VZ58 Field Strip

The Czech VZ58 Rifle is a a fantastic piece of hardware that is fascinating from a mechanical standpoint. The rifles lock like a giant P38, have a piston like an FN49, and fire 7.62×39 but are misunderstood by a lot of folks. While at a glance they look like an AK, they share very little in common. So what makes the VZ58 tick?

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Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • Coolest AK variant!!!

    • Not sure I would call it an AK variant. The only thing it shares with an AK is the general shape and cartridge. Otherwise it is its own separate design unlike a Galil for Valmet. VZ58 -short stroke gas system, striker fired, and unique tilting block locking system, all not related to the AK in any way. To me it is like people calling a Japanese Type 99 LMG a variant/copy of the Bren.

      • I was being sarcastic. In the video I state very clearly how different the two rifles are.

        • somethingclever

          Busted another one barely paying attention.

      • iksnilol

        But it is, both have that curved mag on top.

        • Calimero

          “Is that a banana mag or are you just happy to see me ?”

    • Don Ward

      Coolest AK variant!!!

      Coolest Bond!!!

  • Lance

    Its a overall external layout like a AK. But internally its completely different. Its based more on the STG-44 than the AK-47 in design.

    • No Lance, no.

      • Awww, c’mon Alex, he was really trying to make a good troll that time!

        • DW

          Can confirm, 1. He is not yawning about it, 2.precursor to vz58 did at one point chamber 7.92×39, then7.62×45, then the m43, 3.these 2 are both tilt-bolt locked, gas operated guns, though we can also say luger is similar to Strike 1 for being short-recoil operated pistol in 9mm.
          Overall I rate 5.56/7.62 for marked improvement.

          • John

            I was actually surprised he tried to point out the rifles were different. Usually he just says “X is just a Y knockoff”

          • DW

            or “YAWN!!!!!!”

  • Windego

    Love mine!!! Super accurate.

  • RoyB

    How bad is it at gassing your support hand? Do you find you need a glove?

    • Calimero

      It can get hot after 50-100 rounds over a short period. I don’t rarely fire more than 30 rounds (1 mag) at a time and it’s a non issue.

      I guess you could pack some tinfoil in the handguard to act as a cheap heat shield.

      Onr thing that happens is that because of the very open design, I tend to get oil on my glasses (dominant eye). As I sometimes have corrosive ammunition, I tend to douse my SA58 with WD40 when I’m back from the range.

      Even after you’ve wiped most of it off, you end up “over-lubricating” the gun. And then you get oil flying out of the gun.

      So : wear glasses (but I assume you already do!) and a not-so-delicate shirt.

      • SP mclaughlin

        Or just rest your palm on the magazine?

        • Calimero

          I think holding the mag is a less stable position. But yeah if you *have to* shoot and the handguard is way too hot, that is certainly an option (or the only option).

          Surprisingly, even at slow rates of fire, you end up with soot on your support hand when holding the gun at the handguard. But it doesn’t burn. It just that when you take you hand of, there’s soot.

          But the Vz is a very pleasant rifle to shoot. It is light (and jumps a bit more than an heavier AK). I like the ergonomics better than the AK’s: small safety/selector switch, bolt hold open on empty mag.

          Field stripping is super easy as seen in the video.

          And they’re super cheap in Europe. In France you can find surplus SA58 at barely more than half the price of a new Gen4 Glock 17.

          Reliability wise, we have a SA58 at my gun club (available for members to shoot) and the locking piece broke after an estimated 20k rounds (+ whatever it had shot before the club got it). Parts are super cheap too.

  • MPWS

    I happen to serve with this rifle and in fact functioned during that time as weapon tech. I do not recall any issues reported by troops on the base.
    – What is good about it? It is light and reliable in most of normal circumstances (not extremely dirty).
    – What is not as good? Because it is light, it tends do dance in shooter’s hands when on burst (which is more-less useless except point blank).
    – Is it burning shooter’s hands? No (unless you grab barrel).

    • Can confirm, the Vee Zed is a handful on Fun Mode.

  • MPWS

    For those who are interested; two things were strongly discouraged or even prohibited
    – cleaning gas cylinder with abrasive material (tool was provided as part of kit)
    – exchanging parts between individual guns (probably for keeping correct head-space)
    Also, Vz.59 UMG has essentially same locking as Vz.58 but more massive. However, it operated with long piston stroke. This weapon is chambered in 7.62 x 54R and is being phased out.

    • FarmerB

      Thanks for the tips – I love mine…

  • Richard

    Where can you find one of these?

    • Sign up for Czechpoint’s updates: https://www.czechpoint-usa.com//

      • Richard

        Ok thanks

    • Arandor Thinnorion

      If you want to spend over a $1,000, keep up with CSA’s inventory. They are very nice and are probably ideal.

      If you are on a budget and looking for one under a $1,000, consider a VZ 2008. When there is good inventory, you can get them as low as $399 with 3-5 mags. Right now you aren’t going to find any under $600.

      Many people who own CSAs look down on VZ 2008s. That’s fine. VZ 2008 owners are glad to get a Vz. 58-type rifle at an affordable price.

  • Vitor Roma

    Pretty much the best rifle of its time. Much lighter than the AK and FAL, and without the problems of the M16A1

    • Anon

      Actually, the M16A1 was the variant that fixed the problems of the original mess the M16 was if I recall correctly.

      • Tom

        When ever there is a question about the problems of the AR15/M16 its worth remembering that other nations using that platform at the same time (Great Britain, Australia, New Zeland and some others I can not recall at the moment) along with special forces types had no real problems. Basically the ammunition (which was not spec) was mostly to blame and that was compounded by the self cleaning nonsense that any one other than a draftee would know was bollocks. Of course improvements have been made but the biggest improvement from the Vietnam era is in the quality of training for the troops.

  • VF 1777

    VZ58 (Not an AK) — and definitely NOT A VZ2008!

  • DW

    How to piss off both VZ and AK owners: say the VZ is a better AK then an Arsenal.

  • Peter MadOnionSix

    I own a CSA VZ58 and I LOVE it !

    • Adam D.

      Nice gun!
      In my country I see quite a few of these in shops, because the Czech Rep. is very close. Most of them are cut down like this one to 12.5″.
      (We have no SBR laws.)
      I haven’t had the chance to shoot one YET ๐Ÿ™‚ , but they seem to be handy, light guns. Military contractors usually like them from what I hear.

      With a newly manufactured barrel that can shoot around 1.5 MOA with regular stuff like Wolf, a railed dust cover a la CZ 958 and a stock adapter the VZ 58 could be a pretty nifty gun. In fact, if memory serves RS Regulate is coming out with their own Zhukov stock adapter for the VZ.

      But all in all the VZ seems to be a bit late for the 7.62 civilian party.
      In the US AKs are getting so tricked out that you don’t really NEED a VZ.
      Here in Europe, in countries where you CAN shoot a gun like this (range restrictions, laws, no point shooting 7.62×39 cal. in competition etc.), there are plenty of Serbian, Polish, Hungarian AKs floating around.
      Much more accessories, the rep of AKs and so on.

      Tricking out a VZ costs an arm and a leg. Even a plain Jane military surplus VZ with a cut down barrel costs around $1100 in my country.
      Since the parts are not as ubiquitous as AK accessories, it makes it even more expensive to drag it to the 21st century.

      • plingr2

        1,5 moa with Wolf ? I am from Czech Republic, almoust every shooter here has VZ 58 and I NEVER saw rifle with that accuracy.

  • Goody

    Why striker fire? is it any good?

    • Richard

      The Czech Republic (back then Czechoslovakia) does everything differently. They probably felt that striker fired was better for their needs. But they also wanted something that wasn’t an AK.

  • Arandor Thinnorion

    There are people who hate VZ 2008s, and some have good reason. However, Century stepped up the quality significantly in the batches starting last year. Excellent CNC machining. No trigger gremlin. From a standpoint of materials, the quality is similar to–but not the same–as CSA.

    The bottom line is cost. CSA’s go for $1,200 and up. Some people will never be able to afford one. When the market has a good supply of VZ 2008s, they can go for as little as $399. I don’t now anyone who would argue that a VZ 2008 is the same as a CSA just as I don’t know anyone who would argue that a PAP or WASR is the same as an Arsenal.

    But a 2008 allows people on a restricted budget to get their hands on a Vz. 58-type rifle. Those who can afford CSA can look down on those with VZ 2008s all they want (just as Arsenal people look down on WASR people). However, many people who own VZ 2008s are just happy to have that type of rifle at an affordable price.

    For those who are not familiar, Czech Small Arms (CSA) is officially licensed by CZ to produce Vz. 58s. They are “real” Vz. 58s. They start around $1,200.

    VZ 2008s are made from “real” surplus Vz. 58 parts kits. They have a milled U.S. receiver and a U.S barrel. When they first came out, there were some problems. However, Century has really stepped up the quality. When VZ 2008s are in short supply (as they are now), they go for $600 and up. When there are an abundance, you can get them for $399–that includes 3-5 mags, mag pouch, and surplus sling. I purchased mine from Palmetto State Armory last year for $379. That batch was excellent. Many of those same rifles are now going for $600-$900 depending on furniture and accessories.

    • Jeff

      I had my VZ2008 out this week. I have one of those $400ish specials as well and added a paracord wrap, Bonesteel forend, and a Hi-lux microdot. Fiocchi FMJs was giving me about 2″ at 100 yrds which was better than my WASR (3.5″ with a 4x POSP). Both ran without incident and my only complaint is that the VZ ejects brass up and forward of the firing line where I can’t retrieve it.

      • Arandor Thinnorion

        Sounds good. I purchased a traditional wood impregnated fixed stock for mine, and replaced the AK brake with a traditional Vz. 58 muzzle brake. So I have it in “classic” mode right now. ๐Ÿ˜Š Maybe I’ll do a “tactical” look one day, but I like the classics.

  • Grump

    A very interesting design, but saying its a better design than the AK is a stretch. Yeah its lighter, especially compared to a milled AK, but its somewhat more prone to small parts breakage and a whole lot more costly to produce than a stamped AK.
    I also prefer the AK’s factory furniture and even the control layout.

  • TJbrena

    I always thought it was interesting that the Cubans use (used?) both VZ 58s and AKMs.

    • Scott P

      A lot of Third World countries did, not just Cuba. The Vz’s were issued to the elite/special forces of their respective armed forces while the regular troops got AK’s.

  • Arandor Thinnorion

    I know a Marine who fought in Iraq. He said they pulled Vz. 58s off the more upscale terrorists. ๐Ÿ˜‰ You know, for the terrorists who believe an AK just won’t do.

  • Arandor Thinnorion

    I’ve always thought it was odd that AKs are not allowed in Canada, Vz. 58s are just fine. Obviously, they aren’t the same rifle, but they both do essentially the same thing–fire 7.62x39mm primarily from 30 round magazines.

  • AR-PRO

    I have a VZ58 select fire dealer sample I converted (I am an 02 SOT) and I believe it’s a lot more fun then select fire AK’s. That’s just my opinion. I love this rifle, very dependable, no issues with accuracy and very controllable in fun mode! If you get a chance to shoot one, you won’t be disappointed!