Monday, October 27, 2014

Bro, Do You Even CZ?

I cut my pistol shooting teeth on 1911s and Glocks. I learned some quick lessons about finicky, sexy, and ultimately temperamental Kimbers and the truth behind those reliable ugly hunks of Combat Tupperware I found myself shooting more often than anything else.

I'd seen all kinds of weird other pistols, drank plenty of Kool Aid, and all the while felt a very weird and unexplainable need to poo-poo one specific Czech gun maker as needlessly old-school and barely relevant.

My initial impressions of CZ were mixed. People either tended to love them or talk endless crap about them. The 75 series guns seemed like Hi-Power throwbacks but needlessly complicated and heavy solutions for carting around a dozen and a half 9mm rounds compared to my Glock 17. They were comfy, but hopelessly anachronistic to a guy who had just paid a steep toll to be disappointed by the most "iconic" American pistol in the classic American caliber.

I'd watch people buy them and chuckle quietly to myself, not unlike I did when people came in demanding I acknowledge the technical superiority of Taurus or the bargain offered by Bersa

When I went to work at a gun club, it just got worse. I got to shoot everything in the case, and carried my faithful, reliable, simple Glock every day at "the office." I had chosen wisely. Or, so I thought.

It got worse after I made the jump to the M&P platform. I now had a COMFORTABLE hunk of Combat Tupperware in my holster, and found myself shooting it even better than I did the Glocks I had previously owned. I had found the NEW "Perfection." Why on earth would I ever want anything else??

But there they sat... The one or two CZs we always seemed to have on the bottom shelf. Interesting relics of a bygone age, to channel my inner Obi-Wan.

Then, they released the P-07. A polymer CZ for less than $500. A Euromiracle, they said. Affordable quality, they said. Uh huh. "I'll be the judge of that" I said to myself. I got my hands on the first one that crossed into our gun counter and was immediately underwhelmed. The trigger was long, heavy, gritty, and didn't inspire even a wink of lust. My interest in the company that built the "European 1911" ended the first time I put rounds downrange. It was a reliable hunk of crap. Save another hundred. Buy the M&P or a Glock.

Fast forward a few years and I find myself at a local USPSA match Classifier, reshooting the stage with a Production Master. Shooting a... waitaminute... is that a CZ???

As I progressed in my own USPSA journey, I came back to the 1911. I came back to high-end hammer fired pistols. I realized I'd been wrong to put down the Euro guns. Heavy, comfortable, stable, and accurate... Exactly the things we look for in "race" pistols. Hmm...

Now that I've met my Production goals (make B classification) I've turned my attention to my somewhat-tuned STI Limited Division equipment. But that darn CZ got stuck in my head and if I ever return to Production I'm wondering if a platform change would also be in order.

I'm also running across good review after good review of CZ's P-09 - the supposedly-improved big brother to the P-07 I hated half a decade or so ago. It strikes me as something of a sexy, purposeful gun. A cross between a Glock and a tri-topped full-railed full-dustcover 1911. And it's just over $500??? Well, well, well.

Do I dare? Do I finally give in to curiosity? I've known the joys of shooting custom 1911s and the pain of nasty, dirty, cheap plastic guns. Is it good enough to make me rethink CZ as a viable companion to my custom 1911s and my workhorse collection of plastic fantastic?

As the low-price and highly-regarded P-09 rates high on my "oooooh, should I?" list, they also do another pistol that quietly peeks out from behind the dark recesses of my mind that drive my proclivity to buy oddball items... the CZ 75 SP01 Tactical. What it lacks by carrying the traditional 75 design forward (that sexy slide and a more conventional aesthetic), it makes up with a very businesslike and purposeful look and feel.

When it comes down to making a questionable impulse purchase (providing I can sneak funding approval from Mrs. Normal), I'm torn on whether to start with the new hotness or pick up an old reliable. Neither would be a bad choice, per se, but what's a guy to do?

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  1. I'm digging the top one on looks alone as I've never had my hands on a CZ it's the only opinion I am capable of.

    It's pretty.... in a military - I'll put a hole in your head type of way.

    1. I think I'm leaning that direction, too. Not for the "chootim in da head" looks (although it's definitely not a "soft" looking pistol) but to keep the cost of admission low while I add a new action type to the collection.

      To go all-metal and keep that same look, I'd have to try and find a Sphinx - a made-in-Switzerland gun based on the CZ designs. Doing that would seriously put me in the doghouse, given the number of other gun projects I've got in the fire right now.