Unblinking Eye

Alois Tomiška’s 6.35mm
Model 1922 Pistol, The First CZ

by Ed Buffaloe
photographs by Roger Coole

CZ vz 1922

Alois Tomiška was one of the key players in the early development of Czech handguns.  Czechoslovakia had been a province of the Austro-Hungarian empire until it declared its independence in 1918, at the end of the First World War.  The early influence on Czech handgun development was primarily Austrian (though John Browning’s designs had a pervasive influence worldwide).  Tomiška had taken his apprenticeship with a gunsmith in Vienna, Austria where he lived and worked for over 20 years.

In 1918 Tomiška moved to Plzeň (Pilsen), Czechoslovakia and set up a small shop where he soon began production of the FOX pistol.  The pistol’s design was unusual in that the frame fully enclosed the bolt, except for a small portion at the very rear, which could be grasped in order to retract it, cock the action and chamber a round.  The design required ejection ports in both the bolt and the frame.  The gun also had a folding trigger and no trigger guard.  The FOX pistols were made almost completely by hand at the Plzeň factory under Tomiška’s supervision by about 20 workers until more advanced equipment was purchased and installed in 1920.  Probably less than 1500 FOX pistols were made.  In the Spring of 1921 the Plzeň factory was moved to Strakonice.  In 1922 the Ceska Zbrojovka company was formed and Tomiška became their product design engineer.

Gerhard Schönbauer states that a Russian by the name of A.P. Zalubovskyi was made technical leader at Ceska Zbrojovka and placed in charge of redesigning the FOX.  Ezell states that in 1922 an engineer named Bartsch was made technical director.  They may both be correct, as there could have been a “technical leader” as well as a “technical director.”  In any case, the FOX was given a minor facelift, the high profile sights were eliminated, a conventional trigger and trigger guard were added, and the gun became the Vzor 1922, or model 1922.  This was the first pistol ever to carry the famous CZ trademark.  The vz 1922 retained the unusual bolt-within-the-frame design of the FOX.  R.J. Berger makes a passing reference to this being a popular design in Austria, but I have been unable to identify any other pistols of similar design.

CZ vz 1922

Gerhard Schoenbauer states that the redesign of the FOX was initiated because of an order from the Czech military for 10,000 pistols in 6.35mm.  He states that vz 1922 is a typical military designation, whereas previous Czech commercial pistols had names like Praga, Perla, Mars, and Fox.  He also states that the guns were made between 1922 and 1928 and that probably less than 10,000 were made.  Hogg and Weeks state that the gun remained in production until 1936, but Berger states that production ended in 1928 though many of the pistols remained in the company’s inventory into the 1930’s.

The CZ vz 1922 is striker-fired and has ejection ports on the top right of the frame.  The frame is made of stamped sheet metal pinned to a steel core.  The gun has a bolt that reciprocates inside the sheet metal frame housing which surrounds it, instead of a true slide.  The extractor is in the top right portion of the gun and is completely covered by the frame.  The end of the bolt protrudes from the rear of the frame housing and has serrations for cocking the action.  The barrel has two lugs which mate with the slide lock button/barrel lock to fix the barrel to the frame.  The recoil spring is mounted around the barrel and held in place by a barrel bushing.  The striker, safety, barrel lugs, and bushing are all very reminiscent of Browning designs.  There is an external bar on the right side of the frame that connects the trigger to the sear.  There is a groove down the top of the gun for sighting, and a very minimal post sight in front.

Standard slide markings are ČESKÁ ZBROJOVKA AKC. SPOL. V PRAZE on the left side.  The serial number appears on the right side of the frame, near the front of the pistol.  On the left side of the trigger guard is the NPP smokeless powder proof mark of the Prague proof house, and above that on the frame is a date stamp.  On the right side of the trigger guard is the rampant lion proof mark of Prague.  The grips on most guns are checkered plastic with the CZ logo in the center, but late models had wooden grips with CZ logo medallions.

The magazine has a heavy floor that is pinned to the magazine walls.  The toe of the plate is machined to a fine point to be used as a takedown device.

Guns sold in Germany were marked BOHMISCHE WAFFENFABRIK A.G. IN PRAG on the left side of the slide and NIMROD-AUTOMATIC on the left.  The grips on these guns may be unmarked checkered plastic.

Berger points out that the vz 1922 pistols are marked either Praze or Prag, both meaning Prague.  This is because the offices of the Ceska Zbrojovka company were in Prague, but the factory was in Strakonice.

CZ vz 1922 components

Field Stripping:

  1. Remove the magazine and ensure the pistol is unloaded.
  2. Push up on the bottom of the bolt lock button, using the toe of the magazine, and pull it out from the frame.
  3. Withdraw the bolt from the front of the frame.
  4. The firing pin and firing pin spring can be removed from the rear of the bolt.
  5. Rotate the barrel bushing and remove it from the frame.
  6. Remove the barrel and recoil spring.


Firearms Assembly 4, edited by Pete Dickey.  NRA Books:  1980.
Handguns of the World, by Edward C. Ezell.  Barnes & Noble, New York:  1981.
Know Your Czechoslovakian Pistols, by R.J. Berger.  Blscksmith, Chino Valley, Arizona:  1989.
Pistols of the World, by Ian V. Hogg and John Walter.  Krause, Iola, Wisconsin:  2004.

Copyright 2007 by Ed Buffaloe.  All rights reserved.

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