The Run Down
The CZ Bren 2 is quickly becoming very popular in the firearms community. Not only is it leagues ahead of its predecessor, the Bren 805, and making a stand as a “SCAR killer,” this firearm is also facing off with one of the world’s most popular weapon platforms.
The Bren 2 Ms is offered in both 7.62x39mm and 5.56x45mm NATO. I knew that I wanted to stay with the 5.56, which meant I had to choose between an 8.26, an 11.14, or a 14.17-inch barrel. This was a very hard choice for me. I am a firm believer in the 11.5-inch barrel when it comes to 5.56x45mm. I truly believe this is a great middle ground barrel length when used with .223/5.56. With most M193 shelf rounds and an 11.5-inch barrel, you’re still cruising around 2800-2900 FPS. However, with an 8-inch barrel you’re looking at around 2500-2600 ft/s. I had to decide if compactness was worth the loss of 300 ft/s. Since I was planning on running this gun mainly suppressed and taking it on some road trips, I settled on the 8.26-inch model.
At a street price around $1750, I was a little hesitant about buying the Bren 2. However, upon receiving the Bren 2, I was pleasantly surprised with how feature-rich this firearm was out-of-the-box. Some awesome features and accessories included;
- Two 30-round windowed magazines (essentially CZ branded PMAGS)
- Cleaning and Maintenance kit in a laser cut MOLLE pouch (by far the nicest cleaning kit I have ever received with a firearm)
- In-the-trigger bolt release (much like a Magpul B.A.D. lever)
- 3-position adjustable piston (standard, adverse conditions, off)
- 45-degree ambidextrous safety
- Ambidextrous magazine release (placed perfectly for tactical reloads)
- 2.6 lb. stock trigger
- Folding, adjustable, luminescent sights (2 illuminated dots in the rear, 1 illuminated dot in the front)
- Non-reciprocating, ambidextrous side charging handle that maintains a forward assist function
Pains and Complaints
- I was bummed to see that the Bren 2 did not include an SB Tactical brace of any kind, but it does come ready for any AR platform buffer tube and stock (if you plan on doing a form 1) or brace.
- There is a wobble between the receiver and endcap. This wobble can be easily compared to the wobble between upper and lower AR receivers, and can be “fixed” with a small washer. However, I did not see an effect in accuracy or function with the wobble.
- The fore-end rail only includes one Mlok slot at 3, 6, and 9 o’ clock sides. I have been able to make this work for me and HB Industries makes an awesome and affordable aftermarket option, but I would have liked to see at least two Mlok slots on the stock rail like with the original Bren 2s.
- Because I was looking forward to the compactness of an 8” gun, I was a bit disappointed when I found that the overall length of the Bren 2 with the 8.26-inch barrel was about the same of a 10.5-inch barreled AR15.
I immediately installed an SBA3 brace and started doing dry fire drills. Right off the bat, I loved how familiar this weapon felt. I thought that the different shape of the gun would cause some awkwardness, but the AR15-style controls and balance of the Bren 2 made it easy to maneuver and manipulate. Although the side charging handle is non-reciprocating, I was still weary of how it would affect my grip on the front of the gun. Surprisingly, the charging handle was hardly noticeable, but right where I needed when doing a reload.
This platform gives you all the options when it comes to reloads. Once you have that magazine inserted you can slap the AR-style bolt release, push the in-trigger guard release, or rack your side charging handle. I played with all three and settled on the side charging handle as my favorite.
I also swapped out the stock flash hider with a brake that would accept my form 1 suppressor. Doing this was a very hard decision as the stock flash hider from CZ is amazing. The stock flash hider had virtually no flash and no ring, even out of an 8.26-inch barrel. Huge props to CZ for that.
As far as recoil goes, this is the smoothest piston I’ve ever shot. The Bren 2 recoils like a finely tuned 10.5-inch AR15. When taken out for testing, my brother, friend and I tried to cause a malfunction through various practical shooting situations. We simply couldn’t. We got the gun filthy and dusty. No matter what, it kept running.
I love how battlefield-orientated this platform proved to be. CZ thought of everything from three different ways an adrenaline-rushed soldier could send a bolt home to a setting in the gas block for “adverse conditions”. Although we didn’t need to use this setting while testing the Bren 2, I think it’s a great idea that ensures this gun will fire no matter what.
Lastly, I really enjoy not needing a buffer assembly. Using an SB Tactical Folding Adapter, I was able to easily fold my Bren 2 for storage in a small duffle bag or backpack. This was awesome for road trips and camping.
At the end of the day, I really do think that the CZ Bren 2 has real potential to be a contender against the SCAR and the AR15. With manufacturers like HB Industries, Dan Haga Designs, and Manticore Arms already making aftermarket parts, shooters are getting the customization they love from this platform. With others like Strike Industries, Midwest Industries, and SB Tactical toying with the idea of making parts for the Bren 2, you may have even more options soon. If you’re looking for something with folding capabilities, that is accurate and reliable, but still maintains the familiarity of a platform you know, look at the CZ Bren 2. It’s worth every penny.