Improving on the CZ 75? Sounds farfetched, but Guncrafter Industries perfects the classic pistol as only they can.
How Guncrafter's Improves The CZ 75:
- Each pistol is fully inspected.
- It's frame is color case-hardened and given a clear Cerakote finish.
- The slides have the flats polished and are given a hot salt blue finish.
- The barrel is trimmed flush to the slide, and then it’s treated to a re-crowning.
- All internals are inspected, tuned and polished.
The CZ-75 pistol came about because the Czechs were trying to do the right thing.
Working within the Warsaw Pact, they were using their experience as firearms designers and manufacturers to make what the Soviet system wanted. Alas, what the Russians wanted (which was what really mattered) were clones of their issue firearms, the AK-47 and Makarov. The Czechs couldn’t earn hard currency selling the same firearms the Russians were giving away, so they had to make different, market-desired firearms.
And that’s how the world got a high-capacity, double-stack 9mm pistol with a traditional double-action trigger … and the world’s sexiest grip.
No, really; the grip of the CZ-75 (first offered in that year, of course) was so ergonomic that no less than Jeff Cooper—of Gunsite and the 1911—liked it. He liked it enough to encourage the design and manufacture of the Bren Ten, which was a disaster of the first order but did give us the 10mm pistol cartridge. OK, so we’re square there.
The CZ-75 was not, however, available here, in the United States: Because the Czechs (and the Slovaks, with whom they had been combined into one country, later to amicably split) were Communists, we couldn’t buy their products.
Yes, we could buy Communist Chinese firearms, but not Czechoslovakian ones. Not until after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the split and the Czechs jumping in with both feet to a Western market economy.
OK, history lesson over.
Improvements by Guncrafter
The CZ-75 is now made in a dizzying array of models and features and has posted an impressive array of wins on the international competition circuit. The traditional double-action, decried by traditionalists as an impediment to good shooting? Not so much. In fact, in the international circles of competition—IPSC—the CZ action has it all over the various striker-fired pistols for match wins and titles.
Also, the Czech proclivity to use impressively strong steels in its firearms makes the CZ almost indestructible—so much so that when IPSC competitors were first testing the waters for a load known as 9mm Major (very impressive velocities), the CZ-75 platform was most often seen as the surviving pistol.
With all this goodness, how does one improve such a pistol? Simple: Hand it over to Guncrafter Industries.
The basic elements of the Executive Series (the name, “GI,” applies to Guncrafter’s custom CZ-75s) are impressive. Each pistol is fully inspected, because once you get started doing custom work at this level, there’s no going back. Not that the CZ firm would make a bad pistol, but if there’s something that doesn’t quite rise to the level that GI expects, it would be a bad day to find out halfway through the build. Once inspected, each frame is engraved with the GI logo.
All of them get the frame color case-hardened and are then given a clear Cerakote finish. The already-tough Czech steel gets a harder skin with the color case-hardening, and then the color is protected via the clear Cerakote. You’d really have to have acidic sweat (I’ve known a few individuals with this unhappy trait) or really work your ’75 hard to cause the Cerakote to wear enough to expose the color.
The slides have the flats polished and are then given a hot salt blue finish. The barrel is trimmed flush to the slide, and then it’s treated to a re-crowning to ensure the last thing the bore does is hand the bullet off to the atmosphere in a uniform manner.
After the internals are, of course, inspected, tuned and, if need be, polished for the best function and trigger pull, the barrel and the small internals are given a DLC finish. Then, each receives a set of Guncrafter industries’ Slim-Tac grips, made of G10.
You have your choice of three models: the Compact, the CZ-75B or the SP-01.
The Compact is just that: a ’75 on which the barrel and slide have been shortened from the standard 4.6 inches of the 75B to 3.75 inches. The magazine capacity is also decreased from the standard 16 to 14 rounds. As an all-steel pistol, it’s going to have soft recoil, and with the 14-round magazine (and frame trimmed to match), it’s going to be easy to conceal—even if its 33 ounces seem a bit heavy. A proper holster will take care of that.
The 75B is the original, with 16 shots in the magazine, a 4.6-inch barrel and slim forward profile that makes re-holstering quite easy (not that re-holstering should be a speed event, but it shouldn’t be a “not a hassle/struggle” event).
The SP-01 is the 75B—but with a frame that extends all the way to the muzzle and which also has an accessory rail machined into it. This model is all-steel, so this factor ups the empty weight of the SP-01 to 41 ounces from the 35 ounces of the 75B.
The sights on all three models are fixed, with the rear drift-adjustable and the front pinned into the slide.
Get The Inside Edge On Guncrafter Industries:
Trigger and Grip
The trigger work improves on the already-excellent CZ trigger design. In IPSC competition, the CZ-75, in various models, has accounted for an impressive number of world championships, as well as nationals in various countries. You can carry this pistol like a 1911, with the hammer cocked and the safety on. You can carry it with the hammer down and the safety off (it doesn’t have a de-cocking system/safety, so you’ll have to lower the hammer yourself).
Even un-tuned, the trigger on a CZ-75 is nice. But once Guncrafter is done with it, it’s superb! The single action is clean and light, and the double action is smooth. The DA stroke feels like a slicked-up revolver trigger, but without the “crunchy” feel a lot of striker-fired pistols have.
The felt recoil from an all-steel, high-capacity 9mm is as soft as you’d imagine. The ergonomic grip makes it even softer, because the ’75 seems to be made for your hand. Accuracy is what you’d expect from a tuned and known-for-accuracy pistol.
Exemplary and Classy
The question you are, no doubt, asking is, “What is this for?”
Well, you could easily use the Compact or 75B as daily carry guns. As I said, with a good holster, the weight isn’t a problem. In fact, the weights of the Compact and 75B are right in line with a lot of carry guns. A G17 weighs 32 ounces empty; a G19 weighs 30 ounces. So, the 75B and the Compact tip the scales at 3 ounces heavier than a comparable polymer pistol. I don’t think 3 ounces is going to be a burden, do you? As an added bonus, the extra 3 ounces, plus the ergonomic grip, will make the use of +P and even +P+ ammunition for defensive use not an ordeal.
Capacity? The flush-fit magazines hold 16 rounds in the full-sized pistol. An extended basepad gets you 19 rounds, and you can get a Taylor Freelance =5 basepad that bumps you up to 21 rounds per magazine.
Disassembly is easy: Unload and remove the magazine. Ease the slide back until the scribed lines on the frame and the slide match up, and press the slide stop pin out from the left side. Remove the slide assembly. Then pull the recoil spring, and then barrel, out of the slide. Hose, scrub, lube and reassemble.
The SP-01 is a superbly spec’d and classy competition gun. Shooting in Production Division, starting with the hammer down and shooting double-action for the first shot, you’ll be in the same company as World and National Champions Eric Grauffel, Angus Hobdell and Matthew Mink.
The 45 ounces of the SP-01 will dampen any recoil from 9mm loads making Minor, and the DA/SA trigger pull has clearly not stopped those competitors from trouncing striker-fire-equipped pistol shooters. For use as a nightstand gun, the SP-01, with its accessory rail, has a perfect place to mount a light or light/laser combo.
And finally, unlike polymer-framed pistols, if you find that the GI Slim-Tac grips are just not quite to your liking, you can easily swap them from an embarrassingly large host of choices in color, shape, texture and materials.
As custom guns go, the price of these pistols is reasonable. Their performance is exemplary, and Guncrafter even had them in stock when I last checked.
It’s a sweet deal on a smoking-hot 9mm pistol; one that will, depending on your needs, provide defense or match victories. And it looks good as well.
So, what are you waiting for?
Guncrafter Industries CZ-75 Specs
Type: Locked-action, self-loading pistol
Capacity: 16+1 rounds
Barrel: 4.6 in.
Length: 7.75 in.
Weight: 41 oz.
Trigger: 5 lb.
Finish: Blued slide, color case-hardened frame
MSRP: $1,675 (Compact & 75B); $2,175 (SP-01)
For more information on the CZ 75 Guncrafter Industries Executive Series, please visit guncrafterindustries.com.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.