A Few Tips For Changing CZ 75 Sights…That I Learned The Hard Way

Credit: CZ USA

If you have to or would like to install a new set of CZ 75 sights, here are a few tips I’ve collected after having attempted to do so recently.

This, dear readers, is a story of a failure. Instead of showing you victory, I’m going to show you where I went wrong and therefore what you should do (or at least what I think you should do) to avoid making the same mistakes I did. Most of them were due to hubris and the pitfalls of being a cheapskate. After all, this is “The Truth About Guns” not “Make Me Look Good About Guns.”

Some people learn the hard way.

I learned these lessons trying to install a TruGlo TFO set on my TriStar/Canik C100 pistol (a CZ 75 Compact clone) which has dinky sights and the same sight cuts as a full size CZ 75. The set includes a black steel rear ramp sight and a fiber optic front sight.

If I had a really, really big complaint about the gun industry, it’s that they don’t install fiber optic sights as standard and they are way better than three dots…but I digress.

Credit: TruGlo

In the broad strokes, the CZ 75 family (including the many clones) actually have one of the most logical sight cuts. The front sight is dovetailed longitudinally and secured with a roll pin, which ensures you don’t have to adjust for windage.

On many models, the rear sight dovetail has a lip on the right side. This means the sights must be drifted out from right-to-left and drifted in from left-to-right. Since the lip on the dovetail also ensures the sight can’t be drifted too far to the right, this also means you probably won’t have to adjust for windage there either. This isn’t true for all models, however.

Credit: Arnzen Arms

Like I said, it’s pretty darn logical.

However, just as with any other handgun sight cut and sight design, there are some intricacies, subtleties and so-on that you should be aware of before taking the plunge.

First, let’s talk about the front sight dovetail.

As mentioned, the front sight dovetail of CZ 75 pistols and many clones is longitudinal, meaning it runs front-to-back instead of side-to-side, with the front sight getting sandwiched between the slide and the barrel bushing.

Some sights come pre-milled with a roll pin slot and others do not. In the former case, you have to install the sight and then tap a hole through the base of the sight so the roll pin can be punched back in.

Trijicon H3 sights for CZ 75. Note the front sight has no roll pin slot, whereas the TruGlo set pictured previously does. Credit: Trijicon.com

Personally, I think it’s wisest to err on the side of caution and not have to drill out the roll pin slot. This much is up to you. After all, it’s only going to take you a few seconds with a drill bit. If you go this route, it’s strongly recommended that you use a drill press rather than a hand drill, but plenty of people have no issues with the latter.

As for installing handgun sights, some aftermarket sights will be too large to fit in the dovetail and will need to be polished to fit.

The general guideline is to polish the dovetail until it can fit at least one-third of the way into the slide dovetail with minimal pressure. What I’m going to recommend here is that you go a little beyond that if you’re installing a new sight for a CZ 75 pistol or any clone or iteration thereof with a similar sight dovetail. The front sight dovetail is the same design, but different dimensions, on the CZ P10 series, as well as the 75D PCR, SP-01 and others.

ESPECIALLY — AND I’M USING ALL CAPS FOR A REASON — IF YOU’RE INSTALLING A FIBER OPTIC FRONT SIGHT.

As I said, this is a record of a failure. I got to about one-third of the way into the dovetail and then tapped the sight the rest of the way in, whereupon this happened:

That’s a terrible photo, but note that the front of the site that holds the fiber optic tube isn’t there. Credit: Sam Hoober, TheTruthAboutGuns

The thing about those fiber optic sights, folks, is there’s not a lot of metal to them, so they can’t take much pounding. Hence, polish a little more material away to minimize the drifting needed to fully seat the sight in the dovetail. Not too much, but what seems necessary…plus a little bit more.

I’ve ordered a new front sight, so this problem will be remedied ASAP. TruGlo’s warranty is void if you install them yourself, so I’m hosed on that front.

Like I said. I figured I’d be able to do it myself without buying a small rubber mallet and just being gentle. Hubris and cheapskatery bit me in the keister, so let that be a lesson to me and hopefully to you, too, if you haven’t ever changed your own sights.

As for the rear sight, it turns out you really DO need a sight pusher. When I tried it with a standard claw hammer and a punch (with the slide in a vise), the rear sight didn’t move AT ALL.

Granted, just looking at the new sight picture with the fiber optic rod and the factory rear sights…I’m questioning whether I even want to install the rear sight at all. Just adding the FO front sight accomplishes most of what I wanted out of buying this set to begin with. I have a better sight picture for (hopefully) more accurate shooting.

However, I also know that I’ll need a pusher for changing the sights on any pistols I acquire in the future. Buy once, cry once.

Who cares about this crap? Well, a good number of people try to do things the DIY way with minimal tools. They figure, “Hell, it’s just a few taps with a hammer; I don’t need to buy X, Y, or Z.” It turns out, you really do.

Discuss amongst yourselves in the comments. Ridicule away if you feel you must.

comments

  1. avatar cgray says:

    I love how all you keyboard commandos who’ve never fired a shot in anger anguish over the sights on your handguns. From personal experience, you won’t even be looking at the gun, let alone the sights, while attempting to shoot Mr. Bad Guy. Oh, and try wearing brown pants, just to be on the safe side.

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Riiiiggghhhtt.

      Thanks Mr. Mitty, for lending us your vast “credentials” via the internet.

      We know you’ve been fully vetted and certified.

      I hope you are justly compensated for your service to the interweb.

    2. avatar CZQ says:

      Ok boomer. Some of us pistoleros compete with our firearms and fiber optic sights are definitely the way to go for well-lit/outdoor ranges.

      Thank you Mr. Hoover for your contribution, your timing is perfect. I literally just received a set of new sights of my CZ. Definitely gonna try and tap them in myself, but will heed your advice and make sure I remove just a tiny bit more material for the F.O. front.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Oh, that’s so cute. It learned to say a new word – boomer! By next week, it will be able to wipe its own @$$. Adorable!

    3. avatar Jasonm says:

      Do a lot of shooting in “anger” do you? There’s a valid point in there, but I do most of my shooting with a smile on face (if I’m hitting my targets at the range). I also tend to do things myself and like it look good. What’s wrong with that? Is it “anguish” I’m feeling when, as a carpenter, I want my solder joints to look like a plumber did it?

      That said, I like articles like this in general.

    4. avatar Rusty Nales says:

      Wow! Who pissed in your Cheerios this morning cgray? Just for the record, nobody has to be an “Operator” to have fun at the range or defend family &/or friends. I could give a rat sass whether I could hit head shots from 100 yds. With a 442 snub. Left handed. In the dark. I only need to stop a threat or put holes in paper.
      I’m not a watchmaker either but I was able to replace the battery in my iWatch without screwing anything up. If I was thinking about changing out the sights on my 75b I would definitely be grateful for the info presented here.

      Just my opinion. You have stated yours.

    5. avatar RGP says:

      You should try some chamomile tea to soothe the nerves.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        He might also try a soothing cracked ice enema.

    6. avatar Hannibal says:

      Imagine getting pissed that other people are slightly modifying their firearm to make it easier to aim with, of all the things to get mad about.

      ” FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, you won’t even be looking at the gun, let alone the sights, while attempting to shoot Mr. Bad Guy.” (emphasis mine) – Do you wanna talk about it, big guy?

      1. avatar cgray says:

        Stabbed abusive Dear Ol’ Dad to death when I was 17, shot one of Obama’s sons to death (with a $220 Taurus 85) when I was 38. Every reply proved my point.

        Perfectly.

        Idiots, one and all.

        1. avatar Specialist38 says:

          LMAO

          Dont forget that you beat Le Schiffe at Baccarat and strangled Dr. No in an airplane.

          Thank you for your service, Mr. Bond.

          Bwaaahhaaahhanahhaa.

        2. avatar Mike V says:

          Your points aren’t capable of being proven. You speculate about people you don’t know doing things that haven’t happened.

        3. avatar Someone says:

          Okay, tough guy, let’s say we believe you. So you now know what each and every one of us will do in any self defense situation, based on your vast experience of ONE case. Got it.
          What has stabbing anyone, abusive or not, to do with the use of sights?

        4. avatar SuspiciousFisherman says:

          This fucken guy made my day. Do you even own a gun youngin? Does your mommy know you have access to the internet? I’m a 34 year old boog with combat experience, and I’d love to meet you in person just so I can throat punch you for being full of shit. It’s like stolen valor but with guns. You are not one of us. Even the worst of us know you are full of shit. I hope you never comment here again, because anything you say will be ridiculed beyond your comprehension.

        5. avatar Dev says:

          Bullcrap. 100% total bullcrap. Thanks for proving you’re just a bad troll though. And a racist to boot.

        6. avatar RGP says:

          This is why there shouldn’t be internet access in the prison library.

        7. avatar DamnYankee says:

          Gecko45, is that you!?

          Can you please tell us the story of when you saved the mayors nephew from being sodomized by Chechen terrorists at the mall? Thats my favorite one.

      2. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        “Stabbed abusive Dear Ol’ Dad to death when I was 17, shot one of Obama’s sons to death (with a $220 Taurus 85) when I was 38.”

        Yeah, *right*.

        Prove it. Provide the links to the newspaper articles or police reports of your ‘experience’…

    7. avatar Shawn says:

      TTAG used to be a great place to get information and join in intelligent debates/discussions. Clearly not any more.

  2. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    I have an original CZ75 (not the B model) with the oval trigger guard, import markings of 1990 IIRC without digging it out of safe.
    I never like the sights at all and finally in the last couple of years sent it to Cajun Gun Works. Yes it’s been modified from original but it is better now.

    1. avatar Hush says:

      Being critical of the author doesn’t make sense. It is his gun, just as yours is yours, change what you want.

      1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

        I was not being critical, in fact I was agreeing with the writer in that the sights are yuck imho. I held of modifying mine because a. I had a silly thought it might go up in value and b. I knew I was not capable of doing a good job on that particular piece.
        I am much happier with it now and bet the writer is too.

        I am seldom and rarely critical of firearm posts….Politics is a different matter.

        1. avatar Hush says:

          Mr Jolly, I was speaking in general and had no specific poster in mind. It does appear to me that daily on TTAG some search for the smallest thing to launch a rant about and that particular mindset just doesn’t make sense to me. Often the rant really has nothing to do with the subject of the article. I was just making general comments based on my humble and noble observations vs learned and sage criticisms.

        2. avatar Manse Jolly says:

          Oh I see where the confusion is. Your post appeared under my original post as a reply to me….Which is why I took it to mean you were addressing my post…sorry about that.
          For posting in general skip to bottom of page to reply and not the reply to a specific post by a person. Is easier to follow conversations that way.
          No mister needed, Manse was a local hero who died a long time ago.

        3. avatar Mr Lucky says:

          “… some say his ghost still rides the woodland…”

  3. avatar Greg says:

    Serves you right for owning a commie designed Muslim built junk.

    1. avatar Napresto says:

      I can’t speak for Canik, but the CZ75 is a derivative of the Browning Hi Power, and an exceptional firearm. Your comment says a lot more about you than it does about either the brand or the design…

    2. avatar Ron says:

      Muslim built? CZ didn’t start out sourcing to turkey until recently.

      1. avatar Greg says:

        Buy Turkish guns support terrorists.🖕

      2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        methinks that only the shotties are ataturkistan.

    3. avatar Someone says:

      CZ pistols are manufactured in Uhersky Brod, Czech Republic 🇨🇿. Their newer shotguns, OTOH are rebranded Turkish products.

      Were brothers František and Josef Koucký commies? I find it very doubtful. In František’s personal evaluation from 1956 it is mentioned that he is not and never was politically organized and that he refused to join the Party even when proposed by communists in highest position, like ministers. Do you have any information to prove otherwise?

  4. avatar CDC says:

    I’m always willing to learn from my on and others successes and the “well that wasn’t a good idea after all” moments we’ve all had. I WILL save this article for future reference. Got to give a shout out to SOOTCH, I used one of his videos when I installed a set of Truglo TFX on my CZ 75B compact. It is true you need to use dummy rounds when dry firing the CZ 75. I can holster any handgun that I choose and the CZ 75B compact is on my hip now stoked with Federal HST 124 grain +P.
    Thanks for sharing Sam.

  5. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Why would anyone own a CZ 75 when they could own a Browing Hi-Power? Just kidding I like the CZ. A little bit.

    1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      Both are part of the “Wonder 9s” family, I guess the High Power was the first.
      I certainly would not turn one down, but have not seen or really looked for one in quite some time.
      Still, for carry, lighter is better IMO. The CZ fully loaded is heavier than my EDC. Fun to shoot though.

    2. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Ha. Because the CZ has a “snicky” safety and no mag safety to remove.

  6. avatar TommyJay says:

    Good article. I tried tapping the rear sight on my 75B and it would not budge. I only succeeded in marring the finish. I noticed on mine that the rear sight is “staked” with a tiny center punch dent just in front of the sight.

    So I took it to a gunsmith with instructions on how much to move it. No charge. But it shot exactly the same from a bench rest. Repeat process. Still no charge. Second time was the charm.

  7. avatar Tired of the bs says:

    My p-01 with aluminum frame feels considerably lighter than the steel ones I’ve shot. Fits my hands well and I’ve grown to like the da/sa trigger with decocker only. About same dimensions as a g19 with a mach better grip angle imho.

  8. avatar Tsay Nguyen says:

    Does anyone have any experience with the inexpensive sight pushers you can find on amazon in the $40-$60 price range?

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      Someone in TTAG reported awhile back that they were made of *plastic*.

      Does that answer the question?

      1. avatar Tsay Nguyen says:

        The one I was looking at was supposed to be made of aluminum. Pretty good reviews, but I would trust a TTAG poster whose opinion I respect a lot more than some random on amazon. Oh well, it isn’t much money. I’ll probably just read more reviews, try to find one that’s made in USA and take my chances. Thanks.

  9. avatar Mack The Knife says:

    Great article. I haven’t played with my CZ, but, I have tapped out a few sights, however, I’ve also had those that I’d have to take to the range and use their pusher. Being cheap is not a bad thing as long as you know where you can find what you need when you need it.
    My quest is to find a front sight that will fit over the front sight of my Makarov and my M9A1. Big sight or Fat sight makes one that fits over a shotgun bead and epoxys in place. Wish they could extend the line to machined pistol sights.

  10. avatar 3-D says:

    I believe the article should make it clear that you thin down the dovetail of the sight with a triangular file to fit it into the dovetail on the gun. Do not modify the dovetail on the gun beyond cleaning it.

    Lubrication is important when removing dovetailed sights. A penetrating lube like Kroil or PB Blast will help the sight slide out much easier.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      “I believe the article should make it clear that you thin down the dovetail of the sight with a triangular file to fit it into the dovetail on the gun. Do not modify the dovetail on the gun beyond cleaning it.”

      That is an *excellent* point.

      I suspect part of the problem the author experienced may have been that the gun wasn’t a CZ, but of a clone, and the clone manufacturer didn’t cut the dovetail the same way CZ did the machining on their gun…

  11. avatar Someone says:

    I own no CZs, but my Tanfoglio Witness Stock (CZ75 clone) likes to lose front sights. Instead of a roll pin, the Italians decided to relegate the sight retaining duty to a very small set screw that installs from inside of the slide and pushes the flat bottomed front sight up. After the second lost front sight I drilled a little dimple to accept the tip of the set screw and used red thread locker. I also stopped polishing the sight’s bottom as soon as I could start it into the groove and hammered it in. My hammering skills must be better or mayby I just got lucky – it is still in one piece and doesn’t move at all.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      Red threadlocker? Yikes.

      Why wouldn’t have the blue stuff been good enough, in your opinion?

      1. avatar Someone says:

        It might have worked just fine, but I don’t plan to change the sight again, so I went with the permanent one. If it ever gets damaged, I still can get it out after heating it a bit.

  12. avatar JW says:

    From someone else who has also replaced cz75 sights, another tip, learned the hard way.

    The front sights are not all the same height – at the factory they will install the sight that gives the most correct elevation. Make damn sure that whatever new front sight you buy has the same height as the one you are replacing, otherwise you will have a gun that no longer shoots to point of aim.

  13. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    People should be careful around certain bits and parts on guns, especially those made from aluminum.

    Aluminum is OK stuff, but for one issue: It work hardens. After it work-hardens, it becomes very brittle.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      “Aluminum is OK stuff, but for one issue: It work hardens. After it work-hardens, it becomes very brittle.”

      I discovered that a few months back when I attempted to bore out an aluminum Surefire flashlight to accept a larger diameter 18650 battery. I tried emery paper on a steel rod and used the china drill press at a moderate speed to do the enlarging.

      It started off like gangbusters, started developing a nice pile of grindings. After awhile, the pile of grindings refused to grow larger. So I tried to get that last .75 mm with a drill bit, and the threaded end of barrel shattered on me.

      *Mutter* 🙁

      I then discovered I could have bought a LiPo battery the same diameter of the 123A batteries, and exactly twice as long. An exact, drop-in 3.7 v replacement.

      The battery is a 16650 size battery, and it drops into a standard 18650 battery charger.

      They are not that expensive, either :

      https://www.orbtronic.com/16650-li-ion-battery-rechargeable-protected

  14. avatar carolpshort says:

    This is the best and most financially rewarding job I’ve ever had. I actually started this few Weeks ago and almost immediately started to bring home minimum 74BUCKS p/h. I use details from this Address…. http://www.­6.gp/a72HQ

  15. avatar jakee308 says:

    I used to have the same view; special tools aren’t really necessary for most jobs.

    Wrong. As I got older and had more things go wrong plus I became a little less concerned about cost and I started to buy the special tools and lo and behold doing things became a whole lot easier with fewer problems and thus lowered cost.

    What’s the cost of a rubber or plastic headed hammer and a set of pin drivers compared to the cost of a new sight?

    When I started to cost things out is when I started buying the right tool for the job and actually reading the directions and with the IOAT actually reading what other folks have done and why.

    You unfortunately are a negative experience lesson. Do better next time.

    Plus guys are supposed to love tools.

  16. avatar Tired of the bs says:

    I must confess to being a tool whore. I seem to collect them like some people collect pennies. Just wish good ones were that cheap.

  17. avatar Docduracoat says:

    I bought the crimson trace laser grips for my CZ 75.
    They work great!
    Even with a silencer, I still have a red dot where the hole will go.

  18. avatar coffeemonster says:

    better article than some regular contributors. I was surprised how small the factory CZ irons were, too.

  19. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    i dislike the factory sights.
    it’s good to know how they are removed, thankyou.

  20. avatar JWCC says:

    My Cz is a P10 C and is very accurate. I don’t especially like the rear sight, so I bought a set of touch up pens inexpensive, with 3 colours, red white and black.
    Painted the rear white and that improved a lot. For me..The pens tip is the right size for the dots.

  21. avatar RoverSig says:

    A nylon tipped punch — they can be purchased from Dawson Precision can help with the rear right. I would not used a steel punch or even a punch made of brass for fear of marking the sight or the slide. See – https://dawsonprecision.com/dawson-precision-sight-installation-tools/

    But as the author mentioned, a sight pusher is the best. It helps to tape the slide up a bit to prevent the slide pusher to mark it where it grips.

    It also helps to use a very light oil (Kroil penetrating oil or Marvel Mystery Oil) to saturate around the rear sight for a couple of hours before attempting to move it. And, putting the slide in the freezer will cause the metal to shrink, which might make it a bit easier to push out the sight.

    If you have to drill the front sight for the pin, it helps a lot to buy a new good quality drill bit.

  22. avatar RoverSig says:

    By the way, Dawson Precision makes sights for the CZ-75, as does Trijicon (Bright and Tough Sights), both of which are a lot better than the factory sights. Fiber Optic front sights can work really well, in good lighting, but some folks worry they are one of the first things to break on a pistol that is in hard service. If your get a chance, try a gold bead front sight — they may be the best front sight across all conditions.

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