In light of our recent video on the HK P9 (and comparison to the Czech vz.52 pistol), I though it would be interesting to take a look at an interesting prototype machine pistol. This was commissioned by a man named Henk Visser during the 1980s (when machine pistols had a brief flare of popularity) although it never went into production.

Henk Visser was a man with a fascinating history – the first machine gun he owned was an MP-40 he stole from a German barracks in Holland when he was 18. He was caught, and spent 3 month on death row in a Nazi prison before family connections were able to get his sentence commuted to 15 years imprisonment. He wound up spending the better part of two years in a forced labor camp before returning to Holland nearly dead of tuberculosis. He wrangled his way into the arms business after the war, buying a mothballed .60 ammunition factory out of the US for a whopping $1000 and using it to produce 20mm ammunition for NATO. He had a long and well-connected career, including close associations with the CETME/HK G3 program, the AR-10, and eventually part ownership in Mauser. He used his significant accumulated wealth the amass a fantastic collection of arms, from medieval armor to the most modern firearms (including things like muzzle-loading cannons he had recovered from sunken Dutch warships). Sadly, Mr. Visser passed away several years ago – but I am digressing.

When you combine in one person the love of firearms, financial resources, and technical resources that Henk Visser had, you get a person who can decide to commission some prototype machine pistols if he wants to. That’s what this particular gun is; an experiment to see if the machine pistol market was something worth pursuing (these being made during the days of guns like the Beretta 93R, HK VP-70, Stechkin APS, and others). It started out life as a Czech vz.52 pistol:

Full auto conversion of vz.52 pistol (Henk Visser collection)
Full auto conversion of vz.52 pistol (Henk Visser collection)

The vz.52 slide is pretty obvious, and the gun retains the 52’s roller-locked operating system. However, its frame has been significantly modified. Chambered for 9mm Luger ammunition, it uses a double-stack magazine very similar to (possibly interchangeable with) that of the Browning High Power, with an Uzi-like magazine catch on the side of the pistol grip. The fold-down front grip allows the gun to fire in full-auto mode, and gives the shooter a bit more control over the piece.

Henk Visser's full-auto cz52, with slide removed
With slide removed


Magazine for Henk Visser's full-auto vz.52 pistol
Magazine – note slot for magazine catch, and overall similarity to the BHP magazine

Unfortunately, I have no information on the development of this gun, whether it was ever put through formal tests or progressed any farther than this first prototype. I suspect it was replaced with a different machine pistol design, but I’m still tracking down information on that…

You can see the other photos of the gun here:


  1. My friend owns a normal vz.52 gun. I have often considered its ingenious strong roll lock structure. This is the first article where I can see it converted to full automatic. Nice pictures and technical innovation. Probably detail picture or drawing structure that illustrations is no longer available?.

  2. Dear Ian,

    Henk was my father and it was called the VASP (Visser Automatic System Pistol) and patented in the US. I believe at least three additional variants were made. It was definitely tested and trialled in Spain amongst other countries if I remember correctly. I believe there was also the intent on developing a high velocity small caliber version with a 40 round magazine. During some shooting trials with a US Marine sergeant they developed a different shooting tactic in 3 shot burst mode. The problem being that the pistol and thus the shots fired would climb during the short burst, therefore they fired the pistol held sideways so that you would get a useful spread. That is about all I remember, if you want to find out more you should contact Tom Nelson, Warren Harwick and Gerben Klein Baltink as they would be able to tell you more about the VASP and the subsequent models.

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