CzechPoint On The UK vz. 59 Machine Gun

Despite sounding like something the Czechs tried to export to Britain in the 20th Century, the UK vz. 59 was a GPMG adopted by Czechoslovakia during the height of the Cold War. Czechpoint, importer and manufacturer of Czech small arms, has covered the machine gun on their YouTube channel, in three videos embedded below:

One thing the UK vz. 59 shows is the Czech reliance on machined major components. The vz. 58, as well as the UK vz. 59 both rely on large, machined metal receivers that would be considered pretty primitive in the arsenals of other nations. However, different nations often have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to manufacturing, and the Czechs perfected the machined steel receiver in the 1950s and 1960s. The vz. 58 rifle, for example, manages to be even lighter than stamped steel AKs, despite its somewhat esoteric receiver construction.

The UK vz. 59 is broadly comparable to the Russian PKM machine gun, and indeed has many parallels. For example, both the UK vz. 59 and the PKM share the operating mechanism of their parent countries’ standard issue rifle, the PKM being based on the AK, and the UK vz. 59 being based on the vz. 58 rifle. Both weigh about the same, the Czech gun being a little heavier, and both date to within a few years of one another. Uniquely, the UK vz. 59’s pistol grip is not fixed, and actually doubles as a charging handle.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • The way you charge these by pushing and pulling the pistol grip is brilliant.
    Also, I love how they made a rimmed cartridge push through the belt instead of being pulled back and then pushed forward into the chamber. Very interesting firearm.

    • iksnilol

      Rest of the world: “You can’t push a rimmed cartridge through the belt”
      CZ: “AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA… no, seriously, you can”

      • DUDE

        Rest of the World: ” WITCHCRAFT!!”

      • MPWS

        Of course, link is flexible.

      • The link design is quite nifty.

        • Tassiebush

          I wish there was a double strength upvote option. Those links are incredibly cool!!!

      • Ken

        Interestingly enough, the Finns made a prototype MG42 in 7.62x54R that was supposed to do that, but it never went into production.

    • Steve

      Also I bet that the fact you had to pull the trigger when charging it lead to a lot of NDs, especially under stress.

  • G0rdon_Fr33man

    Ahh, yes, Czechoslovakian guns. Only comblock country who told the USSR to show their AKs where the sun doesn´t shine, and the Soviets said “ok, that´s reasonable”.

    The Czech have updated their arsenal with a modern touch, as seen below.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Sure, we all know how well that worked out.

      • Right, because they totally switched to the AK and Tokarev pistols after the invasion. And lol @ upvoting your own comment.

        • iksnilol

          Ey, Comrade Alexei, nothing wrong with Tokarev pistol. Now if they only would make a double stack one (kinda like Para Ord did with the 1911).

          • ostiariusalpha

            The 7.62×25 has the same rim diameter as 9mm Para, but slightly greater overall length than 10mm Auto; you’d just need to adjust for the longer round in a double stack magazine & how that would effect the grip geometry. Seems do-able.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Yeah, I fumble-thumbed that while checking that the pictures had uploaded right. Hadn’t the Soviet army pretty much moved on to the Makarov by 1968 though?

          • MPWS

            Yes, they did.

        • Dan

          Hey now, my big stupid thumbs have caused me to upvote my own comment and others whose comments i wished to bash. He may have done it on accident.

      • Esh325

        I speculate the Czechs would have went with the AKM instead had they known about it as the AK-47 was the only rifle around and the AKM had a few more refinements compared to the AK-47. Interestingly, The CZ 2000 which was heavily inspired by the AK came very close to replace the VZ 58. So much for VZ 58 superiority.

        • “So much for”? The gun is still in service!

          • Esh325

            And being replaced.

        • ostiariusalpha

          I don’t think it was a matter of how good the AKM turned out to be, Czechoslovakia just really didn’t want to anyone’s lackey. This gun & (he who designed the well-regarded vz. 58) Jiří Čermák’s URZ family of weapons had chamberings in 7.62×51 NATO, which kind of tells you how deep their commitment to the Warsaw Pact was.

          • Esh325

            I suppose that’s true. They may not have accepted any other designs other than a Czech one.

    • iksnilol

      I halfway dream of integrally suppressing one of the short barreled ones (20 cm barrel). Titanium suppressor that extends 10 cm would be beautiful.

      Then maybe a bullpup conversion to finish it?

    • Esh325

      There are some modernized VZ 58’s around, but the Czechs seem to have thought there was a limit to how far the design could go and opted to go with a completely new rifle, the 805 Bren.

    • Kyke

      I want that. How much does it cost and where can I get it lol.

  • MPWS

    One thing to take note of is that belt is pulled only on up-stroke, not up & down like with MAG58 or MG3. The pawl rides on 3-D surface (cam) produced on RH side of Bolt carrier.
    The Receiver is from one piece. This may look like need for lots of machining, but it saves welding/ riveting operation as used on MAG or MG#

  • Drew Wood

    Wow, that is an awesome piece of machinery. nearly every part has multiple functions. pistol grip + charging handle. carry handle + barrel removal + forward grip. tripod that has a ton of flexibility for prone, sitting behind sandbag, and anti air/free move. that is a very well thought out design.

  • mosinman

    the quality of the vz.58 is the reason i have no interest in a AK type rifle

  • Squirreltakular

    The designs of the charging handle/ grip and the feed cover are so cool. Man, I love this site.

  • gunsandrockets

    Next I would like to see a similar set of videos of the vz 52 LMG.

  • Still doesn’t make it a great idea. PVT Mongo is probably better served with a separate charging handle of some sort. And we kind of have to design around PVT Mongo.

  • jcitizen

    It the thing would take PKM or Maxim links, I’d be interested, but I imagine those special links will disappear faster than the gun does! Let alone the link loader. I make sure I have link loaders available for all weapons at any shoot I prepare for.

  • jcitizen

    No mention of the Marcolmar firearms semi-auto variant. Anybody know if that company is legit? Supposedly the gun comes with two sizes of drum with 5 belts each – fat chance finding replacement belts though, and no loader is mentioned on the site, maybe you could get one from Checkpoint? They’re all out of belt loaders – Aww, that’s not good!