The Overlooked CZ 75

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.”

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 (43)

  1. My first CZ was 75 SP-01 it was one of the best pistols in looks functions and performance. The pistol is a beauty i love it.

  2. I am a proud owner of a CZ75 SP-01 beautiful pistol tack sharp and love the feel and grip. I have shot over 5000 rounds easy to clean rock solid i aim to buy the shadow edition soon.

  3. 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???

    1. Not pretty? ???????? Cz75 and 1911 are the most beautiful pistols there are.
      I don’t care a thing about the looks of beretta, or glocks. The other possible contender would be a sig p22x series.

      They can all be good guns, but these 3 I mention are the tops.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    1. Bob Clevenger
      You do have the right of it. One of the earliest good reviews of the CZ I ever saw was from Jeff Cooper. “If you have to have a Mouse Gun Caliber, and you want to overcome the deficiency with accuracy, then this is the finest and most accurate production pistol out there”. He further went on to say “It’s a Da&m Shame we won’t see it because it is behind the iron curtain”
      The CZ was designed along the lines of the (then) finest production semi automatic pistol in the world, the SIG 210. Only with a lot more capacity. And true smooth double action, unlike the Seagate conversions of the time.
      One of the all time great firearms of this or any other century.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Nice comments- all. After waiting fro a couple of months for an Italian made Beretta 92FS Inox (i wanted the SS controls) I was at the range practicing with my XDM and noticed a CZ75B polished stainless for sale in the display case. After holding it I was sold. As a lefty, I liked the dual safety and oversized slidestop which is easily operated. I found the gun to be extremely accurate the first time out with low muzzle flip. The mag release appears to be reversible and I was wondering if anyone has done the switch? My only small negative is that after shooting several dozen rounds the leading edge of the trigger gets uncomfortable as if it is cutting into my finger. Other than that it was a great purchase.

  11. I bought a 941 Jericho S&W .40 for $450.00 It is all steel except for the hand grips. I really like the grip and the ease of taking the barrel off for cleaning. My gun was made by IMI Isreal Military Industry. Then the company changed the name to IWI Isreal Weapons Ind. Then to Magnum Research. IWI made the Uzi also. I have no regrets buying this gun.

  12. It is true that USA Shooters tend to stay away from the CZ’s and even the Jerichos. But my shooting buddies in Canada and in South America use CZ’s (and Jericho) all the time with very excellent results. I do see that they tend to do maintenance/cleaning on them and I have helped in getting replacement parts for some shooters. But you can not dispute the feel of the gun or its ease of use or accuracy. I like the Shadow and if I end up moving to SA I’ll be getting a Jericho for IPSC.

  13. The CZ75 is a fantastic feeling pistol. Points well, fits the hand, accurate as anything and more accurate than most. No recoil to speak of. I spent $329 on mine ten years ago, and couldn’t be happier. I don’t even seriously look at other semiauto pistols. What can they offer that I don’t already have? Less weight? It only weighs a couple of pounds, anyway. If I need less weight, I get serious about it and carry a S&W 642. Otherwise, this is the pistol for me.

  14. I got mine at an antique mall, of all places, about a year ago. I really didn’t know what I was getting; I don’t remember seeing one before. When I picked it up I knew it was a quality piece. I’ve been shooting and buying a ridiculous number of firearms for about a half century now, have a Hi-power that has been to see Wayne Novak, and just like the feel of certain firearms both short and long. Fashion sometimes trumps value. Go figure. Jimmy

  15. I shot all the guns I could before I was told about the CZ75 by a man working at the gun store/range. I rented the CZ and it’s simply awesome.
    Everyone knows that the only comparable weapon is either a Sig, or a Sphinx (Swiss clone) of the CZ. The Sig costs 2X the price of CZ and the Sphinx 4X.
    Oh and neglected to mention is that the only of the 3 guns mentioned above with a STEEL frame is the CZ75.
    You can outshoot the best trained cop out there with his Glock or similar plastic with your CZ75 and not even be able to focus on the sights, i.e. if you are over 50.
    I don’t believe that there is a superior handgun made today anywhere than the CZ in its various forms.
    The proof is you can’t find one nowadays anywhere. I would love to buy a P01 but it’s like finding Obama’s grades and personal records.
    I recently took a female friend 52 to shoot my CZ75. She wanted to learn about guns and may buy one someday. She picked up the CZ, pointed it and shot a nice 4″ group, one touching the bullseye, from 7 yards (21 feet).
    I was pleased and asked her what she had shot before, was it a bb gun, a 22 two.
    She said “I shot an arrow from a bow before. I have never shot any kind of gun before this.”
    Under any kind of stress your gun’s ability to point, shoot and smooth out recoil will be what counts. The CZ75 has no equal in these areas, and she proved it. She confessed to me that the first bang scared her and she closed her eyes at her first shot, subsequent shots she didn’t.
    Enough said.

  16. I think you’re both right. Doing a basic once over with a 75 is easy. Just take out the slide stop, remove the slide and the barrel and voila start cleaning. For most people, this will be enough. However, taking it down any further for a super NIB cleaning is cumbersome at best. After dropping mine in the mud a few times I had to do some serious deep cleaning. Have you ever tried to clean underneath the sear assembly? Yikes. Springs, pins, galore. It would have been better clarified by the Author had he mentioned that while a basic cleaning is easy, and usually enough, anything further is a real pain. I think his point was that the mechanism is more complicated than something like a GLOCK.

  17. Although, I agree completely with many aspects of your article, you obviously have little, if any, experience in cleaning a CZ-75. In your article you stated,”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”. While I am not sure which variant of the CZ-75 that you based your article upon, I purchased mine in Germany in 1995, and after thousands of rounds, and cleaning sessions, I have yet to encounter any “tiny” parts while cleaning the firearm.

  18. The CZ was always on my list when considering what handgun to buy next, but I, too, overlooked this very fine pistol until recently. I read many of the glowing reviews of the CZ 75, but when it came down to plunking down my hard-earned cash, it was not for the CZ.

    When I finally decided I had to have this gun, lo and behold, I could not get my hands on one. All the on line retailers were out of stock of the 10 round models the Peoples’ Republic of New York limits me to. I finally found one on an auction site (CZ 75 P-01).

    When I first got my hand on the grip, I immediately fell in love, and after my first trip to the range, this became my favorite gun. The author does not do this gun justice by ignoring its best attributes: the internal slide gives it one of the lowest bore axis of any pistol, making for a very natural point of aim, low recoil and excellent balance. The weight is not a significant factor compared to other similar autos, and field stripping does not involve “pins and tiny parts”. Unlike most, it does not have a take down lever. Instead, there is a pin (not tiny) that must be pushed through the frame to release the slide. Otherwise, it’s like most other pistols.

    This is one sweeeeet gun. Get your hand on the grip and you will immediately understand. Load it up and take aim, and you too will fall in love. This gun just feels so right. I have heard it referred to as the “poor man’s SIG”, but, having a P229 E2, I disagree. If I had to choose between the two, I would go with the CZ. For me, it’s a much more natural shooter and a fine piece of work.

  19. 10% of the population is left handed. I bought the CZ 85 because it was built for people like me, built well, fits the hand, good sights, accurate…no regrets.

  20. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! Compared to the plastic boxes being manufactured now, Glocks, XD’s, M&P’s, etc, a CZ-75 is the Mona Lisa! I currently own and use a CZ-75, CZ-75B, CZ-97B; except for the weight factor, the CZ’s are at least the equal of any of the pistols mentioned in this article!

  21. IMO the weight and feel of the CZ75 is better than any other pistol I’ve handled. Foolishly, I traded away my CZ75 Compact. I will get another CZ75 one day, either the CZ75BD or CZ75 Police (basically the same gun)in 9mm. It will be my EDC in Condition 2.

    As far as appearance, I think its a darn good looking gun!

  22. I have had a sig P226, Les Baer Ultimate, and still have 5 springfield XD’s, 4 of which have had trigger jobs. Recently a friend ( ex Army Captain) bought a CZ 75 Czechmate and blew the doors off all of us during our Sunday morning bullseye competition. He has over 100 guns including Les Baer models as well as the full line of Sigs. It is now one of his favorites by far. Not being able to afford the price of the top of the line Czechmate I bought the CZ 75 SP01 Shadow Target and have to tell you it’s built like a tank and shoots extremely accurately. You buy them from CZUSA custom shop with the trigger job already done and it’s a 10 holer right out of the box. DO NOT buy one if you are small and used to only a Glock or XD type as they are on the heavy side, they are actually real guns. Before this I never even heard of CZ and now I am looking to purchase their .45 version the CZ97B. I can’t say enough about these guns….awesome.

  23. You know, to be honest I really enjoyed the article but I do not see this seeming lack of interests? Maybe I am around too many gun-geeks only and the article would indeed apply to the general public looking to purchase a full-size article?


  24. @Greg

    If you love the CZ and are more of a fan of .45 ACP, then I suggest taking a gander at the CZ-97. It is a 10 round, scaled up version of the 75.

  25. My first exposure to the CZ-75 was at a gun show about 25 years ago. I thought it was a good looking piece, but when I picked it up, wow! It fit my hand better than any pistol I had ever held. I didn’t find out until years later that it was modeled after the Browning High Power, which is legendary for its fit-to-hand. Any way, at that time it was only available in 9mm and with the ammo of that day, I wasn’t going to get a pistol in that caliber. Not long after that, Springfield Armory came out with their version of a CZ clone in .45 ACP with a double stack magazine. I scooped one up and I still have it. I’ve gotten good service out of it and it is my primary carry weapon to this day. If I was buying today, I’d probably go with an XDm in 9mm due to the adjustable fit, better ammo and higher capacity. Until that becomes possible, I’m content with my CZ clone.

  26. After sixty years of shooting, my CZ 75 Shadow T has become my favorite handgun. Dead-on accuracy, 100% reliability, 19 round capability, natural pointing. It’s a man’s gun! BTW, they must be reasonably popular, it took me long enough to finally find one in stock and I am still hoping to find a vendor with a CZ RAMI in stock!

  27. Mine must be a distinctly minority view, but I’ve always thought that the CZ75s were among the best looking handguns available. Great ergos, build quality, and accuracy as others have mentioned, but great lines as well.

  28. Can’t believe no one has mentioned the Browning Hi Power’s influence on the CZ-75. While it’s not a clone per se, the CZ-75 is arguably a refinement of the Hi Power design. Like the CZ, the Browning doesn’t get the respect it probably deserves in the USA, while the rest of the world clearly embraced both.

  29. Easily my favorite gun, not just my favorite pistol, but favorite gun. I have shot a single action CZ 75 SP-01 for quite a while now and am impressed each and every time. It is far more accurate than I am and it is fast on target as well as switching between targets. I have a number of high end guns, but this is the first one that has made me truly feel that I found a deal.

  30. The CZ line combines accuracy and great ergonomics. I have the CZ 75 D PCR and it is a great concealed carry pistol. I have the .45 ACP Model 97B and it rivals any 1911 I’ve ever shot and I have the CZ75 Shadow Target which has a fit and trigger action to die for. These are unappreciated pistols.

  31. The CZ75 is a great pistol to use in competition and SD. I use a CZ85 Combat and it rivals anything else I have in accuracy and reliability. Most of the forums I frequent have a large number of people who agree that the CZ75/85 is one of the best values on the market today. They used to be great values but as their reputation has grown so has the price.

  32. My CZ-75B is one of my favorite pistols to shoot: accurate, extremely reliable, and easy to maintain. I only paid about $350 for it new many years ago…should have bought a pile of them.

  33. I don’t like the looks of the modern cz-75. there’s just something weird about the front of the frame. If I could buy one with the longer slide cut, like the first gen one pictured, I’d do it. I love the look of some of the clones particularly the ones with full length frames, like the CZ97, Jericho, or the higher end witness models.

  34. CZ Platform is imho thee most form fitting point of aim out there.The Witness line is a clone but until one go’s into their Elite Series the base models are not so good.My personal favorite.Next im lookin at the CZ 97B.45.My Witness Match in 10mm is a very good reliable firearm that can handle the original Norma specs for a 10mm.Im getting it set for D/A-S/A as opposed to S/A only.CZ are attractive,esp their nickel.

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