Technical OverviewThe C-52 is single-action only, meaning that the hammer must be cocked before firing the first round. As with other auto-loading pistols, the recoil forces the slide rearward. This ejects the spent case and forces a new cartridge from the magazine into the chamber.
A magazine follower tab locks the slide open after the last shot has been fired. While not as handy as the Makarov's slide release, the slide may also manually be locked back with the external slide lock bar. (Note: you can get an aftermarket slide release that replaces the hold-open catch and gives you a one-handed slide release operation from the the CZ-52 cart.)
The magazine holds 8 rounds. (A 9-round custom carry magazine is available from the the CZ-52 cart.) The safety is located on the rear of the frame. Similar to the Makarov, down is fire, up is safe. The safety also acts as a decocker when pushed up beyond the "safe" position. The pistol can be carried "cocked and locked." See notes below on the safety issues regarding the decocker!
The slide may be moved while the pistol is on safe, allowing the user to eject a round the chamber. Similarly, the pistol can be made ready to fire by racking the slide, thus inserting and round into the chamber, with the safety on "safe."
Roller Locking Action
Unlike the Makarov, the CZ-52 does not use a straight blowback mechanism. Because of the high power of the cartridge, the CZ-52 has a rather complicated, but strong, roller-locking mechanism. The roller lock is composed of the barrel, two rollers, and a locking cam. When at rest, the pressure of the recoil spring compresses the cam which forces the rollers outwards towards the slide.
During firing, the rearward motion releases the cam and the continued pressure will eventually push the rollers out of the detent and allow the slide to travel relative to the barrel. Therefore, the strength of the recoil spring determines when the the slide begins to move backwards.
A version of this locking mechanism is found in some modern Heckler & Koch firearms.