The Vz.70 : Forgotten disco-era .32ACP CZ

  1. christophereger
    In 1970 the Czech government rebooted an existing handgun design to produce a neat little .32ACP pocket pistol that is a near clone of the Walther PP. This gun has marched off into history as the Vzor (model) 70, and it is a great little CZ.

    Roots from the 50s

    After the end of World War Two, the Czech government was looking for a nice new pistol for its police forces. The task to come up with this gun fell to the brothers Jan and Jaroslav Kratochvl over at the CZ works. (These same guys came up with other CZ designs that we'll talk about later).

    vzor-50-29.jpg
    (The Vz.50...)

    The brothers K examined the German Walther PP series of blowback fixed barrel handguns and decided, why reinvent the wheel, and came up with a gun very (and we mean very) similar. This little .32ACP semi-auto was adopted and became the Vz.50. With its 6.5-inch length and 25-ounce weight, the 9-shot pistol was a well-liked and easy to carry.

    Rebooted

    More than 100,000 Vz.50s were made from 1950-1970 and then the factory rebooted to make the Vz.70. This gun took the already proven design and added a new grip shape and patter, improved the surface controls including the safety de-cocker lever, and magazine release. The slide was improved with better serrations and top glare finish. Internally the gun was given a new, larger hammer and different take down lever.

    cz-70-note-old-czechelovakia-roll-34.jpg
    (The Vz.70, note the clone nature compared to the gun above, but you can see the slight differences in the slide, hammer, and magazine release button)

    All of these are more or less cosmetic changes (with the exception of the hammer etc.) and it is believed that many old Vz.50s were remanufactured to the new '70' standard. (If you have one of these email us!)

    cz-vz-70-apart-1a-30.jpg

    The slide holds open after the last round and it's a pleasant gun to shoot with the .32ACP round giving a little bark but nowhere near the muzzle flip experienced with .380ACP blowback action guns of the same size. Its DA/SA and to many the double action trigger is...uncomfortable.



    30CAL M1 takes an in depth look at a Vz.70 including a little range time.

    Specs:

    • Type: Pistol
    • Caliber(s): .32 ACP
    • Weight: 1.56 lbs (0.71 kg)
    • Length: 6.57 in (16.7 cm)
    • Barrel length(s): 3.78 in (9.6 cm)
    • Capacity: 9+1
    • Fire Modes: Semi-Auto (SA/DA)

    Getting your own

    refinished-vz70-32.jpg
    (Refinished....)

    CZ kept these guns in production until 1980 and after that date they were replaced in service by the CZ82 series pistol. This led to many of these being sold off as surplus and washing up on the shores of the US. Today they run about $300-$400 and people who know about them love them.

    All steel construction means these guns will outlast you provided you have a good set of springs (so always be on the lookout for a nice set of replacements to keep it ticking). Apex sells some parts for them so you may want to stock up while you can find them.

    cz-mark-check-33.jpg
    (These guns have the classic CZ logo as well as the 'born on date' on the slide. For instance this gun was made in 1971)

    Warning though, spare mags for these gems are rare, which means expect to drop $50-$60 a pop on them when you find one. With that in mind, be sure you don't leave one of yours behind at the range or you will be crying huge Czech tears.
    Subgunner.com has both detailed stripping instructions as well as the full manual over at their page and we suggest that you download both for future reference.

    vz70-w-wood-grips-31.jpg
    The grip on the Vz70 is very thin on these guns, slimmer in feel in fact than the Walther PP series from which it seems to have taken a page from. The pebbled plastic grip can be replaced with nice wood ones that beef it up a bit and for many improve not only the feel but the look of the gun. These aftermarket wood grips are super swag, however they usually require slight work to get them to fit properly (especially around the decock lever) so be sure to stock up on a dremel tool, small file, or pack or emery boards to help you out on this task.

    With that being said, if you come across one of these neat pistols at a good price, you better Czech it out.

    (Sorry, couldn't resist).

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  1. VZ58Kid
    @Tigerfish, most use European made ammo has larger diameter rim!
  2. Tigerfish
    I love my CZ 70, even though I've only had it a short time. I bought it new old stock and added a wood grip. Works great with ball ammo (FMJ), but have had no luck with hollow point or buffalo bore hard cast.