Author Topic: Why Do So Many Arms Manuafcturers Use the Name CZ?  (Read 14329 times)

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Offline Radom

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Why Do So Many Arms Manuafcturers Use the Name CZ?
« on: August 24, 2003, 11:59:06 PM »
Why Do So Many Arms Manuafcturers Use the Name "CZ"?
            The CZ Forum is dedicated to the firearms of Ceska Zbrojovka-Uhersky Brod, which are distributed in the US by CZ-USA.  The CZ Forum is also an internet home for firearms that are clones or copies of Ceska Zbrojovka-Uhersky Brod designs.  Although commonly referred to as CZ, the official abbreviations for this firm are CZ-UB and CZ-USA (subsidiary).    
            Ceska Zbrojovka is a firearms manufacturer located in Uhersky Brod, a medium-sized city in the SE of the Czech Republic (Moravia). Ceska Zbrojovka means "Czech Weapons Factory." There are a number of other Czech firearms manufacturers that use the abbreviation "CZ" in various contexts.  These include:
            Arms Moravia
            Ceska Zbrojovka-Strakonice
            Zbrojovka Brno
            This is because: 1) CZ is also the universal abbreviation for the current Czech Republic and the former Czechoslovakia.  Since 1919, the initials CZ have been used to identify literally thousands of products that originated there.  2) The name "Ceska Zbrojovka" itself had traditionally been used by the nationalized Czech arms industry for many years.  It is considered too general and too widely used to be protected under the relevant intellectual property laws.  3) Ceska Zbrojovka-Uhersky Brod has developed an international reputation for world-class, quality small arms over the last seven decades. Many other firms wish to take advantage of the "free advertising," whether it is misleading or not.  
            Prior to the establishment of the first independent republic of Czechoslovakia in 1919, the only major small arms manufacturer in either half of the new nation was Zbrojovka Brno (Weapons Factory of Brno).  Czechoslovakia realized that its future depended on a strong military industrial complex, and considerable resources were invested in eliminating dependence on foreign arms and ammunition.  Beginning in 1919 new enterprises were created for the production for ordnance, munitions, and arms, and most of these facilities still exist, usually in the form of independent joint-stock companies.  Ceska Zbrojovka-Uhersky Brod is considered the current incarnation of the original Ceska Zbrojovka, which began life as a partially nationalized enterprise.  
            The forerunner of CZ-UB was the enterprise Jihoceska Zbrojovka, which was established at Plzen in 1919. In 1921, Jihoceska Zbrojovka moved to Strakonice. In 1922, the company absorbed the Hubertus Co., which had facilities at Vejprty and Prague; at this time, the company was renamed Ceska Zbrojovka. By 1923, these facilities were known as Ceskbrojovka v Praze (Czech Weapons Factory of Prague) and Ceskbrojovka v Praze, Tovy ve Strakonic (Czech Weapons Factory of Prague, Strakonice Plant).    
            A quick look at a map will reveal that Plzen, Strakonice, Vejprty, and Prague are in Bohemia (the western portion of the current Czech Republic, and far west of the former Czechoslovakia) and too close to Germany for comfort.  Furthermore, production was scattered between the two main facilities at Prague and Strakonice, as well as smaller facilities which produced some parts, etc.  Consequently, the Czechoslovakian government decided to shift their strategic industries to Moravia (the eastern portion of the current Czech Republic, and geographical center of the former Czechoslovakia).  In 1936, a much larger new facility was completed in Uhersky Brod, which is close to Brno (the second largest city in the Czech Republic and traditional capital of Moravia).  The long-term plan called for a shift of all Ceska Zbrojovka assets and production to Uhersky Brod, but this was not complete when the Nazi regime invaded in 1939.  
            During the Nazi occupation, production continued at Prague, Strakonice, and Uhersky Brod.  The Strakonice and Prague facilities ceased small arms production in 1954, when the Soviet-backed communist regime reorganized and fully nationalized the Czech military industrial complex.  
            From 1947 to 1991, Zbrojovka Brno, a private company dating back to the 19th century, and Ceska Zbrojovka were drawn together by the communist regime.  By 1954, all production of arms, ammunition, and related materials was controlled by a central state planning agency/management group (consistent with Stalins collectivist model of production).  Zbrojovka Brno and Ceska Zbrojovka-UB accounted for virtually all small arms production in Czechoslovakia during this period.  
            Zbrojovka Brno was and is renowned for rifles based on the Mauser action. Before WWII, Brno was definitely better known in the rest of Europe for these world-class rifles, since Ceska Zbrojovka was more concerned with meeting other needs of the Czechoslovakian armed forces (rather than export).  Since Brno had greater name recognition outside of Czechoslovakia, it was decided at that time that "any firearm exported will bear the BRNO markings." From what I can tell, this practice was not always consistent after the CZ-UB pistols gained worldwide attention.
            By 1993, Czechoslovakia had split into two democratic republics: the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic (also known as Slovakia).  Virtually all military production of all types was clustered in Moravia, or the eastern portion of the Czech Republic.  As the centralized and nationalized military industrial complex began to fragment, several facilities nominally affiliated with either Brno or CZ-UB started new lives as independent firms.  Also, major industrial concerns, such as the old Strakonice plant (which had mostly produced heavy machinery and motorcycles from 1954-1991) recommenced small arms production.  An influx of foreign capital stimulated new private companies in the arms and munitions fields.  As such, many companies producing small arms call the Czech Republic home, enriching and complimenting the proud traditions of Brno and CZ-UB.  Confusingly, virtually all of them incorporate CZ into their names and/or the markings on their weapons.        
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