The Merits of the Full-Sized CZ 75 for Home Defense

By CTD Suzanne published on in Range Reports

Many women gravitate toward smaller guns, and shy away from bigger guns, because they wrongly think the bigger gun will kick and hurt them when shot. In actuality, the opposite is true. If the only gun you own is a small, sub-compact or snub-nosed revolver for concealed carry, what you can do with a full-sized handgun will probably surprise you. I completely understand purchasing a small gun for better concealment—I can’t carry a full-sized 1911 comfortably in my preferred clothing either. However, buying a full-framed pistol to keep at home definitely has its benefits.

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

The CZ 75 is truly underrated.

The majority of the guns I review are small .380 ACPs, 9mm pocket pistols or .38 Special revolvers in order to inform other women of CCW choices. We like guns that are easy to shoot, comfortable to carry and feature low perceived recoil. Honestly, many of the smaller guns hurt my hand shooting for extended periods. I have said this before and I’ll say it again, “If it hurts to shoot, you won’t shoot it. To stay proficient with your self defense weapon, you’re going to need to shoot it often.” That’s why investing in a bigger gun to keep at home is a good idea, because—trust me—you are going to end up loving punching paper with it.

Full-sized handguns have plenty of merit and benefit when compared to smaller pistols and revolvers. First, the meatier grip is reassuring. When you can wrap four fingers around the grip of the gun, your hold is steadier. Second, full-sized handguns are easier to shoot, especially when made of metal and not polymer, because the metal frame weighs more. The more weight means the gun absorbs the brunt of the recoil, making perceived recoil lower for the shooter. Follow up shots are quicker because recovering from recoil takes less time.

A longer barrel—4.25 inches or more—means you get a longer sight radius. This is the distance between the front and rear sight. Aiming is easier with more room between the two sights, making you more accurate. Because of these benefits, many choose to purchase a full-sized handgun to keep at home for protection. Due to its accuracy, ease of use and reliability, one such service pistol I recommend is the all-steel CZ 75 in 9mm.

Borrowing from the successful design of the Browning Hi Power and sharing many features of the 1911, over one million CZ 75s have sold during its 38-year life span. It is one of the most popular service pistols in the world for military and law enforcement. This wonder nine is optimized as a duty pistol and can be carried in condition one, or cocked and locked—a favorite for many in the field. The CZ 75 is a short-recoil operated semi-automatic pistol with a Browning linkless cam locking system. It fires single or double action, but single-action only variants are available. Unique to the CZ 75 is the internal slide rails, a feature uncommon on most handguns. You get a tighter lock up and unbelievable reliability with this feature. The all-steel frame is hefty and the black plastic grips are very ergonomic. The 4.7-inch barrel is hammer-forged. The double-stack magazine holds 16 rounds of 9mm ammunition. In the mid 90s, CZ added the firing pin block safety in addition to the gun’s manual thumb safety. At 8 inches long and nearly 5.5 inches tall, the CZ 75 weighs in a little over two pounds.

The owner who lent me his CZ 75 loves it; in fact, it is the only firearm he has never considered selling. Another CZ 75 owner in the office says, “It is the finest handgun you can buy” and I am not going to disagree.

A good combat, self-defense pistol must work every time. The particular model I fired has over 25,000 rounds through it. I put 100 rounds through it without a malfunction. Due to the CZ 75’s hefty size, I could have shot 100 more rounds and still been comfortable. Try doing that with a 2-inch .38 Special!

The benefits of a full-sized handgun that I previoulsy listed proved correct with the CZ 75. It shoots easily, getting on target is quick and I was more accurate with it than any of the smaller .380 pistols I have shot in months. My first 16 rounds were slightly left of the bullseye, but the 3.5-inch group from five yards was satisfying. After taking more time aiming before shooting my second magazine, my next 16 rounds hit dead center. Because I was shooting so accurately with the CZ 75, I quickly became comfortable and confident enough to shoot with both eyes open—something I do not do often. I aimed for the head of the silhouette and though I shot off to the right, my groups were just as satisfying as my first 16 rounds. The 9mm does recoil, however recovery was quick, and I was able to rapid fire accurately.

After a few rounds with both eyes open, I practiced picking up the gun from the bench to test the gun’s point of aim. I hit repeatedly in the vitals, proving to me the CZ 75’s 3-dot sights and longer sight radius allows me to point and shoot accurately. The trigger—though a bit heavy in double-action—measuring about seven to eight pounds—was smooth and broke consistently. I dare to find anyone who says they hate this trigger. In single-action, it measured a crisp three to four pounds.

I love getting a full two-handed grip on the CZ 75. The gun never felt like it was going to get away from me. Manipulating the controls was not an issue either. I could easily reach the thumb safety and magazine release button. Pulling back the slide was not as easy as some pistols I have shot and love, such as the SIG P938, but it is not as stiff as SIG’s 1911s either. It is not the size of the gun that determines how much force it takes to rack a slide, but the gun’s operation method. Blowback operated semi-autos—such as the Bersa Thunder .380 ACP—have higher tension hammer and recoil springs, that require more effort and strength to rack the slide. Locked breech pistols, such as the CZ 75, tend to be easier to rack. I am a firm believer that you can rack a slide. Click here to read my technique.

Don’t let a bigger gun intimidate you. They can be fun and easy to shoot. If shooting your little CCW is challenging or painful, I suggest trying a full-sized pistol. Not only is the CZ 75 easy and fun to shoot, it is incredibly reliable and accurate. The price isn’t a shocker either. It is comparable to other sturdy and reliable service pistols, such as the GLOCK 17, Beretta 92FS and the Smith & Wesson M&P.

The CZ 75 is truly a gun that works. Yes, you can bet your life on it. Further, the 75 comes in many different variants, so if you want more firepower, you can buy one chambered in .40 Smith & Wesson. If black isn’t your thing, there are silver finishes as well. Unless you are a 1911 fan, metal-framed guns have seemed to have fallen out of favor, but there is a lot to say for all-metal guns. The CZ 75 is truly underrated.

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Specifications and features

Caliber: 9mm Luger
Barrel: 4.7″ hammer forged, 1:9.7″ twist rate
Capacity: 16 rounds
Safeties: Frame-mounted manual and firing pin block
Action: Single/double-action
Grip: Ergonomic black plastic
Sights: 3-dot fixed sights
Frame: Steel, black polycoat finish
Length: 8.1″
Height: 5.4″
Width: 1.4″
Weight: 35.2 oz

Do you own a CZ 75? Why do you love it? Tell us in the comment section. To read more on the history of the CZ 75, click here.


Introduced to shooting at young age by her older brother, Suzanne Wiley took to the shooting sports and developed a deep love for it over the years. Today, she enjoys plinking with her S&W M&P 15-22, loves revolvers, the 1911, short-barreled AR-15s, and shooting full auto when she gets the chance. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter, and the modern-day prepper. Suzanne is a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (32)

  • Eric


    You are missing one HUGE disadvantage this pistol has for many. Even as a man who is 5’9″ tall, I cannot begin to comfortably reach the trigger in double action. It is over a half inch longer than my m&p shield. Gun manufacturers need to start publishing trigger reach measurements because I am far from alone.


  • Nathan Lambshead


    Rebart, I agree. I have an SP-101 as my bedside table and taking a walk gun, every time. Also have a couple other short revolvers here and there in the house. I generally prefer .38 +p Hydro-shok in them. Plenty effective at true defense distances.
    There’s just something about a wheel gun that I will always prefer. Even though I do own a couple of semis.


  • dan


    i bought a cz 75 with the decocker a while back and was hooked the first time i shot it. just about the most accurate handgun i own, and every control is easily reachable. extremely reliable, low recoil and ergonomic. another plus of this model is that aftermarket magazines are a lot more affordable than with other cz pistols. i love it so much that i just bought one in stainless steel!


  • Dennis


    I too have a Witness in 10mm
    Again, I went with Semi Compact set-up there too
    I’ve added both, a 10mm and 22 Long Slide Conversion Upper, for Target Shooting


  • Dennis


    I’ve never owned a CZ but have shot them a great deal . A very good pistol and very dependable .
    I wanted more power so bought an EAA Witness in 10mm . Basically this is a copy of the CZ and an exceptional pistol . Both are ergonomically very similar and a joy to shoot . Both are hefty , easy to handle and hold a bunch of bullets . Either one , buy em’ you’ll like em’ .


    • Dennis


      One other note , both CZ’s and the EAA’s have the best triggers in the business with the EAA being a bit better . While the 9mm is ok the .40 is much better and recoil is very mild in these pistols . My girls shoot the .40 with no problems whatsoever and they slight of build .
      A 1911 has nothing over these fine pistols , both underrated and the price is incredible .


  • Ray Gee


    I have a “couple” of CZ’s: CZ-27, CZ-45, CZ-75, PO-1, CZ-75B, CZ-97B.The PO-1 is an ideal carry-gun; comfortable grips, compact size. I am a M1911 adherent but the CZ-75 would certainly be a worthy replacement.




    I have had dozens of pistols and revolvers in my 67+ years of shooting. My
    favorites I have kept are: 9mm CZ75 SP-01 Tactical with night sights; Ruger
    P944 in .40 cal.; Springfield XDm 5.25 in .40 cal.; Ruger GP-100 with 6in.
    barrel in .357 and Hogue rubber grip. It’s obvious I like big, heavy handguns and for me they are the easiest to shoot accurately. I agree that a longer barrel and sight radius help in this regard, as does weight. I agree with
    Suzanne on her points made. My “top gun” is the CZ.


    • Rebart


      Big John, I have about the same years of shooting as you. I like all the guns you have, but I do have to disagree just a little on one issue:
      When talking about an all-purpose gun, and just having to own ONE handgun, I probably would take the SP-01. My reason for this is that the difference in barrel length makes very little difference in recoil from my experience from owning two CZs–one full size, and one compact. The recoil with 9mm isn’t that bad, anyway. Also, for home defense and up close social work within reason, a 6-bbl vs. a 4-inch bbl is mostly not significant. Why would you need a long bbl for most self-defense work. If you need a long bbl you are probably at too much distance and you may end up in court. There is very little need for sight radius between those two bbls, when self-defense is most usually within a few feet or a very few yards, and most of your shooting may be point blank–no chance to take careful aim and use that long sight radius.

      The one thing I do like is night sights. I’ve carried several make and models while working as an armed guard on the night shift in dark alleys and other dark places, and night sights are mandatory in that situation IMHO. Of course, in that line of work other sighting devices would be a help, but still, I had no need for a long bbl. In fact, many of the retired LEOs of all kinds that I have worked with carried as small a gun as a J-frame S&W.

      I think we get hung up on a lot of gadgetry and overkill sometimes. But, I will say my CZs will shoot with my Sig 228 (made in Germany) any time.

      For home defense, and maybe some other scenarios I like the big, heavy guns, also. Didn’t like the Glock 17 at all.



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