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.
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.
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
Grip: Ergonomic black plastic
Sights: 3-dot fixed sights
Frame: Steel, black polycoat finish
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.