KSC CZ-75 First Version Review KSC currently produce three Česká Zbrojovka model 75 variants, the older 2nd version and two 1st version types in reflective or (the recently released) matte finishes. This review concerns the 1st version with the original reflective finish.
The CZ75 doesn’t enjoy a particularly high profile in comparison with popular Beretta and Glock models which seem to turn up in just about every action film going. This is, however, very much not the case in Japan, where the CZ75 1st version has the distinction of being the pistol of choice for Kenichi Sonoda’s Rally Vincent, star of the Gunsmith Cats manga and anime.
First impressions Out of the box, the CZ was woefully under-lubricated, and my first impressions on the reflective finish weren’t all that favourable. Thankfully, after a few months of wearing in with silicon oil and grease where appropriate, the initial stiffness of the working parts has lessened considerably, and the finish got a lot easier on the eye.
Apart from the CZ75 itself, KSC also include a loading tool, HOP adjusting tool, bag of approx. 100 BBs, 31 page manual, a card target sheet, and warranty and registration material (unfortunately, only for Japanese residents). The box itself is identical to the one for the 2nd version apart from a small gold 1st version sticker at the bottom left of the cover.
Component Breakdown External metal parts include:
Appearance KSC have opted to use a very distinct black reflective finish on this CZ-75. When comparing the finish to black anodised metal, it’s easy to tell the two apart, but KSC’s effort is by no means poor. A definite downside of the finish has to be the ease at which it collects fingerprints and other markings. While the surface is hardly fragile, it isn’t going to survive a skirmish intact, and any damage will be all the more noticeable.
Probably thanks to the reflective finish, the pistol has no external mould lines. The only imperfections that I can find are at the underside of the grip base, where the grip halves were cut from their mould.
External metal parts (apart from the trigger) are painted matte black, which unfortunately doesn’t match the attempted anodised finish of the plastic ABS body. The trigger’s silver coating has the same appearance as the plastic chamber and outer barrel, and neither appears very convincing on close inspection.
Markings This is one area in which the CZ75 1st ver. undoubtedly excels in my opinion. Most of the markings have the appearance of being engraved into the plastic, being very sharp and clear. The markings have, to the best of my knowledge, all been reproduced faithfully. KSC’s own markings are also very discreet, with a small “JASG” on the underside of the lower frame in front of the trigger guard, and the “KSC” logo is hidden inside the handgrip.
Grip The grip is quite thin, but not too small for those with large hands. Unfortunately, when the grip is squeezed the pistol does produce a few squeaks. This problem, as with a lot of plastic squeaking, can probably be cured with a bit of electrical tape and silicon grease.
Double action in particular was a long way from smooth, but after some judicious use of Abbey silicon lube and gradual wearing-in through use, the action of squeezing the trigger is a lot more even.
Hammer Cocking the hammer is a nice and smooth action, with no unwanted play in any of its positions. Keeping the hammer mechanism well lubricated has also definitely helped smooth out the trigger pull.
Safety The safety is situated on the left side of the lower frame and can be engaged (by pushing upwards with the thumb) when the hammer is either half or fully cocked. Its easy to tell when the ready to fire thanks to the red dot just above the lever, which is obscured when the safety is engaged.
When in use, the safety prevents the trigger from operating the hammer when it is half or fully cocked. The safety cannot be operated if the pistol is not cocked.
While the safety does click into and hold its position, when it is not engaged there are a few millimetres of unwanted free play. Unfortunately, this free play is such that the safety can be pushed upward when the hammer is not cocked, enough to obscure the red dot, without the safety actually being engaged. Thus, if you weren’t careful, the un-cocked pistol could appear to be “safe” without actually being so.
Slide release Releasing the slide requires only a small amount of pressure on the catch, but it is perfectly secure when in normal use. The slide release’s position just in front of the safety does mean that engaging it with the thumb can be slightly awkward as the safety catch can get in the way. The easiest way to counter this problem (which after all is not the fault of KSC) is to get into the habit of deliberately bringing the thumb outwards to reach the catch, rather than moving it straight upwards from the grip.
Magazine The magazine holds 28 BBs, and delivers a consistent flow of HFC134a without any noticeable cooldown effect. In terms of gas efficiency, each fill is sufficient to fire off at least two loads of BBs before the power drops.
HOP The HOP mechanism is adjustable using the metal tool KSC provided in the box. Increasing the HOP is just a case of locking the teeth of the tool into those of the mechanism and rotating it anticlockwise.
From the zero HOP, to the fully engaged setting, there are only about 50° of rotation, and it clicks into place as it moves, so in comparison to the variable HOP of Western Arms SVIs, the CZ’s mechanism is very simple indeed. While its easy enough to use the tool as instructed in the manual, i.e. before slide disassembly, there’s less risk of scratching the slide finish when the outer barrel is removed.
Action Cocking the pistol was originally quite a stiff movement, and produced a nasty grating sound. The careful oiling and wearing in of the trigger and hammer mechanisms have made the slide much easier to pull back, and greasing the recoil spring and guide have made the return far smoother.
The reasons for the grating noise, and the slide’s initial stiffness when returning become obvious when the slide is disassembled. Due to the CZ75’s design, the recoil spring guide has to be short, as it is fully contained within the slide. This results in a gap between the spring guide and the lower part of the slide. KSC have used a tight coiled, flat recoil spring to compensate for this gap, which does a good job of keeping the spring guide inside when the slide blows back.
However, a consequence of this is that the sharp sides of the spring grate across the surface of the metal spring guide, which produces the distinctive sound when the slide is pulled back. The other issue with this design, which has an impact on the smoothness of the slide’s action, is that the gap between the spring guide and lower frame allows for a lot of free movement of the spring and guide when the pistol is firing. Basically, when the slide moves backwards, the tip of the guide is more often than not pushing up against the interior of the spring rather than sliding through it, making the slide’s movement rearwards slightly uneven. These issues are only really noticeable when the pistol is first cocked prior to firing, and go unnoticed during shooting itself.
Accuracy Despite the reasonably strong blowback, accuracy is helped a lot by the lightness of the trigger in single action, and hitting a tennis-ball sized target at 20 feet isn’t impossible.
Upgrades and accessories Thanks to Zeke, there’s now a metal frame and slide for the 1st version, and apart from standard upgrades such as tight bore barrels, UN Company sells Altamont wooden grips that apparently fit.