The CZ-75 on air Part 1
Doing the Česká zbrojovka name proud!
By Dennis Adler
Aside from Česká zbrojovka, the original Czechoslovakian manufacturer, the CZ-75 has been duplicated by more than 20 different armsmakers over the decades, and some with very familiar names. Regardless of whether it is a Baby Desert Eagle, a Jericho, or a Tanfoglio Limited Custom or Gold Custom, they are all based on the Model CZ-75 (introduced in 1975), including the European American Armory Witness series, seven different models from TriStar Arms, nine from Eagle Imports, the Turkish-built Canik TP 9V2 and the very pricey Swiss-built Sphinx SDP series. It is no surprise then that a .177 (4.5mm) caliber blowback action CZ-75 is also manufactured and licensed by Česká zbrojovka. (The easiest pronunciation is chess-ka za-brav-ka which translates to Czech armory).
If you know your European handgun designs, you can tell a CZ-75 at a glance no matter whose name is on it. This is one of the best DA/SA semi-autos ever designed, and that carries through to the ASG Česká zbrojovka branded CO2 model. CZ has been in the arms-making business since 1936 producing a wide range of military and civilian weapons, including target pistols. Today, shooting IPSC matches is one of the top three competition sports in the Czech Republic, and CZ pistols are the handguns of choice. CZ pistols have won numerous world championship titles, and the company has had its own factory sponsored teams since 1992.
A shape like no other
The CZ-75 design is easily recognized by its shallow slide, which rides inside the frame rails, rather than outside. Think of it as a reverse of a Colt Model 1911, where the slide fits over the frame rails and rides on the outside of the frame. The CZ’s design allows for a very tight slide-to-frame fit, not only for the cartridge-firing models but for the air pistol as well. This is a CZ design trait inspired by another famous gun, the c.1947 Sig P210, a pistol still regarded today as one of the most accurate handguns in the world.
The 9mm CZ-75 is a short-recoil operated, locked-breech design utilizing a Browning linkless cam locking system, which is common among the majority of modern semi-autos today. The .177 caliber model uses a modified blowback action design but with a separate recoil spring, guide rod and linkless barrel like short-recoil operated, locked-breech design. Operating the same as 9mm models, the slide locks back on an empty magazine and the large, serrated magazine release button on the frame is easy to operate for quick reloads.
The CZ-75 and its many variations for military, civilian, and competition shooting, have always been easy pistols to handle, one reason why CZ models are used by more law enforcement and government agencies around the world today than any other firearm, and has remained one of the most popular civilian handguns over the last four decades. That alone is reason enough to offer this same design handgun as a .177 caliber blowback action semi-auto.
Over the years I have owned and shot many CZ and CZ-based pistols, and although the airgun does not incorporate all of the features available, such as ambidextrous thumb safeties and a de-cocker, the original CZ-75 design is brilliantly reproduced in the ASG model with the balance, weight, and handling that have made the CZ-75 famous the world over.
In Part 2, the disassembly procedure, details of operation, and the shooting test.
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.