The ZH-29 was designed by Emmanuel Holek in the late 1920s, and put into production by Zbrojovka Brno, Czechoslovakia's largest state-owned armory. It was sent to various countries for military testing, including the United States, where it was trialed in the experimental .276 Pedersen cartridge at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. Early examination was promising, but the funding for the development of the weapon in the US was cut short by the Great Depression, and further testing was cancelled.
Despite generally receiving positive feedback from the countries in which it was trialed, the ZH-29 received few orders. The only country to buy the rifle in notable quantities was China, which fielded it against the Japanese during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The lack of commercial success resulted in production ceasing in the 1930s.
In late 1939, a fully-automatic modification of the ZH-29 was trialed by the British Expeditionary Force in France, although it was not accepted into British service.
The ZH-29 was a gas-operated self-loading rifle that used a tilting bolt mechanism. The bolt locked by tilting into a recess on the left side of the receiver. It was fed from detachable box magazines.