Special Operations: The French Solution

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April 27, 2017: In early 2017 the French GIGN (Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale) ordered 68 customized (for commando operations) CZ 807 assault rifles form Czech company (Česká Zbrojovka). The primary change here is that the CZ-806 BREN 2 is adapted to use 7.62x39mm ammunition.

The reason behind this purchase comes from French police experience fighting armed Islamic terrorist since 2015. It turned out that the standard 9mm and 5.56x45 NATO ammunition GIGN (and most anti-terror units) used was often not up to the job when the Islamic terrorists were wearing body armor. The 9mm round has good stopping power but lacks penetration while the 5.56 x 45 NATO has better penetration capabilities but its stopping power is lower.

To overcome this problem the French started to look for an existing rifle rounds that can provide both capabilities. The 7.62 x 51 NATO round was considered at first but was rejected because weapons chambered in this caliber proved to be too heavy and cumbersome to operate in rooms and other conditions typical for anti-terrorist operations. Moreover thanks to enormous kinetic energy this round can cause significant collateral damage because it can penetrate walls easily and hit innocent civilians or hostages. That’s way 7.62x39mm was chosen. This round has greater kinetic energy and stopping power than 5,45x45mm and can still be used in many compact weapons.

The CZ-807 weighs about 3.15 kg (6 pounds) and is the latest variant of basic CZ 806 weapon used by Czech armed forces. Its design is very modular and easy to handle. That is the receiver/barrel assembly can easily be changed so the weapon can fire different rounds or more accurately because of a longer barrel. The French have requested variant with a short 228mm (9 inch) barrel that could be fitted with a silencer. Despite the very short barrel, the gun retains good accuracy and effectiveness over distances of up to 400 meters.

More terrorists are using body armor and this is forcing antiterrorist units to adapt. The CZ 807 carbine has been also proposed to the French Commandos des opérations spéciales who currently operate frequently in Africa where 7.62x39mm ammunition is very common. -- Przemysław Juraszek

 


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