I’ve been a fan of CZ pistols for a long time. Over the years I’ve owned a number of their small-caliber offerings, and their unique roller-locked fireball in 7.62 x 25 Tokarev, the CZ-52. Without exception they have been well-made, reliable and interesting guns.
In the ’80s, when the CZ75 was unobtainium, I had several of the Italian clones. I loved the ergonomics and found them to be very good pistols. More recently my wife owned a CZ-75 clone, the EAA Witness Carry-Comp .45. Fantastic gun, reliable and a great shooter. I’ve gotten to shoot several actual CZ-made variants in the last decade and loved them. For some time I’ve been contemplating gritting my teeth and paying the price for one, but they are spendy beasts and I had not quite convinced myself to, uh, ‘pull the trigger.’
You might not guess it from the contents of this blog, but polymer-framed guns and I go way back. I owned one of the early Glock 17 imports in the mid-eighties, and have had a few other Glocks since. Fantastic guns; if I needed to carry a duty-gun these days I have often figured it would be a Glock 17. They are wonderfully light-weight, legendarily reliable, but the trigger and ergonomics never thrilled me. I much prefer the more old-school single-action of the 1911, or DA/SA style trigger of the CZ75.
All that being the case, when this gun was offered up in trade I jumped at the chance to try it out.
Magazine Capacity– 15
Trigger Mech– DA/SA
Sights– Low-profile fixed Three-Dot
Barrel Length– 3.75 in
Weight– 27.7 oz
Overall Length– 7.2 in
Height– 5.3 in
Safeties- Ambidextrous, Decocker or Manual Safety, Safety Stop on Hammer, Firing Pin Block Safety
The CZ P-07 is very comparable in size to the Glock 19. It is slightly thicker, in part because of the ambidextrous decocker (or safety.) It’s a good size for an ‘all-arounder;’ large enough to be a duty pistol, small enough for concealed carry.
The gun comes well equipped in CZ’s hard plastic case, with two magazines, three back-panels for the grips, interchangeable flat or extended magazine bases, and both a safety that enables the gun to be carried cocked-and-locked or an interchangeable decocker. There is a well-made and detailed user manual (in several languages) and a couple of cleaning tools (missing in this used example.)
The gun uses CZ’s full-length inside slide-rails, front and rear cocking serrations and standard three-dot sights, which I don’t much like. The magazines are stoutly made of steel- a feature I like quite a lot. There are stippled serrations on the frame just above the trigger, nicely located as a safe-position for your trigger finger. The grip panels are stippled also, and there are interrupted lines on the front and back of the grip. The total effect is to provide a secure but comfortable grip.
The low-profile sights offer good visibility. The rear is drift-adjustable for windage, and the front is user-replaceable. Both are secured by Allen screws (the wrench is provided with the gun.) The double-action trigger gives second-strike capability on a dodgey primer, a very useful feature.
Following the included instructions (and a Youtube video or two) I configured the gun to suit me, fitting the largest of the grip panels and the decocker. The extended magazine base-pads were already fitted. The decocker was the hardest to fit, but the only tool required was a small screwdriver to position the return spring.
Take-down is much the same as any Browning-based semi-auto; drop the magazine, line up the witness marks, pop the slide-stop out and the slide comes off the front. The recoil spring is a captured unit!, so it’s very easy to remove and reposition when assembling the gun. The barrel simply lifts out. It’s not quite as easy as a Glock, but it’s not a bother either.
The gun, as I have set it up, feels good in the hand and points naturally. For me the sights line up nicely as the gun comes to bear on the target. Empty magazines are practically fired from the gun when you press the well-located, but not obtrusive, magazine release. The gun has a pleasingly solid feel in the hand.
I am not keen on three-dot sights. They are fine for close-up work and rapid acquisition, but I’ve always found it hard to wring much precision out of them, especially at extended ranges. That’s quibbling though; they are fine for the gun’s intended purpose and can easily be altered to suit.
The double-action trigger is smooth with no stacking. It’s fairly long, but that’s no handicap to someone used to double-action revolvers. There’s quite a lot of slack in the single-action trigger, but it breaks fairly crisp. You really don’t notice while firing owing to the fairly short reset. A well-tuned 1911 puts it in the shade, but it’s good for its type.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road:
I grabbed some ammo this afternoon and headed down to Champion Arms indoor range to give the gun a good wringing out. Some of the ammo I fired was some unconventional old rounds formerly used by the South African Police, the New Generation Sentry 9mm+P. These use an 80gr nickel-plated monolithic copper hollow-point with a ballistic cap for feeding that makes 1375 fps. from a 4″ barrel. They had a good record in service, and I inherited several hundred of them from a friend’s estate. They were handy and they make pretty holes in paper targets so I grabbed a couple boxes. The remainder were 125gr. TCL standard-pressure handloads. The gun functioned properly throughout testing.
First off I loaded a magazine with 15-rounds of the Sentry ammunition, dropped the hammer with the decocker and did a seven-yard mag-dump. The results were encouraging-
The second test was to load five rounds, decock the gun, then raise the gun rapidly from waist height and fire a double-action shot at seven yards, then repeat five times. Again, the results were promising-
OK, the gun feels like it points naturally- but how does that translate on a target? I ran a target out to three yards, loaded ten rounds, decocked the hammer and lowered the gun to waist level with the gun held in the strong-hand. Then I raised the gun quickly to mid-chest level and fired a double-tap, still one-handed, with the first shot DA and the second SA. I repeated this five times. The results were pretty good for a gun I’d never fired before today-
I did a whole lot of general target shooting at ranges from seven to twenty-five yards for a total of a couple of hundred rounds. The gun functioned flawlessly with both the +P Sentry ammo and the mild reloads. Felt recoil felt soft and was easily managed; I really enjoyed shooting this gun.
This is a well-made, well-thought out gun, and it comes with options to personalize it. Accuracy and reliability are both what you would expect from a CZ- very good indeed! The $510 MSRP is not bad for a gun in this class, and the extra magazine and accessories are a bonus. Of course these guns can routinely be found for quite a bit less than that price.
The combination of the old-school SA/DA mechanism and modern polymer construction just might make this the perfect 21st Century pistol for a dinosaur like me. I’m looking forward to a lot more shooting with this gun, and plan to run it in an ASI match soon.
Michael Tinker Pearce, 8 August 2019