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Ceska Zbrojovka CZ75 (Phantom) Semi-Automatic Pistol (1976)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 9/30/2013

The Czech CZ 75 semi-automatic pistol proved a success, seeing over 1 million of its type produced since 1976.

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The CZ75, as its designation suggests, was designed and introduced in 1975 and entered serial production in 1976 - seeing constant manufacture ever since with over 1,000,000 units being delivered to date. The pistol was quickly adopted by foreign police and military agencies for its sound accuracy and reliable performance under the harshest of conditions. Production was even expanded upon through local-licenses in foreign lands, variants developed that were directly influenced by the original excellent Czech design and those overseas elements bent on outright copies of the illegal kind.

The CZ75 emerged as a commercial venture intended for export, hence the selection of the 9x19mm Parabellum pistol cartridge favored by the West. While manufactured in modern-day Czech Republic, the reader must understand that the nation existed as a unified Czechoslovakia prior to and after the German occupation of the country in World War 2. Following its "liberation" and subsequent occupation by the Soviet Union at the end of World War 2, Czechoslovakia became a full communist state in 1948. As such, politics and military fronts were heavily influenced by its communist overseers. With this in mind, it is interesting to note the CZ75's target market essentially being the rest of the world.

Design of the CZ75 pistol was attributed to brothers Josef and Frantisek Koucky while manufacture came under the Ceska Zbrojovka (CZ) brand label. Outwardly, it was a very conventional-appearing pistol for the time, sporting clean, firm lines with a padded grip, large trigger ring suitable for a gloved hand and slide running the length of the weapon. Controls were within easy reach of the primary hand and sights consisted of a front blade mated to a rear square notch. The hammer protruded from the rear of the frame in the usual way and a spur overhung the grip for better support. Overall weight of original models was under 2.5lbs with a running length of 8 inches, the barrel measuring 4.7 inches. Internally, the CZ75 managed a manual safety configuration similar to that of the storied Browning Hi-Power. The arrangement made it possible for the operator to carry a ready-to-fire handgun (cartridge being chambered) in relatively safety. The CZ75 made use of the widely-accepted 9x19mm Parabellum (German) pistol cartridge through a short-recoil, tilting barrel action. The action allowed for semi-automatic fire and provided performance consistent with other modern handguns of the time. As designed, the handgun fired from a 15-round, dual-column, staggered metal magazine inserted through the base of the grip. The handgun then went on to be released in 9x21mm IMI (Israeli) and .40 S&W (American) chambered forms.

The original CZ75 batches were recognized under the simple "CZ75" designation while a later batch production effort was added under the same name and completed with lengthened slide rails. The CZ75B was the second major production model incorporating an internally-housed safety for the firing pin and a stainless steel version followed. The CZ75B "Omega" was a special offshoot with additional availability in .40 S7W chamberings to broaden market appeal. These models also had slightly modified trigger groups. The CZ75B "SA" offered a single-action (SA) trigger group and was available in both 9x19mm Parabellum and .40 S&W chamberings. The CZ75 "Compact" was a more portable version of the base CZ75 handgun featuring a shortened pistol grip and shortened barrel assembly and slide. A version chambered in .40 S&W eventually appeared. The CZ75 "Semi-Compact" attempted to bring about the best of both worlds, retaining some of the form and function of the original CZ75 model with the benefits of compactness in the smaller CZ75 offerings. The barrel and slide components were both borrowed from the Compact model while the overall frame and grip were pulled from the original CZ75. The CZ75 "PCR Compact" was an ultra-compact version of the CZ75. The handgun line was also joined by special sporting types for competition shooting.

A select-fire (semi- and full-automatic) variant debuted in 1992 with a slotted muzzle compensator and an accessories "well" under the frame (just ahead of the trigger ring). The well could handle an extra magazine (inserted upside down) for use as a forward vertical handgrip required to counter muzzle climb. The well also doubled as a mounting point for a laser aimer or similar accessorie. Typical magazines were of 25-round count with a rate-of-fire of 1,000 rounds-per-minute reported. At least two versions of the design were to be encountered: the original following much of the same lines as the base CZ75 semi-automatic pistol with a variant fitting a longer barrel assembly and slide extension.

The CZ85 was debuted in 1985 as a fully-modernized form of the original CZ75. The model differed primarily in its ambidextrous handling. The CZ85B incorporated a firing pin block while the CZ85BD brought about use of a decocking lever. The CZ85 "Compact", as its name suggests, was a more compact form with concealment in mind and chambered for the American .40 S7W cartridge. Rail support under the forward frame allowed use of tactical accessories. The CZ85 "Combat" was a military-minded model sans firing pin safety but with revised controls and an adjustable rear sighting device.

Several law enforcement- and military-minded variants appeared under the main "CZ75 P/SP" designation beginning in 1999, each noted by a special series number in the designation (01, 06, 07, etc).

The CZ75 (and her related kinds) have gone on to see widespread service with forces all over the world beyond Czechoslovakia/the Czech Republic. Operators have included Georgia (military), Kazakhstan (police, special police), Lithuania (military), Poland (police), Russia (police), Slovakia (special forces, military and police), Thailand (special forces), Turkey (police) and the United States (police, Delta Force). Due to illegal, unlicensed copies floating about, official operators are more numerous than then listed.

Popular foreign off-shoots of the CZ75 design include the American Springfield P9 and the Italian Tanfoglio T-series.

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Specifications for the
Ceska Zbrojovka CZ75 (Phantom)
Semi-Automatic Pistol


Country of Origin: Czechoslovakia
Manufacturer: Ceska Zbrojovka - Czechoslovakia / Czech Republic
Initial Year of Service: 1976


Overall Length: 184 mm (7.24 in)
Barrel Length: 98.00 mm (3.86 in)
Weight (Empty): 1.70 lb (0.77 kg)


Caliber: 9x19mm Parabellum; 9x21mm; .40 S&W
Action: Semi-Automatic; Short Recoil
Feed: 12- to 20-round detachable box magazine
Range: 164 ft (50 m; 55 yds)
Sights: Rear Square Notch; Front Blade Post


Variants:
CZ 75 (Early) - Original Production Models


CZ 75 (Late) - Follow-up production models related to original systems; lengthened slide rails.

CZ 75B - Second major production model; internal firing safety device; squared off trigger ring.

CZ 75B Omega - Revised trigger group 9x19mm or .40 S&W chambered forms

CZ 75 Compact - Compact version of CZ75; 9x19mm and .40 S&W chambering

CZ 75 SemiCompact - Hybrid full-size/compact variant

CZ 75 PCR Compact - Ultra-compact variant

CZ 75B SA - Single-Action Trigger Group

CZ 75 P-01 - Law enforcement/military model

CZ 75 P-07 DUTY - Law enforcement/military model

CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical - Law enforcement/military model; aluminum alloy frame construction; accessory support under forward frame; decoking lever.

CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow - Law enforcement/military model; sans firing pin block

CZ 75 SP-01 Phantom - Law enforcement/military model; polymer frame; accessories rail.

CZ 75 Standard IPSC - Competition shooter; single-action trigger group

CZ 75 Tactical Sports - Sport shooting model; 9x19mm or .40 S&W chambering

CZ 75 Champion - Competition shooter

CZ 75 TS Czechmate - Competition shooter

CZ 2075 RAMI - Subcompact variant; 9x19mm or .40 S&W chambering

CZ 75BD - Based on CZ75B though with decocker

CZ 85 - Modernized CZ75; ambidextrous controls

CZ 85B - CZ85 with firing pin blocker

CZ 85BD - CZ85B model sans safety though with decocking lever

CZ 85 Compact - Compact version of CZ85; .40 S&W chambering

VZ 75 Kadet - .22 LR chambered model

CZ 75 AUTOMATIC - Select-fire variant; two versions marketed

FAMAE FN-750 - Chilean Model

NORINCO NZ-75 - Chinese Model

CZ-Strakonice CZ-TT - Alternative Czech Model

Renato Gamba G90 - Italian Model

Tanfoglio TZ-75 - Italian Model

Tanfoglio T-90- Italian Model

Tanfoglio T-95- Italian Model

IMI Jericho 941- Israeli Model

Magnum Research Baby Eagle - Israeli Model

BUL Cherokee - Israeli Model

Baek Du San - North Korean copy

Armscor MAP1 - Philippine Model

Armscor MAPP1 - Philippine Model

MIC Marra - Sudanese Model

MIC Lado - Sudanese Model

Sphinx Systems Sphinx 2000 - Swiss Model

Sphinx Systems Sphinx 3000 - Swiss Model

ITM AT-84 - Swiss Model

ITM AT-88 - Swiss Model

Canik55 Piranha - Turkish Model

Canik55 Shark - Turkish Model

Sarsilmaz M2000 - Turkish Model

JSL Ltd Spitfire - British Model

ArmaLiteAR-24 - American Model

Dornaus and Dixon Bren Ten - American Model

EAA Witness Elite Gold - American Model

Springfield P9 - American Model

Vltor Bren Ten - American Model


Operators:
China; Chile; Czechoslovakia; Czech Republic; Italy; Israel; Lithuania; North Korea; Philippines; Poland; Russia; Slovakia; Sudan; Switzerland; Turkey; United Kingdom; United States