What is a CZ-50 or CZ-70? Let's start with its name.
The pistol is commonly called the CZ-50 but that isn't really its name. Its real name is the Česká Zbrojovka vzor 50, usually shortened to ČZ vz. 50.
Česká Zbrojovka is Czech for "Czech Armory". You would pronounce it as Cheska Zbroyovka, and to be authentic, a Czech would pronounce ČZ as cha zet.
Vzor, commonly abbreviated as vz., means "model".
So, a literal translation of its full name is the Czech Armory Model 50. Compare that to a name like the Springfield Armory Model 1911.
Soon after World War II the Ministry of the Interior requested a new pistol design from ČZUB, Česká Zbrojovka Uherský Brod, a major arms producer in the small town of Uherský Brod in the Czech province of Moravia.
The result was the CZ-50 or vz. 50, a close copy of the Walther PP and PPK in .32 ACP.
They were sold commercially but most were produced for police agencies under the control of the Ministry of the Interior.
A variant known as the CZ-70 or vz. 70 came out in 1970 with some minor cosmetic changes. The most significant is the grip shape:
- New grip shape with a curved rather than straight rear surface and a larger recess or "tang" for the web between thumb and finger.
- New grip pattern using a grid of dimples instead of grooves.
- Top of the slide is engraved with a fine wave pattern to reduce glare.
- Serial number is stamped on the slide under the ejection port instead of below and behind it.
- Slide serations are wider and more numerous
- Take down lever surface is cross hatched rather than grooved.
- Larger hammer with a hole in it.
- Smaller magazine release.
- New magazine base shape is more angular and less curved.
Many Vz 50s bear a Czech government property stamp bearing crossed swords.
Serial numbers on the vz. 50 start at 650,001, starting from the discontinued serial number range of the vz. 27 pistol.
Pistols manufactured at the Strakonice factory end in the 740,000 range.
Pistols manufactured at Uherský Brod have 5-digit serial numbers preceded by a letter. That letter can change in the middle of a serial number series!
The proof stamp is a lion superimposed on an "N", stamps on the left rear of the slide. The last two digits of the year of manufacture are stamped next to the proof stamp.