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)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cruffer's Corner: The Czech CZ-82 9x18 Mak pistol

Well, if you haven't noticed by now, I have had a lot of old wood and metal on the blog over the last year since I got my 03 FFL Curio & Relic license.  That makes me a "Cruffer" I guess...than and the over 30 firearms in my bound book so far, so I decided to share a few of the more choice pieces from the collection in a series of articles I will call the "Cruffer's Corner".  No big secret revelations here about anything, most of these will be so old as to of left any secrets behind a long ways back.  You will get my opinion on them as both firearms to collect and shooters as well as maybe some historical points and practical applications that they may still have for personal defence.

It is in the last part of the preceding paragraph that this initial review is done on the CZ-82 pistol chambered in 9x18 Makarov.  The CZ-82 stands apart from most C&R weapons in that is is more on the "curio" side than the "relic" side of the term, being first fielded in 1983 to the Czech armed forces, thus making the design and features fairly useful as a modern defensive pistol.  Somebody petitioned the BATFE back in 2007 with a museum curators memo saying the pistol had value as a collectors piece (this was back before the national hysteria over guns was upon us) and viola, a "newer" C&R gun to own!

I picked mine up for $209 from J&G Sales in December with an additional magazine for $29, so a total of $240 bucks there.  For that I got a pistol in relatively good condition with some obvious wear and a tan holster, that I will go into later.  I also picked up some 9x18 ammo for it too at the time.  Bad news folks, J&G is apparently sold out of all of it save some magazines that are now $50....great times we are living in....not.

About $240 worth of Czech pistol power here...

The pistol itself is of an all steel construction and is of the direct blow back design.  This design uses the weight of the slide balanced against the energy of the round to retard the rearward travel of the slide until after a safe pressure level is reached.  In more common locked breech designs, both the barrel and slide travel backwards for a slight bit until this pressure is reached before some mechanism unlocks the barrel from the slide.  In this blow back arrangement the barrel is pinned or otherwise affixed permanently to the frame and does not travel with the slide, this, in theory, should make for a more accurate pistol all other variables similar.  I have reviewed a few blow back designs before, most notably the Hi-Point C9 and Bersa .380, on this blog.

That barrel doesn't tilt, rotate or mambo...its fixed in place.. Notice the fact that rounds pretty much feed strait into the chamber from where a mag would hold them, increasing reliability.
I should add in addition that the barrel is not only chrome lined but uses polygonal rifling like a Glock as well, no soft lead rounds need apply.

The pistol shows the more utilitarian lines of Eastern Bloc style engineering, rather than a more "appealing" side profile found on some other designs.  The nose seems to be long and skinny tapering to almost a blunt point with the angle of the underside of the frame.  It almost seems unbalanced to look at when seen in the same moment of the grip of the pistol, but don't worry, that all steel construction makes is sit firmly in your hand.

Slide locks back on an empty mag or can be locked back by the slide stop.

A rather unusual design feature of the CZ-82 is that both the thumb safety and magazine release are fully ambidextrous on the pistol with control on both sides simultaneously.  The safety is where you would expect to find it if you were a 1911 aficionado, but the click on/click off sensation and feel quite are quite different.  It is much stiffer than almost any other safety I can remember and the travel is less than half of what a 1911 safety is.  It is much easier to take it off of safe to fire than on which is something that I must say is preferable in a defensive handgun than visa versa.  The safety only blocks the trigger and does not decock the hammer.  The weapon must be cocked in order for it to be engaged.

The action is a DA/SA affair where the first shot comes after a long creepy trigger pull with subsequent shots coming off of a much shorter and cleaner single stage trigger.  Being that the safety mentioned above blocks the trigger and the fact that its not easily operated without a conscious effort, I would dare to say that this pistol would be safe to carry in condition 1, although I doubt it was ever designed to be primarily carried in this manner.

The sights consist of two white dots at the rear of the slide with a white bar imposed on the front ramp.  The sights are somewhat small compared to larger pistols and may be difficult for some to use, but they do work, and work well (more on that later).  The top of the slide between the sights is scored as to cut down on glare off of the top of the slide.

Sorry , about the best pic of the sights I took...

The pistol has a large grip with 2 checkered plastic grip panels in use.  It is a bit wide for a pistol its size, but it does hold a double stacked magazine.  The steel back strap did cause a bit of a uncomfortable sensation when shooting, but not so bad that a grip sleeve or gloves wouldn't handle it easily.  The overall grip was large enough to get a full purchase with either one or two hands with no fingers left flapping in the breeze.

Pretty chunky ass for a pistol its size, but then again the same could be said for me....

To disassemble the pistol is fairly simple. First, unload and clear the pistol and then double check (duh), then you pull down on the trigger guard until it snaps open about a 1/8".  You then grasp the slide, pull it fully rearward, lift up on it and then slide it off the frame.  The recoil spring is located wrapped around the fixed barrel and simply slides off (if it didn't come off with the slide.  No further disassembly is needed for cleaning.

If you notice the trigger guard is opened at the front of the guard, which allowed the slide to be removed.  Century Arms import markings are present...

Clean me!  Simple design.

As I stated above, the pistol utilizes a double stacked magazine holding 12 rounds of 9x18 Makarov ammo.  This capacity is what makes it attractive as a defensive pistol even today.  The 9x18 "Mak" is far from an oddball calibre, although many people here in the "West" have rarely shot it.  It was designed after WWII to replace the 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.62x38 Nagant rounds in use at the time.  The idea was to create a round specifically designed for inside of 50 meters that maximized cartridge dimensions and also could not be used by (the then newly forming) NATO alliance.  What they came up with is a round that, on paper, falls between the 9x18 (.380 ACP) round and the 9x19 (9mm Luger/Parabellum) round...on paper.  While all of these rounds start with a "9", it should be noted that the Mak round is a few 10th of a millimetre larger in diameter so it could not be used in NATO weapons as noted before. It nominally shoots a 95gr. projectile at around 1000pfs, which puts it around where the 9x18 lies in terms of power. However, the Ruskies and pals came up with several specialized rounds, designed primarily for sub guns, that also upped the ante for pistol users as well.  And remember, this round was specifically intended for ranges around 50 meters, so it didn't necessarily have to be overly powerful.  If you think about it, we use the 9x19 round in weapons that are designed to engage over twice that distance where the resulting power would be where the Mak is at close range, and that's considered good enough in those situations.  At least one ammo maker I know of, Buffalo Bore, makes a dedicated self defence round for it using a hard cast bullet loaded to maximum pressure.  Any way you slice it as the saying goes, having a gun in any caliber is better than not having one at all.
left to right, 9x17 (.380), 9x18 Mak and 9x19 (Luger/Parabellum)

Ok, onto that holster.  Not too many folks really get excited about a surplus Eastern Bloc holster...and I am not one who does either.  But its a neat holster.  The first thing that you notice is the color, a nice light natural leather color.  Either this isn't a "tactical" holster, or they never got dyed and were shipped over "as is" from the factory.  Its quite large and blockish considering the pistol, which is good.  As the video guy points out in the embedded video below, on you belt it may or may not look like a holster...it could be a tool pouch for all anyone would know, which in certain environments would be very normal to see.  The pouch is secured by a single button and on the back are two simple loops for putting on a belt.  The pouch opens to reveal a sloping interior with two pocket dividers sewn into the bottom.  One of these will secure the muzzle of the pistol keeping it upright in the holster, and the other will keep a spare magazine in place underneath the grip of the seated pistol.  Want to switch the holster from a right handed to a left handed carry? Simple, just reverse which divider the pistol and mag are in...simply and ingenious.

The dividers at the bottom...
Everything in its place....I know...a lot of pics for not being excited about a holster..
 "Well, how does it shoot?" you may be asking.  Well, pretty damn nice.  Like I said before, while the 9x18 is a bit "snappy" and the steel frame did batter the area between my thumb and forefinger a bit, its very controllable.  I shot the below target at a rapid fire (1 round every 1-2 seconds) at around 7 yards, which I consider a good self defence range to be realistic to train with. First few rounds were right in the center and then I think I got a bit cocky and sped up a bit and spread them around.

Not too shabby of a shooter...

As for a video, I am just too lazy anymore to do them with great ones like this from MAC available...enjoy

So overall, with the right ammo this would be a great CCW or self defence gun for somebody on a budget.  The problem now is that with the current craziness going on with prices and scarce availability, you might have to hunt around to get one of these.  Better yet, get your own C&R license and have one delivered to your door after filling out the paperwork and getting your licence on file with places like J&G, AIM, SOG and other places that sell these types of firearms.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Am not sure what is mean by "tactical" holster. A military holster is designed to keep mud and dirt away from the weapon. They are not designed for quick draw. The old .45 1911A1 holster protected the pistol. The "tanker" holster was designed to be worn in a vehicle and not for crawling about in the dirt.