In this episode of TFB TV, Edward takes a look at three different variants of the Vz58 platform, the Czech army’s issued rifle, and looks at how the firearm has changed since its original design in the 1950s. Some of the things he focuses on are the aftermarket parts and mounting systems, as well as a short review of two specific optics.
Like its name suggests, the rifle was originally adopted in 1958. It was the standard issue rifle that was used during the Cold War by the Czechoslovakian Army. While other countries in the Warsaw Pact adopted the AKM and Kalashnikov pattern rifles, the Czechoslovakian already had a really well-established firearms industry, so they opted to build their own rifle. However, they were required to have it chambered in 7.62x39mm to mesh with other Warsaw Pact countries.
At 300 yards, it may look like any other AK variant, but the Vz58 actually has a very different system. It uses a short-sroke gas system and a striker-fire assembly similar to a Glock. Vz58 magazines have a spine on the back with a tab on the follower that will engage the bolt hold open device, which can be toploaded on stripper clips.
Edward looked at not just the military version, but also a couple of civilian options. Regarding modernization, both the Czech and Slovak armies, after Czechoslovakia divided, were using the rifle overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Canada, there are two major manufacturers building around the Vz58 platform: the classic CZ and the CSA rifles.
While it may not have the raw modularity of an AR-15, Edward thinks that there is a lot of value in the Vz58 for Canadian shooters to take and tinker with, as well as build into something different. The platform is very popular in Canada because they aren’t AKs. In Canada, everything built off the Kalashnikov platform has been banned with only a few exceptions.