By Chris A. Choat
At the January 2015 SHOT Show, CZ-USA introduced two new firearms to the US market. The first was their civilian, pistol version of the CZ Scorpion submachine gun called the Scorpion EVO 3 S1 pistol. This pistol, chambered in 9mm, looked just like the submachine gun version but of course had no stock and was not capable of full-auto fire. The new pistol was the talk of the Show with an advertised retail price of $849.00. This author covered that firearm in depth in an earlier issue of Small Arms Review (see SAR V19 No 6 ). The second firearm introduced was their Bren 805 S1 Pistol in 5.56/.223. This gun is also being brought into the US as a pistol. It is basically a pistol version of their Bren 805 A2 select-fire carbine. It too lacks the folding collapsible stock and select-fire components of its brother carbine. SAR recently received one of these pistols for testing and it may just be one of the best .223 pistols on the market today.
The Bren 805 pistol is a short stroke pistol driven gun that features a monolithic upper receiver/forearm with a top Picatinny rail running its full length. It has a detachable bottom rail and places on each side of the forearm for side mounted rails. The side mounted rails don’t come on the gun but are available as an option. The screws that hold the side rails on can also be used to remove the barrel. Yes, the gun has a relatively quick-change removable barrel but more on that later. The upper receiver also has a side-mounted charging handle that can be moved to either side as the shooter prefers, making it ambidextrous. The upper receiver’s top rail has a set of all metal ruggedly built sights. The front sight contains a standard AR style post, adjustable for elevation. The rear sight has a rotating drum that offers 4 different diopters for use at varying ranges. It is also adjustable for windage. Both sights are affixed to the top rail by Allen head clamping screws and have serrated rear surfaces that eliminate any glare.
The pistol uses a polymer lower/pistol grip that houses all of the fire control parts in an internal metal housing. This lower has ambidextrous controls for both the safety and magazine release. The entire polymer lower can be removed from the gun by simply removing one quick detach pushpin. The lower also houses a button that can be used to lock the bolt open. The bolt remains locked open when the last round is fired from the magazine. Unfortunately the bolt hold open button does not release the bolt, you have to pull back on the charging handle for the bolt to release on a loaded magazine.
The new pistol is chambered for 5.56/.223 and is fed from any STANAG type AR-15/M-16 magazine. The guns come with two 30-round metal magazines. The magazines lock into the gun through a beveled magazine well. The metal magazines supplied had a slight wobble to them when locked into the gun. They worked fine but the wobble was just annoying. Several other magazines were tried such as the MagPul P-mag and the Lancer L5 Warfighter magazines and they locked up solidly with no movement. The backstrap of the lowers pistol grip is removable and different size backstraps can be ordered to fit any shooters hand. The lower is actually two pieces that are pinned together. The front part is the magazine well and contains the magazine release and the bolt hold open button. The rear part contains the fire control parts and the grip. With the gun designed this way, magazine wells for different calibers as well as different magazines can be interchanged. For instance in the Czech Republic the Bren 805 is also produced in 7.62 X 39 and takes AK magazines.
The pistol has an 11-inch barrel that is threaded 14 x 1 left hand and has a very effective 2-port muzzle brake/flash hider. The guns’ gas piston/gas block is permanently pinned directly to the barrel and is removed along with the barrel when it is removed. It also features a machined-in bayonet lug but with the 11-inch barrel of the pistol a bayonet won’t lock on correctly. The gas block has a user adjustable 2- position gas system. The only tool needed is the tip of a bullet. The first gas position is for standard conditions and the second position is for use in adverse conditions.
The Bren 805 series of firearms are all modular. By removing two takedown pins the pistol can be disassembled into its basic modules. These include the barreled upper receiver, the lower receiver/pistol grip, the captive recoil spring assembly, the bolt assembly and the receiver rear end cap. The rear end cap is quickly removable and contains an ambidextrous sling mounting point. This rear end cap also can also be replaced with an optional adapter that will accept either an arm brace or an AR style buffer tube. If the user should decide to register the gun as an SBR (short barreled rifle) a shoulder stock can be added to the gun very easily. In fact, CZ-USA will be offering the original side-folding, collapsible stock such as is used on their select-fire carbine, as soon as the 922r compliant parts are available.
As stated earlier the gun has a removable barrel and gas piston. By removing 6 Torx #25 screws from the 805’s forearm the complete barrel and gas system can me removed from the front of the monolithic upper receiver much the same as the FN SCAR rifle. This makes changing barrel lengths very easy and by changing the barrel and gas system, the magazine well assembly and the bolt head the gun can be changed to any number of calibers. This author would like to see a 300 Blackout conversion. To reinstall the barrel, it is merely inserted into the front of the upper receiver and the 6 Torx screws replaced. They then need to be torqued to 8 N/m (Newton meters) or 70.8 inch-pounds. The operator’s manual that was received with the gun did not have the torque or the proper sequence pattern for tightening the screws but there is an online manual on CZ-USA’s website for the select-fire Bren 805 which lists the torque specifications. It can be downloaded for free.
The testing of the Bren 805 pistol was done at various yardages to see what kind of accuracy the gun was capable of. With the pistol supported in a two hand hold, accuracy was about what you would expect from an almost 7 pound handgun held at arm’s length. It wasn’t anything to brag about. Not that the pistol is not capable of great accuracy, it is. It’s just not when held like a regular pistol. By adding a sling or an arm brace to the Bren, things changed dramatically.
Adding either one gives the shooter a 3-point purchase on the gun that makes it viable for hitting targets at extended ranges. This was also proven when the pistol was fired from an MTM Predator Shooting rest which is made for rifles as well as pistols. With the pistol equipped with an arm brace and a quality optic it would easily shoot ½ inch groups at 50 yards. This kind of accuracy continued through all of the different types and brands of ammunition used in the testing. The pistols trigger pull is excellent with the test gun’s trigger pull measured at exactly 4.1 pounds. It is a two-stage trigger with a short take-up and a very crisp break. It also has a very short reset which allows the gun to be used in rapid fire scenarios. In other words this pistol would make a perfect self-defense weapon. Its small size makes it perfect for carrying in a vehicle or even a backpack. The gun ejects its empty brass into a small pile about 10 feet straight out, 90 degrees from the ejection port. Empties came out of the gun looking clean enough to reload without polishing.
The gun was taken apart after the first 150 rounds and as expected was very clean inside the upper receiver and around the chamber area. This is common with most piston driven guns. As this is written, the gun has fired over 500 rounds of ammunition without cleaning it. The gun is still very clean inside. There has not been a single issue with the pistol. It fed, fired and ejected every round of ammunition perfectly and with authority. This is a gun that truly goes bang every time you pull the trigger. Recoil from the 11-inch is hardly noticeable even for recoil sensitive shooters. The guns muzzle brake is very effective and kills all the flash expected from the short barrel.
The only complaint this author has about the Bren 805 pistol is that, as this is written, the original collapsible, folding stock is not available yet as I want to SBR this one as soon as possible. Retail price for the Bren pistol is just shy of $2000.00. This may seem high but remember, this is for a gun that is modular and can be changed to several different calibers as well as being able to use different barrel lengths and even different style magazines. When the Bren’s price is compared to other guns of its kind such as the FN SCAR or the Bushmaster ACR it is not out of line. This author can see a multitude of accessories being available for this gun from CZ-USA as well as third party manufacturers.
P.O. Box 17103
Kansas City, KS 66117-0073
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V20N7 (September 2016)|