The CZ-82: Perfect bug-out bag stuffer


Here’s another use for the reliable and economical Czech double-action pistol.

The Czech CZ-82 is a reliable double-action pistol chambered in 9mm Makarov that is still produced today. It replaced the CZ-52, the Czech Army’s version of the Tokarev. Photo by Carla Varisco-Williams.

SARASOTA – If you live in tornado alley, a flood plain or anywhere hurricanes or zombies can strike, you might want to consider putting together a bug-out bag.

A bug-out bag is a backpack stuffed with everything you need to keep yourself alive for 2-3 days in the event you have to leave home in a hurry. Even FEMA recommends people keep one in their home or car.

Some items to consider are: MREs, First Aid kit, water purification tabs, flashlights, fire starters, a poncho, a good knife, some cash, a spare ATM card and a thumb drive with copies of your important documents: drivers licenses, passports, insurance papers, medical history information and emergency contact numbers.

There is some controversy about whether to include a weapon. If you keep the bag at home and the balloon goes up, there is always time to grab a gun plus the bag. If you travel, however, and keep the bag in your car, you need to decide whether to include a firearm.

Some gun owners aren’t comfortable with the thought of keeping a high-dollar pistol in their car.  The risk of theft is too great, especially in Sarasota.

What’s needed is a happy medium – a weapon with enough firepower for serious self-defense applications, but one that’s not so expensive it will break the bank if it goes missing or gets surface rust from our salt air.

The perfect choice for a vehicle-borne bug-out bag is the Czech CZ-82 in 9mm Makarov.

It’s a medium size auto. The gun and four mags fit easily into a side pocket of my bag. It holds 13 rounds, enough for most social situations. The cartridge, while a far cry from a 230-grain fight-stopper, is not bad. It’s a bit snappier than .380 and a bit smaller than standard 9mm. Finding Makarov ammunition is getting easier too.

Despite its size, the CZ-82 is surprisingly accurate, thanks in part to its polygonal rifling. Rather than traditional lands and grooves, polygonal rifling is less defined, like hills and valleys. It’s a Czech specialty usually found on high-dollar hunting rifles.

For me, price was the deciding factor. Depending on condition, you’ll pay around $175-$200, and you won’t have to lay awake at night worrying if your Kimber, Colt or HK is still in your trunk.

Most CZs come with a cleaning rod and an ambidextrous leather flap holster that completely conceals and protects the pistol. To western eyes, it doesn’t look like a holster. It’s nonthreatening, an added plus.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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