Chrome. It’s mankind’s way of letting everyone within a five mile radius know that whatever it adorns is not only manly, but also bad-ass. Chrome is one of those rare elements that makes everything it touches better. It’s the metallic equivalent of bacon. Sure, there may be a few items on which chrome might be deemed inappropriate, but they’re few and far between. Mmm… maple bacon cupakes… So, when I opened the Century Arms catalog and saw my favorite element adorning my favorite pistol platform, I had to get one…Canik55’s Stingray-C in 9mm parabellum. The Stingray-C is a compact CZ-75 type pistol with black plastic grips and night sights enrobed in satin chrome. Its two-tone appearance coupled with a mirror-finished barrel is reminiscent of a 50’s hot rod. But can the Stingray live up to its muscle car-like exterior? Or is it just fart-pipes, Type-R stickers, and sheet metal spoilers? . . .
I know I don’t have to explain my infatuation with chrome, but if you’re not familiar with the inner-workings of a CZ-75 you might wonder why it’s my favorite pistol platform, instead of an American classic like, say, a 1911. The answer: a SIG P210. I had the pleasure of shooting this beauty once, but its astronomical price tag and limited capacity make it a poor choice for home defense and competitive shooting.
What do the SIG P210 and the CZ-75 family of pistols have in common?
Unlike most American handguns the CZ-75 and the P210 have a slide that sits inside the frame. Why does this matter? Accuracy. In my eight years of hands-on experience with firearms, I’ve found that the most accurate semi-automatic pistols consistently have a slide that rests inside the frame. While I can’t scientifically confirm that statement, I will say that – in my hands, at least – guns of this nature, the P210, Hammerli and CZ type guns, are consistently more accurate than most other semi-automatic pistols. I know that’s an unfair league to place the CZ in, since the other two are target guns, but hear me out.
Having the slide seated inside the frame rather than attached outside of the frame allows for more slide-to-frame contact in the cycling of the action. Assuming that the rails do their job, this should make the slide recoil in a more consistent manner, because there’s less room for erratic movement. The FNS design also allows for a lower bore height which helps mitigate muzzle flip by better aligning the recoil of the pistol with the shooter’s forearm. This could conceivably result in more accurate shooting for more recoil-sensitive shooters.
Add to that the CZ’s ability to be carried in condition 1 (cocked and locked) and its ergonomic grip angle (very 1911-esque) and it’s no wonder most shooters find it shoots more accurately than the average combat handgun. In short, he Stingray is a soft-shooting, accurate, ergonomic pistol; what’s not to love?
Well a few things. Mainly it’s weight. The Stingray-C is, well, a brick. A big chrome brick. Depending on your size, it can print more than a Kinko’s and, like the CZ design it emulates, there’s only a tiny amount of real estate for the shooter to grab to rack the slide. This isn’t a huge deal on a range gun. However, it could definitely become an issue should you decide to carry it for personal defense. If you want to get proficient with it (or get to Carnegie Hall) practice, practice, practice.
Size-wise the Stingray reminds me of a Glock 19. Here it is side-by-side with a Glock 17:
It’s not so small that your fingers are hanging off, but not so large so that you’ll look like you have a cinderblock under your shirt. For all but the smallest shooters, it’s right there in the happy middle. One aspect of the chromed pistol that will definitely set it apart from Glocks, though, is its substantial weight. The Stingray-C tips the scales at a hair over 2.5 pounds fully loaded. That heft makes shooting the Stingray a breeze, but you’ll want a heavy-duty gun belt to tote it.
Given its size, the capacity for the pistol is good, but not great. While their site indicates the Stingray ships with either 10- or 15-roundders, mine came with lucky 13-round mags. And 13 rounds should get you out of most fixes. Strangely, only one of the two magazines included with the pistol contained witness holes. Inconvenient, but hardly the end of the world. Thankfully the Stingray can make use of standard 9mm CZ-75 mags so you can carry a full-sized 16-round mag or even their extended 26-round competition unit. Of course, that might make concealment rather difficult.
What about accuracy? In the Stingray’s case it shoots better than combat accurate and follow-up shots are a breeze due to all that mass. The 1911-esque grip angle makes aiming the Stingray as natural as pointing your finger. Since I tested six types of ammo with three groups of five rounds each, I decided to list the best of the three groupings all shot from ten yards.
American Eagle – Toxic-Metal Free Primer – 124 grain Total Metal Jacket
American Eagle – 147 Grain Full Metal Jacket Flat Point
Federal – 9mm 100 Grain Reduced Hazard Training
Aguila – 124 grain FMJ
PPU – 115 Semi Jacketed Hollow Point
PMC Bronze – 115 Gr FMJ
Is it perfect? No, but what gun is? If you don’t mind the weight, the Stingray is a great budget carry piece with looks that will turn heads. If you’re into that.
Caliber: 9mm (also .40 auto)
Action: Semi auto, short recoil, tilting barrel
Barrel length: 3.75 inches
Overall length: 7.1 inches
Overall width: 1.4 inches
Overall height: 5 inches
Weight: 2.245 lbs. unloaded
Sights: Adjustable 3-dot, steel
Finish: Satin Chrome or Black Chrome
Capacity: 13 rounds, up to 26 rounds with extended mags
MSRP: $400, $345-370 street
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style: * * * * *
With chrome in almost every conceivable crevice, the Stingray-C is handsome, durable and functional with classic Czech lines. Want something more understated? It’s available in basic black, too.
Ergonomics: * * * * 1/2
Springing from the CZ 75 family of handguns, the Stingray feels like a natural extension of your hand. It’s a bit heavy , though, and can be tricky to rack given how little the slide serrations protrude above the frame.
Reliability: * * * * 1/2
The Stingray ran 100% with every ammo type tested except Aguila, where it experienced a failure rate of about 4% to go into battery once the gun got really filthy.
Customize This: * * * * *
The Stingray accepts the vast majority of CZ-75 parts including magazines. It also sports a frame rail so can hang whatever laser, light or mini-bayonet you’d like.
Overall: * * * * *
The Stingray-C is a CZ-75 at a Bersa Thunder price. If you’ve been itching for a CZ but can’t seem to scrounge up the dough, the Stingray might just be the answer you’re looking for. Especially if you want your CZ clone in a finish not offered by CZ.