History of Česká zbrojovka a.s.
Establishment of the arms factory in Uherský Brod
Today’s Česká zbrojovka a.s. was built as part of a large-scale transfer of strategically important production capacities of the former Czechoslovakia as far as possible from the western borders threatened by Nazi Germany. In Uherský Brod in the south-east of Moravia, a brand new arms factory was established, which was one of the most modern and most efficient factory worldwide, and which, in the first years of its existence, was successfully engaged primarily in the highly demanding production of aircraft machine guns.
Start of the production of model 48 submachine guns
After World War II, the joint-stock company Česká zbrojovka was nationalized and its branch factory in Uherský Brod, which became independent in 1950, gradually became the main Czechoslovak manufacturer of small firearms. Its most famous products from the immediate postwar period were model 48 submachine guns (renamed in 1950 to 23/25 submachine guns) firing 9 mm Parabellum ammunition. These models with a magazine in the pistol grip and slide partially surrounding the barrel at that time were the most advanced guns of their category. By 1953, 545,000 were produced in Uherský Brod, 345,000 of which were in the 7.62 mm Tokarev calibre (24/26 submachine gun).
Start of the production of model 58 submachine guns
The model 58 submachine gun in the 7.62×39 mm calibre, now classified as an assault rifle, was a Czechoslovak alternative to the Soviet Avtomat Kalashnikova with an original design. This exceptionally well-designed firearm was produced in Uherský Brod for the national armed forces as well as for export until 1984 and the total production volume reached almost 1,000,000 units.
Start of the production of the model 61 Škorpion submachine gun
The legendary compact submachine gun model 61 Škorpion was an ingenious and very successful attempt to fill the gap between classic submachine guns and service pistols. More than 207,000 pieces of this submachine gun in the basic calibre 7.65 mm Browning were produced in Uherský Brod till 2000, and small volumes of the firearm in the 9 mm Browning version were produced in 1990s.
Start of the production of the CZ 75 pistol
The CZ 75 pistol, revolutionary in a number of aspects, was the work of the legendary designer František Koucký, who worked on its development based on an assignment of today’s Česká zbrojovka a.s since 1969. This firearm with perfect ergonomics and unique double-action trigger mechanism co-defined the category of “Wonder Nines”, i.e. large capacity SA/DA pistols in the 9 mm Luger calibre, and has long been one of the most popular of them.
Founding of Česká zbrojovka, a.s., Uherský Brod
Privatization of the state enterprise Česká zbrojovka resulted in founding of the incorporated company, which concentrates its activities in its main plant in Uherský Brod on development and production of high-quality firearms, while utilizing its remaining capacity for production of high-precision components for the automotive and aerospace industry. It is a Czech company owned by Czech shareholders.
Founding of the CZ-USA subsidiary company
The position of Česká zbrojovka, a.s. on the world’s most prestigious firearms market has significantly strengthened by the establishment of the subsidiary distribution and service company CZ-USA. This subsidiary started its activities in California, but in 1998 it relocated to Kansas City, Kansas, where it still operates. Within the creation of Česká zbrojovka Group, CZ-USA became an independent business entity.
Acquisition of the firearms production of Zbrojovka Brno
In order to preserve the famous tradition of firearms production in Brno, Česká zbrojovka a.s began preparing to take over the Firearms division of Zbrojovka Brno, a.s. The newly created company, originally named BRNO RIFLES, started its activities at the turn of 2006 and its domain was the production and development of break action firearms. In 2008 it became a subsidiary company of Česká zbrojovka a.s. In 2010 the company was renamed to ZBROJOVKA BRNO, s.r.o.
Acquisition of the Dan Wesson Firearms brand
Česká zbrojovka, a.s., through its subsidiary CZ-USA became the owner of one of renowned American arms brands – Dan Wesson Firearms. This company, originally a revolver maker founded in 1968 by a grandson of well-known Daniel B. Wesson, with its Czech-American management soon became one of the most distinguished manufacturers of modern clones of the famous pistol M1911.
A new management and the beginning of the development of a new generation of CZ service firearms
In 2006, Lubomír Kovařík became the CEO of Česká zbrojovka a.s. and immediately began extensive modernization and development of a new generation of CZ firearms. Ladislav Britaňák became the Sales Manager of the company. One of the key strategic decision of the new management was the start of the development of completely new automatic CZ weapons. After a long break caused by unfavourable political and economic conditions after 1989, Česká zbrojovka a.s. returned to the traditional important part of its product range.
Start of the production of the CZ 75 SP-01 SHADOW pistol
Important milestones in the development of Česká zbrojovka a.s. also include the start of the production of the primarily sport version SHADOW of the successful CZ 75 SP-01. The partially tuning elements of this excellent all-steel pistol, which is successfully applied as a weapon for personal defence and for military and law enforcement, were subsequently used in other CZ pistols. Until the launch of the CZ SHADOW 2 in 2016, the original Shadow dominated the Production division of IPSC shooting. The greatest achievements include two World Champion titles won by Adam Tyc.
Ceremonial assembly of the millionth pistol of the CZ 75 series
After Česká zbrojovka, a.s., was founded in 1992, pistols of the CZ 75/85 series became its backbone products for a longer period. It showed in a significant increase in production volumes as well as in extending the offer by other versions: special sport pistols, compact and subcompact pistols. So, already in the autumn of 2007, the ceremonial assembly of the millionth CZ 75 pistol took place, at that time still including all versions. The production volume of the standard size CZ 75/85 pistols exceeded one million manufactured pieces in 2014.
Entering the market of firearms for military and law enforcement, beginning of the rearmament of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic
Start of the mass production of a new generation of CZ assault rifles, submachine guns and grenade launchers. The first major success was the complete rearmament of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. The Armed Forces were supplied with CZ 805 BREN A1/A2 assault rifles, CZ 805 BREN G1 grenade launchers, CZ SCORPION EVO 3 A1 submachine guns and CZ 75 SP-01 PHANTOM pistols.
Achievements of CZ service firearms on world markets
During 2015, Česká zbrojovka a.s. employed about 1,800 people, produced 235,526 firearms and its consolidated sales reached CZK 4,190,000,000 (70 % of which were from abroad). Until then, the profit amounted to all-time high CZK 450,000,000. This great result was achieved primarily by CZ P-07 pistols, pistols of the popular CZ 75 series, CZ 455 rimfire rifles and CZ service firearms, this year especially the CZ SCORPION EVO 3 submachine gun.
Building of assembly capacities in Peru
Česká zbrojovka a.s significantly penetrated foreign markets by opening a separate space for the assembly and repairs of CZ pistols at the FAME army plant in Lima, Peru. The Czech company participated in the project by supplying modern equipment and tools and training of technical personnel. This enabled the Peruvian company to assemble CZ guns, provide service and sell them on the Peruvian market and then throughout Latin America. It was the first case of technological transfer of Česká zbrojovka a.s to this promising region.
Start of the production of the CZ BREN 2 assault rifle
The second generation of new CZ assault rifles was created in cooperation with members of elite special units based on the experience with the combat deployment of CZ 805 BREN and with the use of modern development procedures. CZ BREN 2 is a top-class personal multi-calibre automatic firearm in calibres 5.56x45 NATO and 7.62x39 that can be configured according to mission requirements anywhere in the world. The first customer was the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic.
Year in the name of growth and expansion
Thanks to the successful new generation of firearms, Česká zbrojovka, a.s., now employs more than 1,900 employees. The company extended its representation into more than 100 countries all over the world. In March 2018, the conclusion of a licence agreement for the production of CZ service pistols in Hungary was announced. The key milestone of 2017 was the start of the production of CZ P-10 C, the first representative of a brand new family of striker-fired pistols, which, compared to the competition, boasts a variety of imaginative innovations and great user characteristics.
Establishment of CZ Group
Since 2018, Česká zbrojovka a.s has been part of Česká zbrojovka Group SE that, in addition to the parent plant in Uherský Brod, gradually incorporates other companies with related production and development programmes. The group is lead by Lubomír Kovařík, the current CEO of Česká zbrojovka a.s.
Start of the production of CZ firearms in the United States
In cooperation with CZ-USA, the production of the first CZ firearms was launched in Kansas City, Kansas. These include selected models of the successful CZ P-10 series of pistols. Other versions were added in the same year, namely CZ P-10 F (full-size), CZ P-10 SC (semicompact) and CZ P-10 S (subcompact).