Firearms

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

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

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.

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Comments (17)

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. I own a cz 75 pre b model and it is the most comfortable, accurate, and reliable handgun I have ever shot. I would strongly recommend this weapon to anyone.

  6. I had a CZ75B when I lived in Canada and it jammed quite a bit. This was back before I really knew that much, so I just concluded that the gun was no good and got rid of it. In retrospect, I was probably “making do” with whatever magazines I could get (all of them probably cheaply made and old) and got the malfs because of that. I’d like to get another CZ75 and give it a second chance. The CZ has the best DA trigger I’ve ever seen from the factory and, in the unlikely event you don’t like it, it can be carried cocked and locked. I love the idea of the CZ75 but was disappointed by mine. I’ll do a review of another one when I can.

  7. My initial CZ purchase was the P01. I am a convert. Workmanship is excellent, as is balance, accuracy and operation. My son has one and several friends who have fired my P01 now have their own. Based on my experience I recently purchased the CZ Rami but have not yet test fired the weapon.

  8. I wanted a sayzed 75 for a loonng time. Finally bought the P-01, Czech police version. Great gun.. Just wish I had could have got the new CZ 75 Omega.

  9. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this firearm. This is my home defense gun. I am a new shooter and WOW it is precise . I am a female and it is not too heavy or too much to handle recoil wise (very little in fact).

  10. I love all 3 of my CZ 75 handguns. The feel is wonderful, never had any malfumctions. When i was Shoppimg around cause after i bought my first CZ 75 i sold my Beretta 92 fs cause it felt soo big and Bought a CZ 85 Combat with Adjustable Rear Sigjts and then that is all i needed. I then started to buy older CZ for Collection, the 52 and the 82. To me those are the only handguns i will ever need.

  11. I own a CZ 85 combat which is a direct descendant of the CZ 75. I absolutely love this pistol and am considering buying another slightly different model! The gun just feels like it belongs in your hand, so comfortable and easy to shoot. I was a Glock guy for years until I bought this! Excellent firearm!

  12. It may be worth mentioning that the CZ has such a high demand for CZ75s lately – especially the polymer P07 and P09 versions, that they recently opened new factories in Slovakia and Brazil.

  13. Yes I have shot one. Great pistol. Im mostly into big bore stuff but I did enjoy shooting a friends CZ 75. I dont think it gets any better than that.

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