Five years ago, Guns & Ammo marked the 40th anniversary of the CZ 75 by reaching out beyond the magazine’s writer pool. Remembering a fondness that the late Shotgun News’ Senior Editor Peter Kokalis had for this Czech pistol, I invited him to pen an overview of the legendary pistol with his personal anecdotes. He was enthusiastic about the opportunity.
“I frequently carried a CZ 75 in a Galco vertical shoulder rig during the war in El Salvador,” Kokalis recalled. “I was serving at the time with the famed Atlacatl Immediate Reaction Battalion, the elite special forces unit of the Salvadoran army. The pistol was well known and always highly regarded in the international mercenary circles, especially in Africa where it was easy to obtain and was reasonably priced.”
In honor of this year’s 45th anniversary of the CZ 75, we will republish Kokalis’ original treatise, “Velvet Revolution,” at gunsandammo.com.
With slide rails machined to the inside of its frame, a double-action and single-action operation and 15-round magazine capacity, the CZ 75 was a compilation of innovation and desired features of that mid-1970s era. And despite being in service for 45 years, the CZ 75 has been a pistol that’s aged well. Like the Model 1911A1, Commander and Officer models did for John Browning’s original design, the CZ 75B and latest P-series have carried Frantisek Koucky’s original through to modern times with more than 1 million produced. An entire family of models have evolved from the original including compacts, subcompacts, decockers, single action only, ambidextrous, those with lightweight alloy frames, as well as competition models.
Previously, CZ created low-number production editions to honor the pistol’s 25th, 30th, 35th and 40th anniversaries. The CZ 75B 40th Anniversary Limited Edition pistol, serial number “40TH000”, was featured on the subscriber cover of the February 2015 issue. Only 1,000 presentation-grade examples in 9mm were made, and they sold for $1,500 each.
In the same vein, CZ is celebrating the 45th anniversary of the CZ 75 in 2020 with another limited-edition CZ 75B. As before, only 1,000 pistols chambered in 9mm will be offered. Commanding $1,720 apiece, this year’s version wears a very reflective, high luster bluing over the artwork of Master Engraver Rene Ondra. Deep-vine engravings appear around the slide, frame and on both maple wood grip panels. The CZ 75B’s controls and pins are nickel finished and provide a tasteful contrast. Though they are decorative, each are proofed and tested by CZ, and come with a set of Meprolight Tru-Dot tritium night sights.
As before, Guns & Ammo’s sample is the first: serial number 45TH0000. This pistol was photographed in complete detail by G&A’s Studio Photographer Michael Anschuetz. I encourage you to visit gunsandammo.com to see his exclusive photos and celebrate another milestone for the CZ 75. We look forward to reporting on the influence of the CZ 75 when we celebrate its 50-year Golden Jubilee in 2025.