The CZW 438 is a modern Czech automatic weapon offering for the Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) role. This class of weapon is typically issued to second-line operators such as drivers and logistics personnel but can also be featured by vehicle crews and special forces operatives without any reservations. PDWs follow a form and function similar to that of Submachine Guns (SMGs) with slightly broadened capabilities in terms of range and penetrating power and act as something of a bridge product between the standard sidearm service pistol and the standard SMG currently embodied by such design types as the Belgian FN P90 and German HK MP7 series guns - both weapons detailed elsewhere on this site.
The CZW 438 is primarily chambered for the rather unique 4.38x30mm cartridge, also known as the .17 "Libra", which offers the weapon sound performance at range as well as strong man-stopping capabilities. Two magazine capacities are showcased - a 15-round and a 30-round count and the weapon sports an overall length of 690mm with its wire stock extended (445mm otherwise) and a barrel measuring 220mm long. Overall weight is in the 2.7 kg range. Iron sights are ranged from 50 meters to 200 meters though an over-receiver section of MIL-STD-1913 rail allows for the mounting of accessories such as optics and laser aimers. Rate-of-fire is listed at 850 rounds per minute through a lever-delayed blowback action. A selection lever allows for two- or three-round burst fire modes.
As with most other modern assault weapons, the CZW 438 was purposely designed with modularity in mind meaning that the base form can be configured in a variety of ways to suit the mission role without complex management or changes to the base function of the weapon. As such, the system can go from personal defense to assault in a few short steps. Its overall layout is generally similar to that of the classic Kalashnikov weapons in that the receiver is well-squared and the gun's function and maintenance as simple as possible for all range of shooter levels. The magazines are curved and inserted through a well ahead of the trigger unit and the pistol grip angled to promote some ergonomic comfort. The fore-end is partly covered by a handguard under the barrel with the barrel itself capped by a slotted flash suppressor.
The CZW 438 series has been broadened into a more conventional submachine gun model in the CZW 438 M9. This model is chambered for the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge common to many pistols and submachine guns of the world.
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