The Ultimate Left-Handed Semi-Auto Carbine
So you’re left-handed and you want a modern semi-auto carbine suited to self-defense, hunting, law enforcement, or other uses.
What are your options?
You can pick up very expensive, non-standard AR-15 lower designed for an ambi bolt release and magazine release, add a left-handed upper and expensive ambi charging handle, and an ambi selector, and you can have a pretty good left-handed setup for considerably more than the cost of a right-handed AR-15. Not a bad route to go.
How can a rifle designed in the 1950s be a modern left-handed semi-auto rifle? Well, as far as the modern thing goes, the vz.58 is a pretty modern design in many ways; the way the action works, the light weight and excellent ergonomics, the short-stroke piston system, and the legendary reliability; all of these features are advantages that we look for in modern fighting carbines. The Czechs, as usual, were ahead of their time in firearm design and production.
However, there are some things about the vz.58 that show it’s 195os heritage. In that time period, armies were transitioning from bolt-action rifles to semi-auto or select-fire rifles. There were certain assumptions that were carried over from the bolt actions. Bolts were expected to be manipulated with the right hand, for example, and safeties and magazine releases were often not designed to be used the way we do today. So the vz.58, while better in these regards than a lot of contemporary rifles, still require some slightly different methods when operated by a right-handed shooter. Fortunately for right-handers, the se methods work well, and the rifle is as easy to manipulate using modern fighting methods as it was with 1950s methods.
But a funny thing happened. As our techniques shifted, the vz.58 controls became perfectly suited to left-handed use.
It is generally taught to day to manipulate the charging handle with the support hand. Most new fighting carbine designs incorporate a left-side charging handle for right handed shooters. The right-side charging handle on the vz.58 is perfect for left-handed shooters.
The selector on the vz.58 is placed on the right side of the weapon. Some right-handed shooters add an aftermarket ambi safety, while others simply manipulate the safety with the firing finger. But for the left-handed shooter, the vz.58 selector lever is positioned just right for operation by the firing-hand thumb.
The magazine release is a paddle that is pushed forward to release the magazine. It is offset to the left side. A right-handed shooter will press he magazine release with the thumb while grasping the magazine, or press the mag release with the new magazine. The left handed shooter can just press the mag release forward with the trigger finger.
Ejection is mostly up and forward. The left handed shooter will n0t get hot brass in the face or down the shirt.
See photos below illustrating these left-handed techniques.
The Czechpoint vz.58 is a well-made, reliable firearm with an excellent and available magazine system. The light weight and perfect balance give it excellent ergonomics and the short-stroke piston supplies reliable function with a pleasant recoil impulse. Magazine changes are easy and it also loads easily and quickly from stripper clips. It is available in both 7.62×39 mm or 5.56 mm.
If I were a left-handed shooter looking for a left-handed semi-auto carbine, the Czechpoint Sa vz.58 would be my choice.
The Sa vz.58 canbe purchased from Czechpoint USA at https://www.czechpoint-usa.com/sa-vz58-rifles