By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
December 31, 2009
Since we just published a heads-up piece on the CzechPoint/CZ vz. 58 7.62x39mm Russian caliber semi-auto tactical rifle/carbine for the civilian tactical shooting market, we might as well touch on the next-gen Czech Republic army’s assault rifle/carbine–and the military (select-fire/full-auto) vz. 58’s replacement–the CZ S805 assault rifle/carbine, which was introduced earlier this year at IDET 2009 (BRNO, Czech Republic). Steve at The Firearm Blog did a heads-up piece on the CZ S805 earlier this year, providing some good initial info on on some of its features.
Some CZ S805A assault rifle/carbine model features, as we understand them:
- Gas Piston/Op-Rod (Operating Rod) Operation
– Aluminum Monolithic Receiver with Mil-Std-1913 “Picatinny” quad rail system, including full-length top rail for mounting optics and BUIS.
– 14.5″ Barrel
– Caliber: 5.56×45mm NATO (5.56mm NATO), but caliber-convertible to 7.62×39mm Russian and 6.8x43mm SPC (a.k.a. 6.8 SPC a.k.a. 6.8mm SPC) to by changing out the bolt head, magazine, magazine well and barrel.
– Can be converted into a light machine gun or designated/squad marksmen rifle.
– Trigger group and selector lever allow semi-auto, two-round burst, and full-auto fire.
– Folding/Telescoping Buttstock
– Proprietary/Non-4179 STANAG Transparent Polymer 30-Round Magazine
– Extended Magwell for faster and easier reloads
– Right-side/left-side Convertible Charging/Cocking Handle.
DefenseReview doesn’t know whether the S805’s receiver is forged like the M4/M4A1 Carbine, or extruded aluminum like the FN MK16 and MK 17 SCAR rifle/carbines.
Steve seemed pretty gung-ho about the S805/A, wishing for a civilian, legal, semi-auto version of it for the U.S. civilian tactical shooting market. DefenseReview is right there with Steve in wanting a civilian-legal semi-auto version of it, since we always like having more choices for ourselves and tactical firearm consumers, in general. However, it should perhaps be noted that there’s nothing revolutionary about the S805 with regard to design or lethality/capability. It won’t do anything that a modern railed AR (direct-gas-impingement or gas piston/op-rod operation) or FN SCAR won’t do.
Defense Review doesn’t know why the Czech army decided not to go with a 4179 NATO STANAG magwell. Perhaps they couldn’t get a 4179 STANAG translucent mag to work properly, and had to go with a larger size? Also, 14.5 inches (14.5″) is a stupid barrel length. For optimal range and ballistic performance, a standard 5.56mm military infantry carbine should have a 16-inch (16″) barrel, and a 5.56mm SBR (Short Barreled Rifl)/subcarbine should ideally have a 12.5-inch (12.5″) barrel, unless you absolutely have to go down to 11.5″ or 10.5″ for some reason. The Colt M4/M4A1 would be better off with a 16″ barrel and mid-length gas system (utilizing a mid-length gas tube) for most infantry combat situations. A mid-length gas system lengthens the pressure curve, thus aiding weapon reliability and durability under heavy fire and high round count, and also improves/smoothens the firing impulse. Note: A Colt MK18 M4/M4A1 CQBR’s (Close Quarters Battle Receiver) barrel is actually 10.3″, not 10.5″.
Since it’s a Czech Republic/CZ (Ceska zbrojovka Uhersky Brod) product, it’s no-doubt well-made and reliable. The Czechs are known for making excellent firearms. However, the S805 basically just offers an evolutionary/incremental (and modular) improvement over the the vz. 58’s tactical/military combat capability, since it utilizes a railed monolithic receiver, modernized side-folding/telescoping stock, extended (speed) magwell, translucent mags, etc. That said, its design and capability advantage over the vz. 58 appears to be significantly greater than any design or capability advantage the FN SCAR might enjoy over the Colt M4/M4A1 and various gas piston/op-rod ARs (AR-15 carbines) currently on the market, if the FN SCAR offers any combat-cability advantage over the M4/M4A1 and various tactical AR carbines, whatsoever (highly questionable and debatable).
It’s a moot point, though, since a civilian-legal, semi-auto S 805 still isn’t available in the U.S., and there’s no evidence that we’ve seen (so far) that it will ever be offered here. So, Steve can get as excited as he wants, over there. It’s not going to do us civilians any good (although his article’s worth reading).
Company Contact Info:
Ceska zbrojovka a.s.
Svatopluka Cecha 1283
688 27 Uhersky Brod
Phone : (+420) 572 651 111
Fax: (+420) 572 633 665
English Website: http://www.czub.cz/en/Default.aspx
103 Stone Road
Knoxville, TN 37920