CZ 1911 A1 Review
Introducing the CZ take on the iconic 1911 A1. This is the very first CZ pistol to be made in the USA. Drum roll….
A few changes have been made to the classic design but the CZ homage to the old boy is still true to the major design elements. This is a genuine 1911 in its own right.
Over the decades so many copies and variations on the original platform have been produced by dozens of manufacturers. Some being cheap in both senses and others being quality firearms.
The Colt 1911 is the most copied pistol in the world, with the CZ 75 being second. Given that both are legendary all-steel guns, it may have been inevitable that CZ would want to see what they could do with the platform.
CZ brings its predictable standard of quality to this re-imagining of the cold steel warrior. If you are a fan of the 1911 and the CZ approach to pistol making, then you might find the gun a tempting proposition.
Caliber: .45 ACP
Barrel Length: 5 in
Weight (with empty magazine): 2.42 lbs
Trigger Pull: 5 lbs
Length (Overall): 8.75 in
Width (Overall): 1.45 in
Height (incl magazine): 5.5 in
Origins Of The 1911 A1
The original Colt 1911 or Colt Government was designed in 1911 and immediately became the standard-issue sidearm of the American Armed Forces. This remained the case until 1985.
The Colt was replaced in the US Armed Forces by the Beretta M9. During its 74 years of service, the Colt saw action in two World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam.
The Colt underwent a series of minor adaptations during field tests from 1907 to 1911, where it was pitted against an auto pistol designed by the Savage Company.
World War 1 was a proving ground for the Colt and once again, a few external modifications were made such as a longer tang to prevent hammer bite. Following this, the Colt was designated the 1911 A1.
Since the mid-1920s, the iconic Colt platform chambered in 45 ACP has remained unchanged. Copies abound and many manufacturers produce direct clones or variations based upon the original platform.
Not many guns will conjure the mood of multiple generations. The Colt 1911 is not just your granddaddy’s auto pistol; it harks back to when men were a different breed, dealing with their enemies with cold steel.
The CZ tribute to the legend was introduced in 2015 with a limited production run of just 1000. A few modifications have been made which include a magazine catch, walnut grips, stainless steel barrel, and a serrated slide stop.
To address accuracy; the CZ is built with much tighter tolerances between the barrel, slide, and frame. In addition, the front and back sights are a bit taller than the classic design to improve aiming.
Choosing A CZ 1911
The CZ 1911 was never intended to be a collector’s piece, despite its limited production run. As such, the gun was built to be a workhorse like the CZ pistols.
Due to the fact that the 1911 was the first American-made CZ gun and its low numbers, the gun is almost certain to become a collector’s item anyway.
If you wish to acquire the gun as an investment, then the standard rules apply. Modifying it in any way will reduce its long-term value. Keep it as it is from the factory and make sure it stays in mint condition.
If you are interested in the gun for other reasons, then the CZ will have a similar appeal compared to the original and other guns based on the 1911 platform.
Like the Colt, it has a single stack 7 round magazine and a thin grip as a result. The all-steel slide and frame help to reduce the recoil of the 45 ACP round.
As has been mentioned, the CZ frame, slide, and barrel have been manufactured with very tight tolerances for accuracy but will not impact smooth functioning. It also has a match-grade barrel or close to it.
This makes the CZ 1911 great for the production class of club and competitive shooting. It will also double up as a home defense weapon, although its magazine capacity is fairly low.
The CZ and other 1911 variants can be used as a carry weapon but this will inspire hot debate. The gun is full-size and steel; however, it is a pretty slim gun in terms of the grip and the slide.
It is possible to purchase compatible 8 round magazines from Dan Wesson or the Cajun Guns Works. Owners of the CZ 1911 have also purchased higher-capacity magazines from custom gunsmiths.
The CZ trigger pull is around 5 pounds and is crisp. For a standard production pistol, it has a very good trigger.
If you like the 1911 platform and are not bothered by some of its criticisms, then it would be a fairly versatile pistol. It will be perfectly good enough for competitive shooting and carry.
It will also have an edge over other 1911 options due to its great quality and improvements.
CZ 1911 Variants
Dan Wesson DWX ( 9mm and 40 S&W)
Dan Wesson Commander Classic ( 45 ACP)
Dan Wesson Guardian ( 9mm, 38 Super and 45 ACP)
Dan Wesson Pointman (45 ACP)
Dan Wesson is now owned by the CZ Company. You could technically consider the Dan Wesson range of 1911 platforms as variants.
The DWX is not a true 1911 variant; it is an amalgamation of the CZ 75 and 1911 platforms. A very interesting gun in its own right.
The CZ in one respect will compete against the range of factory production 1911s that recreate the classic military spec 1911. These will be the likes of the Springfield Armory, The Norinco, Armscor/Rock Island, ATI Firepower, and the Colt S70 Government.
There are too many other 1911 factory clones on the market to mention all of them. However, the CZ competitors range in price from 550 Dollars to about 950 Dollars. When the CZ came out in 2015, its recommended price was 850 dollars but sold from 750 in stores.
These days second-hand CZs go for around 1000 dollars and up, this is probably due to the demand and rarity value. When it came out, the CZ was in the upper mid-range in terms of price. Looking at the CZ from a quality and cost perspective, it can’t be beaten.
If you are aware of all of the gun world banter about the 1911 and why others are not fans, but you like the platform and want one, the CZ is a top choice.
For some bizarre reason, there are many comparisons between the 1911 and Glocks on the internet. If you are so confused that you don’t know why you would want a 1911 or a Glock, the conundrum can be solved quickly.
CZ 1911 Accuracy
The CZ was intended to be used in the single stack production class of IPSC. That combined with the tighter fits between the barrel, slide, and frame, means that the gun will be accurate for a production pistol.
Shooting with a decent range of factory ammunition, the CZ can rack up 2” groups at 25 yards shooting offhand.
The above target shows groupings at 17 yards with various 185 grain loads. Some are single-handed groups.
Who Uses The 1911?
Does anyone still carry a 1911? U.S. Army General Scott Miller still carries a 1911 45 ACP as his official sidearm. Patton had his desperado six-shooters; our generation of generals go for the gangster gun.
There are still a few specialist units within the army and Marine Corps that use modified 1911 designs. In the marines, it’s designated as the M45 A1 but is being phased out completely by 2023.
Some law enforcement departments allow for 1911 variants to be carried but I would doubt that many officers do these days.
In general, the 1911 and its clones are used for sporting purposes and self-defense. The variants that have double-stack magazines have wide grips, which makes for a cumbersome carry weapon.
Accessories And Modifications
Accessories and modifications for the CZ would be available from Dan Wesson and the Cajun Gun Works. Dan Wesson in particular has hammer options that are still competition legal.
These two companies will also have custom aesthetic choices for grips and triggers.
The CZ is compatible with the 7 round Check Mate magazines as well as the 8 round magazines from Chip McCormack and Kimber. Owners of the CZ have reported that these magazine options function very well.
Because the CZ 1911 is the same size as all of the other faithful clones, there are many holster options available. To prevent sag with a heavy pistol, a fairly rigid gun belt is needed.
- Good trigger
- Good ergonomics
- Low magazine capacity
- On the heavy side ( for daily carry)
- Single action only ( a subjective con)
I have chosen to review the CZ 1911 A1 from two perspectives. The first is purely an apple with apples comparison.
Stacking up against all of the standard factory production 1911 government clones, the CZ comes out very well. It’s competitive in terms of cost. As far as quality, reliability, and accuracy go, it’s not going to be improved upon.
Overall review 5/5
The second perspective is more general. I look at the gun in terms of versatility. It can be used for competition shooting. It can also double up as a home defense weapon and carry gun (debatable). The magazine capacity is an issue.
As a pistol for multiple purposes, it’s not bad, but not the best. It does have the collector’s thing going for it but that does not impact its practicality.
Overall review 4/5