CZ-75 is a semi-automatic pistol made by Czech firearm manufacturer ČZUB. First introduced in 1975, it is one of the original “wonder nines,” and features a staggered-column magazine, all-steel construction, and a hammer forged barrel. It is widely distributed throughout the world and is the most common handgun in the Czech Republic.
CZ-75 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 was later replaced 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 Křižík 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 as the standard CZ 75 magazines (15/16 in 9mm, 12 in .40 S&W) remained.
The 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 red-dot sights, 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’ red-dot sight. CZUB claims that its factory shooter Martin Kameníček had shot 150,000 rounds through the gun in five years, in which time he only needed to change the barrel once in order to maintain precision.
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