I have been seeing these pistols, and their older brother the CZ vz. 50, popping up for sale of late, handled one, didn’t shoot it though, and thought they would be an interesting topic for discussion.
Come on now, who wouldn’t like a slick lil Eastern European, Communist bloc, Cold War-era pistol?
The CIA, KGB, Czech StB, SIS/MI6, MfS or Stasi, spies, agents, Bond, foggy nights and back ally meetings in Prague, Budapest, and East Berlin, all the way-cool deeply sinister clichés that make a great novel…oh an lest we forget agents Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale, both of whom undoubtedly carried the vz. 50 and later the improved vz. 70.
On top of all the nostalgia and ambiance these pistols have, they’re well made, reliable, and good shooters, or so they seem.
The Česká Zbrojovka vzor 70, or commonly the CZ 70, is a well-made, solid, PPK inspired pistol. It was originally designed in the late 1940’s as the vz. 50, for the Czech police and security/intel services. In 1970, the CZ vz. 50 was enhanced and released as the CZ vz. 70.
Specifications for the CZ vz. 70:
o Caliber: 7.65x17mm Browning aka .32 ACP
o Magazine Capacity: 8-rounds
o Overall Length: 6-1/2 inches
o Overall Height: 4-1/2 inches
o Barrel Length: 3-1/2 inches
o Weight: 1-1/2 pounds (unloaded)
o Sights: Front – fixed blade, Rear – dovetailed fixed square notch
o Effective Range: 50-yards
o Finish: Blue Construction: Steel Grips: Plastic
The main improvements of the 70 being as follows:
1. Vc. 70 hammer has a larger, lightened, commander style.
2. The vc. 70 grip frame was re-shaped using a larger tang to eliminate hammer bite.
3. Take down lever is checkered on the vz. 70.
4. Serrations were added to the vc. 70’s trigger.
5. Safety catch is re-shaped.
6. Slide top serrations and greatly improved on the 70.
7. Serial number relocated to beneath the ejection port.
8. Re-shaped magazine floorplate.
9. A somewhat reduced size magazine release.
10. A revised grip pattern was introduced using dimples instead of furrows.
The two-position safety lever mechanism on the CZ vz.70 is interesting in that one can carry it cocked-n-locked or hammer down for a DA first shot and the safety will work as a decocker to accomplish this.
The magazine release is in a somewhat awkward position. While on the frame’s left side, as opposed to the grip frame heel like many pistols of this type, it is rather high, near the top of the scale, and a bit smallish to suit my tastes.
Nonetheless, the overall design is workable and, let’s face it, these pistols weren’t made with the intent of prolonged close-combat in mind. Prague, Plzen, and Brno of the Cold War era was not exactly New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, so the little .32’s apparently worked out rather nicely for their intents and purposes.
My personal feelings, I think one could do much worse than one of these little pistols albeit the .32 ACP is on the light side for serious close combat work in my opinion. I am currently seeking one of these Cold War Roscoe’s for the fun-to-shoot-nostalgia shelf in the gunroom.