American Rifleman - April 2021 - 54

PISTOL

The Bren
s soon as an independent Czech state was
formed from the ashes of the AustroHungarian Empire following the First
World War, it quickly became known
as a nation with worldwide influence in firearm design. During the Cold War, despite being
behind the Iron Curtain, the Czechs resisted the
hegemony of Soviet firearms, opting for their
own indigenous designs, such as the roller-locked
vz. 52 pistol and their definitely-not-an-AK
vz. 58 rifle. This influence would extend well
beyond Eastern Europe. The telescoping bolt of
the Sa 23 submachine gun would inspire the Uzi,
and the CZ 75 pistol would kick off the wave of
double-action, semi-automatic " Wonder Nines. "
Now located in the Czech Republic, the contemporary Czeská zbrojovka a.s. Uherský Brod (CZ)

CZ Bren 2 Ms

The " Bren " name comes from the famous World
War II British light machine gun, a design based
on the Czech vz. 26 (the " BR " in its name came
from the Czech Brno factory where the gun was
designed, the " EN " from the Royal Small Arms
Factory at Enfield, where they were manufactured).
The vz. 26, along with its derivatives, was one of
the most successful magazine-fed light machine
guns in history. It was adopted by two dozen countries, and its Bren offspring spread throughout the
British Commonwealth, some being converted to
7.62x51 mm NATO, and is still in use today.
In 2005, CZ began working on a replacement
for the aging vz. 58 service rifle, which had been
in Czech service for nearly half a century. Known
as " Project 805, " the resulting rifle follows the
ArmaLite AR-18 design, using a rotating bolt in
a square carrier, operated by a short-stroke gas
piston. The upper receiver was machined from a
solid block of 7075-T6 aluminum alloy, and the
lower housing, which holds the fire-control group
and magazine well, is carbon-reinforced polymer.
The Bren system is modular, and chamberings
can be changed by swapping out the barrel, bolt
head, firing pin, mainspring and magazine.
In 2010, the Bren 805 A1 was adopted as the
new Czech service rifle. In Czech service, the Bren
uses a 5.56x45 mm NATO magazine compatible

54

continues the tradition of Czech firearm innovation. Established in 1936 as the " Czech Armory "
in the Moravian town of Uherský Brod, as far as
possible from the nation's troubled border with
Nazi Germany, the company was privatized in 1992
and opened up its U.S. subsidiary, CZ-USA, in 1997.
Now one of the largest small arms manufacturers in
the world, CZ exports its civilian and military/law
enforcement products to nearly 100 countries.
Among these products are the Bren service
rifle and the Scorpion submachine gun, and
CZ-USA of Kansas City, Mo., is offering semiautomatic versions of both in pistol and rifle
form. While the focus here is on the Bren largeformat pistol, full reviews of the other unique
members of the Bren and Scorpion families can
be found at americanrifleman.org.

with the HK G36. Export models, including
those sold in the U.S., use AR-15-type, NATOcompatible magazines. The magazines for the
7.62x39 mm Bren models are proprietary, and are
inserted straight up into the receiver rather than
rocking in, to allow for a bolt-hold-open feature.
CZ-USA imported a limited number of Bren
805 5.56 mm pistols and rifles in S1 semiautomatic configuration beginning in 2015. That
same year, CZ introduced an updated Bren. The
Bren 2 controls are entirely bilateral; the safety
selector is positioned above the pistol grip to be
operated by either thumb. The magazine release
button is in the AR-15 position on the right side,
with a second release incorporated into the lower
corner of the magazine housing on the left side
(both 7.62x39 mm and 5.56 mm NATO magazines
drop free). An enlarged AR-15-style paddle-type
bolt release is on the left side. There is also a bolt
release located inside the trigger guard that can
be operated with either hand, making locking
back the bolt with the magazine removed a cinch.
The charging handle is non-reciprocating-it
locks to the bolt carrier so that it can act as a forward assist, but unlocks when it is in the forward
position so that the bolt can move independently
while firing. The charging handle can be easily
swapped to either side of the firearm.

APRIL 2021

AMERICAN RIFLEMAN


http://www.americanrifleman.org

American Rifleman - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - April 2021

Contents
American Rifleman - April 2021 - Cover1
American Rifleman - April 2021 - Cover2
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 1
American Rifleman - April 2021 - Contents
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 3
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 4
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 5
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American Rifleman - April 2021 - 7
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American Rifleman - April 2021 - Cover3
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