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Zbrojovka ZB vz. 59 / Uk vz. 59 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG)

The ZB vz.59 is a further development of the vz. 52/57 system.

 Updated: 10/31/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

The Uk vz. 59 was a derivative of the vz. 52/57 machine gun (detailed elsewhere on this site). A Czech design through and through, the vz. 59 was fitted with different iron sights throughout its early production run. The vz. 59 system can be fed from 7.62x54 rimmed cartridge 50-round detachable box magazine containing belts that can be joined to form a full 250-round ammunition belt. The ammunition box clips along the right side of the weapon and is ejected from the left. Furthermore, the vz. 59 system can be fitted to a tripod for the sustained fire role in addition to its standard bipod mounting. The tripod mounting is useful in the anti-aircraft air defense role, though some modification by the operator is necessary to fulfill this duty. A positional carrying handle is fitted to the forward part of the weapon, along the rear portion of the barrel. The bipod is positioned at the extreme barrel end. The fixed buttstock and pistol grip are of wood finish. The cocking handle is positioned along the top rear of the weapon body.

The firing action is accomplished through gas-operation with a tilting breechlock. a rate-of-fire of 700 to 800 rounds-per-minute is reported. The vz. 59 weighs in at 9.28 kilograms and an overall length of 1,215 millimeters. The barrel makes up 650 millimeters of this although the vz. 59 L fits a barrel length of 550 millimeters. The effective range is reported between 100 and 2,000 meters utilizing the folding rear leaf sight and hooded front post.

The vz. 59 is still in service with Czech forces today and a 7.62mm NATO-chambered, belt-fed variant is known to also exist. Other variants include the vz. 59 L, vz. 68, vz. 95 and vz. 98.

The vz.59 is formally known as the "Universal Machine Gun Model 1959".

Zbrojovka ZB vz. 59 / Uk vz. 59 Technical Specifications

Service Year: 1959
Type: General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG)
National Origin: Czechoslovakia
Manufacturer(s): Zbrojovka Vsetin - Czechoslovakia

Design (Internal, Dimensions and Weights)

Firing Action: Gas Operated; Tilting Breechlock
Available Caliber(s): 7.62x54mmR
Ammunition Count / Feed: 50-Round Detachable Box Magazine or 250-round Metal-Link Belt Feed
Overall Length: 1,215 mm (47.83 inches)
Barrel Length: 650 mm (25.59 inches)
Weight (Empty): 20.46 lb (9.28 kg)
Sighting Assist: Folding Rear Leaf; Hooder Front Post


Muzzle Velocity: 2,723 feet/sec (830 m/sec)
Rate-of-Fire (RoF): 700 rounds-per-minute (rpm)
Typical Range: 6,561 feet (2,000 meters; 2,187 yards)

Global Operators / Customers

Czech Republic; India; Slovakia

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

Vz. 59L - Standard light support version of base gun; mounted on bipod assembly and fitted with a "light" barrel.
Vz. 59N - Base design modified to fire the 7.62x51mm NATO standard cartridge; fitted with specialized gas regulator control for four position selection.
Vz. 59T - Tank and armored vehicle mount for coaxial placement; firing achieved through solenoid arrangement.