Clash Of The Compact CZs: CZ 75D PCR vs CZ 75 Compact
If you were leaning toward a CZ to CCW, two of the strongest contenders are going to come down to the CZ 75 Compact vs PCR. CZ makes some of the best pistols to be had, though their product lineup is a bit heavier on the full-size guns than on concealed carry pistols.
That said, these two guns are among the best and most popular for that purpose. Both have a lot in common, as they are both compact versions of the CZ-75, but do have some significant differences.
Which is better? The fit and feel are going to be about the same; it's practically the same gun. What the decision will come down to is what you like in a double-action carry gun.
CZ-75 Compact: CZ's Greatest Hits In A Compact Package
The CZ-75 Compact, or more accurately the CZ-75B Compact, is just like the CZ-75B, with a bit hacked off the barrel, the slide and the grip to make it more packable and concealable. The overall length is reduced by about ¾" and the grip by about ½".
Just about everything else is the same as the CZ-75. If you like the CZ-75 but wish it was a little smaller for carry, this is the gun to have.
It has a steel frame, which the slide rides inside, giving it tight lockup and a low bore axis. The CZ-75 Compact, as a result, is known for better shooting manners than some full-size service pistols. The frame is steel, in case you like a bit of weight and the confidence of having an all metal gun.
The magazine carries 14+1 of 9mm, two fewer than the full-size. Barrel length is 3.75 inches, with overall dimensions of 7.24 inches long, by 5.03 inches tall and 1.38 inches wide. It weighs 32 ounces unloaded, which is heavy but does soak up recoil.
Thing about the CZ-75 is that you either love it or you hate it because of its operating system. The CZ-75 Compact, like the full-size, is technically double-action but it has a manual safety that only engages if the hammer is cocked. Thus, it's more accurate to say that the pistol is more like a single-action with second-strike capability. With its looks, you might say it's an improved Browning Hi Power, a Hi Power Evo if you will.
Usage is either to carry Israeli style, to let the hammer down over a live round to carry in DA mode, or to carry cocked and locked, like a 1911 or - as mentioned - a Hi Power.
A Few Refinements Available On The CZ 75D PCR
The CZ-75D PCR features an acronym, which will become increasingly obvious. "PCR" is for "Police Czech Republic," as the gun was designed for the police in...hold on a minute...the Czech Republic, where CZ was founded, still is headquartered and makes a whole lot of their guns.
It's almost identical to the CZ 75 Compact in most terms. The dimensions are the same, with a couple of exceptions. The rear sight is ramp rather than the standard posts, though they are adjustable (front and rear) on both models. So that's a little difference, right? The slide is also machined slightly differently; in fact, it's the same slide as the CZ-75 P01 Compact, just without the full-length frame and rail.
The CZ 75D PCR's frame also isn't steel, but instead is made with a forged aluminum alloy. That takes about 4 ounces off the weight, which is 27.5 ounces unloaded. It might not be as light as a Glock 19, but it is about the same size, so it's a very viable carry gun.
However, the party piece is the controls. What really sets the PCR apart from the CZ-75 Compact is that the "D" stands for "Decocker" and as such, the PCR lacks the manual safety of the CZ-75 Compact.
Another difference is the sight cuts, as the PCR and P-01 have a unique rear sight dovetail alongside the rear ramp sight. The CZ 75 Compact uses the same rear sight dovetail as the standard CZ 75B. Therefore, if you upgrade your sights as a matter of course (and some people do) that is something to be aware of...and some owners report that finding sights for the CZ 75D PCR is a chore.
The PCR decocks to a safety notch that's a little ahead of half-cock. The PCR isn't 100 percent decocked, but you still get the longer, stiffer trigger pull of double-action mode. For those that prefer the security of a DA trigger, this lets you carry that way much like the double-action Sig Sauer pistols.
For those who prefer a double-action first shot, this gun has a control system that makes that a little easier to do.
Settling the CZ 75 Compact Vs PCR
Because of the control schemes, people who are looking at a CZ to conceal and carry are going to naturally gravitate toward one or the other. It depends largely on what a person likes out of a double-action gun because it's the same gun with a couple of minor differences. It will feel so closely the same in the hand that you probably aren't going to pick one over the other on that basis.
If you like single action operation, the CZ 75 Compact is going to be the flavor of your month. It actually has a lot to like in that regard; it holds about double the capacity of a Commander 1911 and isn't a whole lot bigger in terms of dimensions. (A 1911 is 1.2 inches wide at the grips; the CZ-75 is 1.38 inches with the factory grips. Aftermarket models can reduce that.) You also get to shoot 9mm, which means you can do a lot more shooting for the same money.
However, some people like the double-action trigger pull for the first shot, which acts as a passive safety of sorts. This advantage has been known about for many years, and double action devotees have been lording this over the plastic pistol posse ever since. The best way to have that is either with a decocking lever - like the CZ 75D PCR or certain Sig Sauer pistols - or with a decocking safety, like on Berettas, classic Walther pistols (which is who Beretta stole it from) and so on.
You'll notice the roughly 4.5 ounces of weight saved, but that's nothing a decent gun belt can't handle. However, if you're sensitive about that sort of thing, then the PCR will be more attractive in this respect. Some people have also said the decocker makes the trigger a little grittier, but if you want a custom shop trigger then you should be buying the SDP compact.
That said, it comes down to how you like your double-action guns. If you prefer a single-action but like the idea of DA carry if you want it, the CZ 75 Compact is for you. If you prefer to carry hammer-down, then the PCR is your gun.
Have you shot these firearms? What did you like, and what didn't you?
Let us know in the comments below!