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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]