Courtesy CZ USA
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CZ pistols are known for excellent ergonomics, great reliability and accuracy, and some  smart features. Most of them aren’t terrifically expensive, so you can get a darn good gun for almost any purpose for not too much in purchase price.

They’re also fairly unique, in that most CZ pistols are hammer-fired DA/SA semi-autos. Though they’ve branched out into poly-striker guns in recent years, CZ has largely stuck to the older, tried and true operating system.

CZ pistols have won national and international pistol competitions, have served as police and military duty pistols around the world. They make some awfully good concealed carry guns.

While one could rattle off a Top 10 or Top 6 or 7 pretty easily, here are my three favorites. You might disagree with them, you may have your own favorites and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, sound off in the comments about them! But here we go:

CZ 75D PCR Compact

The CZ 75D PCR is arguably one of the best DA/SA pistols for concealed carry, and served as the official service pistol of the Czech Republic for a time. (PCR stands for “Police Czech Republic.”)

It’s essentially an improved CZ 75 Compact with an alloy frame rather than steel (bringing unloaded weight down to around 28 ounces instead of 32 ounces) and a de-cocking lever instead of a manual safety.

The CZ 75D has a 3.7-inch barrel, holding 14+1 of 9mm. The overall dimensions are broadly similar to a GLOCK 19, standing 7.24 inches long by 5.03 inches tall by 1.38 inches wide at the controls. However, the width is misleading; while the grips/controls bring the width to nearly 1.4 inches, it’s only about 1 inch wide across the frame and has about a half-inch of beavertail at the end of the frame, so it’s sleeker than the numbers suggest.

The 75D PCR and the P01 (same gun with a railed frame) have CZ’s trademark ergonomics, making them fantastically comfortable and easy to shoot, but feature a decocking lever where the thumb safety would be.  Unlike the decocker/safety of a Beretta or the decocking lever of Sig Sauer pistols, it’s easily operated with the shooting hand thumb, which makes them some of the easiest pistols of the type to operate. The trigger is very decent, with minimal stacking in the DA pull and not too much creep in SA mode.

MSRP is just over $600, but you can find them for $575-ish from many dealers. Sure, it’s an older operating system, but darned if it isn’t a very solid CCW pistol for the price paid.



However, even I understand that polymer has its benefits too, which is why my second is the CZ P10C.

The CZ P10C was created for the XM17 trials. Like every other gun created to get a crack at the contract, it’s a polymer-frame striker-fired pistol, but when it was obvious CZ wasn’t in the running, they thought they’d release it anyway…and it’s slowly but surely getting more fans in the civilian realm.

Basically, it’s like a GLOCK 19, with a 4-inch barrel and 15+1 capacity, with similar dimensions. A number of people have tipped it as a GLOCK killer, and frankly it’s got a heck of a lot going for it. It has a lot of the typical striker gun features, like ambidextrous controls, swappable backstrap panels and a railed frame for a laser/light.

What sets the P10C apart from the pack are a few of the details. It has CZ’s grip angle and ergonomics, along with a deep frame backstrap giving the shooter a naturally high, tight grip. The trigger is one of the better go pedals on striker pistols, with a light, crisp break and short, audible and tactile reset, close to the PPQ in terms of quality. If I had any criticisms, it would be that the grip stippling is aggressive, but better too rough than too slippery. After all, it’s made to be a duty weapon.

The price is nice at $499 MSRP (more like $460 retail) so they’re very competitively priced.

Lastly, we’re going upscale.



The CZC A01-LD is one of CZ’s competition pistols, and it’s almost without peer in quality. Granted, it’s solely the province only of well-heeled or sponsored professionals, with a price tag of $2,247.

They’re made by the CZ USA Custom Shop (that’s why it’s CZC), and while they certainly aren’t for the casual shooter, it is – as far as I am concerned – the finest double-action semi-automatic pistol made. If they get any better, I don’t know how.

The AO1-LD is built for serious shooting, with a solid, full-length frame and match-grade bull barrel to tame recoil. The back and front of the grip housing have 25 LPI checkering for the utmost in grippiness. Target sights (fiber optic front, black steel rear ramp) are standard, and it ships with two 19+1 magazines as it’s made for use with CZ P-09 mags.

The trigger is simply sublime. The double-action press is about 8 lbs, with no creep or stacking; smooth as a baby’s butt covered in olive oil. The single-action press is as crisp as a glass wafer breaking, which happens at about 3.5 lbs. and with impossibly little travel.

It’s hard to capture the difference in words between a Wilson Combat or Les Baer pistol and a decent factory 1911 pistol made by, say, Colt or Springfield Armory. I can tell you about it, waxing lyrical about clearances, tolerances, hand-fitting and the like, but it’s difficult to appreciate the difference until you’ve held one in your hand.

That’s much the same difference between the standard CZ 75, which is still an excellent pistol, and the A01-LD. I’ve been lucky enough to handle some properly fine handguns, shotguns and rifles. The A01-LD is about as good as handguns get.

Obviously, this is a short list. Honorable mentions for the standard CZ 75, the CZ 75BD – the de-cocker model of the CZ 75 – the CZ P07 – a polymer-frame DA/SA compact with their Omega trigger system – the CZ 75 Shadow, and the P-09, the P-07’s bigger brother, and the CZ P-10F, the full-size version of the P-10C.

Like this list? Hate it? Convinced designated hitters are good for the game? (You’re wrong.) Sound off in the comments.

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    • I only have one and it is the humble CZ/VZ82 in 9×18 Mak. I do like it, but would love to have a CZ75.

      • I finally found one of my grail guns, the CZ 83 (in .32acp which is of course, the most rare one). Just got it from my FFL last week. Hoping to take it out this weekend.

        • I do like my CZ82 in 9mm Mak and my 83 in .380. Aww, heck, I also enjoy my CZ’s 50 and 70 in .32. A real hoot to shoot is my CZ52 in 7.62×25. ALL of them are very reliable, steel firearms that just feel good in the hand.

        • Geoff, it is relatively large for a mouse gun, but that extra mass and full, comfortable grip make for very nice shooting experience.

          You need to remember that the dinky .32ACP was considered a perfect police cartridge for most of the last century in Europe, where it is known under its 7.65 Browning alias.

      • I have a CZ75B. It is like cheat mode for pistol shooting. It makes me look much better than I really am. The only thing wrong with it is that I live in NY, so it has shameful 10 round magazines, instead of proper ones. If I ever escape this state, that will be one of the first things I improve about my life.

  1. I’ve got a Shadow 2 fully upgraded by Cajun Gun Works and it is simply AMAZING. The single action and reset is virtually imperceptible and the double is so smooth it makes a S&W trigger feel like a Glock (ok maybe not quite). Definitely my favorite pistol to take to the range and I’ve got just over $1400 into it. I wonder if the A01LD is truly worth an extra grand or if diminishing returns come into play at this point. Hopefully I can shoot one some day!

    • The CZ TS 2 Blue is single action only. When you put this gun in your hand, you don’t want to lay it down. And that single action——–butter smooth. I love that CZ A01-LD but it felt like a brick (weight) really surprised me. But you are right, the A01-LD is a bullet proof beast.

    • “You forgot the unicorn 2075 rami d.”

      I fucked up when buying my CZ RAMI.

      I wanted the RAMI BD (de-cocker instead of safety) but ordered the plain CZ 2075.

      It’s still mostly-OK, though. I just have to pay very close attention when lowering the hammer, and its ‘spur’ is nice and big and rounded. Lots of ‘grip’.

      This is going to be (most likely) AIWB, and I won’t carry a striker-fired gun in that location. I want a long and heavy DAO on the first shot, and so far in dry firing, I like what I find with the RAMI.

      I’m a new CZ Fan-Boy in training…

      • hammer down safety off same thing. some fret about that hammer drop.
        coming from hi powers i treat ’em as single actions. if i didn’t want a safety i’d get a dao.

    • Just order it on Gun Broker, that’s what I did. Love it. You know it’s special as soon as you pick it up.

  2. a dizzying array of alphabet soup designations. railed or not, steel or alloy frame, upswept beavertail on some, hammer block safety on some, da/ sa, sao, manual or decock, original or omega trigger.
    worth noting that the p10 does not utilize the slide in frame design. a trigger pull is required for takedown.
    they don’t make a 10mm or a single stack. yet.
    any of the phantom/ shadow/ czechmate stuff is nice.
    for carry my three would be a rami, a compact (or po1) and the ugly as sin p07, as it’s a hammer fired poly.

  3. I have only one modern CZ, the PO1. Compact with rail and finished in the green (whatever they call it). 14 rd magazines and big dot contrast sights. Very nice pistol. I also have and like the old CZ52.

    • Love my P-01. My first pistol, and my favorite to shoot and first gun I ever bought, is my SP-01 Tactical.

    • My wife shoots a P-01. They are nice, my only complaint is the damn decocker – those are a PITA to work on, and pointless, IMO.

    • The Czech Republic supports the right to keep and bear arms more than Massachusetts (S&W) or New York (Remington) does.

    • I’m usually of the same opinion Enuf, but the Czech Republic is probably the only other country (now) That has a constitutional right to bear arms in law, practice and culture. I think it’s if we buy some of their stuff and support a rare fellow RTKBA nation.

    • Many of the new production guns I’ve seen lately from any manufacturer regardless of country of origin have lacked attention to detail and have been disappointing. I end up sending out nearly all of my newly purchased guns for work to get them right. Most times I’ve issued complaints under warranty, they are brushed off by claims that “it’s cosmetic” and not covered. I am picky granted, but It’s kind of disgusting how little care money buys nowadays. You have to really pay to get something the likes of what could be had right out of the box in the past. Even Wilson Combat seems to have taken short cuts. The last couple of handguns I bought from WIlson were not as nice as the ones I bought 5 or 6 years ago. It was little things I noticed, like the “armor tuff” spray on finish they use is being applied thinner (or has been reformulated) and wears off very quickly with normal handling and holstering etc. Ridiculous. In my opinion, the semi-custom 1911 people that seem to be maintaining excellence consistently is Nighthawk. I’ve been very satisfied with stuff I’ve sent in. They are using modern finishes like nitride and they don’t cut corners. The modern firearms industry seems to be cranking out more and more cheap tupperware 9mil this and that because it sells and is inexpensive to produce. Real quality however, is becoming more and more boutique and had only at a super premium.

    • Well you are certainly giving up on a lot of really cool and interesting guns there, Enuf. Not a collector or a history buff, I guess…

    • Want a CZ made in the USA? Check out the CZ-USA P-10 series (the ones with “CZ-USA” instead of “CZ” in the model number).
      “After several years of hard work, production of CZ pistols is in full swing at our Kansas City headquarters. The CZ-USA P-10 Optics-Ready is available in the full-size F, compact C and subcompact S. For sights, US-made P-10s feature a single tritium lamp in the front with a large orange surround and a serrated black rear.”

  4. I like the 75 B with the omega trigger. That is a nice trigger in my opinion. I had a P-10 full size and got rid of it. I just couldn’t like that pistol. I tried to like it and shot it quite a bit, but I traded it in for a S&W M&P.

      • I might eventually go around to the 97 model. Recently picked up a 75 B 2018 model in .40, last production year as the .40 75 B is now discontinued. Happy with it, excellent condition, and was one I had been keeping my eye out for. I feed 8 different calibers right now and don’t need to at .45 acp to my roster just yet.

  5. I had a number of them, but ended up offloading all of them overtime. Great ergonomically, and they all shot well. Had a couple of RAMI’s, a pcr, a p01, several standard cz75b’s, a 97, and a couple of SP01’s. I’d put the Sp01 up there as one of the best full size 9mm handguns EVER. However, there were some issues for me. The 97 was something I desperately wanted, but after getting one it shot well but the trigger reach was too long, even for my size large hands. I thought about installing the shorter reach trigger, but as a whole for the 75 platform, the dear cage with all of its springs and tiny parts terrified me! I’d like to try out an Omega some day to see how they compare in ease of disassembly/reassembly. I also had to replace the hammer pin on six different guns with Cajun gun works pins as they would shear through from dry firing

    • For dry firing a CZ DA/SA pistol without using snap caps, a lot of people put a rubber o-ring between the hammer and firing pin. A size #83, 3/8 inch, or 1/2 inch o-ring works well.

    • It’s not the hammer pin that shears, it’s the firing pin block pin found in “B” models. The Cajun replacement works just fine, but better yet get a Shadow, as it has no firing pin block.
      Also, Omega triggers suck – they’re stacked stamped metal and are not very tuneable – the only benefit is to be able to go from safety to decocker and back, and since decockers suck anyway, best to stick with the best DA/SA trigger on the planet – the standard CZ-75.

  6. The P-01 used to be one of the few pistols available that had passed the NATO torture testing. They recently changed one of the springs and so can’t claim that the current unit is certified.

    • Just got another CZ, and like yours it’s the CZ75 P01, in green with the NATO NSN engraved on the side. Awesome pistol. Not quite as awesome as my CZ85 combat, but close.

  7. Why no mention of the Omega Polymer pistol the P-07?

    I own a full size CZ 75 and a compact steel frame CZ pistol. This series of pistol has an extremely long trigger reach even for people who have long fingers like myself.

    Inside the frame there is a Philips head screw which does not sit easy with me either. The frame is made of a casting not a forging.

    The double action trigger pull is nothing to write home about and the single action pull is gritty as well.

    The CZ 75 pistols are difficult to rack the slide because the slide is tucked into the frame, not a good idea in an emergency situation where one has to rack the slide under pressure and quickly.

    The feed ramp is steep because this is an old technology pistol. This is not conducive to reliable feeding with all types of expanding bullets especially flying ash tray shaped bullets.

    The frame being made of steel makes this gun very heavy to carry.

    When I bought my compact a number of years ago they did not furnish them with factory installed night sights either. Another thumbs down.

    The aluminum frame version of the compact model (not the steel framed compact) cannot have its cheap plasticky junk op rod replaced with a steel op rod or it will damage the aluminum frame. The plasticky op rod on my compact model was a complete joke and even bent at a 45 degree angle when I racked the slide. A real piece of shit so I replace it with a stainless rod.

    The newer CZ 75’s were cheapened also by eliminating the firing pin stop plate to save on machining costs. The firing pin is now in its cheapened version held in by a worthless sheet metal roll pin which promptly breaks when you dry fire the gun. CZ even gave me a bag full of snap caps so I would not break this worthless roll pin.

    On the compact version the sighting radius is way shorter than on my Glock 19 and therefore not as accurate to shoot.

    I had originally bought the compact model to carry but its excessive weight, too short a sighing radius, long trigger reach, lack of factory installed night sights ,steep feed ramp and difficult to rack slide made me relegate it to another one of my mistakes when buying a combat pistol. I should dump this gun but so far have not, it just sits in my safe and collects dust. A big thumbs down for a carry gun. The full size gun is a nice range toy or possible home defense gun.

    I might add that I originally bought the full size model 75 decades ago because of all the bullshit the gun writers wrote on how this was the 8th wonder of the combat pistol world and at the time there were few in the country because of a ban on importation from its country of origin which later changed letting them come in. To say I was disappointed when I finally was able to purchase one would be an understatement. I remember even Jeff Cooper praised the gun when it was unavailable in the U.S. but when was Cooper ever right on any of the bullshit he wrote about. A big thumbs down on this gun.

    • Take down is difficult on this gun because the slide release lever is a real bastard to try and pry out of this gun.

      • There’s a cure for that, it involves filing down the edge where the spring in the frame engages on the take-down pin. Taking the sharp edge off makes the pin easier to push through to break the gun down.

        It still isn’t easy on mine, but at least now I don’t need to use a tool to push the pin through…

      • For take-down, the manual states that you should smack the protruding steel button on the side opposite the lever, with the steel bottom of a magazine. Unfortunately, my CA legal gun comes with plastic bottomed mags.

        The solution is simple. Just take a nickel or quarter out of your pocket and press it onto the release button.

        • I just use the plastic base on my NY sad sack mags, and that actually seems to work fine. Plus the plastic doesn’t damage the finish of the gun, which not everyone cares about (but I do).

        • “The solution is simple. Just take a nickel or quarter out of your pocket and press it onto the release button.”

          That’s what I’m doing, and it only gets it half the way there. I still need to push something under the slide release, to lever it away from the frame…

    • CZ is not the only company that has taken cost cutting measures and dramatically cheapened what they produce. I have been disappointed by nearly every new purchase I’ve made as of late. Often It is stuff that gets noticed only after the gun comes home. Past brand reputation for quality means absolutely nothing now, quality control everywhere is just generally horrendous. Things that would have never been acceptable in the past are now considered pretty customary with production firearms. It’s very frustrating, but things will probably just continue to decline.

    • Hey Tommy,

      Wash the sand out of your vagina and man up. You lost any points when you mentioned Glock.

      CZ FTW

  8. Problem with the PCR is the stupid decocker instead of a saftey. Really wish CZ would build an alloy frame, no stupid rail, compact with the traditional trigger group.

    Third gun is actually built by CZ Custom, not CZ. It’s an independent company in Mesa AZ, affiliated with, but not owned by CZ.

    • “Really wish CZ would build an alloy frame, no stupid rail, compact with the traditional trigger group.”

      That *exact* gun is the CZ 2075 RAMI, dude. Aluminum alloy frame, no rail, and compact. Conventional trigger.

      The de-cocker version is the 2075 RAMI BD…

    • Mark H- agree completely. Compact, alloy frame, safety not decock. Rail or no rail- doesn’t really matter to me.

      • The P-01 Omega is essentially vaporware. Not a single CZ dealer in the state has been able to get one since they were announced several years ago.

        Also the Omega can’t be swaped to SAO the way the traditional trigger group can with an SAO trigger from Cajun or CZC.

    • The PCR is the way it is because that’s what Policie Ceske Republiky specified. They wanted the rail and decocker. Safety on DA/SA doesn’t make much sense.

  9. Some say, that CZ owners smell like garlic hummus and that they have a weekly get together where they read books from Betty Friedan and drink Franzia boxed wine. All we know them as is the CZ hipster mafia.

  10. I looked at the CZ when they became more widely available in the mid 80’s, if I recall correctly. It seemed like a well made pistol. I thought to myself, “If I had this pistol I would only carry it in Condition 1. I’ll stick with a Browning Hi-Power.” Of course, it was academic. I carried a 1911.

      • Drew, it’s not a Hi-Power. Double action autos are an answer looking for a question. I get the model you refer to is SAO, but we already had a superior one. Why purchase a lesser one?

        • love my p35’s. not as robust as the cz’s. i consider the slide in frame superior.
          second strike if you need it. feed ramp ready for anything.

  11. You forgot the greatest pistol in the world ever: the Scorpion Evo 3 S1.

    Now if I could only find a holster for this damned thing…

  12. I remember thinking that MAYBE I could get enough together for CZ75 several years ago. I couldn’t really find any bad press on them, I dig all metal, I like duty-type firearms. My first was a used 75B in matte stainless. Then a BD Police. And a PCR, the only new one. Eventually a 75B Omega, for which I traded a PT92! The BD and PCR wear matching Pachmayr grips, and look like big brother and little bro. The silver beast went full barbecue gun with half-checkered wood grips and a matte stainless, CZ-engraved mag base plate, and the Omega has finger-groove Hogues. Also, if you don’t have any CZ 26 round mags, GET SOME! Big fun at the range and reliable.

  13. Heck, I have a PCR PRO I bought from CGR and 2 P01’s I purchased and installed the PRO upgrades myself…..I think that means I really do like the CZ Compacts….Hell yes…

  14. No mention of the CTS 40’s????

    These guns shoot faster than I can. Dead on accurate, reliable as the sunrise.

    I also have a Shadow Line Compact for carry and as much as Inlove my 1911’s, these CZ’s are some of the finest production tuns made and the custom shop and CAjun gun works guns are even better.

    Hi cap, fast, solid, reliable…….what’s not to love?????

  15. I was bitten by the CZ bug, I’ve bought a Rami BD, P07, CZ75D Omega, a SBR Scorpion Evo and while not a cz per say I also have a century Vz2008.

  16. I was given a new in-the-box CZ 75 by a good friend who did not want it in her house. Her late husband purchased it in ’86 when they were assigned in Germany. Never fired and is pristine, and I would like to keep this quality piece of history as-is. It really does ‘hold’ superbly. I like the CZ 75D PCR above and just may get one someday to see how well they shoot.

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