The Overlooked CZ 75

By CTD Rob published on in Firearms

I like gun stores. I like being in them, browsing through them, and buying from them. Trust me, I do plenty of business outside of my workplace, just as my competition does with us. In a recent trip to look at some handguns, I saw a new guy working behind the counter. I was curious about his recommendations and told him I was looking for a full-size duty pistol chambered in 9mm. He showed me the usual Glocks, Springfield XDs, and Smith & Wesson M&Ps. When I mentioned that I was possibly looking for something in the double-action/single-action family, he walked me right past the CZ 75s and straight to the Beretta 92s. When I asked him about the CZs, he said, “Oh, you wouldn’t want one of those, nobody ever comes in asking about them anymore.”

CZ 75

The CZ 75 is an outstanding design.

The CZ 75 variants are among the most popular military and police duty pistols in the world. For some reason, in the United States, some in the firearms industry have a type of stray dog attitude toward the CZ 75 family. Despite their glowing reputation and sturdy design, many gun shoppers overlook them. They pass them up in favor of pistols with similar characteristics, such as the Beretta 92 or the Sig Sauer P226. What is the reason why the CZ never caught up to the popularity of other designs? It certainly isn’t the build quality. I’ve owned several variants over the years and I would bet my life on a properly maintained CZ 75—every time. So, if it is a reliable gun, why do you rarely see it in the hands of American law enforcement or military operators?

I feel that one reason is simply the looks. I never hear anyone say the CZ 75 is a particularly pretty gun. It looks very Eastern European with its unpleasant lines and oddly thin slide. Unfortunately, some shoppers put a large amount of stock into the looks department. Many buyers tout the looks of the Beretta 92, and in my opinion, they are correct. It is a beautiful gun, much easier on the eyes than the CZ.

Price is an understandable hurdle for many people. We all can’t afford to go out and spend two grand on a pristine 1911 or a fancy H&K. In the CZ’s case, it usually runs about the same price as every other duty pistol on the market, but there are certainly less expensive options. Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Taurus, and many other brands have larger selections at much lower prices. With a price tag that hovers near $500, your wallet may feel a bit light when leaving the gun store.

While almost no handgun is particularly difficult to clean and maintain, the all-metal construction and slightly older design of the CZ 75 does make it a little less idiot-proof than something like a Glock. You must take care to ensure you don’t lose the pins and tiny parts when you clean your CZ, since replacements could take days to arrive at your door.

The handgun industry as a whole made a universal move away from double-action/single action guns. While there are plenty of legendary guns still produced today with this system, most of the new factory duty pistols sold today are double-action only striker-fired designs. I asked a gunsmith I know why he thought this was happening. He said that most police departments won’t allow their officers to carry their single-action/double-action pistols cocked and locked anymore. You Jeff Cooper fans may know this as Condition 1. Most departments only allow them to carry in Condition 2, this means that the officer has a full magazine, a round chambered, and the hammer down. This configuration allows the first trigger pull to be long and heavy in the pistol’s double-action mode, and any subsequent shots will be in single action mode, with light and fast trigger pulls. This Condition 2 configuration, along with the smoother and heavier triggers of the double-action only striker fired pistols, such as Glocks, XDs, and M&Ps, supposedly cut down on negligent discharges, which police departments obviously try to avoid. Police officers are the largest cross-section of American society that carry guns on a daily basis, so the firearms industry tends to follow their lead.

For my personal use, I don’t have any problems with the CZ 75. It’s reliable, durable, safe, accurate, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone wear one out from overuse. Shoppers can keep overlooking them if they choose, but I like to take the time to admire that quality hunk of Czech steel.

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Comments (37)

  • Jonny Boy


    I’m glad the author likes the CZ-75. I would own an all-steel CZ-75, at any price, over any of the other popular service pistols. Not pretty? I think it’s the coolest looking pistol design ever, and I know a lot of people out there agree with me. (BTW, I’m partial to the early “Model 75″ look.) It field strips without tools in about 5 seconds, and there are no “little parts” to lose. The CZ-75’s ergonomics are widely regarded as ideal; and speaking for myself, it is the only service pistol I can shoot comfortably for hours at a time. Reliability is flawless with compatible magazines, but be aware that the guns can be magazine sensitive (just like many 1911s). I have both 9mm and .40, and I bought a custom 357 Sig barrel from Bar-Sto that works flawlessly in the .40 with awesome accuracy. That gives me 13 rounds of 357 Mag equivalent in a solid steel pistol that is easier to shoot than most of my fellow peacekeepers’ service side arms. What’s not to love???


  • C.Browning


    One of the main reasons for buying a CZ 75b in polished stainless steel was the looks. I added cocobola grips, which made it the best looking pistol I’ve ever seen. When people see a picture of it the first thing they say is that it’s beautiful. IMO the popular striker fired guns are blocky and very unappealing to the eye. When the writer mentioned the looks I was kinda shocked. The fact that you can carry the gun for your first shot being double action with the safety off like a glock should be considered a bonus, not a problem. This article is a bit confusing.


  • Carl Mazzone


    Wow!!! My CZ’s are fantastic handguns. Ive been shooting guns for 60 years and I’ve got some opinions about our shooting sport. The best rifle
    and pistol caliber combinations are: the favorites you like to shoot. It’s all about personal choices. Hand size, physical size and stature, end use
    of the firearm. Go out and shoot your favorites. My CZ’s are strong , reliability plus, accurate, the grip is totally erganomic. Glock, Sig, Hk,
    Colt 1911, etc are all fine pistols but don’t overlook the CZ. It certainly deserves to join the ranks of these world class pistols. The CZ has now become my go to favorite shooter……It makes you feel totally confident for target shooting or self protection, whatever you might need a handgun for. Handguns have saved my life twice in my lifetime,
    but that’s another issue. Shoot your favorites but you might like to try
    the CZ. Accuracy, reliability, confidence, never go out of style.


  • greg edwards


    i have a CZ 75 Tactical Sport – 9mm. Built from the ground up for IPSC competition.i pay 999.99 for this gun that cost 1400.00.this gun makes you look like the best shooter at the range, even if you’re not..i wanted a all metal gun so it well be here 50 years from now.this gun keeps it’s resell value. higher capacity magazines,20 cz is being assembly here in the u.s.a.


  • Bob Clevenger


    I think a lot of the lack of respect that the CZ-75 gets from American gun buyers and the American gun press is based in the old Cold War way of thinking that anything that came out of the “Com-Bloc” was crap. It wasn’t true then and it’s not true now. The Czechs have made some of the best quality firearms in the world and they still do. The CZ-75 and its relatives are evidence of that. The CZ-75 fits my hand like it’s a part of it. It is reliable and accurate. It field strips easily for cleaning — with no “little parts” involved. I just wish they offered more caliber options — but I guess that’s what the clones are for.


  • Chester P. Fink


    The looks were the one of the reasons I bought a 97B. I really wanted too but I didn’t like the looks of the Beretta 92 or the P226. I hadn’t shot any of them so I just went with what others posted about the 97B. After shooting it I am not disappointed.


  • SteveInCO


    I heartily second all the favorable comments here. (Though I’ve never seen a 75B with ambi controls, unless it’s in .40 S&W.)

    CZs are very hard to find in stock. I have been to gun shows where *none* were to be found except a couple of used 82s (I believe–whichever one shoots the 9×18 Makarov). Only one gun store in Colorado Springs stocks them at all. And I created an empty hole in their display case where the 75 Compact used to be.


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