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Crapshoot: CZ 82

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With an extensive history of arms production, Czech-made firearms have typically proven to be well designed and executed; often a vast improvement over other firearms produced behind the iron curtain. For example, the CZ 82 represented a huge improvement over the Makarovs that other countries were using.

Manufactured by Česká Zbrojovka (aka CZ) in the Czech Republic, the CZ 82 (or vz. 82) replaced the 7.62x25mm Tokarev CZ 52 pistol in Czechoslovakian military and police service in 1983. It was designed by Augustin Necas and is a compact, single/double-action, semi-automatic pistol with a conventional blowback action.

This type of action allows the barrel to remain solidly fixed to the frame, and coupled with a low bore axis, makes it more inherently accurate with less muzzle rise. It is chambered in 9×18 Makarov and feeds from a staggered feed magazine as opposed to a single stack like its contemporaries.

The frame-mounted thumb safety and the magazine release are ambidextrous, and the CZ 82 may have been the first service pistol to possess both these features. The bore is chrome plated, which gives it three advantages: longer barrel life, resistance to rust from the use of corrosive ammunition, and ease of cleaning. Another feature of this pistol is the use of polygonal rifling in the bore.

This replaces the traditional lands and grooves rifling design with a rounded, smooth polygonal pattern. The CZ 83 was discontinued/ limited production status by CZ USA by 2012.

The CZ 82 was added to the U.S. government’s “Curio and Relic” list in February 2007, after an individual wrote a letter to the BATFE attaching a document from a federal museum curator who stated that the CZ 82 had “museum interest” as a curio and relic, despite it being less than 50 years old.


The CZ 82 is chambered in 9×18 Makarov only, while a commercial market version known as the CZ 83 is available in a variety of finishes and chamberings such as .32 ACP (7.65 Browning), .380 ACP, and even a 9×18 Makarov version from 1999 to 2001. The 9×18 Makarov version of the CZ 83 retained the Polygonal rifling, whereas the .32 ACP and .380 ACP versions have conventional rifling.

9×18 Makarov is a good round and more versatile than the .380 ACP, which is 1mm shorter in case length at 9×17 and typically uses lighter bullets. The 9×18 also uses a slightly larger 0.365-inch diameter bullet as opposed to a standard 9mm or .380, which uses a 0.355-inch diameter bullet.

If you can find any, the Czech military surplus ammo loaded by Sellier & Bellot is a fantastic load for this pistol. It’s slightly higher pressure than standard Makarov ammo and was optimized for use in the CZ 82.


A few boxes of Privi Partisan as well as some self-defense hollow-points by Buffalo Bore were used. The magazine was easy to load. At 50 feet, the average group size was 2 to 3 inches. There were no failures to fire, feed, or eject, which says a lot for this type of pistol and ammunition. There was only one magazine available, so if you don’t want to bust your thumbs up too bad while shooting, you might want to pick up a few extras.


The CZ 82 is accurate, points well, and has a 12-round magazine capacity without an excessively wide grip. Imagine a softer shooting, slightly harder-hitting Walther PPK with about twice the capacity.


As with any out-of-production gun from a former communist country, spare parts and accessories can be a challenge to find. Your best bet might be the various auction sites or importers and retailers who specialize in oddball pistols.

On this particular example, there’s quite a loss of finish because it was a Grade-B pistol. For a budget blaster, this may not be a big deal, but if you’re a perfectionist or just want a nice one for the collection, you’ll have to pony up another $50 to $150 bones. More expensive versions should include the original military holster, spare magazine, cleaning rod, and lanyard.

The pistol lacks a decocking lever. If you’re going to use it for carry, be careful, especially when trying to lower the hammer (or better — don’t do it and carry cocked and locked).


Not much. Ammunition availability can be a hurdle to overcome, and while a regular shooter of 9×18 Makarov typically has a good stockpile on hand, someone new to the game may run into issues buying it at their local monster mart/sporting goods store. Most often, it’ll have to be special ordered.

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1 Comment

  • Jim E Thomas says:

    I have one of each, the 82 in 9mm MAK, and an 83 in .380 ACP that my wife likes very much. I really like the 82 as I believe it has just a bit more knock down power. Both very nice, all steel compact pistols with a decent capacity of rounds for business.

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  • I have one of each, the 82 in 9mm MAK, and an 83 in .380 ACP that my wife likes very much. I really like the 82 as I believe it has just a bit more knock down power. Both very nice, all steel compact pistols with a decent capacity of rounds for business.

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