The Czech Republic has announced that it will donate obsolete vz. 58 rifles, both new and used, to the Iraqi and Kurdish regional government. The vz. 58 is an unusual assault rifle often confused with the famous Kalashnikov pattern of rifles, but very different from that family. Jane’s reports:
The Czech government announced on 25 January that it would donate 3,000 new and 3,600 surplus Ceská zbrojovka Model 58 (Vz. 58) assault rifles to Iraq’s central and Kurdish governments, along with 7.2 million rounds of ammunition.
“The Czech Republic will supply assistance to Iraq and the Kurds in the form of assault rifles and ammunition,” Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Twitter.
Czech defence minister Martin Stropnický informed media on 25 January that another 3.8 million rounds of 7.62×39 mm ammunition and three million rounds of 7.62×54 mm ammunition would be donated to Jordan.
While the vz. 58 has been superseded in Czech serviced by the modular 805 Bren and 806 Bren 2 families of weapons, it is still a very capable rifle for modern combat. The Czech weapons that will be donated are all chambered for the Soviet 7.62x39mm intermediate rifle cartridge, and are select-fire with fully automatic capability. The vz. 58 remains popular with both civilian and military users due to its light weight and favorable recoil and handling characteristics relative to the more famous Kalashnikov pattern of assault rifles, although without modification the type does not accept modern optics or accessories. For a local force without the money to buy very many of these luxuries, however, the vz. 58 is still an excellent rifle that is extremely competitive with other weapons of its type. Kurdish and Iraqi government forces are currently embattled fighting Daesh, the Islamic extremist militant organization seeking to establish a worldwide Caliphate based on sharia law. The donated vz. 58s will be used against Daesh forces by the allied governments.