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(This post is an entry in our spring content contest. If you’d like a chance to win a Beretta APX pistol, click here for details.) 

By Nick Frollini

As a relatively recent (c. 2013) convert to Gun Culture 2.0 (sorry, Mom), I have found myself searching high and low for The One True EDC Gun. It’s a search known to many gun owners; this firearm is too small, this firearm is too big, this firearm doesn’t fit my hand, and so on and so forth. Of course, we eventually learn that carrying a gun involves compromises: capacity, sight radius, caliber, weight, comfort. And yet some of us keep searching….

In Search Of…

I’d made my way through several of the striker-fired 9mm pistols (Ruger SR9C, S&W Shield, Glock 19, then a Glock 26 and Glock 43 in quick succession, then back to a Glock 19, and then down to a Springfield XD-S) and even entered the DA/SA world with a Sig P225-A1, but I still felt a bit like Goldilocks searching for a bowl of porridge that was “just right”.

Complicating my search was a decision to explore appendix carry (yes, yes, I know), which meant that what I really wanted was a lightweight, easy to conceal, relatively high capacity, 9mm firearm with a hammer that could be thumbed down during reholstering to provide an extra layer of security (no, that’s not an excuse for bad pistol handling, just an acceptance of the fact that stuff happens).

I was ready to compromise yet again by going back to my Glock 19, this time with a Glock Gadget striker block from Tau Development, when I had a chance to try a friend’s CZ P-01 at the range right after Christmas.

Enter The CZ 75

Now, I was familiar with the CZ brand – I own a P-07 and a delightfully fun Scorpion Evo Carbine – but I had never fired a CZ 75 variant before picking up my friend’s P-01. In a word: Wow.

The ergonomics were amazing, the recoil was non-existent, the DA/SA trigger was quite nice, and the stock sights were a flaming pile of luminescent garbage. I was sold, mostly. But I knew two things: 1) I was going to purchase a gun in this family of firearms, and 2) I was going to have it worked on by a competent gunsmith to (at the very least) replace those awful sights. (I suck at installing sights. Seriously. My OCD demands that things be perfectly centered and that can be challenging, even with a good sight pusher and a set of digital calipers).

After a bit of research, I didn’t purchase the P-01 but, rather, its “slightly better for concealed carry because it lacks a rail” brother the CZ 75D PCR Compact from the masters of CZ gunsmithing at Cajun Gun Works.

The PCR is, more or less, an alloy-framed version of the venerable CZ 75D Compact, a 9mm recoil-operated DA/SA pistol with a standard capacity of 14+1 in a double stack magazine. The alloy frame reduces the weight by a quarter-pound over its all-steel forefather.

The firearm has a 3.75” cold hammer forged barrel, a safety stop on the hammer, a firing pin block safety, and a loaded chamber indicator on top of the serrated-to-reduce-glare steel slide which provides a visual and tactile reminder of the camber’s status. This is useful because, as with most CZ pistols, the “slide rides inside the frame” construction – which makes for an exceptionally low bore axis and a high degree of accuracy – means that it can be a bit challenging to do a press check, even with the nicely made forward cocking serrations.

And it’s not just the slide that is classic CZ. The ergonomics on this pistol are incredible. The backstrap curves gracefully up to a pronounced beavertail that enables you to comfortably get a high grip on the firearm.

The stock grips are a stippled rubber that are nice and fill the hand well, although I quickly replaced mine with a slightly thinner set of G10 grips from VZ Grips. (I also changed out the wood screws that CZ uses to attach the grips to the frame – seriously, they look like they came from aisle 17 of the local Home Depot).

All of this is to say that while the PCR weighs 27.5 oz unloaded – about four ounces more than an unloaded Glock 19 – it somehow feels lighter in the hand. It’s comfortable to hold, points very naturally, and is a dream to shoot. Fit and finish are terrific.

For spec geeks, the firearm has an overall length of just under 7.25”, a height of just more than 5”, and a width of 1.38 inches. Controls are not particularly friendly for southpaws, but you already knew that.

The firearm is finished in CZ’s black polycoat, which gives it a nice, satin-like look. While it ships with two 14-round beautifully blued steel magazines (which look to be made by Mec-Gar), it can use larger CZ 75 16-round magazines without issue. MSRP is $599.

Field stripping the pistol is as you would expect for a CZ: drop the magazine and check the chamber, retract the slide to the point at which the alignment marks on the slide and frame meet (pro-tip, putting the hammer at half-cock makes this considerably easier); flip the firearm over; using your third hand press out the takedown/slide-stop pin with the underside of a magazine; allow the slide to move forward; remove the recoil spring (which is not captive); lift out the barrel. Done and done.

N.B.: It came to me wet and I’ve run it wet, so you’ll forgive the copious amounts of grease on the rails in the photo.

Now, the PCR isn’t all sunshine and rainbows out of the box. As I alluded to earlier, the stock sights are atrocious. We’re talking almost as bad as the dovetail protectors that Gaston ships with his pistols, although these are at least made out of steel.

For reasons known only to the “Police Czech Republic” – the organization for which the gun was originally produced and from which its name was derived– the rear sight sits forward on the slide. While this reduces the sight radius a bit, it’s aesthetically just…odd.

The stock sights are steel, snag-free (no emergency manipulations with that rear sight), and feature a standard 3-dot configuration, painted with awful, terrible, no good luminous green paint.

An odd curve at the bottom of the rear sight creates a “shelf” below the dots and is distracting as all get out. [See TTAG’s excellent review of the P-01 if you doubt me]. I knew from firing my friend’s stock P-01 (which is the same gun with a rail at the front), that I was going to hate them… And then there are those grip screws.


I mentioned at the start of this article that I purchased my PCR from Cajun Gun Works (CGW). This conveyed the advantage of availability (the PCR, like several popular CZ pistols, can be hard to find on store shelves) and of ordering the gun customized to my liking.

To their credit, CGW requires you to call them to place an order for a firearm. While you can order many of their custom springs, triggers, and other parts on their website, they want to talk to you to discuss your firearm and make sure that you are getting what you want. I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with David (one of the owners) to talk about my PCR.

I ended up adding their “Defensive Carry Package” – which replaces quite a few of the internals, polishes them up nicely, and includes a trigger tuning; a set of PCR-specific night sights developed for CGW by Dawson Precision; and a stainless steel guide rod to add a bit of weight up front.

All in, the firearm with the custom work cost just over $1k and took about ten weeks to ship from the time I placed the order. So what did that get me (other than a bunch of extra parts neatly wrapped when CGW sent the PCR to my FFL)?

Well…it got me a firearm with the nicest DA/trigger that I have ever used. The CGW trigger work resulted in a silky smooth 7.4 lb. DA pull with almost no slack, and a crisp, 1911-like 3.6 lb. SA pull with no over-travel to speak of and a tactile/audible reset on the order of 3 or 4 mm.

I’ll go out on a limb here and say that as good as the Sig Sauer P229 Legion trigger is as compared to a stock P229, the CGW trigger work in the PCR makes it that much better than the trigger in the Legion. Not even kidding. It’s jaw-droppingly good.

The Dawson Precision night sights are also terrific. They are three-dot, tritium sights, but the front vial has a larger white outline and is slightly bigger overall than the rear vials which, combined with a generous notch in the back, makes for quick sight acquisition. The rear slight is serrated to reduce glare. They are a bit sleeker than the stock sights (still no emergency manipulations) and look terrific.

At the Range

The PCR performed wonderfully at the range. It ate every brand, weight, and type of ammunition that I fed it without issue or malfunction. While I am not an experienced or competitive shooter, I managed on the order of sub-2” groups at 7 yards; that’s as close to a tack driver as I’m ever going to get.

Recoil was all but non-existent (thanks to the low bore-axis), so getting the sights back on target was fairly effortless, and the exceptionally good trigger made follow-on shots easy. The controls were all right where they should be and easy to operate, at least if you’re right-handed.

Aftermarket Support

While the PCR is dovetailed for standard CZ 75 sights, the slide has an odd cut out below the stock rear sight which means that sights not specifically made for the firearm may look a bit out of place.

A handful of firms, including CGW, are offering custom PCR-specific sights in a variety of configurations, but it’s still a niche product – so if you have a favorite “must have” set of sights, you may not be able to find them for this firearm.

I should also take a moment and talk about holsters…because who purchases a new firearm and doesn’t immediately order a couple of holsters that will eventually end up in the “drawer of misfit holsters” later?

The PCR is more-or-less a CZ 75D Compact…but the slide profile is ever-so-slightly different. This means that kydex holsters made for a CZ 75D probably won’t fit, but leather holsters probably will.

Kydex holsters made for the CZ P-01 will also probably fit (with just a bit of extra space up front). Luckily, a number of holster manufacturers support the PCR, including Werkz, JW Custom, StealthGear USA, and Cook’s Holsters – so you have options – despite the fact that some manufacturers (I’m looking at you T-Rex Arms) don’t support this firearm.

I’ve settled (mostly) on an AIWB rig from Werkz, slightly customized with parts from HolsterCo, and have an OWB holster from StealthGear (which only recently announced PCR support) on the way.

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability: * * * * *
100% flawless operation with everything from cheap range ball ammunition to defensive rounds with odd geometries. It just works.

Ergonomics: * * * * *
The CZ 75 is renowned for its ergonomics, and the PCR is no exception. While the backstrap is fixed, the lines work well for shooters with varying hand sizes and the replacable grips mean you can get as much purchase on the firearm as you like. The low bore-axis makes shooting a breeze.

Accuracy: * * * * *
The gun shoots better than I do, which I know isn’t saying all that much, but with an excellent trigger and terrific sights, it’s easy for even an inexperienced shooter to impress at the range.

Aftermarket Support: * *
Here’s where the gun falls a bit short. Grips are plentiful (if it fits a CZ 75 Compact, it fits the PCR). Holsters are…less plentiful. Sight options are paltry. At least you can get Mec-Gar magazines easily and inexpensively.

Price: * * * stock, * * as configured
At an MSRP of $599 – and a street price a little bit less – the PCR is an excellent option for a defensive carry gun, if you can find it. The stock sights are mediocre (OK, they’re lousy), but otherwise it’s good to go out of the box, although there are many other good options for the same money or less. With respect to the work that I had CGW do, while the stock trigger is perfectly serviceable, I’m very glad that I spent the extra money on the upgrades. Still, at $1k for the total package, it definitely won’t be for everyone.

Overall Rating: * * * *
The Cajunized CZ PCR is, for me at least, the ideal EDC firearm. It is lightweight, very easy to carry (with the added layer of safety afforded by a DA/SA system), has a terrific trigger and great sights, and has been 100% reliable in my testing. It wasn’t cheap, but given the number of carry guns I’ve purchased and sold (generally at a loss) before it, I wish I’d discovered it sooner. Net-net: my search for The One True EDC Gun is over. For now . . .

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  1. The tristar C-100 has the exact same dimensions as a CZ compact and a safety so it will fit into “standard” CZ75 and CZ75 compact holsters but also has a aluminum frame. I fairly sure the slide is the same on the PCR, it is the frame that is different than the compact.

    Also, I like dealing with CGW a lot more the the CZ Custom Shop. And if you think your decocker CZ is impressive, you should see what they can do to a shadow (safety and no firing pin block)

    • I run the C100 with the CGW kit. A $250 gun it’s $250 in parts = pretty close to ideal concealed carry handgun.

      They do good work, my fully cajunized shadow has a trigger better than most 1911’s at about 2.5#.

    • I have a shadow that CZ Custom tuned to the limits. It is an exceptional gun.
      I used to have a P-01 that I sent to CGW to tune (basically identical to the reviewed gun, except the accessory rail).
      And I now have a P-01 that I sent to CZ Custom to tune. The trigger from CZ custom feels slightly better. Also CZC cut the slide to add their Protek-style rear sight, so my rear sight extends to the end of the slide, like on a shadow.
      Now if only I could get them to build a P-01 sized gun, with shadow internals and ambi thumb safeties.

  2. I saw “cajunized” and started wondering how to pair a gun with okra, cayenne pepper, onions, bay leaf, roux, shrimp, sausage, rice, etc, etc….

    • Toss it in the pot with everything else, bring to a boil for 10-15 minutes, then let cool slightly. Skim off any gun oil on the surface of the pot and serve over a nice steaming pile of rice. Jax beer on the side is suggested, but not required.

  3. I too said, wow when I held and later purchased the palm swelled P-01 and agree with the, “oh no…” on the sights.

  4. I’ve got the Compact and the PCR. Both are easy guns to shoot and new shooters fall in love with their ability to control them. I’m toying with the idea of sending my PCR off to CGW

  5. Very nice review, but I am a CZ fan boy, so I’m probably not to be trusted. Own four CZ 75s in various flavors, including the SP01 tactical, which solves the sight issues with the SP01, and the same PCR as you. You’ve convinced me to send my PCR off to them for similar work. I don’t want much to mess with my carry gun myself. However I may just get the parts and install them myself for the SP01. Won’t do any mods to the replacement parts (no honing, etc.), but am interested in reducing the distance to the trigger, which can be done with the right parts.

    Such lovely firearms. Thanks for the review.

  6. CZ is a brand that I really want to get into. The few that I’ve shot over the last couple of years have all been fantastic. Alas, like all the other gun guys out there, the wants cost far more than what is in the bank account, and I really do *need* a new hunting rifle.

    Hopefully I can pencil CZ ownership in for sometime around Spring 2020.

    • Right now, I think CZ’s products are some of the best bang:buck offerings in the market (pardon the deliberate pun).

      The CZ-75 pistol action is as legendary as the 1911’s action, and is the basis for many spin-off designs. It works, works well, and is reliable.

  7. I have a P01 with their Pro Package. Their prices are really good. Unfortunately, because of California law, I can’t directly buy a gun from them.

  8. Will you clean off the gallon of grease that someone unfortunately and unnecessarily applied to the slide before I pick it up?

  9. Very good review. I would like to try a Cz as well, but the price of extra mags (much like H&K) has kept me at arm’s length.

    • Mec-gar makes the mags that ship with the PCR and extras can be had for $20-$29 each depending on if they’re on sale. I just looked on cheaper than dirt and they’re $19.99 at the moment.

  10. Have a P-01 that I recently “Cajunized” myself, and the hype is absolutely warranted. After a light polish on the already well broken-in internals and installing the pro-package parts, the trigger is now the best I’ve ever felt.

    Lessons learned if you’re doing your own install on a decocker model: Get the slave pin for the sear cage and have extra lifter arm springs on hand. I managed to break 3 of them before I finally got it right.

    After market support is pretty spotty though. There are lots of slick aluminum grip and mag floorplate options for the full sized CZs, but not much for the compacts.

  11. Fantastic review! Although I think if you had tried an FNS 9c during your search, it would have ended before you got to the CZ?

  12. Am a CZ fan now. So much so I have transitioned from my many years of 1911 for my EDC. I also use the PCR for that. Now you have me looking at CGW for an even better trigger. I changed out the sights for Tru-Glo TFX Pro sights, they work very well for my far sighted eyes.

    Interesting about hand sizes – I found my “Oh- Yeah!!!” grips by installing the palm bulge grips from the CZ custom shop, $20 and perfection. My glove size is XXL… Another thing on hand size, the MecGar extended mags for this are more comfortable than the standard mags, originals hit the pinky just wrong but that little bit extra on the MecGar mags make this too comfortable to shoot for my ammo budget.

    The holster I use is an inexpensive leather job called the protector from VersaCarry in Bryan, TX. Get the large because of the trigger guard size. It’s tough and the tab keeps skin oil and sweat off the frame. I am still looking for a quality shoulder rig with spare mag carriers. My pants keep slipping down…

  13. I succumbed to the DCP, fiber optic sights (front & rear) and SRT with my CZ75D Compact PCR at CGW. I am waiting for my call from David as I write.

  14. I’m a bit late to the show, but I just wanted to add my *thumbs up* for Cajun Gun Works. They are great in every respect. I love love love my “Cajunized” SP-01. It’s the only handgun I own that I can shoot as well as a 1911.

  15. Dovetail protectors? Thats some of the best entertainment I have read in a while. You deserve 2 gold stars for keeping my attention.

  16. Love my PCR which is at Cajun Gun Works for the Defensive Carry Package & thin aluminum grips. Put TruGlow Pro sited on it before it left.

  17. I have the CZ 75 Compact and love it. Now a CZ Fan, as I just bought the CZP 10 C also. Excellent guns. I am thinking now of trading my SigP320 Compact for the CZ 75D PCR! Would like any insight on where I can find the PCR, New or Used!

    • Try ( ). I am very happy with the one I got through them. I outfitted mine with TruGlow TFX night/fiber optic sights, G-10 grips, a spring kit through Cajun gun works, and an N82 holster. Perfect carry size. You can just get your pinky on it and it is 14+1. Also the PCR doesn’t waste space with a rail. I did have one problem though. The loaded chamber indicator loosened and caused a jam (fte). Just back it out a couple of turns with a dummy round in the chamber and give it a drop of loctite. The dummy round should prevent further disassembly. Other places to look are and Good luck!

  18. I got my PCR back from CGW two weeks ago and can say that the review here is absolutely true. David at CGW transformers good hunny I an exceptional weapon. I went with the Pro Package with a stainless guide rod and their fiber optic sights. The trigger on this thing is sweet!

  19. Got the PCR on order. I have the 75 Compact already and put rubber base pads on it. Love these guns. Big CZ fan now. How do you like the grips on your and did it come with steel base plates also?

    • $1,000 is if you buy a complete already customized CZ pistol from them. If you send in your own CZ pistol it’s about $400 for all parts and labor.

      • I just got my PCR and seemed to be less recoil that my 75 Compact. But I did not shoot as well. Hopefully I figure it out because I plan to make the PCR my carry gun, because it’s lighter than the all steel 75 compact! I would prefer not to make many upgrades right now but if there are a few I can do myself, if that would really aid with accuracy? Any suggestions?

  20. Not sure if it was previously mentioned in the comments or not but the CZ P-01 fits in Glock 19 holsters as well. I have one for a Glock 19 with a APLc kydex IWB holster and it fits fantastic and you can readily find them on Amazon even.

  21. Just adopted a 75c and my life has truly changed. I told my wife I’m probably going to buy another one and since I never sell any guns I buy she said she would leave me. I’ll sure miss her.

  22. I have two PC 75D PCR. On Cajun and one not. Wow, Get the Cajun! I went to their office in Monroe and dropped mine off. I got it back in about two weeks. I had tried installing one of their kits and gave up. I was a licenced gunsmith until 1980 when the price to keep your licence went up from $150.00 a year to the moon and had training from masters on Smith & Wesson and 1911. I put the hammer spur in backwards..felt stupid… and felt like I could not get it out of the aluminum without destroying my new hammer. I was going ot Monroe anyway so I thought I would just take it to them. I expected to be handing it to a good looking lady and never see it until it was finished. Nope, Scott, the Smith at the front bench invited me in and showed me around. He showed me two of the Dan Wessons that they were going to sell. I thought to myself, Might be a good chance to get another really good one. I Knew I was ready to spend $2000.00 or $3000.00 on a real good 1911 but my goodness. I had never seen anything like them. They were asking $5,000.00. My STI, Sit Super Target 1911 and my TS Orange are still my best target pistols. Make a long story short, I got my 75D back today set up for a carry. 2lb 14oz trigger and a realtight slide. My first magazine at 50′ was in the 10, 9 and one in the 8 ring. 15 round mag. I handed it to my friend and his five or more were all in the black. We were shooting this carry pistol like it was a fine target pistol. I am totally impressed with CZ and Cajun Gunworks and Scott that helped me out!

  23. I bought a CGW PCR from CGW about 18 months ago with all the work done. I had them install night sights.
    The sights are a great improvement. The gun is not much heavier than a Glock 19. It is extremely accurate and shoots as well as any 9 I have.
    I have 45+ years of shooting and instructing. The trigger work is amazing. I installed some LOK grips.
    It is right at the top as far as a carry gun. I must say I’ve shot just about all of them.

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  25. way late to the party, but after a few striker fired subcompacts, I decided to go back to hammer fired. Long search, and decided the PCR was EXACTLY what I wanted. Found a Cajunized PCR for sale a town over (by another veteran), so I got it. I then took it back to Cajun Gun Works (they are located across the street from our veterinarian) and had a Holosun 507K X2 added. I must say I am quite pleased with it. It is my primary EDC. Having a pistol I love to shoot results in a LOT more time at the range, both ‘plinking’ and actual intentional training. It is a tad heavier than the polymer pistols, but the benefits far outweigh that small drawback.

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