MANUFACTURER(S): Ceska Zbrojovka Strakonice - Czechoslovakia
OPERATORS: Bulgaria; Czechoslovakia; Nazi Germany (captured)
ACTION: Semi-Automatic; Double-Action Only (DOA)
CALIBER(S)*: .380 ACP (9x19mm Browning Short)
SIGHTS: Iron Front and Rear (Fixed)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Ceska Zbrojovka vz. 38 Semi-Automatic Pistol.
Entry last updated on 9/27/2016.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Many Czech-originated weapons of World War 2 (1939-1945) went on to see wide scale use by parties other than the host country. Such was the case with the CZ vz. 38 series semi-automatic pistol. Lauded for its rugged design and ease of maintenance, the weapon proved difficult to shoot single-handedly owing to the considerable trigger pull required. A special tilting feature (a hinge at the muzzle end) allowed for relatively easy cleaning of the gun (or disassembly altogether) as the barrel and slide could be raised for access and removal. Design of the pistol was attributed to Frantisek Myska and entered serial production in 1939 though only limited numbers were available by the time of the German invasion (1939).
As a semi-automatic handgun, the v. 38 relied on a Double-Action Only (DAO) trigger system. It was chambered for .380 ACP (9x17mm Browning Short) which gave it good man-stopping capabilities and fed from a 9-round detachable box magazine inserted into the base of the grip. Many facets of the design were highly conventional including fixed sights over the slide, a ribbed section at the action end of the slide and a slight overhand of the slide structure over the shooter's hand web. The trigger loop was given a rather oblong shape which provided easy access to the trigger assembly. The cartridge ejection port was set at the middle of the slide.
Production of the gun spanned into 1945 but the stock quickly fell to the conquering Germans once the dust had settled. Some were then shipped to German ally Bulgaria with modified manual safeties. For the Germans, the pistols were generally used by local police and security elements and not the frontline army force - with many critiques of the overall feel and action being laid upon the weapon.