SAMOPAL SA-25 SUB-MACHINE GUN (CZECHOSLOVAKIA)
Soon after the end of World War Two, the Czechoslovakian army began the search for a new submachine gun for both infantry and non-infantry use. After much testing, a prototype Cz-447 (4th model, 1947) was selected for further development. It was designed by J. Holecek at the armaments factory at Uhersky Brod (now the famous CZ-UB arms factory).
In mid-1948, the improved weapons were adopted by the Czechoslovak army as "9 mm Samopal Vz. 48a" (with a solid wooden stock and the "9 mm Samopal Vz. 48b" (with a folding stock). Samopal stands for "submachine gun" and Vz. stands for Vzor, or "model of"). Production of new weapons commenced in 1949 and by early1950, both versions were renamed to Sa-23 (Sa-23, fixed butt version) and Sa-25 (folding butt version). The Czechoslovak army decided to retire both weapons due to pressure from the Soviet Union to adopt a new calibre of ammunition.
Basic weapons were quickly redesigned to fire the "new" round that was subsequently adopted in 1951 as Sa-24 (solid butt) and Sa 26 (folding butt). Most of 9mm Sa-23 and Sa-25 sub-machine guns were either passed down to the local militia or sold for export as surplus. Many of these weapons later surfaced in Cuba, Chile, Cambodia, Libya, Lebanon, Angola, South Africa and others. The service of 7,62mm versions was somewhat longer but by early 1960’s, the Czechoslovak army started to replace submachine guns with much more effective Sa-58 assault rifles.
One interesting aspect is that is generally accepted that the Sa 23 and Sa 25 were the first production submachine guns to have magazines in pistol grip and wrap-around bolts. All Sa 23 series submachine guns are blowback operated select-fire weapons which fire from an open bolt. The trigger works as a fire selector - short trigger pull produces single shots, while long pull produces burst fire. The wrap-around bolt has firing pin fixed into it near its rear end and encloses the breech part of the barrel with the most of its length when closed. Box magazines are inserted into the pistol grip (much like most semi-auto pistols). All Sa-23 family sub-machine guns have a built-in magazine loading device on the right side of the hand guard, specifically designed for loading box magazines from 8-rounds stripper clips. The charging handle is located at the left side of the weapon. The sights consist of hooded blade front and adjustable drum-type rear sight. The 7.62 and 9mm models can be distinguished by the magazine insertion: 7.62mm models have magazines that slope forward whereas those from the 9mm models are vertical.
- Caliber: Sa.23 and Sa.25 9x19mm Luger/Para; Sa.24 and Sa.26 7.65x25mm
- TTWeight: 3.27 kg or 3.5 kg empty (with folding or fixed stock, respectively)
- Length (stock closed/open): 445 / 686 mm
- Barrel length: 284 mm
- Rate of fire: 650 rounds per minute
- Magazine capacity: 24 or 40 rounds (9mm) or 32 rounds (7.62mm)
- Effective range: 100-200 meters