The vz. 52 was originally called the ZB 501, and was designed by Václav Holek. It is gas-operated and uses a tilting bolt that locks into the roof of the receiver. Its overall action is based on the Czech ZB-26 light machine gun. It has an integral bipod and interchangeable barrels, and its feed system is designed to take metallic belts or box magazines interchangeably and without any modifications.