Friday, December 07, 2012

Czech CZ-USA VZ-58 Rifle

So I finally managed to find a VZ-58 on a forum after searching around for quite some time. I had wanted to buy one from Czechpoint and get the free shipping with inclusive transfer fees, but they raised the price on the deal and I just couldn't get over the fact that I had lost the opportunity with the sale price. The rifle I did manage to get was a bit older, as it was labeled CZ-USA on the box, but the quality was still great.

The first thing I noticed was how lightweight the gun actually was. Even with a milled receiver it was quite a bit lighter and had a more compact feel than that of an AK. I like the design of the short-stroke gas piston because it's easier to clean one section of a rifle instead of needing to clean the whole receiver and all the innards like on an AK. On the VZ, you really don't even need to take apart the rear portion like the bolt carrier/spring because it doesn't get dirty at all.

The mags I had locked in perfectly with zero wobble. I believe that can be attributed to the fact that it's a Czech gun and there weren't any variants that wandered away from the original design. The aluminium mags were also quite light and shaped a bit differently to allow for the BHO to work. I thought that I would like the BHO feature, but while shooting I never noticed the bolt holding back and I still tried to pull the trigger one last time. I'm sure this was a user problem.

I wasn't too fond of the location of the mag release because you had to jam your thumb between the trigger guard and the release lever. It felt awkward and would be more cumbersome with thick, winter gloves.

Surprisingly I really didn't like the safety. Although it's touted to be much more ergonomic than the AK's large lever safety, I always found myself forgetting if the safety was on or off and I had to position my hand differently to work it. For me the AK safety has a more positive and robust feel.

The trigger itself sucked. There was some creep but what bothered me was that I was unable to doubletap in a smooth fashion. I've been able to doubletap all semi-auto rifles and pistols that I've ever come across but for some reason the VZ gave me problems. It felt like the trigger group needed time to reset properly before being able to function for a second round.

The way the front hand guard locks into place was a good design, much better than the AK. It was also stable enough to probably keep zero on an optic. I didn't have the aftermarket parts necessary to test it out for myself but the whole section seemed to not move at all after the pin was pushed back into place.

The barrel and top handguard got hot with constant shooting but it was comparable to that of an AK. Other than that the rifle shot fine. Sights weren't canted and the paint on mine was nice and glossy.

So overall the VZ-58 was a nice rifle with a lot of different design features not seen on an AK. Although some were good, many others bothered me personally. Everyone's opinion differs but for me I'm still an AK guy.

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Easier to clean
  • Toolless field strip
  • Tighter tolerances
  • Didn't like the safety design
  • Didn't like the trigger feel
  • Didn't like the mag release lever
  • Expensive; not worth the extra $$ in my opinion