CZ USA 75D PCR Compact No. 91194 9mm, $651
Recently, we received a letter urging us to test more deep-concealment guns, claiming that they are the most popular gun of the day. Checking with one of the larger distributors (www.camfour.com), confirmed that it is the subcompact and micro guns that are currently driving the market. In this test were not going to evaluate pocket guns, but we are going to shoot four compact pistols that in are just one step larger than the smallest model available from each manufacturer. In this test we shot the little brother of the CZ 75B, the $651 CZ USA 75D PCR Compact.
Throughout our tests, the gun ran reliably without a single malfunction. The CZ is a hammer-driven pistol with two modes of fire. Once the slide has been moved rearward, the hammer stays back and trigger is used for the single action of releasing the hammer. But after using the decocker to lower the hammer to a locked position about 0.36 inches from the firing pin, pressing the trigger will perform two actions. First to move the hammer rearward, and, second, to release it toward the firing pin. To collect accuracy data, our test team fired the CZ 75D PCR Compact from the bench in single action only.
We began with three choices of test ammunition, consisting of Remington UMC 115-grain JHP rounds, Federal American Eagle 124-grain FMJ rounds and 115-grain FMJ rounds of new manufacture (red box) Black Hills ammunition. When we realized our supply of the American Eagle rounds was going to be limited, we decided to shoot our action tests with a fourth, less expensive, round. These were the Black Hills remanufactured 124-grain FMJ rounds sold in the blue boxes. Curious about the accuracy of these economical rounds, we decided to add them to our bench session. Test distance from support was 15 yards.
After accuracy data had been collected from our bench session, we set up a timed close-quarters exercise. For this test we posted a paper replica of an IPSC Metric target from www.LEtargets.com 7 yards downrange. The drill was to engage the target with two shots to the 5.9-by-11-inch rectangular A-zone at center mass, and then a third shot to the upper A-zone. The upper A-zone measured about 4-by-2 inches and represented the cranial pocket of this roughly humanoid silhouette. After ten runs we looked for 20 hits to the "chest" and ten to the head. Start position was holding the pistol in both hands at roughly the position one would clap their hands. We kept track of elapsed time by using a shot-activated timer and took note of our accuracy. Our operator began by dry-firing the exercise at the command of the audible start signal. Once the operator was able to completely visualize the run, at the sound of the timer the shooter was ready for live fire. But keep in mind that each gun was afforded one try and one try only at our action test. We almost broke this promise when it came time to test the CZ pistol. It was the last gun to be field tested and we suddenly realized that we had not yet fired the pistol beginning with a double-action first shot. We even went so far as to write in a warmup round on our score card. Then we decided to take the challenge and report how we shot the CZ from first-shot double action under pressure without additional practice.
The CZ 75D PCR Compact was the only metal-framed pistol in our tests. Based on the CZ 75 but with an alloy frame and decocker, it may also be the design that has been in production the longest. The frame was aluminum alloy with diamond textured rubber grips. The backstrap offered a graceful palm swell, and the web of the shooters hand sat comfortably recessed below a beavertail. The CZs frame rails reach up and over the slide rails.
The left-side magazine release was slightly oversized. The polished trigger was the only break in the shadow of its black polycoat finish. The dustcover was streamlined rather than railed, and there was a small lanyard loop at the base of the grip. The front sight was held in place by a roll pin, and the rear sight was a new snag-free unit dovetailed into place. It was windage adjustable only via drift, but we found the sights to be dead on. The slide stop/takedown pin and the decocker were located on the left side of the frame. Takedown required that the slide be moved rearward about 0.20 inches so that guidelines in the frame and slide were touching. The slide-stop pin was to be pushed out from right to left, and the slide removed from the frame.
The CZ 75D PCR Compact was meant to be fired either one of two ways. After racking the slide to fill the chamber, shots can be fired single-action only. To fire the first shot double action, pressing the decocker delivered the hammer to a point about one-third the way to its most rearward position. We tried manually decocking our 75D PCR Compact, but the rest point was the same. When we tried manually decocking a CZ model 75 that does not have a decocker, the hammer ended up further forward. So, one advantage of the decocker model was that the double-action trigger press was shorter and the change to single action didnt seem as drastic. The decocker was not a mechanical safety capable of essentially turning the gun off. But a decocker does make the pistol almost impervious to accidental discharge by unintentional contact with the trigger.
The magazine well of the CZ pistol was generously beveled, and magazines loaded noticeably easier into the CZ than our other pistols. Two 14-round magazines were supplied with viewing holes at 5, 10, and maximum capacity. But the holes were on the left side of the magazine, and right-handed shooters holding the mag in the left hand for loading will have to turn the magazine around and check, if theyre not counting. The magazines of the Ruger pistol offered viewing on both sides. The Glock and XDM pistol magazines show round count from the rear.
Our bench session was also our single-action-only session. What we discovered about this 3.5-pound single-action trigger was that there was a lot of creep and grit, so we did not expect too much from the CZ. But maybe we worked a little harder than usual and made sure we did everything possible to overcome the trigger. We felt that the CZ was more prone to muzzle flip than our other pistols, so we made sure not to over control the pistol upon recoil. Perhaps this was the key as our CZ showed that it was capable of superior accuracy. In fact, the round that kicked the most produced the smallest Average Group Radius of our tests, just 0.68 inches. These rounds were the Black Hills 124-grain remanufactured FMJ rounds. The largest single radii measured only 1.01 inches.
We entered our action test not having spent any time at all practicing with first shot double action. Perhaps we would have been justified taking some practice runs. But when we heard ourselves saying wed make an exception for the CZ it just didnt sound right. Call it ego but the challenge of this pass/fail situation began to appeal to us. Our first run was admittedly shot with caution. Elapsed time was 2.74 seconds, but we liked what we felt. More comfortable, our second run was 2.10 seconds long. Then 2.04, 1.85 . Our last run produced perfect placement of our shots in an overall fastest time of just 1.72 seconds. When we were done. we saw all shots inside the lower A-zone. Strung a little bit high and low they primarily filled the center. The upper A-zone showed only three hits inside the lines, but the head area was covered by about a 4-inch circle of hits.
Our Team Said: In this contest of evenly matched guns, wed pick the CZ first if we wanted an aluminum frame, great accuracy with an economical round (Black Hills remanufactured 124-grain FMJ ammunition), or single-action operation.