There must be a lot of shooters out there who like the pistol versions of the AR-15 and AK-47, because many manufacturers are producing them. It is not surprising, then, that another manufacturer, CzechPoint, would offer a pistol version of a popular military rifle—the vz. 58.
The vz. 58 rifle looks an awful lot like the AK-47 and is chambered for the same round, but that is where the similarities to Kalashnikov’s design ends. In a communist world where conformity with the central authority’s rules was enforced at the muzzle end of a gun, the Czechs were a brave and contrary bunch. More than once they challenged Soviet rule and faced the consequences, but they persisted. Interestingly, they did manage to buck authority when it came to the design of their battle rifle. While the Czechs complied with the Soviet dictate, chambering the vz. 58 in 7.62x39mm and adopting a magazine compatible with the AK-47’s, the rest of the vz. 58 was different.
The AK-47 incorporates a rotating bolt in a bolt carrier that is permanently attached to the gas piston, and the bolt has two locking lugs that engage recesses in the trunnion or receiver to solidly lock the bolt in battery. The vz. 58, however, uses a bolt that is locked into battery by a camming block that drops into two slots cut into the receiver—in a manner similar to the locking mechanism of the P.38—and the gas piston is a separate piece that is not attached to the bolt carrier. While the AK-47 uses a long-stroke piston, the vz. 58 piston is a short-stroke design that imparts a sharp blow to the front of the bolt carrier, sending it backwards for the extraction stroke. The carrier is then propelled forward by a recoil spring, permitting the bolt to strip a fresh cartridge from the magazine and feed it into the chamber. In the meantime, the piston is returned to its forward position by a coil spring.