Old School Service Pistol Showdown: CZ-75 vs. 1911
If you're into guns that have a touch of class, a couple of old-school service pistols that you may find yourself weighing might be the CZ-75 vs 1911. Granted, the real answer is BOTH because both are amazing.
However, there are a few things that might tip you in one direction or another. The CZ-75 holds more rounds and uses a double-action system that doesn't really work as well as others - more on that in a minute. The 1911 platform...well, it speaks for itself. Let's get into what sets one apart from the other.
Which 1911 Do You Mean?
So, when someone says "CZ 75 vs 1911," exactly WHICH 1911 does that mean? Is there a particular one you're looking at? That's something to consider.
The 1911 platform is incredibly diverse, as the patent on it has long-since expired. Basically anyone, anywhere, can get blueprints and starting making them. You can get anything from budget import bangers to bespoke, handmade guns that will set you back quite a bit.
It comes in single-action, so you pretty much have to carry cocked-and-locked. That said, whingeing about the manual safety is just plain wrong; the uber-complicated motion of flicking your thumb a bit is not exactly rocket science.
Most are single-stack, but double-stack models are out there too. You can opt for plain-Jane and understated, to being so tacticool that you have to put on a plate carrier to open your safe because you're just so tactical, despite the fact that you work in an office and drive a sensible commuter car. Or get an uber-intricate barbecue gun that is basically for showing off.
That said, let's discuss a few figures. The typical full-size 1911 has a 5-inch barrel, standing 5.5 inches tall by 8.5 inches long and 1.2 inches wide at the grips, though only 0.9 inches at the slide. Ambidextrous safety levers typically bring that out to 1.3 to 1.4 inches wide. Typical chambering is .45 ACP, and most magazines hold 7+1 or 8+1, depending on the design.
Typically unloaded weight is 40 ounces. However, you can opt for a Commander, which will have a barrel length between 4 and 4.25 inches, reducing length to 7.75 inches to 8 inches, depending on design. Officer frame pistols reduce barrel length to 3.5 inches in most cases, though 3-inch, 3.125-inch and 3.625-inch barrels are out there too, and cut frame height to 5 inches in most cases, reducing capacity by 1 round.
Cost varies, by design, manufacturer and what sort of bells and whistles are involved. Import GI-spec guns start around $400. Domestic producers usually start at about $600 for a GI-spec or GI-inspired model. Mid-shelf models run about $1,000 and custom guns run about $3,000.
The specs just sort of depend on what you're looking at. What you can expect is ergonomic excellence, easy pointing and intuitive aiming, and all the excellence that the 1911 platform is known for.
But Check Out The Czech: CZ-75 Makes A Great Case For Itself
That said, picking a pistol between the CZ-75 vs 1911 may not be incredibly easy; the CZ-75 actually makes a good case for itself. The CZ-75, just like the 1911, is a reliable, accurate, very ergonomic and highly accurate service gun. Many people find that it's one of the easiest pistols to shoot.
The CZ-75 was designed under the cover of "we're not telling the Russians about this" as a service pistol/target gun for shooting sports, and though it wasn't above board to import directly until the early 1990s, was an underground sensation among the Wonder Nines. Today, it's still one of the most popular.
The CZ-75 is a double-action pistol, but the stock model features a manual safety that only works when the hammer is cocked. That means carry is cocked-and-locked, just like the 1911, but you can - if desired - manually lower the hammer for DA carry. Granted, this makes some folks nervous and understandably so.
Therefore, you could think of the CZ-75 as a Browning Hi Power with second-strike capability; a Hi Power Evo, if you will.
Typical carrying capacity is 14+1 of 9mm, as it's a double-stack. Barrel length is 4.6 inches, standing 8.1 inches long by 5.4 inches tall by 1.4 inches wide at the grips, but a mere 0.93 inches at the slide, so it's slimmer than you think. Unloaded weight is 35.2 ounces.
That makes it roughly the same dimensions as a Commander 1911 but with double the carrying capacity in 9mm. That makes it one attractive pistol in many respects. MSRP is $612, so one is quite reasonably acquired...IF you can find one. Stores have a notoriously hard time keeping them on shelves.
Narrowing Down The 1911 vs. CZ-75
Both are great all-arounders, and are classic pistols for a reason. Both make excellent home-defense guns or open carry pistols. However, both are actually better-suited to concealed carry than you might think at first glance.
You'll need a good belt, either way; be in no doubt that they're heavy by modern standards. However, some 1911s feature alloy frames that can significantly cut down on the carry weight, so that's something to consider.
Both guns, though, are slightly less than an inch wide at the slide, which means they slip inside the waistband fairly easily. If you wanted a full-size gun as a CCW, both are great choices.
If concerned with overall width, the controls actually aren't the issue; most models have only left-side controls. The width is in the grips. Since both use panels you can just swap them out for thin grips. Thin grips can reduce width of either gun down to about 1.1 inches, which is about as wide as many subcompact plastic fantastics...but on a big gun!
As far as round count...well, that's something you have to square with yourself. Do you want 8 to 9 of .45 ACP? Or do you want more? The '75 is the ticket if you do.
You might get hung up on the CZ-75 being a 9mm, but you can pick up a CZ-97 instead. It's the same operating system (and same specs...mostly) but in .45 ACP and with a full-length railed dustcover. (Weighs more, though!) Don't like single-action much? That's okay - the CZ-75 is also available with a decocker, as the CZ-75 BD.
Generally, the 1911 is the default choice if you prefer a big-bore pistol. Nothing wrong with that; if you like .45 caliber and shoot it well, that's what you should carry. If you prefer 9mm, though...the CZ-75 offers a lot more than a 9mm 1911. It carries more rounds and is basically the same size if you swap stock grips for thin panels. Costs less than many decent Commander frames, too. You carry it the same way, but can carry in double-action mode if desired as well.
Granted, get out there and handle both of them. Shoot both if you can. The one that feels best to you, and shoots best for you, is the one to get.
Have you shot these firearms? What did you like, and what didn't you?
Let us know in the comments below!