The boys at Ceska Zbrojovka know how to make a .45 – Nuff Said.
guys over at the CZ forums keep saying how big the 97 is. Feh. It’s the same
size as a Government Model 1911, and maybe even a little thinner. In the hand, I
have to admit, it feels BETTER than my Springfield did.
The stock wood grips are just perfect, and I see or feel no reason to change them. They offset the black polycoat finish beautifully. They are keepers.
Looks good, feels good, yada yada yada… but how does it shoot?
SWEETNESS. My first 9 shots were all just a ragged hole, with one flyer. My last shot I jerked the trigger and pulled it off to the right. Oh well. I can live with that. Another 3 shot group, all in one .45 caliber hole. I have a witness to these claims, and will post photos as well. Oh, the ammunition used was Triton Hi-Vel 230 grain +P. The gun was 100%. I also tried a box of some of the new “NOT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT” SPEER LAWMAN Frangible, which was almost as accurate, and cycled perfectly, accept for one round that had a bad primer. I ejected the round, looked at the dimple in the primer – looked like a normal hit with a deep dent in it – so it was ammo and not gun. Other than that 1 stupid round (hence the tag on the box in red letters that warned not for law enforcement) the gun ran flawlessly, accurately, and just plain sweet.
My overall impression is above favorable. Way beyond impressed. This CZ knocked my socks off. The quality is right up there with the best of production guns. I’ll put this CZ up against the beloved SIG P220. No second thought about that either. As good as a P220? No question. And as your guys know, I favor the SIG above all other double action .45s, even more than the HK USP. Sure, the HK has an advantage for being a freaking TANK and being able to shoot .45 Super loads as is… but If I was to enlist with a PD, it wouldn’t be my first choice. Up to this point, that 1st choice would be the SIG. Now, it’s a toss-up between the SIG and CZ. The only shortcoming the CZ has, is that it doesn’t have a decocker… and for that reason alone the SIG beats it. But face it, the 1911 doesn’t have a decocker either… and if you’re a 1911 guy and don’t feel the need to have one, then it is not an issue and in that case – the CZ is just fine. If I was a cop looking for a duty weapon, I’d take a CZ-97 with out a second thought. Great gun. Just a solid and great gun.
The take down is easy. Unload, pull slide back to the line up the marks. Pop out the slide stop pin, pull slide off the front. Remove the recoil spring, spring plug, and then unscrew the barrel bushing. Pull out the barrel.
Looking inside the slide I can see tool marks, but seriously and in all honesty - they are not as bad many of the "High Quality" guns that I've had. Less pronounced tool marks than in my last 2 SIGs and my HK USP. The quality of the machining and the tolerances of the parts is fantastic. Everything fits "right".
The only part that give me a raised eye brow is the recoil spring guide rod. It's plastic. Why the hell is there a plastic part inside this gun? That should be steel and it should be milled on a lathe. I suspect replacement parts are handed out like candy from CZ-USA. I'm not concerned about it. It doesn't effect the way it shoots. But still, in a gun of this quality it like a BMW M5 that has the front bumper off a Ford Focus. I don't care what the rational is behind it, it just doesn't belong.
The slide cycles smoothly, almost as smooth as a SIG P220. Almost. Let's let it wear in a bit and I bet it will smooth out nicely.
The trigger is typical DA/SA. Heavy DA, but not gritty. The SA has some take up, but that is something I actually like. Especially on a DUTY GUN. SA breaks at about 5 or 6 pounds... and there is some over travel... but that is something that a CZ armorer can adjust and remedy. Still, it's much better than most HK triggers save the P7... and on par with most other guns, SIGs included.
Last night when it was fired, it was fired full of the original packing grease.
Now that that gunk is wiped off and a nice coating of CLP is over everything... it feels even better.
I'd love to see some cats like Terry Tussy and those of his ilk get some 97s to work over. I suspect the results would be shockingly delicious.
I could see a CZ-97 cottage industry growing around these guns.
You gotta love the owners manual. It's printed in 3 languages. Native Check, English, and German. A true international pistol.
The magazines are made in Italy by MecGar. They may "Feel" cheap... but they are just fine. Good quality. Doesn't MecGar make the mags for SIG? Whatever - they are decent enough for me that is for sure. They are also as they say "Good and Plenty" and more can be had for only 22 bucks each. Witness mags work just fine in it. Meaning gunshows will have them around no problem.
Damn good gun. One of the best values out there? You gotta be kidding... did you see that .45 caliber 3 shot group?
One other note... Stratfordholdings had the complaint about ejection. He said it throws the cases out all over the place. I guess that is a downside if your a reloader. No nice little pile of brass to pick up. I don't care about that... I just want the empty brass out of the gun so the next round can chamber. Which it does just fine. I suspect that a good gunsmith could "tune" the extractor and make that more consistent.
Still, this gun is easily on par with any gun in the 800-1000 range. At least in my opinion based on shooting guns in that price range. With some work, this gun could EASILY run with the big dogs in the upper price ranges like those from Wilson Combat and the like. The guns that get on American Handjob's cover.
I would love to see the polished blue version of the 97. Talk about sexy.
Notes to CZ:
1. Lose the Philips head screws. They look chinsy.
2. Use a steel recoil spring guide rod.
3. Make an SA version.
4. Recontour the safety lever just a tad... it is just a little hard to reach with my thumb while holding a good shooting grip. Just a little, but maybe that is just me.
5. The magazine brake. Totally unwanted or needed feature. You never see shooters taking the gun to the 'Smith saying "I wish it had a magazine brake in it". Yes, I know it can be "easily modified" to keep the brake from holding the mag - but still... the gun doesn't need it.
On a scale from 1 to 10, the CZ-97 rates a solid and strong 9. I think this gun has a bright future in the US.