The S805 Pistol Is Here; MAC Takes A Look

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The S805 Bren pistol from CZ, the company’s next-generation modular follow-on to the often-mistaken-for-an-AK Vz. 58 has finally reached American storefronts. We’ll talk about the rifle itself in a minute, but first Tim of the Military Arms Channel has already released a medium-length video discussing the new pistol, embedded below:

Tim mentions that the S805 and SCAR seem to be “siblings” sharing many similarities. This assessment is right on the mark, since both rifles trace their parentage to the German G36 rifle. Tim further raises the question of which weapon might have come first, a question we can answer here. The SCAR solicitation (originally called “SCR”) began in early 2003, with the first FN SCAR prototype submitted in June of 2004. According to Leszek Erenfeicht writing for SADJ in 2012, the development of the 805 Bren began in 2005, after several abortive attempts to sell the AK-derived Lada/CZ2000. Judging by these dates, the FN SCAR began its development first, but it’s unlikely that at that point CZ had enough information to substantially copy any features from the Belgian design. Indeed, the case for the S805’s parentage being overwhelmingly German is made stronger by another section of the SADJ article:

The upper receiver is monolithic, with a full length Mil-Std 1913 rail running on top.  The upper is machined out of a forged aircraft-grade aluminum billet, has a form of an inverted U-sectioned through, completely open at three sides.  Initially it was planned to be made of polymer plastic, but during the development an aluminum ‘interim’ receiver was used, and so it remained.

This explains much about the S805’s chunky upper receiver. The profile is much heavier than it needs to be given the material – which is exactly what one would expect given the original intent to make the upper receivers out of polymer. The contours of the receiver likewise are strange for a milled piece, but make perfect sense if one imagines them injection molded from fiber-reinforced polyamide, instead.

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The similarities between the S805 bolt carrier in this image and the G36 and HK243 bolt carriers below are striking. The bolt configuration appears to be a direct copy, while the carrier has a different charging handle design (closer to the SCAR), but also copies the firing pin safety of the HK243. Also visible in this image is the soft contouring of the receiver – contouring which adds machine work, but would have been of no consequence on the original injection molded polymer receiver design. Image source: sadefensejournal.com

 

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Image source: hkpro.com

 

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Image source: hkpro.com

 

The 805’s gas piston, too, more closely resembles the Rottweil maker’s rifle than it does the Herstal gun:

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The S805 piston in this image is not identical to the G36 pistons below, but more closely resembles the German design’s short-stroke operating rod than it does the SCAR’s small tappet gas piston. Image source: all4shooters.com

 

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Image source: hkpro.com

 

Finally, CZ added an extra step, but otherwise disassembly is very similar to that of a G36:

At SHOT 2012, I got my first look at the Bren rifle… And I wasn’t as impressed as I expected. Mechanically, the gun was unremarkable, and it was quite heavy and chunky compared to the competition. The thing that left the greatest impression on me, however, was how every member of my four-man group drew blood attempting to field-strip the rifle. The cross-pins holding the rifle together featured detent clips that were not deburred. When one pushed on the pins, the detents were compressed and pinched the finger of the poor chap trying to get the rifle open, hard enough to draw blood. Despite being warned of this by myself (the first of the group to disassemble the rifle), each member in turn managed to bloody himself trying his hand at the procedure. The only solution, we found, was to push on the pin with the tip of a fingernail.

However, the video above seems to show that the pin detents have been modified. Where previously, the pins could be pushed through (as long as the blood sacrifice were made), Tim indicates that the new pins have to have their detents manually compressed before they are pushed through, removing the necessity of the aforementioned ritual.

Tim mentions that the bolt cannot be separated from the bolt carrier. This feature is in my opinion a very bad move on the part of CZ. In the Louisiana humidity, I have had bolt carriers and bolts rust together as the rifle sat in storage, making unlocking and locking very difficult. The solution is to separate, clean, oil, and reassemble the operating group – a maintenance procedure that is not possible on the Bren.

The S805 Bren is a heavier gun than it needs to be, but otherwise seems like a reasonable rifle… Provided the user does not need to separate the bolt and carrier.



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 can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • NewMan

    The fact that you can’t remove the bolt from carrier without an armorer is a huge flaw, IMO.

    • Kelly Jackson

      What do you plan on doing with it?

      • Joshua

        You ever been in a dusty desert environment or a maritime one?

        Both of which exist in multiple parts of the US.

        • Kivaari

          I have been in both, plus mountains. We used to go salmon fishing while writing tickets to violators.

          • iksnilol

            That sounds… pleasant.

            I thought work wasn’t supposed to be that enjoyable?

        • Kelly Jackson

          Yes, I served in a dusty desert environment and never once did I have to remove a bolt from the bolt carrier.

          I’m sure you won’t either guarding your local mall.

          • Joshua

            Because clearly I guard malls…

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Don’t mind him, it’s all “you’re a mall ninja” with him. No one trains, no one competes, no one knows anything but him. If he feels the slightest bit threatened with not knowing everything he lashes out with “TACIKEWL MAUL NEENJA!”

          • nadnerbus

            It is sound engineering to make major moving parts user serviceable.

            It’s like detail stripping a Glock slide. Sure, I don’t really need to do it much, or at all really. But I feel better knowing I can pop the extractor out and clean out any accumulated carbon, or replace it if it breaks.

      • Hi Kelly,

        Just the day before I wrote this article, I had to disassemble an AR-15 because the humidity here in Louisiana had rusted the carrier and bolt together and it wouldn’t go into battery.

        Not to knock the Czechs, but if that had been an 805, I would have had to take it to a gunsmith.

        • Esh325

          Unless the 805’s design isn’t as susceptible to such a thing.

          • ostiariusalpha

            You can seal the bolt from a lot of things, but humidity isn’t one of them. Your best bet is in a safe, but a packet of desiccant is easy to pack and you just place it in the magwell when you’re not using the rifle.

          • It’s made of steel, isn’t it?

          • Esh325

            Maybe they have more rust resistant coating on the bolt? Maybe the geometry of the bolt doesn’t allow as much rust to accumulate to effect function?

          • Joshua

            Salt water and humidity. It it’s made of steel it will rust in a maritime environment.

          • Tom

            Quite right. Chemistry much like physics is a harsh mistress Salt + moisture + steel = iron oxide aka rust.

          • Pretty sure I know what they’re using for a coating, and it’s not more rust resistant.

            I know for a fact the bolt geometry won’t make a difference.

          • BTW, for the readers, I didn’t mean to be cryptic about this. The bolt is blued, just like those on HK and Radom guns are. They look cool and purple because of the specific quirks of the bluing process CZ uses (probably also the water pH). It seems to be something common to Central Europe.

            The carrier is phosphated, just like an AR-15’s bolt carrier. So the carrier is no more rust resistant than an AR’s, and the bolt is probably less rust resistant.

        • nadnerbus

          Just buy cosmoline in a 55 gallon drum, you’ll be fine.

          • Then you need to disassemble the bolt to clean the cosmo out, though.

          • nadnerbus

            Naw, just dunk it in a bucket of gasoline. What could go wrong?

          • iksnilol

            I sorta did that with an AK, removed all non metal parts and poured diesel over it.

        • louieleblanc1@aol.com

          Isnt that why the Marines are going to discontinue the AR platform?

          • I’m sorry, come again? The Marines have just adopted the M4 service wide, I’ve seen no indication that they’re discontinuing the AR. Why would they?

    • Esh325

      You can take internet fourm posts with a grain of salt, but some Czech users have said that it has reliability problems in the Czech army and the magazines are excessively bulky. I wonder how much the civilian version differs from the military version? Excluding the stock and select fire abilities. It probably isn’t a good idea to a have a bolt that can’t be dissembled fully. Hopefully the Czechs will be able to get rid of the design kinks. Maybe they’ll make the upper out of polymer or a lighter alloy in the future.

      • Reliability problems surprise me. The mechanism is sound; maybe it’s a gassing issue?

        • Esh325

          Maybe, or it might be made up. The Czechs don’t make junk.

          • Zachary marrs

            LOL

            Any country can make junk

          • Esh325

            Certainly, but I would be surprised if the Czech did.

        • Esh325

          Another rumor I heard is that they are trying to convert the 805’s in the Czech army to take STANAG magazines instead of the proprietary magazine, but the conversion is not as smooth as the design originally intended and some gun smithing is required apparently.

          • Bungameng

            The first batch of 7.000 used proprietary magazines while all new ones are coming with STANAG mags. As weird as it may sound, the army chose not to upgrade the original batch to STANAGs.

          • Esh325

            I wonder why did they choose to do that?

      • MPWS

        Reliability problem was first reported while used in A-stan. I recall reading that exclusive small arms ammo supplier for that mission were IWI. That is not to say that it was exclusively ammo, which was at fault; maybe couple of other thing combined.

      • Bungameng

        The reliability issues were with the first batch. They showed up in Afghanistan and that basically killed the gun’s reputation in home country. The gun received some upgrades which apparently solved the reliability issues, since they were not reported in the last year or two. All new guns are made with the upgrades while CZ also upgraded those already delivered.

  • iksnilol

    It kinda looks like a Bolter.

    Makes sense that it’s heavier than it needs to be since they originally intended to make the receiver polymer. Too bad you can’t separate the bolt from the carrier.

    • Riot

      Nah a bolter is a rectangle with a pistol grip in one corner and a barrel just poking out the other end.

      • iksnilol

        And the S805 is what? A rectangle with a pistol grip and a barrel poking out the other end.

    • Kivaari

      Yep, you got that right.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Heavier than needs to be was exactly my impression at SHOT.

    Not as bad as the BT APC556, but a decent AR will feel a lot more nimble.

    • Bungameng

      Well considering that the light weight G36’s problems lately, I’d say the little extra weight is worth it.

  • USMC03Vet

    I wish the overpriced “pistol” market would go away. Who buys this stuff? Seriously you can get entire rifles for less than that.

    • yup, for that price, I’d much rather get a quality AR platform that is usable

    • Esh325

      It’s the USA’s 922r and NFA laws to blame.

    • KestrelBike

      It’s all about the ease of conversion to SBR (with lame $200 stamp of course). It’s much easier and cheaper to add a stock than to buy another barrel or cut one down.

  • Vitsaus

    How come MAC isn’t shooting this thing from the shoulder with his SIG arm brace anymore? I remember him being very adamant that people could do that with these kinds of pistols….

    • Cymond

      Was he adamant about it before or after the ATF’s open letter in January? As of February, he was warning against using it at all, lest one be falsely accused of shoulderig it.
      https://youtu.be/77impGwnEtE

    • nadnerbus

      When he advised people to do that, he was correct. The geniuses that badgered the ATF for clarification on arm braces got that changed. After that, he advised people not to shoulder them, lest they inadvertently commit a crime.

  • Kivaari

    That is a nice looking gun.

  • MrEllis

    Just sitting over here, waiting for the rifle version…

  • MPWS

    This creation is clearly a showcase of plagiarism.
    Czech army btw is extremely un-enthused with it and rather keep humping aging vz.58; non removable bolt is absurdity on its own. With little bit of imagination though, you can use that pistol grip (after previously removed magazine of course) as gardening implement. So it’s good at something….. after all.

  • Tom

    Because its new and cool and marketing.

  • Uniform223

    Question. Is there any real benefit to a reciprocating charging handle?

    • sauerquint

      Yes. It can also function as a forward assist.

      • Uniform223

        It seems rather frivolous then, especially given the fact that the forward assist on the AR-15 seems to do the job. Why not just use immediate action drill? I only use SPORTs when immediate action didn’t work the first time around. I am just curious behind the trend of thoughts for a reciprocating charging handle.

    • iksnilol

      Less parts, works as a forward assist.

      I don’t really understand the fear/aversion to reciprocating charging handles. It ain’t gonna bite you.

  • iksnilol

    I can see that.

    So… Who’s intersted in making a bolter? Though I’ll admit, 5.56 is an unsuitable chambering for a bolter

    • Riot

      russian 30mm would be as close as you could get.
      Still too big but hey moar dakka

  • Rich Guy

    What, exactly keeps the bolt in the carrier? Since it seems so similar to the Scar, how does it differ in this one area of bolt take down? How does on take down a Scar bolt?

  • Alex Pei

    That’s disappointing. For what these things cost, I would have not have expected issues with the weight and bolt disassembly. I was planning on getting one of these, guess I’ll pass.

  • Dem Gainz

    I’d like to see a rifle version of the 805 Bren to come out.

  • bob

    Maybe they think your just going to pour lube into the bolt/bcg area and rack it a few times to prevent rust and move what gunk is in there out? I would think with the weather there they wouldn’t of put a huge design flaw that we would think it be in the gun.