January 27, 2011

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 we’re 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.

Courtesy, Gun Tests

Courtesy, Gun Tests

At last, a decocker that helped make the first shot smooth and short. Even with some roughness to the single-action trigger, this gun landed the tightest groups.

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 shooter’s hand sat comfortably recessed below a beavertail. The CZ’s 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 didn’t 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.

Courtesy, Gun Tests

Courtesy, Gun Tests

The $651 CZ USA 75D PCR was full of surprises. From the bench, it gave out slightly more muzzle flip than our other pistols. But the CZ produced the tightest 10-shot accuracy group, and with remanufactured ammunition to boot. The Black Hills 124-grain FMJ ammunition was the cheapest and the most powerful load we fired.

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 they’re 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 we’d make an exception for the CZ it just didn’t 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, we’d 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.

Comments (12)

The plastic guide rod is designed to work well in this gun, I have both a CZ PCR & SP-01 both with plastic guide rods and both guns have WELL over 3K rounds each with zero issues including the guide rod. Be careful with the SS guide rod as I have read on the CZ forum that they can cause wear on your frame.

As for CZ's I'm a huge fan I just love the feel of an ALL metal gun while I really like my SP-01 there's just something right about the PCR.

Great review.

Posted by: TSOL | February 8, 2011 11:46 AM    Report this comment

yes, I am talking about the recoil spring guide.

Posted by: wild romanian | January 28, 2011 8:15 PM    Report this comment

yes, I am talking about the recoil spring guide.

Posted by: wild romanian | January 28, 2011 8:15 PM    Report this comment

yes, I am talking about the recoil spring guide.

Posted by: wild romanian | January 28, 2011 8:14 PM    Report this comment

I'm still lost on the operation rod thing. Are you talking about the recoil spring guide?

Posted by: peach | January 28, 2011 11:13 AM    Report this comment

to Kappy

The operation rod I bought was custom made by a man who lives in the western United States. I did not get this stainless steel operation rod from CZ. For those of you who want a quality operation rod not a junk plastic one contact "bedair@cebridge.net". He also makes stainless op-rods for other makes of weapons and they are top notch quality.

Posted by: wild romanian | January 28, 2011 8:43 AM    Report this comment

Stick with a Browning Hi Power if you want a 9mm.

Posted by: prairiedog555 | January 28, 2011 3:34 AM    Report this comment

Wild Romanian, while I'm willing to accept your interpretation of the sights, I simply cannot believe that a guide rod was bent at a 45 degree angle. That's overplaying your hand. I further don't believe that you had to pay for a part which was bent. CZ is known for having awesome customer service.

Posted by: kappy | January 28, 2011 12:46 AM    Report this comment

The basic CZ 75 has been the epitome of a well designed and engineered pistol from its first appearance back in 1975. Ergonomically it is a great fit to most of our hands. While I do not own one, because I own so many other pistols that are as good or better, I would someday like to have a CZ 75 in my collection.

Posted by: canovack | January 27, 2011 6:55 PM    Report this comment

I am glad your gun proved to be reliably with all of its faults. However, the two roll pins holding the front and rear sights are not what you may think they are. They are more of a sheet of metal in a coil. These are perfectly serviceable. Even S&W uses them. The rear pin actually holds the firing pin, not the rear sight. I can't explain the bent "operating rod". That is something that should have been seen during the inspection before purchase.

Peach

Posted by: peach | January 27, 2011 4:18 PM    Report this comment

I just bought one and I have some complaints. CZ like everyone else these days has cheapened their product to screw the consumer and make higher profits. I personally would have gladly paid more for a gun with no junk parts in it.

My gun had a garbage plastic operating rod that was already bent at almost a 45 degree angle right out of the box. I was lived red when I saw this very thin piece of plastic trash. I had to spend another 25 dollars and get a custom made stainless operation rod made for it.

Also the front and rear sights were held on by junk hollow sheet metal roll pins. They are notorious for loosening up and also snapping off. As a matter of fact even CZ did not trust this trash roll pin as they put two pins, (one inside the other) to hold the rear sight on. The front sight had only one junk roll pin holding it on. Now how much more would it have cost them to use solid steel roll pins like they used to use? Maybe a couple of pennies more and they would never break or loosen up like a junk sheet metal roll pin will. I replaced this garbage with solid metal pins, now I do not have to worry about the sights falling off the gun.

The gun was reliably and accurate but the sharp magazine floor plate catches on my shirt when I attempt to draw the gun if I do not remember to pull my shirt outward first, before pulling the shirt upward to access drawing the gun.

Posted by: wild romanian | January 27, 2011 2:28 PM    Report this comment

Great report guys! I love this pistol. I hope you test the BUL Cherokee soon as it is based on this model only polymer framed and quite a bit less costly (339.00 right now on cdnn.com). I don't have a problem with the aluminum framed CZ75 though. Twenty-four oz empty is really not that heavy. I happen to prefer the Remington 115gr JHP ammo in my pistols. Seems accurate and pretty cheap at WW.(when they have it). All in all a great pistol and a good report. I can't wait to read the rest of them.

Posted by: 469shooter | January 27, 2011 12:59 PM    Report this comment

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