The classic full size CZ is a great service gun and arguably the best buy in steel frame 9mm handguns. Best buy not meaning cheap but meaning it costs less than pistols that don’t perform to its level. The pistol has been cloned extensively. Some of the copies are made to sell cheaply and corners have been cut, usually in terms of fit and finish. Then guns like the Sphinx offer a totally upgraded version. The original is still the pistol to beat in terms of reliability and value.
The compact P-01 is a great pistol, a handgun with a monolithic slide and a light rail. But I believe the most overlooked CZ 75 is the CZ 75D variant and it is among the best choices for concealed carry. If you favor a solid feeling old school handgun then the CZ delivers while also delivering solid modern performance.
Ceska Zbrojovka’s CZ 75 is a double action first shot pistol. The original featured a selective double action style with a manual safety that allows placing the pistol on safe with the hammer to the rear. Once you have fired the pistol in the DA mode and engaged in movement you may simply place the pistol on safe. No need to decock the pistol.
Police agencies found that it was more important to have a pistol with simple administrative handling and asked CZ for a decocker version. The CZ 75 D is the result. This pistol also features a loaded chamber indicator. The result was and is one of the finest of all concealed carry pistols. The compact version features an aluminum frame. This isn’t a difficult handgun to wear constantly yet recoil isn’t sharp. There is enough weight to make the 9mm a controllable cartridge to fire and use.
Like all CZ 75 handguns the double action first shot trigger is long, but smooth. The single action trigger is tight and controllable. The pistol features reversed slide rails. The slide runs inside the frame rails. Contact between the long bearing surfaces is good. The result is a pistol with high accuracy potential. The bore axis is also lower than most double action first shot pistols. The slide rides low and while an advantage in recoil control and accuracy the slide is more difficult to rack than some pistols, less to grab onto.
The pistol is 7.24 inches long, 1.38 inch wide, and weighs 27.5 ounces. The 3.7 inch barrel is long enough to develop good velocity with 9mm loadings. On the Lyman electronic trigger gauge the pistol broke 10.5 pounds in double action. The single action press is a smooth 4.5 pounds. When firing the pistol the double action press is used to perhaps seven yards depending on the skill of the user. A DA first shot gun may be left in the same mode of readiness without lowering the hammer, applying a safety, or otherwise any other action to make the pistol ready to fire. After the first DA shot the slide cocks the hammer and the pistol is ready for single action fire.
I used a quantity of Federal American Eagle and also Federal Syntech ammunition to proof the pistol. Results have been good. The trigger is smooth and the CZ handles well. An important addition to the handgun are HiViz sights.
These sights make for a much better sight picture, and with the tritium front sight true 24 hour capability. These sights are not difficult to install and make for greater hit potential. The pistol shoots well, practically as well as the full size CZ 75. Control isn’t quite as good in a pistol that is lighter than the steel frame CZ but the firing grip is comfortable as the CZ 75 D handle is well shaped for most hands.
Accuracy is good to outstanding. With most practice loads including the American Eagle loading the pistol will group five shots into four inches or less at 25 yards. I fired from a solid benchrest firing position to achieve these results. I also fired the Federal 124 grain HST for groups. This load put five rounds into a solid 2.5 inch group. This is good accuracy for any compact 9mm. I find the CZ 75 D a great all around carry gun. Function and reliability are CZ grade. Some of the CZ pistols have a NATO number and have been extensively tested. This pistol carries on in this tradition.