Firearms

Review: CZ 75 SA — Overlooked and Underrated

CZ 75 with spare mag and box

There are plenty of classic firearms that still hold their own today. The CZ 75 is one of those guns. The CZ 75 is popular, but the SA is lesser-known and often overlooked. Unfortunately, the pistol has been discontinued, but you can still find these on the used market and CZ produces several great alternatives.

CZ 75 Background

There are several great articles that go into the history of the CZ 75, and I’ll link to a good one here, but here’s a little background on the pistol. A Czech design, the CZ 75 was first introduced in 1975 behind the Iron Curtain. Given the nature of politics of the day, it was years before the CZ 75 was available in the U.S., and clones were being manufactured as soon as people started noticing success with the design.

CZ 75 slide to the rear
The inverted slide rail design means that the slide rides inside the frame.

CZ 75 SA Features

The CZ 75 Single Action is one of the biggest values in the handgun world. For around the cost of a standard CZ 75, you get a crisp single-action trigger, with an adjustable, flat trigger face. This, combined with the inverted slide rail design of the CZ 75, makes for an incredibly fast shooting pistol. 

The SA variant features the same manual safety found on the standard CZ 75 (save models with a decocker), but there is no double-action firing mode. I’ll be honest, the thumb safety leaves a lot to be desired. It’s sloppy and mushy with no audible or tactile click!, but it functions. I’m not sure if this is the same on all examples, but that’s how my model is. 

The rest of the pistol is standard CZ 75. The three-dot sight picture works well. The sights are a little small and narrow compared to modern options, but that helps some with shooting longer distances. Additionally, the lines milled into the top of the slide help to cut down glare when shooting in bright conditions. 

Magazines are plentiful, and Mec-Gar makes dependable aftermarket options — both flush-fitting and extended. You’re looking at 16 rounds of 9mm with standard magazines if you live in a free state. The CZ 75 shows its age with its lack of an accessory rail. However, this makes for a sleek and attractive design, but it limits the pistol’s functionality.

CZ 75 SA rear view
CZ provides good fit and finish.

CZ 75 SA Specifications

Caliber: 9mm Luger
Action: Single-action
Capacity: 16+1 rounds
Sights: Three-dot
Frame: Steel
Barrel length: 4.6 inches
Overall length: 8.1 inches
Height: 5.4 inches
Width: 1.4 inches
Weight: 36.1 ounces

Accuracy and Handling

On the range, the CZ 75 SA is an absolute tack driver. If you do your part with proper trigger pull and sight alignment, the pistol will too. Firing standing at 12 yards, I was able to get groups  about the size of my fist. I’m sure a more experienced shot could tighten this up a bit. Overall, I was happy with the accuracy I was able to achieve.

The handling is where my love for the CZ 75 starts to dwindle. Don’t get me wrong, the pistol shoots like a dream, but when looking at the firearm as a combat pistol, I have one hang up. The inverted slide rail design leaves very little room at the rear of the slide for racking the pistol or clearing any malfunctions — a common complaint. Being left-handed, this is even more of an issue because it’s difficult to use the slide release to charge the pistol, so I primarily depend on slingshotting it.

Shooting range target with holes
The CZ 75 SA was accurate and dependable.

Alternatives

As I stated earlier, unfortunately, the CZ 75 SA has been discontinued. However, there are still a ton of excellent alternatives from both CZ and other manufacturers. Sticking with CZ, the 75 Omega is a solid option. This is the same basic pistol with a double-action/single-action trigger. The Omega variant features parts that allow you to easily swap between using a manual thumb safety or a decocking lever. If you’re looking for something a bit more modern and tactical, the CZ SP-01 should be on your shortlist. This is a similar design with full-length frame rails and a DA/SA trigger.

Additionally, if you look outside the CZ family, the Tanfoglio Witness series should be considered. Patent design issues at that time allowed many clones to sprout up, and these pistols are nearly identical in form, function, and quality.

Competition Options

Even the popular Shadow and Tactical Sport lines are based on the CZ 75 design. CZ pistols are some of the best-handling, flattest-shooting competition pistols on the market. Like the standard models, there are also a number of great competition options made by Tanfoglio.

CZ 75 SA manual safety
The flat, single-action trigger was a blast to shoot.

Conclusion: CZ 75 SA

The venerable CZ 75 still holds its own today. Robust, accurate, and reliable, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more tested pistol design. If you see one of these single-action variants, jump on it, or find one of the great alternatives on the market.

What do you think of the CZ 75 SA? Let us know in the comments.

  • CZ 75 with spare mag and box
  • CZ 75 slide to the rear
  • CZ 75 SA rear view
  • CZ 75 top of slide
  • CZ 75 SA manual safety
  • CZ 75 pistol on table
  • Shooting range target with holes

About the Author:

Alex Cole

Alex is a younger firearms enthusiast who’s been shooting since he was a kid. He loves consuming all information related to guns and is constantly trying to enhance his knowledge, understanding, and use of firearms. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t do something firearms-related and he tries to visit the range at least a couple of times a month to maintain and improve his shooting skills.

His primary focus is on handguns, but he loves all types of firearms. He enjoys disassembling and reassembling firearms to see how they work and installs most of the upgrades to his firearms himself, taking it as a chance to learn. He’s not only interested in modern handguns and rifles, he appreciates the classics for both historical value and real-world use.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (10)

  1. I own 75 B SA and 1911 in 9mm by Colt. Although i prefer the 1911 trigger, the way the cz sits in hand, points and manages recoil, is unmatched by any firearm I have had the pleasure to shoot. The sights were addressed by aftermarket easily.

    Now If I could clean up the trigger a bit, and address the sloppy safety issue, this would be the perfect all steel handgun.

  2. The CZ75B is the ultimate dependable 9mm I have one of the 1st to be sold in US it has never hiccuped or stovepiped a round 5000 rounds they build the best
    And most dependable pistols out there just picked up a 75D PRC with aluminum
    Frame and loving it , no problems yet but yes my main carry is a 45acp Shield or aluminum framed Colt 1911 compact

  3. “clearing any malfunctions — a common complaint”… I own a CZ 75B SA for about 8 years; it had over 6 K shots. So far I had only one malfunction episode; it was a defective round. So I don’t really know how common are the complaints…
    It’s a really great handgun: accurate and reliable.

  4. You keep saying CZ 75 SA, but this is not one, its a 75B SA. In 2004 CZ did make a few non firing block models single action only which were sent to a select few, in a time they were making a bunch of versions and testing configurations before making the SP01 shadow.
    I have a 75 SA, non b model, and is indeed stamped as such on the frame. Happy to share pics and internal shots if you are interested. You can be excused for not knowing, they are rare as hens teeth and 99.999% of cz users have never seen one let alone shot one.

    Rudi

  5. I bought a CZ 75B several years ago and loved it. My only complaint was factory sights. They are small and on my copy weren’t regulated. I eventually had a gunsmith install adjustable sights. I then saw the same model in the compact model at my local dealer and traded the original CZ for the compact model and it was my carry gun for several years. Being an old fan of the 1911, I love the ability to carry this pistol “cocked and locked”.

    1. My Springfield SA-35 only has left-side controls. The new model by FN is ambi though. ~Dave

  6. I have the 75B with the Omega trigger. Accuracy is outstanding. Call me old fashion but like my 1911 and browning hi power there’s something sweet about this all Steel guns.

  7. Years ago the CZ-75 was not available when I got an EAA Tanifoglio clone, (in .45 ACP). The CZ-75 is yet another example of an “outdated” design that is still viable, and can benefit from newer manufacturing technology. As example, wish that gun manufacturers would consider Electropolishing to “clean up” some of their small internal parts, as this process would remove many of the small “burrs” that occur when machining Stainless Steel, but does make it harder to apply any type of finish. Electropolishing can “passivate” Stainless Steel to some extent, making it even more stain resistant. Still, I like my “WONDER finish” clone in .45 ACP, and the MEC GAR magazines are great.

  8. Being a southpaw like the author, I’ll pass on this.IF I were determined to go SA,I’d look at the FN P-35 Hi-Power-either the FN or licensed copies.Both the British and the Argentines used the P-35[and FAL]in the Falklands action.

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