The ZB 47 Holek[1] (Czech: Samopal ZB 47) and the related ZB 1946 are prototype Czech submachine guns.

History[edit | edit source]

Designed from 1946 to 1947 by Czech engineers Václav and František Holek, employees of ZB, the ZB 47 was one of a number of submachine guns tested by the Czech which incorporated the idea of having the center of gravity of the magazine as close as possible to the gun's bore axis.

The first prototype, known as the ZB 1946, was designed in 1946 and presented to the MNO in March that year; the weapon was regarded as the most unconventional and used what was regarded as the strangest solutions to the given "problem". Various other prototypes were designed by the Holek brothers from 1946 to 1948 and tested in a variety of trials; eventually, the MNO lost interest in these weapons, with the ČZ 447 and ZK 476 being narrowed down as the choices for a future Czech submachine gun.

After the trials ended, ZB attempted to market the ZB 47 to overseas markets without success.[2] A number of ZB 47s survive today, all of which are museum pieces.[3]

Design Details[edit | edit source]

A very strange and unconventional submachine gun, even by modern standards, the ZB 47 is a blowback-operated submachine gun with an unconventional layout and even more unconventional looks. The weapon is noted to be very compact with no protruding magazine out the sides of the weapon.

The weapon has a very unique feeding layout and system; the magazine is inserted diagonally into the weapon on the underside. In order for the magazine to feed, a unique system was developed which incorporated a toothed wheel acting as a feeding unit. This wheel is actuated by a bar which is attached to a simple blowback bolt group; the wheel rotates one position during every cycle, stripping a cartridge from the magazine and aligning it with the chamber for feeding. The bolt would then pick up the round and move it into battery.[1][4]

Ammunition[edit | edit source]

The ZB 47 uses 9×19mm Parabellum rounds, although variants chambered for 7.62×25mm Tokarev were also developed.[2]

Variants[edit | edit source]

Paratrooper variant

Variant with telescoping metal stock meant for use with paratroopers. The telescoping stock allows it to use 72-round extended magazines as well as the standard 30-round magazines.[2][3]

References[edit | edit source]

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