CZ-83 Featured Image

Last week, we talked about carry guns under $300. Despite having severely limited options in this price range, a lot of people have asked for my advice buying a carry gun with this price as their absolute top limit. Reliability should be a top priority for self-defense firearms, and since many of the budget gun shoppers also happen to be relatively inexperienced shooters, a gun that’s easy to use is also high on the list.

With those constraints in mind, one of the best options available right now are the military surplus CZ-82 and CZ-83 pistols. Chambered in 9mm Makarov and .380 ACP respectively, these two pistols offer a nice balance of ammo capacity, size, and shootability, and I personally would trust my life to a well-functioning sample of either model over most of the budget-priced new carry guns on the market.

CZ-83 Review: Part 1

Today’s video is the first of a two part review on the CZ-83, and it covers the basic features of the CZ-83 and my first impressions after taking it to the range a few times. For part 2, I’ll be carrying the CZ-83 for a couple of weeks to see how the small-yet-hefty pistol compares to the lightweight polymer carry guns I’m used to. I also have a few less experienced shooters lined up to try out the CZ-83 so we can learn whether it really is a good choice for a beginner.

Browning’s Fingerprints

Field Stripped CZ-83


In many ways, the CZ-83 exemplifies the type of pistols that were popular in Europe in the mid to late 20th century, but it also bears the influence of everyone’s favorite All-American gun designing genius: John Moses Browning.

The CZ-83 has a lot of things going for it, but its appearance is not usually thought of as a selling point. In other words, it’s kinda ugly. Part of the reason for this is the oversized trigger guard that allows the gun to be fired with heavy gloves. The gun also looks slightly out of balance due to having a wide grip with a rather svelte upper-half. That’s a consequence of the blowback action, which eliminates the need for a recoil rod and spring to be situated beneath the barrel. Instead, the recoil spring surrounds the barrel itself. Most newer gun designs feature a tilting barrel with a recoil rod, often called the short recoil or “Browning” style action. Ironically, the type of blowback action used on the CZ-83 is also a Browning design, first used on the FN 1910 pistol.

You can also see Browning’s actual name on the slide of the pistol. 9mm Browning is another name for the .380 ACP, which was designed by Browning in 1908. The CZ-83 was originally developed as the CZ-82 (or Vz. 82) military sidearm to fire the 9mm Makarov cartridge which was the standard for the Czechoslovakian military at the time. The pistol was later re-chambered in .380 ACP and .32 ACP for commercial and civilian use.

Other Bargain Pistols

In last week’s post, you guys responded with a lot of budget carry pistols you’ve used, both old and new. Keep the suggestions coming, but this time, try to keep in mind the novice shooter.

What ideas do you have for an inexpensive gun under ~$300-350 for a beginner that’s easy to shoot, but also has a little more punch than a .22 LR?

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