November 29, 2023


Inspiring Healthy Living

Changing the Slide Release on a CZ-52

This popular Czech-made pistol is a favorite of many — in a quirky way. It fires a high-power submachine gun round (7.62 x 25) — and is good-lucking in an “ugly” way. You love it or you hate it — and many folks love it!

But — it does have a few faults. A major deficiency is the decocking mechanism (short version — don’t trust your decocker!). A second deficiency is the weak stock firing pin. Finally, a third weakness is the lack of a thumb-activated slide release.

Once your slide locks back, the only way to release it forward is to rack it back again by hand… after inserting a magazine. There’s no thumb-tab to push to release the slide like more modern autoload pistols.

This weakness is easily fixed — there are several after-market slide release mechanisms that can be easily installed. Here’s how to do it.

Before you begin — remove the magazine and double-check the chamber to make sure the gun is safe. Next, remove the single U-clamp that holds the handgrips in place.

I find it almost impossible to remove the U-clamp without scratching the wood on the grip. You can’t move the clamp by hand — you have to stick a screwdriver to pry it up. Every time you do, you’ll lose a little bit of wood. So… don’t do it too often!

After removing the clamp, the grips should pop off. You may have to “get them started” by sticking a pry tool (thin blade screwdriver) between the grip and the frame. Do this near the back of the grip.

The grips may not lift straight up — there’s a little undercut on the front edge… you’ll have to lift from the rear first. you have to.

Next, I removed the slide. Use the same steps you’d use if you cleaning the gun.

Once you do this, note the position of the slide release spring; the spring should be on the top of the release tab.

Here’s the tricky part — there’s a single pin holding the slide release in place. Flip the frame on it’s side (slide release down) and use a pin punch to remove the pin. I had to give mine a few hard whacks to get it started. Once you push the pin all the way through, LEAVE THE PIN PUNCH IN PLACE!!!! This is important because the take-down release is held in place with the same pin. Since the pin punch is now holding the take-down release in place, if you remove the pin punch, your take-down release may pop out of the frame!

Remove the slide release. Pull it off the pin punch and angle it out of the frame.

If you have a replacement extended slide release, compare it with your old slide release — note the extended thumb tab. This extended tab will make it easy to manually release the locked back slide.

Angle the new slide release into place, placing the hole over the pin punch. Frankly, mine felt real gritty after doing this. I took it off and cleaned off the frame and the back of the release. I lubricated both parts and replaced them. It worked much better, but still had a slight gritty feel. I think I could have polished the back of the new slide release to make it smoother.

Be sure and set the slide release spring so that it’s on top of the end of the slide release!

Replace the pin — be careful to slowly let it replace the punch pin so that the takedown release stays in place. Once I pushed the pin in manually about halfway, the punch pin dropped out and I pounded the slide release pin back into place.
Pin replaced. Note the large thumb catch on the new slide release!

Time to start putting things back together. We’ll start with the grips.

Note that the front of the grip has a slight angle cut into it. Because of this, you won’t be able to press the grips straight down into place. You’ll have to slide them into the front first, then press down on the back of the grip.

Once your grips are snapped in, slide the U-Clamp back into it’s notch. Note that the U-Clamp can go in the “right way” or the “wrong way”. Note the angle on the clamp to select the “right way”.

Once the grips are back on, replace the slide — and you’re done!

Even though you now have a thumb tab on the slide release, note that you may find you have to press it very firmly to make it work.