CZ 75

The ČZ 75 is a pistol made by Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod (CZUB) in the Czech Republic that has both semi-automatic and selective fire variants. First introduced in 1975, it is one of the original "wonder nines" featuring a staggered-column magazine, all-steel construction, and a hammer forged barrel. It is widely distributed throughout the world. It is the most common handgun in the Czech Republic.

CZ 75
Class Manportable
Type Handguns
Manufacturer Ceska zbrojovka Uhersky Brod
Origin Czech Republic
Country Name Origin Year
Czech Republic 1976
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Czechoslovakia 1976 View
Czech Republic 1976 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Ceska zbrojovka Uhersky Brod 1976 1000000 View

Development of CZ 75

The armament industry was an important part of the interwar Czechoslovak economy and made up a large part of the country's exports (see, for example, Bren light machine gun, which was a modified version of the Czechoslovak ZB vz. 26). However following the 1948 communist coup d'état, all heavy industry was nationalized and was (at least officially) cut off from its Western export market behind the Iron Curtain. While most other Warsaw Pact countries became dependent on armaments imports from the Soviet Union, most of the Czechoslovak weaponry remained domestic (for example, the Czechoslovak army used the Vz. 58 assault rifle, while other communist bloc countries used variants of the AK-47).

Following the Second World War, brothers Josef and František Koucký became the most important engineers of the CZUB. They participated to some extent on designing all the company's post-war weapons. Kouckýs signed their designs together, using only the surname, making it impossible to determine which one of them developed particular ideas.

By 1969 František Koucký was freshly retired, however the company offered him a job on designing a new 9×19mm Parabellum pistol. Unlike during his previous work, this time he had a complete freedom in designing the whole gun from scratch. The design he developed was in many ways new and innovative (see Design details).

Although the model was developed for export purposes (the standard pistol cartridge of the Czechoslovak armed forces was the Soviet 7.62×25mm Tokarev, which later replaced it with the Warsaw Pact standard 9mm Makarov pistol cartridge), Koucký's domestic patents regarding the design were classified as "secret patents". Effectively, nobody could learn about their existence, but also nobody could register the same design in Czechoslovakia. At the same time Koucký as well as the company were prohibited from filing for patent protection abroad. Consequently, a large number of other manufacturers began offering pistols based on CZ 75 design (see Clones, copies, and variants by other manufacturers).

The pistol was not sold in Czechoslovakia until 1985, when it became popular among sport shooters (sport shooting is the third most widespread sport in the Czech Republic, after football and ice hockey). It was adopted by the Czech armed forces only after the Velvet Revolution in 1989.

Development of sport variants of CZ 75

The increasing popularity of the IPSC competitions in the Czech Republic led to inception of CZUB's factory team in 1992. Initially, the sport shooters were using CZ 75s and CZ 85s. Stanislav Križík designed a new version called CZ 75 Champion already in 1992. This version had a SA trigger, a muzzle brake and adjustable weights. 150 firearms were initially made in 9×19mm Parabellum, .40 S&W and 9×21mm. The design was further modified (i.e. the adjustable weights were eliminated, a new compensator was developed), however its main shortcoming of the same capacity of magazine as the standard CZ 75 (15/16 in 9mm, 12 in .40 S&W) remained.

CZ 75 ST (Standard) and CZ 75 M (Modified) were introduced in 1998. These had a different frame from standard versions allowing for more modifications. While the ST had become very successful, M was not initially designed for use with collimator, the use of which led to limited lifespan of its frame.

The popular ST version was further developed mostly with aim of prolonging its lifespan, which led to introduction of CZ 75 TS (Tactical Sports) in 2005. It uses a longer barrel (132 mm) and has also a higher weight (1,285 g) compared to the standard model. High-capacity magazines may use either 20 of the 9mm rounds or 17 of the .40 rounds. As of 2013, the model is used by the CZUB's factory shooters in the IPSC Standard division, with a custom-made version CZ 75 Tactical Sports Open being also available.

In 2009, the sale of CZ 75 TS Czechmate began. The model is a development of the CZ 75 TS Open, available in 9×19mm Parabellum and 9×21mm with magazine capacity of 20 or 26 rounds. As standard, the gun is sold with US made C-More Systems' collimator. CZUB claims that its factory shooter Martin Kamenícek had shot 150,000 rounds through the gun in 5 years, in which time he only needed to change the barrel once in order to maintain precision.

Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin  Czechoslovakia
 Czech Republic
Service history
In service 1976–present
Production history
Designer Josef and František Koucký
Designed 1975
Manufacturer Ceská zbrojovka
Produced 1976–present
Number built 1,000,000+ (October 12, 2007)
Variants see Variants and Derivatives
Specifications
Weight 1.12 kg (2.47 lb)
Length 206.3 mm (8.1 in)
Barrel length 120 mm (4.7 in)
Width 32.6mm (1.3 in)
Height 138mm (5.4 in)
Cartridge 9×19mm Parabellum
9×21mm
.40 S&W
Action short recoil, tilting barrel
Rate of fire semi-automatic
Effective firing range 50 m (for 9mm CZ-75 family and CZ-75 Automatic)
Feed system detachable box magazine, 12–26 rd depending on version and caliber
Sights Front blade, rear square notch

End notes