Looking for a classic auto pistol that has gained cult status around the world for being a no-nonsense workhorse with an overall design that just works? Well, the CZ 75 is pretty much that. Reliability, accuracy, balance, and all-round quality have been the selling point of the CZ since its inception in 1976.
New designs and fads come and go within the firearms industry but some weapons enjoy unusual longevity and popularity. If you are an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of person, then the CZ 75 is certainly worth considering as a general purpose auto pistol.
Caliber: 9mm parabellum
System: single action only
Barrel Length: 4.6 inches
Weight (with empty magazine): 35.2 oz
Length (Overall): 8.1 in
Width (Overall): 1.4 in
Height (incl magazine): 5.4 in
The CZ 75 comes standard with a front blade and square notch rear sights with illuminated dots front and back.
The CZ has always been chambered for the 9mm parabellum, however, some variants such as the compact, are available in 40 S&W.
Standard magazine capacity is 16+1 for 9mm. twenty round magazines are also available.
- Great accuracy
- Light recoil
- Rugged and reliable
- Well Balanced
- Size and weight of the pistol are not ideal for concealed carry.
- Stock triggers can be creepy in DA and slightly heavy in SA.
- The safety cannot be engaged when the hammer is forward.
The Origins of the CZ Pistol
Czechoslovakia has a long and established history of firearms design and production, racking up a list of weapons that have earned the trust and respect of armed forces and civilians alike.
The CZUB is an engineering firm that has been around for over 100 years. In 1969, Frantisek Koucky was commissioned to design a new pistol chambered for the 9 x 19 parabellum round. The Browning High Power inspired some aspects of the new pistol’s design but many other novel design features were incorporated.
During the cold war era in Czechoslovakia, applying for international patents for weapons was not permitted. This resulted in a number of companies copying the CZ 75 design around the world.
From the early 1990s, the original CZ 75 has been freely available and exported around the globe. Over time, the pistol has established itself as a “wonder 9”, and justifiably so.
The pistol has gained a cult following and many will say it’s a perfect pistol. Perfection is theoretically impossible and with firearms, very subjective. Let’s run through an evaluation and see how close the pistol comes to Gun God status.
Choosing A CZ 75
A person looking for a single/double action combination pistol for self-defense and occasional club, or competition shooting would be attracted to the CZ 75.
The CZ is an all-steel pistol with a reputation for accuracy. Shooters tend to like the ergonomic grip design and the balance of the weapon; it points well and has a natural “center” when raised quickly from the holster position.
The 9mm Para round is not known for its heavy recoil, but the weight of the steel CZ 75 results in a very manageable recoil that allows for quick recovery between shots.
The pistol is rugged and can take a beating. With proper care, the CZ 75 will last you a lifetime. After years of use, slide stop issues have been reported but are rare and easy to fix.
The factory trigger can be a bit creepy when firing double action but the trigger loosens up in single action after some use.
CZ 75 Variants
CZ 75b: Second-generation CZ with the introduction of an internal firing pin safety and ring design hammer.
CZ 75 Compact: A CZ with a shorter grip and a 3.9-inch barrel. Better for concealed carry.
CZ 75b SA: Single action trigger mechanism. Available in 9mm or 40 S&W.
CZ 75 P-01: Designed for use by law enforcement with an under-barrel accessories rail for gun torches and laser sights.
CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow: Adapted to feedback from police and army representatives from around the world. It does not have a firing pin block and the grip and safety have been modified slightly.
The above variants address some of the shortfalls of the stock CZ, depending on your personal preferences. All variants have typically been acknowledged as preserving the accuracy and general rugged quality of the original.
When the CZ was first introduced, it was intended to compete with the Browning High Power. In contemporary times, the CZ competes with the likes of the Glock 17, Beretta 92 FS, and the Smith & Wesson M & P 2.0.
A few other pistols could be listed here and you could view the CZs “competitors” from different perspectives.
First, there is the price. Many stock auto pistols as of 2021 will fall within the 600 to 700 dollar price range. The CZ 75 fits snuggly within this price band and therefore does not lose points for cost.
The polymer-frame pistols will be lighter; other pistols come standard with fiber optic sights. Most of the CZs competitors in its price range are great pistols in their own right. However, the CZ will not be beaten on accuracy.
That said, there will also be few pistols that will better the CZ when it comes to general reliability. Of the three CZ pistols that I have fired hundreds of rounds through, I am yet to encounter a stoppage. If you evaluate the gun in terms of value for money, it’s a very good buy.
CZ 75 Accuracy
The big secret behind the pistol’s accuracy is the slide and frame design. Unlike most auto pistols, the CZs slide fits inside the frame, as opposed to over or outside it.
This means that the slide runs low in the frame, there is less leeway for the barrel to rise, and the whole internal mechanical process when firing is tighter.
Many shooters will have their stories regarding the accuracy of the gun, akin to the famous fishing brag, “it was this big!” What sort of real-world accuracy can you expect from a CZ 75?
All pistol accuracy is dependent to some extent on the quality of the ammunition that you fire. Assuming you are using middle-of-the-road ammo, shooting from a standing position, you should be able to reliably shoot 3 to 3.5” groups at 25 yards.
Shooting with the aid of rest or sandbag, your groups can be as tight as 2” at 25 yards. You will also need to experiment with different factory loads to find what works best for you and your CZ.
In general, the pistol is not temperamental. It will function well with all kinds of ammo, from cheap to quality. There is no primer too hard for the CZ. I personally have fired perhaps 60 really cheap lead-cast bullets from a CZ in one shooting session and had no problems.
Who Uses The CZ 75?
More than one million CZ 75s have been sold throughout the world. Due to the CZUB’s failure to secure an international patent, the CZ is the second most copied pistol in the world.
Currently, the CZ 75 is used by dozens of armed forces and law enforcement agencies around the globe. A few dozen countries use locally manufactured copies of the pistol.
The gun is also popular with IPSC sports shooters in the factory production code and has been used by IPSC World Champions on several occasions.
The proliferation and acceptance of the pistol by armies, police, civilians, and sportsmen is a testament to the guns all round design and appeal.
Accessories And Modifications
Micro red dot and Trijicon sight systems are available as well as more affordable fiber optic sights.
A variety of grip options are available from rubber, plastic, and wood. Reach reduction and combat triggers are offered together with competition and safety hammers.
Other options such as safety catches and hammers are available that are mainly for aesthetic purposes, should you want your CZ to look “cooler”.
Some CZ users replace the trigger return and hammer spring to make the trigger pull easier. Replacing internal components with non-CZ parts could affect your warranty. It would be advisable to check this before getting too involved in your upgrades.
CZ USA offers a lifetime warranty on its pistols and the general consensus is that their after-sales care is good.
The CZ 75 is considered a classic for a reason. It has proven its worth in combat and sports shooting over a period of decades. For a production pistol, it’s as accurate as you are going to get.
No gun is perfect though. Its steel frame and slide combined with its size means it would not be your best choice for concealed carry. Otherwise, the CZ 75 is great for self-defense, recreational and competitive shooting.
I could be exposing some personal bias as a life-long CZ 75 shooter but the CZ justifies a score that is very near a five. All in all, this pistol makes a strong bid for perfection but falls a little short.
Overall review 4.5/5