The NEW CZ Bren 2 MS – Reviewed by Former Special Forces Operator w/Video

CZ BREN 2 ready for accuracy testing with Leupold Mk5.

It isn’t often we get a semi-auto rifle design that is wildly different, but not often also doesn’t mean never. And this week we got our hands on one that is way outside of current norms for a battle rifle. New, from CZ, the evolution of the Bren family of rifles. The Bren 2 MS!

I will also be upfront with you guys, I’m not a closet Bren collector. Up until this review, the most familiarity I had with a Bren gun is the scene featuring one from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The Bren 2 is obviously a follow-up to a Bren 1 (CZ 805 or 807 if you want to get technical), which is in use in some military circles. Notably the Czech Army, Slovak Army, and Mexican Federal Police. While the Bren 1 had a long and arguably murky development, its roots are deep. The Czech Republic has always taken weapons development seriously, and in fact, was the only Warsaw Pact Army not to field a rifle based on the AK-47. It could reasonably be argued that the Bren 805 has a heritage all the way back to the Czech vz 58.

Hornady Match, the gold standard in accuracy.

Relevant to our Bren 2 is the Bren 805 (ie Bren 1) is the fielding by the Czech army in 2011. It quickly gained a reputation for reliability and toughness but came at the price of being heavy. Almost immediately engineers went back to the table and introduced the Bren 2 in 2015 for the European market. With 1.1 pounds shaved off and some improved ergonomics, it soon found a following. It is today in the hands of the French Special Forces unit GIGN in 7.62×39, along with several others including the Egyptian Airborne and Hungarian Defense Force.

At home in the woods.

Given the look of the platform, we Americans are immediately going to want a comparison to our AR-15’s. And that is a little bit of a tall order. The Bren 2 most resembles next-gen military rifle contenders, such as the Remington ACR and FNH SCAR, regardless of how those have caught on in civilian circles. One thing you must notice about military procurement outside of the United States. It is almost universally written to favor short-stroke piston operated rifles. And while we might be the big dog in dollar terms of military spending, we are also notoriously bad at small arms procurement. Maybe we should be paying attention.

The Bren 2 is obviously then a short-stroke gas piston. The gas block has 3 settings, which require no tools to change, which lets us know this baby was built to be suppressed. The handguard is a bit taller than an AR-15 and feels more like an MPX. This is to be expected with a piston gun and is slim enough to feel good in the hand. The rifle is a side charger, and very pleasingly, features a non-reciprocating charging handle. (If you have ever wondered why that isn’t so on the FNH SCAR, it is because the DOD insisted. See again, notoriously bad at procurement.)

MRO HD by Trijicon used in testing.

And this is really where things go off the rails for comparison at least. Everything else about the Bren 2 shows uniqueness in a way that makes it entirely different. The lower is all one piece, with the pistol grip molded in. The grip does feature interchangeable backstraps and a storage compartment, but it is part of the gun. The magwell you will immediately notice looks a bit oversized for a 556 magazine. It is. Now the 556 version accepts standard STANAG/ M16 magazines. You aren’t fielding this baby in NATO otherwise. But the Bren 2 was built from the ground up to accept bigger bullets. So the magazine well actually has a removable sleeve to make it small enough for our poodle shooter 223’s. Not only is the Bren 2 available in 7.62×39, but in the next phase, CZ will be selling conversion kits.

Collapsible stock

The controls are brilliantly thought out, and show again the Czech dedication to the craft of weaponry. The safety lever is ambi, and a 45 degree throw. Why that hasn’t become standard on AR-15’s, I have no idea. But the tech has existed for a decade or more, we should be past the 90 degree Stoner original. The magazine release is also Ambi, and instinctive with either hand. But my favorite part is the bolt release. It does have a left side paddle control, perhaps a nod to soldiers familiar with the Stoner design. But it also features a bolt lock/release built into the front of the trigger guard, an excellent idea. As well as the trigger guard is bigger than that of an AR-15, which eliminates accidental bolt releases with workarounds such as the BAD lever.

Short throw safety

How about that trigger, the measure of a rifle? Once again, don’t look at this and think you are going to drop an AR Gold in it. While it might look similar in the outside dimension, the guts are nothing like an AR/M-16. The Bren 2 factory trigger is remarkable for a battle rifle, if lacking compared to a custom AR trigger. It is two-stage, with a very light take up. Our test model breaks at about 3.5 pounds, which is something I think we all can live with.

Secondary bolt release, a fantastic innovation.

Accuracy was excellent, in fact, better than I anticipated. I had heard from some other sources to expect a 1.5 to 2 MOA rifle. Our test model blew the doors off of that. With a .75 MOA 5 round group, the Bren 2 outperforms most things. Combined with the reliability of a piston system, that makes this one very hard to beat.

Folding stock? You betcha. It’s 2021, which is pretty much a must-have on a new blaster. The Bren stock locks up like a bank vault and features an adjustable length of pull. The factory removable riser on the stock offers excellent cheek stock weld and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Visit CZ to learn more by clicking HERE

Included cleaning kit, this is no safe queen.

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About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website,

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Mauser6863 February 28, 2022, 9:14 am

    I have two of these, a 11″ SBR and a 14.7″ Pistol, that I pinned and welded a Surefire Suppressor compatible flash hider to. I chose to convert the longer barreled “pistol” to a rifle, rather than purchase the weird rifle with a 16″ heavier barrel/extended gas system, that CZ offers.

    I hate the bolt hold open and release inside the trigger guard. I hate BAD Levers too for the same reason. You are 100% asking for an accidental discharge, maybe not today, but it will happen. Nothing belongs inside the trigger guard, except the trigger. The Germans deleted the bolt release on the G36 and made it a bolt hold open only. Still not a big fan, but its better than the original H&K design. I did the same thing on my TG36K, replacing the stock hold open/release with the German Army Hold Open only.

    I like the BREN2 platform, especially with the addition of the HB Industries extended Mlok handguards as the Europeans seem stuck on the 1990’s with quad rails. My other issue with the stock handguards and the HB industries handguards is the lack of heat shields. All the AR’s I have owned and the TG36K had heat shields to protect the forearm and the user when the barrel gets hot. I get that most military arms are carried and rarely fired, but in the USA, we shoot our guns and not everyone, including me, wants a “Gangster Grip” hanging under our firearms. Yes, “gloving up” fixes the heat issue some what, but it is a design oversight.

    The rifle accept Gen2 (not Gen 3) PMAGS and that’s all I use. Reliability has been a 100% with quality brass made ammo, mostly Wolf Gold. Great guns, but buy the pistol versions.

    The Tommy Built TG36K, for me is a range toy and I wouldn’t make it my primary home defense rifle, like I would a real H&K. I have to say I like it better than the BREN 2. Other than the heat shield, I’m not sure why, it just feels better to me.

  • Stephen June 9, 2021, 3:05 pm

    That’s one hell of a gun!

  • mike June 7, 2021, 5:37 pm

    interested but i can not find ANYWHERE rifling twist rate. a 5.56/223 label on chambering always makes me leery. which is it? we all know they aren’t the same. on a euro military gun suspect 5.56. BTW clay’s reviews are
    one’s that i have trusted every since his sig 365 review got me into that pistol.

  • Will B June 7, 2021, 2:56 pm

    The Author of this little so called review is a Former Marine and retired Green Beret with multiple combat tours under his belt.
    For the Ass Clown with the Box Mac comments your obviously some pencil neck punk who only wishes he had an true credentials.
    As a Fomer Combat Marine myself, keep your undesired comments yo yourself.

  • Tim June 7, 2021, 2:12 pm

    I think what’s been missed by a handful of viewer’s comments is that there a varying types of reviews. This particular review is clearly a relatively brief summary/introduction of a new firearm, and not an in-depth bench & range day review. You get this context by watching the video. Clay clearly had a brief amount of time and ammo with which to interact with the rifle, and shared his opinions and insight based on that experience. There’s nothing wrong with that. A previous post lists a much more extensive experience with a related firearm, and that’s fine too (thank you for sharing). That said, Clay served our country & has more credibility and experience than most shooters reading these reviews. So respect. If you other commenters have good insights and so forth, start up a youtube channel; if you’re good at presenting this info — we’ll follow you too.

  • Mauser6863 June 7, 2021, 10:43 am

    Reminds me of a “Print Review”, should have told us if you received the gun for free, bought with your own money, etc. How many rounds did you fire and how; from a bench, sitting, standing, laying on a matt, in competition, etc.

    So a couple things to add, the Czech Army issues the 11″ Barrel Rifle as a “Carbine” and the 14″ version as a “Rifle”. CZ also imports a 8″ version to the U.S. as well. These are all imported as pistols. The “Ms” version was developed for the U.S. market, to allow for a replaceable forend, as the military version extends the receiver into a forend and is not removeable or replaceable.

    The version you are reviewing was created specifically for the U.S. market by CZ USA, is features a heavier barrel and MLok forend made by HB industries, which in my opinion is superior to the Czech forends on the pistols that are imported. Unlike the pistol versions, this is a 16″ legal length rifle and comes with a shoulder stock whereas the pistols variants are equipped to accept an AR buffer tube for a brace installation. CZ also ships this Rifle version without the excellent metal back-up sights that come standard with the pistol.

    Although the rifle accept all STANAG Magazines, it will not seat MagPul Gen 3 mags as these are not STANAG but have stop to prevent over insertion in an AR15 platform. The Pistol come with 2 CZ marked magazines, that look like either MagPul made them or they are a good quality copy. I use Gen2 MagPul window mags and they work perfectly.

    Regarding the controls I will add that this is an excellent military trigger and if you want to spend money on a smother, lighter trigger, you can. Also I find the inclusion of the Bolt Hold Open Release in the trigger guard to be a Bad Thing at Best and Dangerous at its worst. B.A.D. Levers should be called, “Because Accidental Discharge” and this is not different. Onl,y the trigger needs to be in the trigger guard, period. I use the paddle release to lock and release the bolt and I wish they had omitted this feature.

    Regarding accuracy, really .75 MOA, I doubt it. I don’t doubt you might have done it once? Again, how many round did you fire, from what distances and with what optic, as I see two in the pictures. If you fired one box of match ammo, tell us that. I can tell you, the 11″ pistol with a SB Tactical brace is a 1.25 to 2 MOA gun at best with good quality (not match) ammo out to 200 yards. Yes, sometimes I amaze myself, but one good group doesn’t make that the standard you should expect.

    Conversion Kits to different calibers, REALLY. “Come On Man”, The SCAR, The ACR, The ARX and may others have promised conversion kits and none have delivered and those have offered kits, even just to swap barrel lengths end up being half the cost of the original gun, Buy an AR15 if you want to swap calibers in real life. While we are talking about calibers, the 7.62×39 version of this gun is CRAP, as it has a lot of problems functioning and should be avoided. CZ promised extra barrels too, so you can swap barrel lengths, haven’t seen them for sale.

    CZ does offer a 922r kit with a rifle shoulder stock for those wishing to convert their pistols to SBR’s priced around $275 and includes the stock, U.S Made piston, sear and a HB Industries MLok forend. All NFA Rules apply.

    Comparison to the SCAR are going to happen, want a SCAR, buy one, it was used for “5 minutes” by elite U.S. forces in combat, then locked back up in the armory. Not saying anything bad about it, Uncle Sam played with it and put it away, that’s a Fact. SCAR’s are $3600 to $4000, the BREN 2 Pistols are $1,899 to $2,000, you could almost buy 2 for the price of one SCAR.

    The Carbine version reviewed here is equipped with a heavy barrel and in my opinion it is a step backward, as it throws the balance of the gun off and increases weight over the pencil barrel military profile. While I really like the all metal sights that come with the “Pistol” versions, I would have preferred back-up sights that folded down as part of the rail system, as I will likely never need these sights and they add weight.

    The weight of a 11″ SBR with a loaded magazine and a Trijicon MRO HD is 7 lbs 11 ounces. The weapon has been reliable with no failures of any kind in 2,000 rounds fired, most M193 and M855 ball ammo. Best groupings are with the M193 ammo, but your mileage will vary.

    Verdict, its my home defense gun and it works as advertised. I sold an AR15 to fund the purchase, as I dislike the ergos on the AR platform, especially the rear charging handle and the lack of a real folding stock. I shoot left handed with the charging handle on the right side, AK style. Works for me. If you decide to buy one, skip the rifle and go for one of the pistol variations and either get a brace for it or better yet SBR it.

    • Pete June 7, 2021, 12:16 pm

      Thanks! Your review was far more informative. The original review lacked major info, and left me with many questions. Thanks for a real review!

    • Tank June 7, 2021, 2:00 pm

      Give this man a gold star! I could read your reviews all day, they should hire you!

  • Tom Benton June 7, 2021, 9:47 am

    Agree with the reviewer complaining about labeling rifles with military names. I go ballistic every time I hear
    a news report using the term “ Assault Rifle“ . This is the same strategy used by Russia and other totalitarian states. If you tell a lie long enough, people start believing. I have complained to conservative networks who while denying an AR 15 is an Assault Weapon, use the term Assault Weapon. Gun writers, take seriously your wording as the anti gun zealots use these words against our 2nd Amendment rights. A pistol grip, flash hider and magazine do not make a rifle an Assault Rifle. Responsible news media and writers must take every effort to verify that an AR 15 is not an “ Assault Weapon “

  • Abe Mendez June 7, 2021, 8:29 am

    I look forward to reading your articles, this one appears to have been put together hastily. Still it had most of the information I needed. Your first commantary is either one of your buddies clowning around or just another malcontent, maladjusted, selfabsobered, poor excuse of a human being. Carry on.

  • Slim June 7, 2021, 6:34 am

    Looks like a Scar to me! Same stock for sure! Only thing I see different is the ambi bolt release since its not a catch that’s for sure! Didn’t show us any of the lowers internals now the uppers, half ass review to say the least! Just be nice to get free top of the line match grade Hornady ammo as I notice it’s in all your reviews which is so weak of hornady to give away precision rounds to some random guy who has his own little gun review site that almost every time this one included romantic fully review the gun which is why we bother to waste out time and either skim most all that a written and this time I actually read the entire thing and doesn’t even have a price. And can’t use its made for only military since it says I think made in Kansas and your not in the military so why are you even allowed to touch such a gun let alone be Sent one that you most likely get to keep for free and shoot any place you feel like? Why isn’t the military there if it is a true military rifle and if it’s available to civilians then again where’s the price?! Free ammo when the rest of us spend up to a THOUSAND PERCENT MORE than normal pre covid prices, and almost certainly a free gun as well when again us REAL gun lovers who PAY for what we have is just plain pathetic especially since you didn’t even review the gun as I’d like to see the internals(you know the parts that MAKE the gun?!). Need to do some dieting while eating healthy food and not big mac’s all day as it seems like you do by that boiler you carry around all day and also add some working out?! Terrible lack of review!

    • Mike V June 7, 2021, 8:37 am

      Bro get a nap, meds, or a case of snickers.

    • Old Beast June 7, 2021, 9:22 am

      You are a complete idiot! First off Clay is retired military, second you can’t even spell or make a single rational sentence, and you talk like a liberal who was planted just to be a jack ass! You know nothing of firearms so quit pretending you know it all! Oh and yes reviewers get free stuff, be it guns, cars, whatever, they will always get free stuff so quit being a little whiny bitch!

    • Kane June 7, 2021, 9:48 am

      Most f’ed up review of all time. You got more questions then do more research if you really want to know. Guess the video was NOT enough. Talking smack to a former Marine and Green Beret makes one wonder what creds you might have other than the SN you present.

    • jam3116 June 7, 2021, 11:23 am

      If you click the link that says Visit CZ… you will find the MSRP is $2255. Granted it could have been included in the article but it wasn’t hard to find. All of the gun reviews I have read when the author discusses keeping the gun they talk about paying for it. They probably get a reduced rate since technically the gun is used, but the gun is not free. Authors also receive ammo to use in their reviews, this is called marketing. Lately authors have been having the same issue with ammo shortage causing them to cut back on the amount of testing they can complete.

    • Don June 7, 2021, 1:20 pm

      Your complaints are seriously BS.

  • BobB June 7, 2021, 6:08 am

    So 5.56 is a “Poodle Shooter” round now? What is a 7.62×39 then? It has the ballistics of .30-30 Winchester.

    • Mike V June 7, 2021, 8:36 am

      Cooper called it a poodle shooter way back when.

    • Zupglick June 7, 2021, 3:21 pm

      OK. Barbie Gun.

  • Robert Leto June 7, 2021, 6:05 am

    Dear reviewers,
    Please keep in mind that every time you mention the words Battle rifle or assault weapon or how many armies and law enforcement agencies use the particular weapons you reviewing you are giving cannon fodder to our detractors
    Especially when the gun community is currently under attack
    Get some decorum yo it doesn’t help don’t think for a minute that they won’t use it against us

    • Stevens r January 8, 2022, 4:22 pm

      @robert Leto, it is what it is. And how often do you see a mass shooting with a $2000 plus gun? Usually cheap ass, shit rifles/pistols.
      Other people complaining about the review, let’s see yours! That’s what I thought! Have a great day and thanks for reviewing the Bren 2. Great piece!

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