Sunday, April 3, 2011

Personal Critical Review of Firearms - The CZ, Vz-82 9x18 Pistol


CZ, Vz-82 9x18 Pistol

Likely the most inexpensive almost-small concealed carry pistol available, left and right hand friendly and more ergonomic in operation than than the PPK or Makarov.

Česká Zbrojovka is the Czech firearms manufacturers, known collectively as CZ to the gun buyer in the United states. CZ was the real gun company behind the iron curtain the collective was known before the war as a quality center for firearms and later under Soviet domination were known for quality products even under oppression of the hammer and sickle. CZ, Brno and the older ZB - Zbrojovka Brno along with other labels are representative of seven design centers and factories located near the Carpathian Mountains of former Czechoslovakia now the Czech Republic. It is unclear to me now how the CZ logo is used amongst the seven factories, or even what factories are in current operation.

Moravia became the center for the highest quality firearms not only for Bohemia but the entirety of Europe. Moravia also became known for exporting individual gun craftsmen for hundreds of years through migration, many American revolutionary war rifles and later the famous long Kentucky rifle were produced by Moravian craftsmen that had immigrated into Pennsylvania surrounding states.

The Vz 82 pistol is a surprisingly modern design based on the fixed barrel surround spring pocket and small pistol forerunners. The 82 has a reasonable ambidextrous safety lever, and an excellently designed slight beaver tail spur hammer that is easy on the thumb for bypassing the double action trigger when desired. The 82 is a double action/single action pistol with a typical heavy DA but the comfortable longer trigger gives plenty of surface area for reasonable trigger finger operation. Outside of the DA operation the single action trigger pull is also reasonable and relatively light and crisp, again surprising for a military pistol. The 82 has a double stack funneling type magazine that of course makes the grip wider, a big comfort for larger hands like mine, the magazine release is also ambidextrous.

Inexpensive surplus the 82 makes a more than reasonable choice for a small shooter or for concealed carry. The 82 uses the 9x18 Soviet round, the round while often derided is more powerful than the .380 and is without a doubt a small but potent round.

Personal - The double stack magazine makes the grip wider, immediately I liked it better than the Makarov, the safety design is easy to manipulate and the lower top slide seems more like larger pistols. Get a good grip on this thing, the recoil spring that comes with the pistol is just a bit too weak for the round and it can bite into the web of your hand if you are loosy-goosie with the grip. I bought the pistol to replace my wife's Mak and it's double stack magazine and the fact that it uses the 9x18, all requirements she had for a new pistol. The pistol points well, almost as naturally as more modern designs, but it does require a slight downward turn of the wrist.


Note the round capacity holes on the back of the magazine, how many rounds? Quick and easy, a common feature now, but thankfully included on this model's magazine.

Function - The 82 requires a good grip, a loose grip will cause a misfeed as the slide will start a return over the top of the round without striping it from the magazine and lodging over the back of the rim. My wife, who has loved her Mak for years was holding the pistol too low and without a firm enough grip, once she put the web of her hand into the curve, the feed issue stopped. With a reasonable grip on the pistol I and my wife were able to use a mixed bag of surplus (corrosive) and commercial FMJ and HP without any functional problems. The DA is useable and fairly smooth, but significant, it takes some real effort to actuate.

Design flaws - Poor grips, the plastic grips on this example were warped and loose with more than a few cracks. A good wrap-arround rubber grip would make this a dream to shoot. The magazine release is small and difficult to use, completely un-accessable with the thumb from the shooting grip, it is imbedded deep on the side and covered slightly by the grip, the empty double stack magazine does drop free when released.

Quality - I want to say quality first world manufacturing, and I think the metal and design are top shelf, but the "fit and finish" leave a lot to be desired.


I think I know where they (at one time) employed all of their retarded cousins from the Czech-Moravian areas - they put them behind an old whire-wheel and had them blunder over "finishing" the metal. It must have been terrible - the howling from the monkeys, that is - the monkeys they used to sputter the poor quality house paint over the poorly finished (almost butchered) metal. It had to be monkeys because the poor finish was flung onto the metal like only monkeys can fling poo.

I don't know what the satin black paint on the pistol is but I think cheap big-box latex house paint would be a good comparison. After the first magazine the paint on the grip started rubbing off and at the end of the day clear chips were showing on the slide.

If you love "project guns" this is perfect for you. The monkey poo finish the mob of retarded Moravian cousins flung on that pistol model needs to be replaced with something other than the walmart-like latex caked onto the metal. I wish I had known about how bad this finish issue actually was before I sprung the extra for a "less abused" pistol that would need a refinish regardless of how little some cold war era politizi fingered the poor thing.

Now one more thing about the photo above, I used a little bore scrubber on the gun and got some on the finish, thinking I could just dab it off - hell, every spot completely removed the monkey poo - I put a little on a rag and it wiped off no scrubbing just a light rub! Now I need to order something to fix this, I guess I will polish this with some flitz and cold blue the poor thing.

The fixed barrel lends to excellent accuracy from the polygonal barrel, it is clearly on par with my wife's old Ishy Mak and that is excellent. The inclosed firing pin is quite beefy and has a stiff return spring, both excellent features.

I have new grips and a new stiffer recoil spring ordered and on the way.

Note: I ordered the Wolf three spring kit and ended up having to move to the heavy “extra power” spring to try and eliminate all the “bite” that little pistol had.

The new grips from a small company called “Designer Grips” were excellent, and much higher quality than the originals.

Caliber/Ammunition - 9x18 Makarov, I don't know if any kits to convert it over to .380 are available like the Mak but who knows, if there is one, be sure and forward that contact.

Use - With a refinish and new grips it would make a stylish holster rider for open carry and it's size lends itself to concealed with a belt or shoulder holster, it is light and small enough to be comfortable for a double stack higher capacity, but at about 35 oz (2 1/8 lbs) loaded it is a bit hefty for an ankle holster.

Ergonomics - An older but reasonable ergonomic design good for the "average" to large hand, it points well with a slight down point, and the low slide to barrel relation makes accurate aiming quite natural and quick.

Current production - The 82 is surplus no longer in production, but it's commercial brother the 83 (available in .32 and .380) is in current production and from rumor I understand some of the parts are interchangeable the .380 magazine for sure is interchangeable.

1 comment:

  1. I agree 100% with your comments in regards to the finish. Then I have to add a BUT. If one can get beyond the painted enamel, not conventionally blued or parked finish. The CZ 82's are a terrific bargain. I have apx 1,000+ rds through three different CZ 82's. Not a single hick-up and I assure you or anybody reading my comment it is not an exaggeration.

    About 50% of what I've fed my CZ 82's were hand loads. Half of which were fed with an unknown brand used gun show after-market mag. The majority of my hand loads were loaded with trimmed 9MM Lugar brass. Despite the naysayers claim of cast lead not working with poly rifling, all I can say is "baloney". Using cast bullets does require slugging the bore to determine the proper size as there are variations in 9MM Mak bore size behind the Red Curtain. Chances are good the bore will slug roughly between .361 to .365. DO NOT hand load using standard 9MM Lugar or 380 (.355) bullets. They are under sized will print shotgun type patterns and cast will lead the bore. I guess in a doomsday scenario or real emergency the under sized slugs could be used.

    Despite the CZ 82's needing a beautifying facelift and being a few ounces heavier than the average Tupperware 380. I can live with ugly for an all steel, some what concealable, 100% reliable pistol with considerably more oomph and double stack mag capacity.