I’ve always been interested in the Czech CZ 75. Cloaked in mystery during the first decade of its existence, it was rarely seen in the West. Developed in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) in 1975, it combined several of the best features of other service pistols with some of its own.
It became a favorite of spies, soldiers of fortune and collectors with deep pockets. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, 75s became widely available in the U.S., but I never got around to buying one.
I later saw several tucked into the waistbands of CIA and Blackwater types when I visited the “Green Zone” (the secure area in Baghdad). I decided that I needed a CZ 75 as soon as I got back stateside.
Procrastination can be a good thing, and I’m glad I delayed getting one immediately after returning. A couple of years ago, the CZ 75B (the B model has a firing pin-block safety) became available in stainless steel. It’s exactly like the standard 75B except for the addition of an ambidextrous safety. It also has rubber stocks instead of the standard plastic. Being left-handed, I like the idea of an ambi safety because one of the really neat features of the CZ 75 is selective double action. The option of carrying cocked-and-locked or hammer down like a regular DA pistol is the best of both worlds. Like most 1911 fans, I like cocked and locked. But there are times I like the option of a hammer-down carry. The downside is that there is no decocker, so care must be exercised when lowering the hamer. With the ambi safety of the new stainless, we left-handers can now carry the CZ in condition one also.
There’s a lot to like about this pistol. It’s matte stainless, which is visually appealing. The issue rubber stocks, with very slight swells on both sides, are comfortable and rugged; perfect for a service pistol. Sights are fixed, blocky and easily acquired. Tritium night-sights are available from CZ-USA as an extra-cost option. The usual three dots are painted on the issue sights. The pistols strips easily for cleaning and maintenance. And while this is not a huge pistol, it holds 16+1 rounds of 9×19 ammo.
Ergonomics of the CZ are first-rate. It is one of those rare pistols (like the Browning Hi-Power) that seem to fit everyone’s hand. The safety is easily manipulated and the trigger in DA mode can be reached by most fingers. The DA pull is long and somewhat heavy, but very smooth. CZ has a custom shop here in the USA and would be the place to send this pistol for some trigger work, if you can’t live with the standard trigger. Mine will stay stock. It’s not bad; it is a service pistol.
I put several hundred rounds of GI Ball ammo through both my pistol and another stainless 75 that I borrowed for comparison. There were no issues with either pistol. Both guns shot to point of aim at 20 yards and chewed up the center of a standard PPC target at that distance. I also put a box of some of my old LAPD 147-grain JHP duty ammo through one gun to check for reliability and accuracy. Again, no surprises, with no malfunctions and good accuracy—the best group was just under two inches at 20 yards.
Most guns aren’t perfect out of the box; the CZ isn’t, either. I don’t like three-dot sights and will blacken mine out with modeling paint before the next range session. I also don’t care for the Phillips-head grip screws; I replaced mine with Hogue slotted screws. The trigger guard is squared and grooved; a rounded one (like on the original CZ 75) would be easier on holsters.
The CZ 75 has rightfully taken its place among the great pistols of the 20th Century. It is a popular, widely issued weapon in both Western and former Eastern-block countries. The newer 75B continues that legacy with this practical upgrade.