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Submachine Gun (SMG) / Personal Defense Weapon [ 2002 ]

With range akin to an assault rifle and a compact form like a submachine gun, the Czech CZW 438 is defined as a Personal Defense Weapon.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/01/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

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.©MilitaryFactory.com
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.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

Czech Republic national flag graphic
Czech Republic


Submachine Gun (SMG) / Personal Defense Weapon

Czech Weapons (CZW) - Czech Republic
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Czechia Czech Republic
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)

Overall Length
690 mm
27.17 in
Barrel Length
220 mm
8.66 in
Empty Wgt
5.95 lb
2.70 kg

Iron Front and Rear; Supported Optics.


Lever-Delayed Blowback; Select-Fire

Blowback Operation
Gas pressure from the rearward movement of the ignited cartridge case provides the needed bolt movement, ejecting the spent case and stripping a fresh case from the magazine.
(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)


4.38x30mm (.17 Libra); 9x19mm Parabellum

Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a 9mm pistol cartridge
Rounds / Feed

15- or 30-round detachable box magazine
Cartridge relative size chart
*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.
Max Eff.Range
656 ft
(200 m | 219 yd)

Model 438 - Base Series Designation
Model 438 M9 - Chambered for the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge.

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