Art of the Gun: The Interesting History of the CZ-75

By CTD Scott published on in Firearms, News

I was reading some history about the Cold War and how the Iron Curtain affected the economic abilities of the Soviet Bloc. (Sounds riveting, doesn’t it?) Anyway, part of the article discusses the development of the CZ-75 for export and sale outside of the Soviet Bloc. Chambered for 9mm instead of 7.65x25mm Tokarev or 9x18mm Makarov it makes sense; however, I really wanted to dive into the history of the pistol.

Picture shows a black, steel CZ 75 9mm pistol.

The CZ 75 may have started out as a secret, but is quite well-known today.

Czechoslovakia has always had a surprising history with firearms. The British Bren light machine gun was based on a Czech design, as was the Besa machine gun that topped many of Britain’s tanks and heavy vehicles. Unfortunately, in 1948 the Communists took control of Czechoslovakia and all manufacturing came under direct control of the State. The non-Communist world cut off Czechoslovakia—being part of the Warsaw Pact—and severed all trade from outside the Iron Curtain.

The Czech arms manufacturer Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod (CZUB) was among one of the many arms manufacturers owned and operated by the Communist State. However, in 1969, they approached one of their former designers, František Koucký to come out of retirement to work on a pet project. The company wanted to design a 9mm Parabellum pistol that was new and innovative. Since he technically was not employed by the company, he had complete control over the design process and allowed full freedom in design. Gray areas in the Czech and Soviet patent laws allowed him to file “secret patents” that prevented anyone—citizen or apparatchik—from finding out about the design, but also prevented anyone else in the country from filing the same design. The design, finished and tested in 1975, went into production the following year.

However, the story gets more interesting. A 9mm Para handgun was not allowed for military issue, as all Warsaw Pact states were using the Tokarevs or Makarovs. The gun, meant for sale outside the Iron Curtain, was a big “no-no” for Soviet countries. Additionally, Soviet countries or nationals were ineligible to file for patents outside of the Eastern Bloc, so CZUB and Koucký could not protect their intellectual property. One more layer of difficulty was the inability to sell the firearm in the United States due to arms importation law and heavy duties exacted on communist countries. Luckily for us, but unfortunate for the designer and manufacturers, anyone with the means to do was free to copy and clone the CZ-75. Italian, Chinese, Turkish, Swiss, Israeli, Filipino, American, and many other countries cloned and produced their own version, allowing the world a chance to legally own one of these “Wonder Nines.”

The cloned CZ-75 became very popular within the sport shooting world. As sport shooting is very popular in Czechoslovakia, they lifted the rules and allowing CZUB to finally sell the firearm domestically in 1985. Four years later, the Velvet Revolution brought Czechoslovakia back into the world of democracy and the Czech military adopted the CZ-75 as their official sidearm.

Today, the CZ-75 remains popular around the world and CZUB has expanded to the United States with the founding of CZ-USA.

To learn more about the merits of the CZ-75 for home defense, click here.

Do have you a CZ-75? Have you shot the CZ-75? Tell us about your experience in the comment section.

Tags: , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (16)

  • Witness Me, 3D Printed and Chrome - Misfires And Light Strikes


    […] have to be a major player, either. Because of the wacky patent laws around Soviet-era gadgetry, the CZ75 design is just SITTING there for everyone to use. Someone coud easily create a new pistol that took an existing barrel for a CZ […]


  • Don


    I purchased my CZ 75 in 1986 while I was stationed overseas, the seller explained that it was only avail for a few months out of the year and the rest of the time only certain government agencies were allowed to purchase the weapon. It made the weapon very interesting and mysterious to be able to own one, of course this was probably more of a selling trick in 86 than the truth, it seems like the ban was lifted in 85. It is still my preferred CCW and works just as well today as it did 32 years ago. just need to find a better holster now.


  • Les Adams


    I purchased a CZ75 compact with rail, it’s a steel frame like the p01 but not alloy. I love it, accuracy is awesome. Fits like a glove.


  • Alfonso C. Guevara


    Two years ago I bought my first CZ 75 PO1
    I’m a collector and of course I love to shoot all my guns. This CZ75 p01 fits so good in my hand.Shoots anything you put in it. Also bought the CZ 75B And love it. These CZ guns are something special in my collection.


  • Doug Hammack


    purchased a cz75b about 5 yrs ago, the love of that gun has led me to purchasing a 2075 Rami, and sp-01 shadow target. never owned better firearms, ever. dollar for dollar nothing compares to the CZs. get one you will not regret it.


    • Michael Selvy


      My first purchase and introduction to shooting was a CZ 75B, 9mm. That was followed by acquiring the CZ Kadet (.22LR) slide conversion that is model specific to the CZ 75.

      When a CZ handgun is held, you immeadiately feel and see the art of manufacturing design at its best.

      Following that initial purchase, I’ve expanded my CZ collection to include the CZ Rami 2075 and the CZ P07 with its own model specific CZ Kadet .22LR slide conversion.

      These two models, the CZ 75 and the CZ P07, with their model specific slide conversions afford less costly shooting practice using each guns frame and trigger characteristics.

      My collection will continue to evolve because of CZ’s artristry in manufacturing, reliability, accuracy, and the satisfaction of owning the gun that so many others are copying.


Leave a comment

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

%d bloggers like this: