During the Cold War, Warsaw Pact members were required to adopt the Soviet 9×18 Makarov round, but they were free to develop their own pistols. Thus the Czechs went on to design the vz. 82, also known as the CZ 82. It just might be the best sidearm ever used in the Soviet Bloc.
True vz. 82 pistols feature a military lanyard ring at the base of the grip frame. CZ 83 pistols do not have this feature, but do have higher-quality finishes.
The vz. 82 is a blowback-operated pistol, so unlike locked-breech designs, the barrel is held rigidly to the frame. The low-profile slide’s mass and the recoil spring keep the action closed long enough for the bullet to exit the barrel before the slide retracts.
The front sight is attached to the slide with a frontal full-length dovetail secured by a roll pin. The vz. 82’s sights are the best of any Warsaw Pact autopistol
The Czech vz. 82 uses the same pattern rear sight as the CZ 75 of the same era. The high rear sight is quick to acquire and provides a clear sight picture.
The vz. 82’s heritage harks back to the blowback-operated Walther PP of the 1920s. As with the Walther, the triggerguard is pulled down to free the slide for disassembly.
The Czech vz. 82 may be the best sidearm used by a Soviet satellite state. It isn’t just another copy of the USSR’s famed Pistolet Makarova (PM), though it uses the same 9x18mm chambering. The Czechs had no choice in accepting the Makarov round, but they didn’t have to accept the Makarov pistol. As was usually the case, the Czechs took a path different from that of their Warsaw Pact comrades.
The USSR formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955 as a formal military alliance of countries behind the Iron Curtain. The formation of the Pact was a response to West Germany’s acceptance into the West’s NATO alliance. But really, the Warsaw Pact only formalized the structure the USSR established earlier to militarily dominate countries it occupied during World War II. The Warsaw Pact and its predecessor had a profound impact on Central and Eastern European small arms, which can still be seen today, over 20 years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Red Army’s philosophy was to arm its troops with weapons that fired ammo that was also shared by its vassal states. From the close of World War II until 1951, that was the 7.62x25mm round, better known in the United States as the .30 Tokarev, named for Fedor Tokarev, the designer of the TT-33 pistol that fired it. After 1951, the Red Army’s official small-arm round was the 9x18mm Makarov.
For most Iron Curtain countries, the adoption of the official Red Army cartridge also led to the adoption of Red Army weapons. Most Soviet satellites and allies armed themselves first with TT-33s and then with PMs. In some cases, these were actual Russian-built; in others, locally manufactured copies. By the 1980s, a total of 35 nations had armed themselves with the PM, with the exception of Czechoslovakia, which had a vibrant arms industry and no interest in using someone else’s weapon design. The Czechs thought they could do better—and they were right…
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The Czech vz. 82 may be the best sidearm used by a Soviet satellite…
by Michael Humphries / Sep 10, 2013