On Saturday, 9 June 2018, the former firearms manufacturing giant in Brno-Zábrdovice opened its doors to the public. ZBROJOVKA BRNO s.r.o., a company continuing the famous tradition of firearms manufacturing in the Moravian metropolis, took part in the organization of an exciting programme which drew several thousands of visitors through its gates.
The Open Day in Zbrojovka Brno was a deserving reminder of the fact that this year the legendary company celebrates its 100th anniversary. Yet it was also the last opportunity to see the factory premises in its original form, as the whole complex is undergoing extensive renovations under the new ownership of the CPI Property Group, an investment club that is planning to turn the twenty hectare brownfield into a modern, lively and accessible city district.
Scores of visitors not only from Brno and surrounding area but also from all corners of the Czech Republic seized this unique opportunity to see the “old” Zbrojovka for the last time. From 10 in the morning until 8 at night, both former and current employees, their families and many supporters of the famous brand walked through the gates and visited the old manufacturing operations. They were able to follow a special trail which took them on a 2.9 km walk throughout the premises, exploring the company’s historical milestones. The programme included the introduction of the renovation proposals, presentation of ZBROJOVKA BRNO s.r.o., an exhibition of vintage cars from the Veteran Car Club Brno, Drone Racing Show and a presentation of demolition tools and Zetor tractors. The visitors were also able to see the Civil Defence shelter, have a picture taken in front of special photo screens and purchase souvenirs and various publications from Mladá fronta a.s.
Since the 1920s, the name Zbrojovka Brno has been synonymous with top quality small arms for defence and hunting. The company was established in 1918 from a branch of the Viennese Arsenal company and soon turned into a key supplier of infantry weapons for the Czechoslovakian Army as well as for export. Its most famous and sought after products were the Mauser system army rifles (vz. 24 plus models derived from it) and the ZB 26 light machine guns, the predecessors of the legendary BREN machine gun, developed in the 1930s. Overall, the most successful hunting and sports weapons from Zbrojovka Brno include the ZKM rimfire rifles, ZP double barrelled shotguns, ZH over and under rifles, ZG 47 rifles and the ZKR 551 target revolvers. The current portfolio of this brand constitutes the cutting-edge Brno Combo rifle/shotgun and the latest Brno Express over and under rifle. Today, the firearms are made in close cooperation with Česká zbrojovka a.s. Uherský Brod, the exclusive distributor of the ZBROJOVKA BRNO weapons.
“I would like to say a big thank you to all the visitors who came to the Open Day in Zbrojovka Brno for taking their time to visit this event in such great numbers,” said Ing. Ladislav Britaňák, MBA, CEO and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Česká zbrojovka a.s. “Their huge interest in the current products from Zbrojovka Brno further confirmed that our decision not to let one of the most prominent names of local arms manufacturing die out has been worthwhile. I am pleased to say that thanks to the union with Česká zbrojovka a.s., ZBROJOVKA BRNO s.r.o. is able to celebrate its 100th anniversary in great form and with promising prospects.”
Pavel Rampula, a company executive from ZBROJOVKA BRNO s.r.o. stated: “Our company focuses primarily on the manufacture of top hunting weapons that are tailored to the demands of the global market, the Brno Combo rifle/shotgun and the Brno Express over and under rifle.” He further outlined the plans for the future strengthening of this traditional brand: “Thanks to the union with Česká zbrojovka a.s. Uherský Brod, we have been adding new modern models to our portfolio. There are also talks about a plan for Zbrojovka Brno to run a special centre in the renovated premises of New Zbrojovka that would combine manufacture, custom building, sales and maintenance services as well as a shooting centre in one place, a concept not currently found in the Czech Republic.”
The return of the BREN
Thanks to the union of Zbrojovka Brno and Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod, the legendary Bren brand made a comeback in 2011. This light machine gun developed for Great Britain was given the name Bren in 1934. Over time, it has become synonymous with an exceptionally reliable, user-friendly and accurate automatic weapon. These are also the typical characteristics for the second generation of assault rifles from Česká zbrojovka, the CZ BREN 2.
Zbrojovky Brno, s.r.o. administrative building
Presentation of historical and modern guns of Zbrojovka Brno and CZ for VIP guests
Mladá fronta, a.s. sales stand
Model of New Zbrojovka renovated complex