The CZ-75 on air Part 2
Classic CZ design and performance in 4.5mm caliber
By Dennis Adler
There is no question that the CZ-75 is one of the best built pistols in the world. CZ has developed more than 35 variations for military, law enforcement, and civilian use, including specific models for sports and competition shooting.
All CZ-75 models are robust looking pistols with a streamlined, military bearing, set off by a large thumb safety and slide release, a heavily buttressed triggerguard and large, hand-filling grips. In comparison with a standard CZ-75B, the 4.5mm air pistol vs. the 9mm semi-auto, comes in with the same capacity (16+1 in 9mm, 17 in 4.5mm), both have metal frames, plastic grips, a DA/SA trigger system, fixed sights (the CZ has white dot sights, the airgun’s are flat black with a serrated front ramp), the 9mm’s barrel is 4.6 inches in length, the smoothbore airgun barrel is 4.25 inches, the weight is a modest 1.95 ounces lighter, at 33.25 ounces vs. 35.2 for the 9mm. Overall length is the same at 8.1 inches, and the airgun’s height is slightly greater than the CZ-75B at 5.76 inches with the CZ-75 SP-01 magazine base. The standard CZ-75 is 5.4 inches in height. The airgun’s width is 1.25 inches, a minuscule 0.15 inches narrower than a 9mm.
In addition to using the CZ-75’s internal slide rail design, double action/single action (DA/SA) trigger system, large, serrated external hammer, and long ergonomic grip design, the air pistol also has the CZ-75’s wide, crescent shaped trigger design to allow more surface area and leverage for the trigger finger.
Trigger pull on the 4.5mm caliber models averaged 8 pounds, 3.2 ounces fired double action (DA) and a feathery 2 pounds, 7.2 ounces single action (SA). This is the same superb trigger (SA) you find on the Tanfoglio Gold Custom .177 caliber model, which is also based on the CZ-75 platform.
The CZ-75 is also one of the easiest handguns ever designed to fieldstrip. With the magazine removed and the chamber cleared, all that’s necessary is to cock the hammer and move the slide back 3/16ths of an inch, thereby aligning two registration marks (one on the rear of the slide, one on the frame) and pull out the slide release lever. Pull the slide back slightly and then forward off the frame. The airgun disassembles exactly the same way.
Once apart it is evident that the design is more than just a traditional blowback action air pistol. The airgun uses a short-recoil operated, locked-breech design utilizing an airgun modified Browning linkless cam locking system that unlocks from the slide during recoil, tilting down as the slide travels back, and re-engaging and locking into the slide as it closes. This is a version of the system also used in the Umarex S&W M&P40 and Sig Sauer P226 X-Five. Like the S&W model, the further disassembly requires removing a screw (not used on the cartridge-firing models) that locks the guide rod and recoil spring to the barrel lug. (On the P226 X-Five the gun disassembles identically to the Sig and there is no locking screw).
Firing Line Results
Like the single action only trigger on the Tanfoglio .177 caliber competition models, the CZ’s trigger in single action (after the slide has been racked or the first round has been fired double action) has a very light pull, just 0.375 inches of travel to a quick, clean break, zero stacking and a short reset. The shallower slide on the CZ has less mass and the blowback action on this air pistol is pretty snappy; you know when the slide hits the stop on recoil. In terms of overall handling, if the CZ-75 had white dot sights it would be a tack driver. With flat matte black sights, it is a little slower to aim, but still a good set of sights. The air pistol handles just like a CZ, so it is very familiar to me, and helped make the test all the more satisfying as it shoots like a .177 caliber version of my old CZ-75.
Due to a very cold and windy day, the final shooting tests were done indoors and fired offhand from a distance of 21 feet. The average velocity measured 310 fps, and just about every group fired (in 10 round strings) struck inside the 10 ring. My best 10-round groups (pictured) hit in the 10 and X rings measuring 1.5 inches, with a best five at the top of the 10 ring measuring 0.5 inches. Second target (at lower left) put 10 shots in the 10 and X at 1.75 inches and a best five in the X at 1.0 inches. The gun eats up CO2 pretty quickly and on average you get to reload the 17 round magazine three times.
The ASG model is well built, had zero failures, no magazine issues, and was about as good as it gets with a full sized, blowback action semi-auto air pistol. The ASG CZ-75 does the Česká zbrojovka name proud.
A word about safety
Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.