This popular Czech-made pistol is a favorite of many, in a quirky way. Shoot a high powered submachine gun bullet (7.62 x 25) and have good luck in an “ugly” way. Love it or hate it, and many people love it!
But it has some flaws. A major shortcoming is the disassembly mechanism (short version, don’t trust your screwdriver!). A second deficiency is the weak stock firing pin. Finally, a third weakness is the lack of a thumb activated sliding release.
Once the slide is locked, the only way to release it forward is to reposition it by hand … after inserting a magazine. There is no tab to press to release the slide like most modern self-loading pistols.
This weakness is easily fixed – there are several aftermarket slide release mechanisms that can be easily installed. Here’s how to do it.
Before you begin, remove the magazine and recheck the chamber to make sure the pistol is secure. Next, remove the single U-clamp that holds the grips in place.
I find it almost impossible to remove the U-clamp without scratching the wood of the grip. You cannot move the clamp by hand, you need to put a screwdriver to lift it. Every time you do this, you will lose a bit of wood. So … don’t do it too often!
After removing the clamp, the grips should come off. You may need to “get them started” by placing a pry tool (thin-blade screwdriver) between the grip and the frame. Do this near the back of the grip.
The grips may not lift up, there is a small cut on the front edge … you will have to lift from the rear first. you have to.
Next, I removed the slide. Follow the same steps you would use if you were cleaning the gun.
Once you do this, note the position of the slide release spring; the spring should be on top of the release tab.
Here’s the tricky part – there’s a single pin that holds the slide release in place. Turn the frame on its side (slide the release down) and use an awl to remove the pin. I had to give mine some hard knocks to get it started. Once you’ve pushed the pin all the way in, LEAVE THE PUNCH IN PLACE! This is important because the disassembly release is held in place with the same pin. Since the punch now holds the tear-off release in place, if you remove the punch, your tear-off release may come off the frame!
Remove the release slide. Take it out of the awl and angle it out of the frame.
If you have a replacement extended slide release, compare it to your previous slide release; note the extended thumb tab. This extended tab will facilitate manual release of the locked rear slide.
Tilt the new slide release into place, positioning the hole over the awl. Frankly, mine felt really brave after doing this. I took it off and cleaned the frame and the back of the launch. I lubricated both parts and replaced them. It worked much better, but still had a slight gritty feel to it. I think I could have polished the back of the new sliding version to make it smoother.
Be sure to position the slide release spring so that it is on top of the release end of the slide!
Replace Pin – Be careful to let it slowly replace piercing pin so that the disassembly release remains in place. Once I manually pushed the pin halfway in, the piercing pin fell off and I knocked the sliding release pin into place.
Pin replaced. Note the large thumb latch on the new slide release!
Time to start fixing things. We’ll start with the grips.
Note that the front of the grip has a slight cut at an angle. Because of this, you will not be able to press the grips down into place. You will first have to slide them towards the front and then press the back of the grip.
Once your grips are engaged, slide the U-clamp back into its notch. Note that the U-clamp can go either the “right way” or the “wrong way.” Consider the angle of the clamp to select the “correct path”.
Once the grips are back on, replace the slide, and voila!
Although you now have a thumb tab on the slide release, keep in mind that you may have to press it very firmly for it to work.