Gun Review: CZ Bren 2 Ms Pistol

Available in four barrel lengths and two chamberings, CZ’s new Bren 2 Ms pistol is a modern take on what a battle-ready firearm should be. Whether it’s for use on the front lines or for enjoying some plinking on the range, the Bren 2 Ms pistol (available in carbine format soon) is easily one of the best new guns in years.

With a carbon fiber-reinforced polymer lower receiver and an aluminum upper, the CZ Bren 2 Ms reduced the weight and footprint of the original CZ Bren while also bringing a bevy of functional enhancements to the table.

Knowing that large format pistols are a bit of a handful — awkward and difficult to use — CZ-USA ships the Bren 2 Ms pistols equipped as standard with an AR-15 buffer tube (receiver extension) adapter mounted at rear. This allows the use of many of the popular pistol stabilizing braces on the market, such as the SB Tactical SBA3.

Now that’s better. Not only does it look more balanced, it is more balanced. Strap that SBA3 to your forearm and you’re ready to rock and roll.

With the rise in popularity of the Bren 2 Ms, the aftermarket is already responding with accessories and bolt-ons.

With the slide of a takedown pin and the push of a thumb button, the Bren 2’s rear plate is easily removed from the upper receiver.

Want to run SB Tactical’s new FS1913A brace? Install a Picatinny rail rear plate and go for it.

SB Tactical’s AK Triangle Side Folding brace? Yep.

Or, how about filing that Form 1 to turn your Bren 2 Ms into a short barreled rifle and slapping on a Black Collar Arms Stock Option? With eFiled Form 1s seeing approval in about 3 to 6 weeks these days, this Czech superstar is an extremely appealing SBR candidate.

Whether you’ve chosen the 14-inch, 11-inch, 9-inch, or 8-inch barrel in 7.62×39 or in 5.56×45, you’ll find a nice looking flash hider gracing the muzzle.

Underneath the flash hider are 5/8×24 threads for the 7.62 and 1/2×28 threads for the 5.56. While the shoulder is small on the 7.62 barrels, it was sufficient for the three suppressors I threaded on.

CZ designed a great adjustable gas block for the Bren 2 Ms that’s easily and also very easily adjusted for different shooting needs.

Marks for 1, 2, and 0 denote normal use, “adverse conditions” use (extra gas), and off, respectively

A hole through the center of the adjustment tab allows the use of all sorts of improvised tools and implements — a bullet, perhaps — to help rotate the knob. Not that you’re likely to need it. Even by hand the gas knob is easy to turn, but perhaps after a significant quantity of rounds are sent downrange there will be some carbon fouling to overcome.

Pressing the rear of the detent lever lifts it up so the gas adjustment knob can be removed and the gas piston system cleaned.

On the side of the gas adjustment tab above you’ll notice both caliber and barrel length engravings. Each gas block is tuned for each gun variant.

Can’t decide on caliber or barrel length? That’s cool, as it’s easy to swap these out on the Bren. Same with the handguard, which unbolts and slides right out. It’s covered in M-LOK slots and little bolt-on rail-less rail sections.

Unlike those silly ARs, the CZ Bren 2 Ms Pistol has a side charging handle up near the front of the upper receiver. It’s easily swapped from the left side to the right side to suit the shooter’s preference.

And, get this: it’s non-reciprocating but it still works as a forward assist. Nice!

A nice set of locking, flip-up iron sights is included on the full-length top Picatinny rail. Peep rear and post front with an HK-style partial hood.

While the side charger is a deviation (and an improvement) from the AR platform, most other controls on the Bren 2 Ms will be more familiar to the AR shooter.

For example, the bolt catch/release is in approximately the same location and functions in the same manner as that of an AR. The safety, too, is right where you’d expect and works just as you’d expect.

One bonus control is a left-side magazine release located in front of the trigger guard. Pressing it pulls the tab of the AR-style magazine catch out, dropping the mag cleanly. It works great.

An AR-style magazine release button is located in the AR-style spot, and the safety selector is mirrored on the right side.

But wait, there’s more! Inside the front of the Bren 2’s trigger guard is a second bolt catch/release. Very cool.

The Bren’s pistol grip has a swappable backstrap, which is a nice touch considering the rest of it is integral to the lower receiver. That said, I’m not sure at the time of this writing if there are alternative backstraps available yet.

I did find the grip to be nicely ergonomic and the texture felt good — secure and grippy, but still comfortable.

A hinged door leads to a useful storage compartment inside the pistol grip.

Field stripping the Bren 2 Ms is very simple. Remove the rear plate, then slide the recoil spring and guide rod assembly and the bolt carrier out the rear. A takedown pin separates upper and lower. Incidentally, the lower can be removed from the upper without removing the rear plate or the guts of the upper. It’s a neat design.

A rotating bolt resides in a bolt carrier that has some AR-like qualities, perhaps some SCAR-like qualities, but is its own, gas piston-powered little slab of steel.

On the range the Bren 2 Ms was a beast. This thing is a battle rifle (err, pistol except for when this one was an SBR) through-and-through, but it’s more compact, lightweight, and maneuverable than most.

It’s also modernized and refined, with the sort of ergonomics and usability we expect in a recently- and well-designed rifle. It looks good, too, and weighs in at just 5.46 pounds in the 9-inch 7.62×39 flavor seen above (plus a scant 10.6 ounces for the Stock Option).

Stocked deep with cases of cheap, steel-cased AK-47 food that I’ve almost never used in the many years I’ve owned it, I went ahead and put just shy of 500 rounds through both the 11-inch and 9-inch Bren 2s that I borrowed. About two-thirds of that was suppressed with a few different cans.

Zero glitches. Cheap, steel ammo turned into noise exactly as you’d hope with precisely zero failures to feed, fire, or eject. Likewise, both guns locked open on empty every single time with these excellent banana mags and all controls worked smoothly and flawlessly every single time.

The Bren 2 Ms also feels good to shoot. It runs strongly and confidently, but with a smooth recoil impulse and little muzzle rise. The gas piston system is tuned nicely, providing a consistent and appropriate ejection pattern without any gas to the face, even when suppressed.

While the Bren 2 Ms Pistol won’t win any awards for accuracy, shooting Wolf for 100-yard groups isn’t likely to land you better results than this from any firearm. Based on this and other testing with different ammo brands, the Bren 2 appears to enjoy living in that 1.5 to 2.5 MOA range. Not a target gun, but a pleasingly accurate battle rifle for sure.

Unlike your typical battle gun, though, the trigger on the Bren 2 Ms was perfectly passable. There’s some take-up ahead of a pretty clean break at about 4.5 pounds. It feels like a two-stage match trigger, just without the whole “match” part — too gritty in its travel and not quite crisp enough in its break. But, really, nothing to complain about.

At the end of testing my confidence in CZ’s Bren 2 Ms couldn’t be higher. This thing is rock solid. It runs like a juggernaut but handles like a sports car. I like it more than its direct competitors and more than most other utilitarian guns.

By that I mean the Bren 2 Ms is a tool; a true workhorse. But it’s a refined one. While I may not choose it for competition type use, I’d trust it to defend my home or accompany me in the COVID-19 toilet paper apocalypse or for hunting Texas hogs.

The Bren 2 Ms Pistol is an extremely well-engineered, nicely-made, reliable little battle gun with modern ergos and controls. It’s a solid win for CZ.

Oh, and it even comes with a thoroughly well-equipped cleaning and tool kit in a twin-pocket, canvas pouch. Nice.

Specifications: CZ Bren 2 Ms Pistol

Caliber: 7.62×39 or 5.56×45
Capacity: 30+1 rounds
Operation: semi-automatic, gas piston operated
Barrel Length: 14, 11, 9, or 8 inches
Muzzle Threads: 5/8×24 or 1/2×28 depending on caliber
Overall Length: from 19.9 inches with 8-inch barrel to 25.8 inches with 14-inch barrel
Weight: from 5.4 pounds with 8-inch barrel to to 5.86 pounds with 14-inch barrel
MSRP: $1,799

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and Appearance  * * * * 
While undoubtedly utilitarian in focus, the Bren 2 Ms’ design is sharp, clean, and modern. It looks cool, but it doesn’t belie its true nature as a battle gun.

Reliability  * * * * *
Juggernaut.

Ergonomics  * * * *
If it took AR grips I’d give it 5 stars all day long. But the ambidextrous controls, non-reciprocating forward charging handle, and overall balance earn the Bren 2 Ms a very strong 4 stars. Compared to other “battle rifles” and most guns chambered in 7.62×39, it’s way out ahead.

Customize This  * * * * *
CZ designed the Bren 2 Ms to be customized by the end user. From the easily swappable rear mounting plate to the grip backstrap to the quickly swapped and reconfigured handguard to the ease of barrel and bolt changes, the Bren 2 Ms is what you might call “mission configurable.”

Accuracy  * * * * 
It’s no target gun, but it’s better than average for a 7.62×39 designed for hard use.

Overall  * * * * *
The CZ Bren 2 Ms pistol is one of the best new guns in years. It combines battle-ready ruggedness with refined ergonomics, controls, and modularity. It’s adjustable, it’s configurable, and it’s an absolutely fantastic firearm that’s worth the cost of entry.

comments

  1. avatar Dude says:

    Which pistol would be better, this or the Galil ACE?

    1. avatar PJ says:

      The Galil Ace is heavier, less configurable, and has a stronger recoil impulse. I have one in 5.56 and like it a lot, but would definitely take the Bren 2 over it.

      1. avatar Dude says:

        Thanks for the reply.

  2. avatar Dan W says:

    What’s with the super short gas system? The trend on ARs seems to be longer and longer.

    1. avatar PJ says:

      The original Bren 805 had a longer forend and gas system that was shortened for weight savings. The weight savings are considerable, not just on paper, but also with handling characteristics. AR’s are going with longer gas systems for timing and recoil reasons because of their nature of operation (direct impingement vs gas piston and buffer system vs recoil rod system). The Bren 2 is a much more modern, forgiving system.

    2. avatar Steve says:

      The Bren is much more similar to a SCAR/G36 (and other short-stroke systems) while the guts of the lower are essentially the SCAR and, in-turn, the FNC.

  3. avatar Aono says:

    Steel cased garbage can’t really be underly an accuracy review. Hornady SST could…

  4. avatar David says:

    For that price I’d get a CZ 58 and save a bunch of money or buy a ton of ammo.

    1. avatar Someone says:

      Two weeks ago my friend called to get himself invited to my club’s range, as he needed to zero in the red dot on his brand new Bren 2. I grabbed my trusty vz 2008 all in Israeli polymer FAB furniture for comparison.

      For three times higher price and 70 years of age difference there better be a difference. Bren shoots softer and has less muzzle rise, even with only flash hider (my vz 2008 sports the Slovakian style muzzle brake). It is easier to shoot better groups.
      Now, is it three times better? No way. But if I had to choose, I would get the Bren today. Your mileage (and budget) may vary.

      1. avatar Alex capps says:

        Good luck finding a vz2008 in 2020 for less than 1000$. Trust me I’ve been looking for one, wish I would have scored one of those 500$ specials while I was in college that came with 5 mags.

  5. avatar Someone says:

    Battle rifle shoots full power rifle ammo. This is not it.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. But it isn’t an assault rifle and I’m not calling it a modern sporting rifle because it ain’t very sporting. It’s a gun I’d strongly consider taking “into battle,” meaning more like protecting my stockpile of toilet paper and other civvie type home defense and TEOTWAWKI uses. It’s a commercial / civilian market battle rifle 😉

  6. avatar Hwood007 says:

    Which did you prefer to shoot, the 9inch or 11inch? I cant decide which one to purchase for an sbr.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Oh I like it short. The 9-inch was more fun and a bit handier. The 11-inch definitely squeezes out a bit more velocity from the 7.62×39 though.

      1. avatar David E. says:

        For those interested, I did chrono factory ammo out of my 11 inch 7.62x39mm BREN 2 MS. Averages.
        Wolf, JHP same as pictured – 2205 FPS
        Tula 122g FMJ – 2156 FPS
        Red Army Standard – 2200 FPS.

        Just in case anyone was curious. I LOVE this little firearm, balance is PERFECT, very light and handy firearm…and it likes my cast reloads, too. Yes, home cast lead powder coated reloads.

  7. avatar James says:

    The bren 2 does not have a suppressed gas option on the regulator. The third setting is for adverse conditions, which increases the gas. (Not reccomended for use as a suppressed setting)

    1. avatar Rab says:

      Ah, but that third “off” position can be used as a suppressor setting by drilling an appropriate size hole to tune the gas system for your specific can and ammo combination. Granted this is best accomplished with a drill press and carbide bit, but it is possible. CZ will tell you that the normal position is sufficient for suppressor use though.

      By the way, I am very happy with my 14″ Bren 2 Ms in 5 .56. The HB Industries trigger cleans up what is already a decent trigger.

  8. avatar Daniel S. says:

    It should probably be made known, that the 5.56 version does not take down similarly. You must remove the lower before you can slide off the buffer tube plate/mount; as it is dovetailed to the lower. The lower does not pivot from the front, but drops down from the front, then pulls forward to remove from the dovetail on the buffer plate/mount.

  9. avatar Brandon says:

    Does this take other 7.62×39 magazines, or only CZ Bren 2 mags?

    1. avatar David E says:

      Proprietary CZ mags only right now. There was someone who told me they modified a MagPul AK PMAG to work, but I have no specifics. The older mags are the clear one – the black windowed mags are the new ones and they are great.

      1. avatar Brandon says:

        Thanks for the info! I’ve been looking for a 7.62 pistol for awhile, and I’m happy to consistently hear good things about the Bren 2. I’ve really enjoyed the Scorpion. Now for the market to cool off so I can find some ammo.

        1. avatar David A Esch says:

          Good luck – was none local today…so i hit the lead pot and made some more. 😉

  10. avatar Zach says:

    “ Strap that SBA3 to your forearm and you’re ready to rock and roll“ I hope this was a joke.

  11. avatar steven Greenstein says:

    In 5.56 what are the considerations to decide on 8″ v 9″ barrel?

  12. avatar steve says:

    waiting on the barrel info —- want to put a folding brace but will run into overall length problem to carry in my 5.11 bag

  13. avatar Bradley Erickson says:

    Does this have proprietary magazines or does it accept regular AR mags like Magpul or Daniel Defense?

  14. avatar Zach says:

    “Strap that SBA3 to your forearm and you’re ready to rock and roll”
    There is no need to be a bootlicker to the ATF when it’s perfectly legal to shoulder retarded braces.

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