Czechoslovakian craftsmanship has always been above average even in the throws of the Cold War and under essential control by the USSR. CZ has carried the legacy for tight tolerances, attention to detail and accuracy beyond "above average" to where the CZ name is now: at the top of the market.
CZ has grown into a conglomerate company that is as much an American household name as it is a European and Eastern Blok Heavyweight. The benefit CZ has now, is that they are producing exceptional firearms at a price point that many American producers cannot compete with. Not only that, the legendary craftsmanship is better than ever.
Below there are 8 of the best CZ pistol contenders on the market.
Best CZ Pistols
Dan Wesson - 715
Dan Wesson was a uniquely American Creation. CZ was a uniquely Czech creation. The two have merged and become something more interesting and something more stable. Something more.
The Dan Wesson of yesteryear is a different beast than the Dan Wesson of today. What you get today is much stricter quality control, the same robust designs (with a nicer finish), timeless concepts and hefty builds.
The 715 revolver is a perfect representation of the above qualities. It is a robust, viable option for a revolver fan who needs fit, finish and durability in this chosen gun. The biggest telltale sign of the durability and build quality is the massive (rare) full underlug-equipped vent shroud. The heavy weight and the balance that results from its inclusion makes the 715 easily managed on recoil and well-balanced despite being a nearly 3 lbs. gun.
The trigger, which in a 1980's Dan Wesson would have left a lot to be desired, is now a thing of beauty. The trigger being one of the most remarkable things about the Dan Wesson pistols contemporaneously. It offers a double action single action that is finely tuned, like all the CZ DA/SA pistols are.
The 100% stainless steel build is hefty; with a 6 inch barrel and a massive grip to help you control the 6 shot behemoth. Six shots of .357 magnum make for a potent defensive offering or offer a lot for hunting up to big game (deer). It will also shoot .38 special to alleviate some of the heavy cost associated with shooting .357 Magnum all the time.
The accuracy is hard to match and despite the higher price point, you truly do feel like you are getting a top-quality revolver with the Dan Wesson (now made by CZ-USA)
- Built to a high standard
- Heavy and well balanced
- Exceptional trigger
CZ-USA CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S2 Pistol Micro w/ Brace
This may not be the first idea that pops into you your head when you are thinking of pistols. But it is not only a proven pistol, but a standout performer in the compact semi-auto close quarters battle segment.
A civilian variant of a legendary machine-pistol, the Scorpion Evo 3 S2 is the Czech answer to other legends such as the HK MP5K, The UZI and the Steyr TMP. Only the Scorpion has the reliability of the HK MP5K; the durability of the UZI and the sleek sexiness of the Steyr TMP.
That's quite the company to keep, and the CZ has done very well in the civilian market. The gun is built well and offers all the obvious tactical features that you would want in a sub machine gun style semi-automatic. It's made for accessorizing and despite having a reputation for sub-optimal accuracy, the entire spectrum of sub compact tactical pistols on a large frame format have the problem.
Given the "brace" the accuracy ceases to be a problem. It must be made clear that this is not an SBR or a carbine of legal length. The Scorpion Is a pistol, and the stock-like piece on the back of the frame is a brace that is not legally allowed to be shouldered.
The gun features a little more than a 4 inch barrel with a standard magazine capacity of 20-the magazines are of top quality. There is a handguard that keeps fingers out of the danger zone and the gloved finger trigger guard is ample for tactical gloves of all styles. The iron sights are better than any other pistol relevant in the sector including the durable (but somewhat outdated) HK G3 style sights used on the MP5.
- Great size and balance (the best balance among all peers)
- Well priced comparative to peers
- Top tier fit and finish in the segment
- Some accuracy concerns for hardcore users – though not as bad as most peers
CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical
This is perhaps the biggest workhorse of the pack, with the subdued and simple design and the inclusive feature-set that the CZ line is famous for, without the competition specific looks and frills.
This is the CZ you take when you want a concealed carry firearm with slim lines and a rail for accessorizing. It is built for low-snag performance and has all the necessary accoutrements of the best carry guns on the market.
The full dustcover includes a rail for a light or a laser; the gun itself is the hybrid variant that offers the juxtaposition of the P-01 changes onto the CZ-75 framework. The dustcover being one of the obvious changes. The NATO approved design offers a host of changes that help to bring the 75 model (and others) into the parameter set for a military contract gun. This includes great iron sights with a tritium insert.
The spectacular black polycoat that CZ has incorporated in this gun offers a tough finish that protects well against environmental exposure. The barrel length offers a great overall length to extract the maximum from the 9mm cartridge; and the overall slide length and sight plane helps with balance, and ultimately accuracy and steady shooting.
The rubber grip panels are excellent, and the slim profile helps to improve control without hurting the aesthetic of the gun. The grip geometry is critical to the overall control aspects of the gun and the ergonomics are a point of pride for the manufacturer – the CZ is without critic for its overall comfort and handling.
Balance is a key point for this gun. The checkering on the front and backstraps are also excellent additions which minimize recoil-based handling issues and help improve overall quick shot follow-up.
- Good looking
- Minimal design and aesthetic
- Super comfortable
- Great accuracy and low bore axis
- No Real CONS
CZ USA - 805 Bren S1
What may come as another surprise to some of the readers of this article is the inclusion of the tried and true battle rifle, the Bren 805 on this list. This is no battle rifle though, it's the pistol variant of the storied gun. In this case it is presented and manufactured as a pistol, which can accept an aftermarket brace for those who want one, or, with it's 11 inch barrel, it can be converted into the NFA SBR it was always meant to be.
But don't let traditional configurations stop you from taking advantage of the highly accurate, highly tactical, very capable 5.56x45 platform that the 805 offers.
Full top and bottom rails offer excellent customization capabilities; the pistol grip and the monolithic frame design offer rigidity and stability throughout all aspects of the function of this gun. The receiver/frame is an obvious cornerstone to the accuracy and dependability of the firearm, with no variant showcasing this better than the 11 inch barrel, pistol variant, which has uncommonly good accuracy and handling for a gun that is sized the way it is.
Make no mistakes though, this is a gun best used on a sling, and it is not legally able to be shouldered unless you have the proper tax stamp certifications for the buildout. It's a five-pound monster that offers sufficient firepower for any tactical need and the history of reliability and durability to match the firepower.
- Absolute rigidity
- High capacity
- Rifle caliber in a pistol format
- Proven history
CZ - P01
Compact and built for tactical duty, this is a fantastic addition to the shooter's collection that has enough polymer striker fired pistols already in it. This pistol is the real deal, with a legitimate DA/SA trigger; a convertible safety and trigger system and the proven characteristics of the P-01.
The P-01 is the CZ answer to a modular military specific platform and it may not have been widely adopted throughout the militaries of the world, but it delivers on all fronts exceptionally. This is a very well built pistol that is heavily slanted towards tactical needs. Everything from the finish to the compact design, to the high sights to the modular firing group denotes this.
The suppressor ready pistol is a dream come true for those who prefer a smaller more centrally balanced and lower seated gun. The beavertail works in conjunction with the low bore axis to give a high hand grip with low center of gravity. The ability to swap out the manual functions of the gun based on new trigger group parts helps make this one of the most modular fully metal guns on the planet.
The high iron sights and the threaded barrel offer drop-on compatibility for most suppressors; the larger capacity (16+1) magazines offer enough to get the job done, and the finish is a mix between FDE and grey which creates a muted grey color that is quite pleasant for daily use and has a generous finish durability.
The trademark trigger pull is smooth and comfortable; the overall quality is second to none for the price point and the gun offers all the most important P-01 characteristics.
- Proven system
- High capacity
- No real CONS
CZ - 97 B
Looking for a bigger caliber, but want the same efficiency and smoothness of the CZ75 builds? That was the origin of the CZ97. It is mechanically identical to the CZ 75 model range and design, but with a bigger caliber option than 9mm. This is a .45 ACP variant of the timeless, proven CZ pistol originally based on the Browning design.
The single action/double action trigger that had a huge role in making the CZ line of pistols famous is here, with the crisp clean break and the comfortable take up. The reset is magical on the CZ pistols and the 97 is a joy to shoot for several reasons, the trigger just being part of the list.
The low bore axis makes the recoil feel lessened; the ergonomics make the gun easy to control. The full dustcover offers balance at the front end.
The iron sights are very good and while they may not be completely snag-free, they are easy to acquire and offer low-profile performance. The 10 round capacity offers a good amount of firepower with the underlying .45ACP cartridge. The gun features a 4.5 inch barrel which is a good length to get a long sight plane without being unwieldy. This sight plane is what helps to secure the accuracy of the platform with that low bore axis keeping follow-up quick and the gun stable in the hand.
The finish is the famous black polycoat that tens of thousands of users have benefitted from, with its durable, heavy finish and weatherproof, sweatproof performance.
- Proven reliability and .45ACP firepower
- Compact center of gravity and low bore axis
- Very comfortable to shoot
- Top build quality
- The sights are not particularly snag-free
CZ P-10 Centerfire Pistols
The CZ pistols have always represented uncommon value, and the P-10 takes that to the next level, as the introduction by CZ to the less expensive and more mainstream offering of the striker-fired polymer framed pistols. This is an extreme value option for those who want a CZ but also want to be squarely in the polymer framed striker driven camp.
The simplicity is good, though the pistol hasn't caught on as well as it should have by now, as the market is flooded. Simplicity isn't its only attribute, though, as the trigger, while awkwardly similar to the Glock Safe-Action trigger, the CZ trigger is actually quite a bit better out of factory.
The grip angle and stippled frame offers good control and the multiple slide serrations make for a gun that is directly in line with the rest of the polymer guns.
The only real drawback to the P-10 is that it lacks some of the character and soul of the other CZ pistols.
The square triggergaurd takes the gloved hand use concept to the next level, offering significant room to fit fat gloved fingers in there. The gun has been designed to minimize snag in holstering and de-holstering. The cold hammer forged barrel seems to be at a higher level of precision than most other offerings in the polymer segment of the market, with CZ's barrels always being top tier.
The 15+1 capacity is a good place to be for a mainstream tactical gun and despite the lack of reception that the P-10 has had in a crowded field, the gun is every bit as good as the basic guns coming out of factories for the past 10 years by every major manufacturer. Call it what you will, if you have owned a CZ before and you want to tread into the polymer space, this is a better than average gun to move into.
You will probably feel significantly better about the choice than if you go with a different brand, given you're already convinced how good the CZ name and manufacturing philosophies are.
- Large but comfortable
- Easy to handle and snag-free
- Good recoil control
- Similar in feel to a lot of what's on the market
- A better trigger than the Glock and a better grip angle
- Lacks the individual charm and soul of the other CZ offerings
Dan Wesson - Pointman Nine (PM 9)
Dan Wesson firearms have always had a certain panache, but the reinvigorated line of pistols after the takeover by CZ Arms, Wesson pistols have become something of a high-water mark in the mainstream market.
Dan Wesson firearms are the epitome of the "semi-custom factory 1911" in the case of the models that fall under the 1911 umbrella. Much more hand fitting than a Sig or a Ruger or a Colt or a Smith 1911, and slightly less hand work than the Wilson's and Ed Brown's of the world, this is a perfect middle ground between the two.
The 1911 has always been an excellent choice in a firearm, especially for the ability to run it in what Jeff Cooper called "Condition One", which meant that you would have a round in the chamber and a thumb safety engaged with the hammer back, which could quickly be disengaged in a simple ergonomic way that allowed the crisp short single action trigger to be pulled for quick engagement.
This Condition One ability paired with the slim profile of the gun and the impeccable ergonomics has made it a premium choice for duty and concealed carry despite it's large-ish frame size.
The added benefit that the Pointman 1911 has over standard pistols is the lack of traditional recoil comparative to the .45ACP and the long sight plane that allows excellent balance, accuracy and quick target acquisition so you can be on target fast with follow-ups taking much less time.
Aside from being an obviously well-appointed 1911 with the target style high visibility sights; the low glare ribbed top slide serrations and the excellent trigger work, this is a beefy, easily handled full sized gun with a slim 9 round 9mm magazine.
You won't get the same high capacity that you get with the polymer framed striker fired guns, but you do get the control and accuracy and follow-up capability that allows you to hit what you're aiming at.
In a world where 9mm is increasingly more popular in the defensive world, even after years of being on the back burner to larger diameter projectiles, this is a gun whose time has come. CZ looks set to cash in on forward thinking.
- The 1911 is proven and solid
- Workmanship is at the highest level from factory
- Very accurate and easy to manage while shooting
- Good looking
- Starting to price certain people out of the market
CZ has been a storied franchise in the world of Guns, often times because of the ties to the country which offended some user’s sensibilities. But for CZ now, it’s not about politics or the Eastern Bloc, it’s about guns. In fact, if you look at the quality and precision of the CZ firearms over the years, even while the country was under control of a U.S. opposing Superpower, it’s always been about the guns.
The guns coming out of the CZ and CZ-USA factories are among the best quality on the market anywhere, not just in eastern Europe or in America. These above pistols have been proven to be the best CZ pistols and they have a lot going for them.