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.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Pistol / Sidearm
Compact design for close-quarters work or general self-defense.
206 mm 8.11 in
117 mm 4.61 in
2.01 lb 0.91 kg
Iron Front and Rear (Fixed)
Semi-Automatic; Double-Action Only (DOA)
One shot per trigger pull; self-loading or auto-loading action aided by internal mechanism; trigger management (and initial cocking) typically required by the operator; subsequent shots are aided by the unlocked / moved bolt.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)
.380 ACP (9x19mm Browning Short)
Rounds / Feed
9-Round Detachable Box Magazine
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources. **Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
80 ft (24 m | 27 yd)
830 ft/sec (253 m/sec)
CZ vz. 38 - Base Series Designation
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.
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