The new CZ 805 BREN Gun, oh how sweet it is

After World War One the country of Czechoslovakia emerged from the ashes of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. The new nation had to build everything up from scratch. Her army, made up of men who had fought for the Russians, Austrians, and French, had an amalgam of arms and munitions that was as varied as the colors of the rainbow. The first thing the new country did was seek its own armament.

In 1926 this led to a new light machine gun known in Czechoslovakia as the Zb.v 26. With its plans escaping from the country after it was taken over by Hitler in 1938, the gun went into production in Britain as the BREN gun. The name Bren was derived from Brno, Moravia, the Czechoslovak city where the Zb vz. 26 was originally designed (in the Zbrojovka Brno Factory), and Enfield, site of the British Royal Small Arms Factory.

(The WWII Bren gun was about as old-school sexy as you could get)

(The WWII Bren gun was about as old-school sexy as you could get)

This gun went on to be possibly one of the best light machine guns in history, seeing service around the world as late as the 1982 Falklands War and the 1991 Gulf War.

Still following along?

Well fast forward to the 1950s. The Soviets had come in after 1945 and ran Hitler out but decided to stick around for the next four decades, placing the country on the front lines of the Cold War. Not wanting to arm their forces with the AK-47, the Czechs designed the Vz.58 rifle, considered by many to be the best 7.62x39mm assault rifle ever made, and issued it for generations.

When the Soviets moved to the 5.45x45mm caliber in the late 1970s, the CZ factory started a redesign of the Vz.58 to accept this new caliber. This led to the LADA project in 1986. By the 1990s the Soviets themselves had left and the now Czech Republic was looking to join NATO.

Which in a round about way led to this bad boy:

And no, its not airsoft...

And no, its not airsoft…

Read the rest in my column at CZTalk.com

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