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CZ 97 B Review

by Patrick Sweeney   |  December 22nd, 2013 9

CZ 97 B Sometimes I look at guns, shooting gear and extras, and I think, “What could have been ….” Back in the 1970s the CZ 75 was all the rage. Unavailable in the U.S., it was a 9mm high-cap classic that felt so good in the hands and had such an attractive set of features that no less than Jeff Cooper himself expressed admiration for it. Its cult status spawned both a gray market (import-via-Canada) and the Bren Ten pistol.

Unveiled in 1997 (hence the model designation), the CZ 97 B is a medium-capacity .45 ACP with the features of the CZ 75 — and some more recent extras.

First off, it’s an all-steel pistol; the Czechs know how to make steel firearms, that’s for sure. So, at its 40 ounces, you are not going to find recoil to be a problem, even with +P ammo. The sights have been updated. In the current version, the front is a red fiber optic. Combine that with the two white dots of the fixed rear and you have a three-dot red/white sight setup.

The slide-to-frame fit is like that of the original CZ 75 — the slide is inside of the frame rails, and thus the slide is fully supported, front to rear. The slide, incidentally, has a beefy external extractor and a loaded-chamber indicator. It also has cocking serrations front and rear. On a 1911, that can be an obstacle. With the CZ 97 it is useful.

The trigger system is single action/double action. You can load the gun and leave the hammer cocked, then put the side safety on, which will block the firing mechanism and lock the slide closed. Or you can load the gun, ease the hammer down and have a double-action first shot. You can even ease the hammer down and put the safety on if you wish, but in that case you’ll have to disengage the safety before you can fire that first DA shot. The choice is yours.

The grips are the other recent change. Before, the CZ 97 had black plastic grips. On the current model, CZ has changed the grips to billet aluminum. The effect is startling. Where the CZ 97 had been slim before, it is now — for a medium-capacity .45 — almost supermodel thin. No, really. The grip, especially at the web of your shooting hand, is no thicker than that of a 1911, and the flared lower configuration does not make it feel large.

In getting a proper grip on with the other hand, the heel of your strong hand gets locked into the pattern of the aluminum grip. It almost feels as if you can’t let go of it. Or if you do, it won’t let go of you.

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