Born in the Czech Republic in 1975, the CZ 75 has just celebrated its 40th anniversary. However due to the cold war and political landscape in Europe the United States was not properly introduced until 1993.
The CZ 75 offers over twenty variations in 9x19 mm, and .40 S+W. The SP-01 models are the first model to utilize their modern manufacturing techniques, and NATO approved compact pistol CZ 75 P-01 with superb ergonomics. This is a large full sized pistol with Military and Law Enforcement in mind. With an overall length of 8.15 inches and barrel length of 4.6 inches, long sight radius, and texturized rubber grips mounted to a steel frame give excellent handling on a heavy pistol. (2.4 lbs.)
The key differences between the standard SP-01 and the SP-01 ‘tactical model’ is that the SP-01 has a manual safety lever on the slide, and the Tactical model offers a de-cocker lever instead. The SP-01 comes in 9x19mm only, where the tactical SP-01 is available in 9x19mm and .40 S+W.
This pistol is similar to not taking the hottest date to the prom because you decided to take someone fun instead. I personally think it is ugly compared to other designs from other brands. However, part of the ugly is exactly why it brings so much pleasure and no pain. The ergonomics mentioned prior have to do with how the pistol sits in your hand when firing. The design elements including extended beaver-tail, higher cut grip area and serrated trigger guard. This allows you to hold the pistol closer to the barrel plane and direct recoil though your wrist instead of muzzle rise. My first thoughts were “Where is the recoil?”
The slide: The slide itself is unique to CZ. The groove is on the outside of the slide with seats the slide and barrel lower in the frame. Other autoloaders have the groove inside which brings the barrel higher. On the slide they have fixed night sights made by TRU DOT which allow for easy target acquisition in all light conditions.
The barrel: There are a few unique features on this barrel compared to the competition. There is an extended feeder ramp extending to the magazine for improved auto-loading. The barrel seats in the frame similar to that of the famous 1911 but has much improved performance over that style. They have also cold hammer forged the barrel with square cut rifling for improved accuracy.
The Trigger: Double Action (DA)/Single action (SA) trigger is satisfactory with DA at 11lb pull, SA at 5lb pull. It is a little stiffer than the competitors triggers offered in comparable platforms.
Range Report: The first magazine I ran through this pistol at 20 feet – the hits were touching each other on the paper – grouping like a champ. This impressed me immediately. The groups opened up a little at 25 yards, but you can still expect 4 inch groups at that range. The 18 round magazines really make the ammo disappear in a hurry. This is a smooth shooting pistol with little muzzle rise and stays on target much more consistently than any pistol I have shot prior. There is no doubt in my mind why the CZ 75 SP-01 is #1 on so many top 10 lists for 9x19mm pistols on the market today.
The Cons: What goes up, must come down. The slide mentioned earlier as improving accuracy and handling has a very narrow grip for initiating the slide. It is acceptable but for those used to other pistols, some getting used to will need to take place. Also if you are a gear head, this pistol does not offer the quantity of options in aftermarket accessories as some other brands. I find that it really does not need them.
My final thoughts on the CZ 75 SP-01 and SP-01 tactical: With a current MSRP of $680, don’t wait, buy it! You can save money on cheaper pistols, but then you will have to sell them (probably lose money on it) and buy this one after trying someone else’s. At this price point I can’t see anyone competing with them in terms of fit, finish, feel, and accuracy.