Blinged Out North Korean ZB, AK and CZ 75 Clone

I understand, and appreciated, blinged out and chromed guns on parade, but they just look silly when used in exercises by soldiers who just looked like they stepped off a messy hay ride.

The machine gun is a clone of the Czech ZB vz. 26, a gun developed in the 1920s. The ZB vz. 26′s most famous clone is the Bren Gun used by Britain and some of her allies during WWII. Back then it was classed as a light machine gun. Today, classifying it is harder. Its small magazine, just 30 rounds, restricts its use as a General Purpose Machine Gun, but it fires full power medium caliber cartridges (.303, 7.62x51mm, 7.92x57mm et. al.) and is the same weight as modern GPMGs like the M240L and a lot heavier than most LMGs.

Note the engraving on both the stock and the rifle itself. On the stock and pistol grip there appear to be flowers. I am not so sure I would want flowers engraved on my rifle.

I think that this AK is a Type 88 (Nork AK-74 clone). Even the magazine contains some embelishing.

Now this photo is especially interesting. The reader who emailed us the photo asked if that pistol is a CZ75 clone. I believe he is correct. I have never seen photos of the North Koreans with this pistol, but I have heard that they had a clone (or a clone of the Chinese CZ-75 clone, the Norinco NZ-75). The officers rank insignia is confusing and does not match the only reference I have for North Korean insignia, the USMC NK Handbook published in 1997, but my best guess is that he is a Senior Colonel (equivalent to an Brigadier General / O-7).

[Hat Tip: China Defense]

[ Many thanks to Albi for emailing us the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Samopal

    Ah, North Korea…always good for a laugh. They’re like the national equivalent of those wannabe gangsters who wear $300 sneakers and act tough but live off food stamps and can’t fight to save their lives.

    • Tierlieb

      Fitting observation regarding their military and economical state but “wannabe”, “acting tough” and “can’t fight to save their lives” are a bit off.

      The amount of violence happening on the North/South border, their raids into different countries (*) and the constant suppression of their own people should tell us that they are not just acting though. This is one mean government.

      I admit it is reassuring to belittle them (**), as they, as a nuclear power, are in a position one cannot do anything about it but wait and hope they just go broke and end as peaceful as the Sowjet Union did (***).

      *) just google +north +korean +abductions and you’ll find reports that can both be called “bloody good infiltration and extraction” and “a disgrace to human rights”.
      **) which is why I completely understand the upvotes on this comment.
      ***) …and even that was not pretty and isn’t done yet.

      • Michael

        I don’t think they qualify as a “nuclear power” considering that every test they’ve conducted has been a spectacular fizzle. Their best yield is about one tenth of where we were 70 years ago, on the very first try.

        And while their army is big, on paper, the reality is that they don’t have enough output, caloric or industrial, to last much more than a fortnight- save for a massive Chinese intervention to bail their asses out, you know, kinda like last time. And, considering China’s need for us, both to protect their trading routes for them, and to be like their single biggest market, the chances of that are just slightly south of where they were in 1950.

        Your’re right, their abductions are an under reported moral travesty. But the reality is that most of the successful ones are decades in the past, and their more recent attempts at assassination have been more Keystone Cops than “bloody good”.

    • Tim V

      I know ill be laughing so hard when they come pouring out of underground tunnels with armored vehicles in South Korea after a massive artillery barrage larger then any in history. Hilarious.

      • mosinman

        after the biggest artillery barrage in history….. (although tragic will probably have little military effect) they will come pouring out of the tunnels right into the waiting arms of US and ROK forces. infact bombarding seoul will probably enrage the south koreans even more and make the retribution even worse.

    • W

      yeah wannabe gangsters with a massive, fanatical army, miles of underground labyrinths buried beneath solid granite (resistant to bunker busters), the largest special forces in the world, and rail artillery integrated with the mountain bunkers that is pointed directly in Seuol.

      North Korea is anything but a pushover. Unlike previous enemies we have fought, they have the ability to wage conventional war and inflict horrendous losses on the US and ROK forces. They are anything but simple thugs.

      • Zyle

        “They have the ability to wage conventional war and inflict horrendous losses-”

        And also to have absolutely FAAAABULOUS taste in firearms.

  • Mobious

    Gotta love the contrast of camouflage and bling… the message is unclear

    • Burst

      Perfect for NK, then.

    • Yves

      When you have a message so unclear, that´s the message itself.

      The real background is: “We are insane we don´t fear you”

      NK had been developing different methods to destroy individual thinking and to get the most efficient mental control since war times.

      It´s like been born in a NRM and never get anything from the exterior, your parents and grannys could say you that the elephants are pink, then you go to the school and your teachers will say the same thing about elephats, the college and again, you will married and you will teach to your son that elephants are pink and your son will believe you cuz all his world say him that the elephants are pink.

      That soldiers are young, they were raised in NK totalitarian goverment and they will believe everything they gov say, their leaders are sending the message that will fight if anything wrong goes cuz they soldiers are completely insane.

  • Tim V

    Its Nickle Boron, those guns are gonna last forever.

    • Y-man

      Tim V: did you just call me a boron?! 🙂

  • BC;MT

    Love that trigger control.

  • Not going to lie, I want that AK clone. I mean you wouldn’t have to carry a shaving mirror into the woods with you. and if you got lost, instant rescue mirror… or it would look good in a gun cabinet i suppose

  • Higgs

    That MG is a Type 73, and not a copy of the bren, nor VZ. It is a copy/mod of the PKM with a Box mag mod. I guess they did it to save ammo, just like how alot of their AKs are fitted with 20 round mags. That muzzle break is a removable Grenade launcher.

    • Finnman

      Indeed, a Type 73 with belt and mag-feed. They even exported some to Iran (I have seen at least one pic of the Type 73 in Iranian exercises).

      The Type 88 front is NOT to launch grenades btw, it’s the muzzle brake, like with the AK-74.

      • Higgs

        That is a slip over attachment that is meant to be slid over the small tube under the receiver right next to his hand. it may be the Rifle grenade attachment, or the bare barrel is. im not sure which.

  • Higgs

    PS, it can also be belt fed.

  • kivaari

    Wikipedia suggests that this gun might be “Baek-Du-San, North Korean copy of the Czech CZ-75 pistol”. I wonder if this all-shiny-and-stuff one is a standard-issue version 😀

  • KTakada

    The dude with the 75 clone’s rank is a “Dae-Chwa” or “Senior Colonel,” according to

    • I was right 🙂 It looks like they updated the insigna in 1998 (after my book was published).

      Thanks very much for confirming that. I have bookmarked the page.

  • Steve North Korean type 73 GPMG is magazine- AND belt-feded, like the Minimi. The type 79 is a mix of a few different weapons 😉


  • Máté

    The koreans copy everything. Even each other, just look at them.

  • Komrad

    Nice trigger discipline with that poor CZ knockoff.

    Call me crazy, but the chromed AK isn’t that bad. Maybe keep the receiver and stock in a matte black finish, and that could look real slick.

  • H. L. Fahnestock

    There are marine versions of shotguns…. Why not AK’s? Perfect to keep on board, when fishing offshore, in case of pirate attack! Just sayin’ 🙂

  • Bryan S.

    The flower is probably a Kimjunilia, which is a national symbol of Kim Jung Il.

  • hikerguy

    This just shows that despite being in a country where personal freedoms and rights are non-existent, “tacky” and “gaudy” can still rule the day. LOL

  • Michael

    Bring back the BREN gun, but please make it a wee bit lighter

    • RickH

      It was either 1979 or 1980 I was lucky enough to be allowed to shoot a Bren. It was one chambered in 7.62, I did one magazine, and it was the first full auto weapon I had ever fired. At that time, and still today, it was the coolest thing I’ve ever had the pleasure to fire. (My goal someday is still to shoot a mini-gun.)

  • Pete Sheppard

    My guess is that those are “award” guns, to be held by a unit in recognition for “superior” performance.

    • I´ve heard the same. Those guns are awards from the high officials for the distinguished units and they are used by the units as trophies for their achievements. Usually, such guns are given to commended soldiers inside the unit.

      Not sure if there is really an idea to use such guns or just show them for PR-shoots, but if there would be bullets flying in the air, I would be the first guy to paint them over – trophies or not. 😉

      And about the nickel/chrome plating and carved flowers etc. – well – its usual on that part of the world.

  • Nice trigger discipline, sir.

    • Exoticbirdhunter

      He’s aiming at those evil South Korean birds that fly and poop over his hidden shrub troops. Also he’s angry about all the troops behind him surrendering their arms to the birds.

  • Alan

    Those Koreans sure do love their CZ hardware.

  • Jeff

    Those shiny weapons kinda negates the point of camouflage…..

    • Guest


  • phuzz

    Question is, do they have any ammunition for any of those weapons? Or indeed food for the soldiers?

    • harp1034

      The soldiers look to be well fed. I don’t know about the ammo.

    • Riceball

      They probably do, why else do you think the rest of the country is starving? I think the priority in food starts with the top, next comes the top party members, then I think the military (in order of rank) and minor party members come next, and what’s left goes to the regular people.

    • Roland

      The produce almost all of there own munitions. And they have more then plenty, since the nations entire focus is military, that includes all resources; the army always comes first.

  • Lance

    I think from the pictures this was a ceremony and inspection for a certain North Korean unit by the new leader Kim Il Un, so the fancy ceremonial rifles are there for that reason. Most of the chromed weapons are for ceremony anyway. North Korea doesn’t according to most defense web sites use old Brens and dont use CZ-75 unless its the officers personal handgun he bought from Norinco or CZ itself.Most High Ranking Officers in most Asian countries are required to buy there own handguns from approved makers. The Officer just has his personal weapon out for this inspection.

    As for AK-74 and Chinese Type 88 clones only North Korean Special forces have such weapons and most infantry recorded in North Korea still use AKMs and Chinese Type-56 copies in 7.62×39. The Torkarev TT-33 is the ”Official” handgun of the North still too.

    Overall the pic show cheesy propaganda coming from the dieing regime in the North again.

    • Fritz

      It’s Kim Jong-un, not Kim il-un, but otherwise a decent post from you.
      Please keep them that way

    • junglecarbine

      What do you mean by ” High Ranking Officers in most Asian countries are required to buy there own handguns from approved makers?. Unlike western countries, most Asians regarded entry into the officers corps as an honor and a privilege?

      They wont besmirch the honor by asking the officers to buy anything! In fact they will make sure the masses pay for every thing, even their personal weapons…..

      • Lance

        It a privilege to be Officer but many High Ranking Officers can purchases firearms for there own use. China and Japan where nations also did that practice in the past.

  • John Doe

    I’m assuming the camouflage and the chrome guns are intended to confuse enemies.

    • RickH

      It’s not camouflage, they’re covered in packing material from un-crating their brand spankin’ shiny new guns!

  • K

    Found this video by googling “Baek-Du-San pistol”:

    Anybody speak Korean? Also, do want.

    • Lance

      A tricked out CZ for High ranking military and political members of North Korea by the Czechs in the 80s interesting.

  • Chase

    Look at the first photo: it’s Brian Peppers!

  • Rick P

    Comical. New tv show, Pimp my Revolution. Before long these weapons will be gracing pimps and Gangsta’s everywhere

    • Riceball

      And if we ever go to war with North Korea they’ll probably be the most sought after war trophy since WW II and they Luger and samurai swords.

  • Nater

    People shouldn’t laugh at North Korea. While they do some cheesy and just plain ridiculous stuff, they do present a threat. They have a legit nuclear deterrent and who knows how many heavy artillery pieces pointed at Seoul. While they could never win a war against the US and the South, probably not even against the South by itself, they could do a lot of damage before they were crushed by superior Western and Eastern firepower.

    • W

      you are right nater, the north korean peoples army is geared to counter the technological and firepower might of the US and ROK forces…i.e. with asymetric warfare.

      Of course, their armor is hopelessly outmatched by US M1 and ROK eight eight and K2 tanks, as is their air fleet of aged MIGs. Of course, they will count on the close range effectiveness of the MIGs and the strength of their fortifications to wage a assymetric war against their enemies.

      North Korea will never attack the south. It isn’t conducive for the survival of their regime to cross the DMZ, as they willl be fighting the war on the west’s terms. The west would be particularly suited for defensive warfare, with its massive firepower and sophisticated weapons of war. They will count on the South Koreans and US attempting to invade North. This is one of the main reasons why the koreas are in a stalemate.

      • Chase

        Unfortunately, by the time a war actually starts, the North Korean people will probably have all starved to death. 🙁

      • W

        chase, without a doubt. It would take elements nothing short of divine intervention for North Korea to defeat US forces, with that task being technically, with all options considered, outright impossible.

        The frightening thing is that a war with North Korea would be conducted with suicidal fervor. Undoubtedly they would be defeated in the long run due to China’s less than favorable support of the regime compared to relations 50 years ago. Their intention would be to inflict as much damage as possible, especially with a nuclear warhead.

        Loss of life among ROK and US forces would be predictably high, though South Korea possesses immense resources compared to their northern neighbors, such as a higher population, highly advanced and trained military, and immense firepower via air force. The North Koreans would have better odds waging defensive warfare, rather than the more suicidal approach of a invasion of the south (optimistically, if the North Koreans even have the logistics, fuel, and ammunition in the first place). US airpower is nothing to laugh at (the fervor of human wave assaults is a moot point compared to thermobaric and cluster munitions).

      • Lance

        I agree with W The US in 1950 remember was just a few months and was on the verge of victory and crushing North Korea for good. It was Red China who saved North Korea the first time. Same for any conflict in the future the chance for victory is about if China intervenes or not.

    • Guest

      Actually they can win against the South, and it might even be easier for them then you think. Should they level Seoul and breach the DMZ, then without US help all is lost, even ROK officers say so.

  • The NKs may be tough and well defended but once they leave their bunkers and head south they would get slaughtered piece meal. Think the road of death when Iraq was pulling out of Kuwait.

    The other thing is that the paranoid/siege mentality of NKs is what sustains the dictatorship. I don’t believe they would ever actually move against the South because they know they couldn’t win, nukes or not.

  • Scott

    Looks like he got some Kim on his Jong; and now is feeling il….

  • Benjamin

    Even without blinged-out guns, those brightly-coloured collar-pins aren’t gonna help their concealment much.

  • NickB

    It’s upsetting to me how many of the comments are against the North Korean soliders, it’s not like they picked the guns. Let’s face it they are not well equipted, many of them fight for something they don’t believe in, and those that do are under the influence of propaganda. For those of you saying “Let them try to fight us they’ll get their @$$ kicked” I hope you know you are talking about people who are not as different then us as you’d like to think. War means death on both sides, and I would see it from a tragic view. If there’s one thing I’d like to remind you guys is that war is hell, not a game of risk.

    • Vrt

      “, and those that do are under the influence of propaganda”
      Well. Same with US soldiers.

      • NickB

        If that is all you got out of my comment you should re-read some of the larger issues. Every army uses propaganda, it’s just at such a higher level that they use it.

        • cc

          North Korea is not what USA shows you
          North korea is too closed up that USA believes everything the US government says

          You guys believed that Iran was giving child soldiers plastic keys to heaven and send them over minefields during iran-iraq war and in the end it was a BIG LIE

    • W

      nick you’re right. the thing that pisses me off about this blind jingoism is that very few, if any, of these ass shit war hawks, that jubulantly scream for war, will be recalled back into service when a larger scale war breaks out. I will be. As a owner of a family business, I am less than excited about the idea of being pressed back into commission because diplomats didn’t do their f–king job.

      War is hell. The first Korean War earned a reputation as a frozen hell. Another war there 50 years later will be no improvement, except in the body count numbers…

  • Seeker

    Unfortunately, the hay on the solders’ backs are likely the only “food” most of the civilian population can regularly access. I have no doubt that their military is well-fed and suicidally loyal, and would fight just as fanatically as the Japanese did for their Emporer in World War II, resulting in massive numbers of casualty.

    When you live in a system in which you can get a very rare chance to attend college by being unfathomably cruel to cull the population inside concentration camps, you are unlikely to risk being accused of cowardice or failure, knowing that even the mere suspicion would result in you, your entire family, and every known extended blood relative ending up inside concentration camps where you would be literally worked to death in conditions none of us could even fathom.

    The ROK and the US may have far-superior weapon power and force multipliers, but the DPRK has soldiers and civilians willing to die by the millions. Laugh at the North if you will, but do not underestimate the bloodbath they could unleash. Juche is their religion, nothing less.

    • Riceball

      While you do have a good point that fanaticism won’t be enough to keep us from beating the NORKs if we ever went to war with them. Sure they will cause a good bit of carnage at first but in the end they don’t have the military might, industrial base, and the food to beat us and the South.

      • Roland

        In secret documents the plans of them are far more sinister and cunning then you might think. First of all, they have no plans of setting boots on US soil, like some thought or think. Secondly, they understand there surroundings and both enemies and allies very well. They believe China will NOT support them in a all out invasion of the South by NK. They believe China WILL support them in a invasion if the North by ROK. The plans they have laying, not mere propaganda, is unification above all, no matter what. It considered the most ideal conditions for this to be this: if South Korea happens to have a political crisis AND The US is in active war, while have the majority of it’s troop directed towards it’s current conflict zone. It believes The US will not be in time to effectively and completely stop the invasion. It also believes it can buy time by threatening to level complete cities in Japan (might not be a empty threat!). It is also trained for mass suicide attacks on major battle ships, and have taken their lesson from among the Pearl Harbor attack.

        It’s general plan of attack is two-fold: both lightning fast precision attacks and brute force and numbers. The first will be done by special forces (and NK has the largest number of them in the world by far), attack every airport, train station, port, etc. They have a complex and tunnel system (big enough for transport vehicles) leading straight into the South. From there units will spawn with the sole intention to create as much chaos and and terror by attacking public places. It’s main force outnumbers the SK army, which might be modern but far smaller and have proven to not respond desirably, both in time and measure of repelling, countering or returning attacks. If the DMZ gets breached (and at one point it probably will without instant help from The US en large) everything is over.

        Now a lot of people make claims like “when The US attacks NK it will be hours before it’s done” and other nonsense. NK has a absurd amount of AA. Attacking coastal batteries and bases are ineffective on it’s own: even mass famine won’t stop them, so destroying a few dozen strategical target will have no effect, and by them they have fired most of what they have on mainland SK. They have complex tunneling systems. They have massive underground basis, under/inside mountains. Bunker-busters are useless; most can even withstand nuclear attack. They have also amassed a huge army and weaponry, everyone man will get 10 years and every women 7 years of military training. They have a huge reserve army and almost every single NK is willing to they if it means stopping forces pouring into NK. Their special forces are now retrained after the Afghan war and are now specialist in tactics and weaponry like IEDs as well. That being said, they have also learned that their armor is very vulnerable from aerial attacks, after seeing how quickly one of the world’s largest tank armies got disposed of. No doubt they have increased their mobile AA and light artillery, to counter planes and tanks.

        One last thing, if some documents are reliable, NK might be planning or willing to ‘take the world with it” since “the world does not deserve to exist without NK”, should NK ever implode. This probably means pressing every red button and starting a all out nuclear armageddon. Let’s hope not.

        I personally don’t think NK would win that easily, not even in conditions heavily favorable for them. But the lesson is; never, ever, underestimate your enemy.

  • This is very beneficial information. I also like “Blinged Out North Korean ZB, AK and CZ 75 Clone” for the title. I appreciate you sharing this with the rest of us Steve.

  • tae

    The camo works “messy hay ride” or not. It is flora that is most abundant around the area. As for the blinged out weapons, I still say there is more
    bling in the ghettos.

  • Zyle

    It’s like they approached the Latin “Si vis pacem, para bellum” backward, what with the flower engravings.

    Maybe they thought it meant “If you’re preparing for war, make it look like you’re peaceful.”

  • najaf


    This machine gun the on Page is ” Type 73 machine gun” or Other names “B.K.TA” and Is produced in North Korea. Also The caliber this Shooting or machine gun is 7.62*54.This is true.Not Caliber 7.62 * 51!!!

    Thank you

  • Quarant

    It is not a “ZB” it is a Type 73; it is based on a PKM and is supposedly convertable to belt feed.