Ok. If you should know anything about me before reading this post, you should know this: I’ve been running a CZ-85 in various IPSC, IDPA, 3Gun and Steel Challenge matches for the better part of half a decade.
I like the CZ design. The guns handle and point well, the triggers can be tuned to be the best thing this side of a custom 1911, and they’re aesthetically pleasing, too.
Now, with that out of the way, let me direct you to the blog post over at Pistol Trainer entitled Zed Is Not Your Friend.
You might notice that Todd doesn’t sugar coat what he thinks about the CZ design.
Here’s the thing: he’s absolutely right.
Todd specifically lays out a laundry list of issues the CZ pistols in his class suffered from:
But from failures to feed to failures to extract to failures to eject to failures to lock back to premature lock back, we saw the whole spectrum of handgun malfunctions from those guns.
Now, my pistol hasn’t suffered from all of those problems, but it’s suffered from at least a few of them, most annoyingly for the first year or so that I had the gun, it would lock back prematurely. I suspect this is why the previous owner wanted to sell it.
Premature slide lock is the most infuriating form of malfunction I’ve ever encountered. When a gun locks open, your expectation is that it has done so because it is now empty and needs to be charged with a new magazine. Having this happen in the middle of a course of fire, when you’ve only fired four rounds out of the gun really tends to throw a wrench into things. There’s nothing that sucks quite so bad as getting to the end of a stage only to realize you can’t finish off the last couple of targets because you’ve left mostly-full magazines laying on the ground throughout most of the rest of the stage.
I was able to mostly solve this problem due to one or more changes, including Dremmling the slide stop to within an inch of its life, changing out the magazine followers and springs, and switching from shooting Winchester Whitebox to reloading my own ammunition.
This solved the problem, for the most part, and the premature slide locks went from happening about once every 40ish rounds to once every 600-1000 rounds.
I’ve not had the problems with failures to eject that Todd mentions, but this is due to being fairly diligent about cleaning out under the extractor every so often.
I’ve not experienced the problems with failure to feed that Todd mentions, at least not to the point where it rises to inhibiting my ability to shoot effectively.
However, I have run into a couple of problems he doesn’t mention.
First off, the adjustable sights that CZ installed on the pistol aren’t very robust. About midway through a match a couple of months ago, I noticed that the rear sight was loose. Evidently somewhere along the line the adjustable rear sight self-destructed, and I ended up having to glue it back in place in order to finish the match. I’ve since had a fixed rear sight installed.
I’ve also found that the slide stop spring is really a piece of crap. It’s become so loose that I lost the right half of the ambidextrous slide release. The gun still functions fine, as the right half doesn’t appear to be a critical part, but it’s still incredibly annoying nonetheless.
One other issue with the CZs, and one that seems to be fairly universal is that the chambers are not cut to accommodate rounds that are long, but still within SAAMI spec. When experimenting with some 147 gr. loads, the rounds would chamber and fire fine, however the chambers are cut short enough that the round will begin to engage the rifling, making it hard to eject a loaded round.
So, yeah. CZs have issues. Some of the issues are peculiar strictly to that particular design, and if you intend to shoot a lot of rounds through them, realize that it may take some work to get the gun up to snuff.
For shooting Production Division, the CZ was a great choice for a long time, however with the newer striker-fired designs that are out there, most notably the Glock, S&W M&P, and Springfield XD, I think the CZ’s days are limited, partially due to the inherent issues the pistols have, and partially due to subtle but widespread changes in the way people use and shoot pistols.