Second magazine for this pistols.
Dd you know where i can found it ?