The Vz. 58 is one of the Cold War classic service rifles. During the Soviet era, all the various states were required to standardize on the 7.62x39mm. Like NATO did with the 7.62x51mm and later 5.56x45mm, this would give the Soviet militaries common ammunition for their forces to use against NATO.
A NATO vs Soviet Union conflict was seen as inevitable during this time period. Now, most nations just choose to license or buy the AK47/AKM rifles to equip their militaries. The Czechs weren’t about that life though. True to their trend defying hipster origins the went a different way. They built the rather fantastically engineered Vz. 58.
Now externally the two look somewhat similar. Wood furniture and the extreme curve of the magazines to accommodate the ammo gave them a similar profile. But nothing is interchangeable between the two guns except that ammo.
The Vz. 58 made it onto the US market and world markets in great and affordable quantity. Their quality, accuracy, and durability were impressive and it was one of the best kept secrets of the mil-surp days of gun buying. They could be purchased dirt cheap back in the day.
When the Lord of War production team needed props for this scene they got 3,000 real Vz. 58 rifles because they were the most affordable option.
I miss those days. I regret not picking up a few. I could have bought a crate of the Czech Comm-Bloc Hipster Specials for what I have into one of my Belgians. Oh well, I should have jumped on the $500 PSL train too in hindsight.
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