. Clash Of The Classics.
Which Wonder Nine should you get between the CZ 75 vs Beretta 92? Both have a lot to offer. Both pistols are known to be accurate, very shootable, and have been proven in military and police service as well as in competitive shooting.
In other words, these guns are known to run. Proven in combat, proven in sport. Only a few other pistols have the same kind of pedigree. The 1911 platform, the various Glocks, the Browning Hi Power, Sig Sauer P226...not too many more to mention in the same company.
But which to get? You'd find yourself considering these classic Wonder Nines if you wanted a big, all-steel DA/SA 9mm pistol and both are excellent choices. But which should you get? There are a few things that might tilt you in one direction over another. Let's talk about that a bit.
CZ 75: Hold My Beer And Czech This Out
The CZ 75 pistol was designed behind the Iron Curtain during (the former) Czechoslovakia's time as a Soviet satellite state. The interesting thing is that it was never designed as a police or military sidearm; it was designed for target shooting, a popular pastime in that country.
The standard iteration features a 4.7-inch barrel, with dimensions being 8.1 inches long, 5.4 inches tall and just under 1.3 inches wide at the controls. Unloaded weight is 35 ounces. The standard magazine holds 15+1 of 9x19mm.
The CZ 75 has some novelties. First is the ergonomics, with a generous beavertail on the frame for a high, tight shooting grip, and a palm swell reminiscent of the Hi Power which comfortably fits the hand. This makes the CZ 75 very comfortable to hold, and one of the most naturally-pointing pistols this side of the 1911.
The slide rides inside the frame rails, a la the Sig P210. Lore holds the frame rails and a lower bore axis make the gun more accurate, but the reality is the CZ-75 doesn't have more lockup surface engagement than any other gun and its bore axis is actually taller than a Glock's.
The CZ 75 is DA/SA, with a manual safety for carrying cocked and locked. However, the manual safety can only be engaged when the hammer is cocked; you can only carry it in DA mode by manually lowering the hammer.
Without doubt, one of the best of all-time.
The standard CZ 75B model remains one of CZ's top sellers, for good reason…but the onslaught of time has brought around plenty more variations besides, including railed tactical models, compacts like the CZ 75 Compact vs PCR models, and many more.
Beretta 92: The Standard Wonder Nine
The Beretta 92, released the same year as the CZ 75 (which was...you'll never guess it...1975) was not made behind the Iron Curtain and could therefore be patented and sold wherever Beretta wanted to sell them. The US armed forces bought the Beretta to replace the 1911 pistol leading to it becoming one of the most popular service pistols worldwide.
The Beretta 92 started with design cues from the Walther P38. The slide is open-top, which aids in ejection. The barrel is a falling-block design, a bit different than fixed-link barrels (such as the CZ 75) in that there is no feed ramp. Every cartridge is fed straight across into the chamber. Thus, there's no issue using hollow points and reliable feeding is all but guaranteed.
The 92 also made use of Walther's DA/SA operating system and controls, with a slide-mounted decocker/safety. Rotate it down and it drops the hammer, but puts the gun on safe. Flip back up, and you're in DA mode. This lets you carry in DA mode with the safety on or off, at your discretion.
The gun was initially made with a manual safety only, but a series of revisions (including adding the Walther-style controls, revised manufacturing processes and so on) culminated in the 92FS, first released in the mid 80s.
Dimensions are stout, with a 4.9-inch barrel, and overall dimensions of 8.5 inches long by 5.5 inches tall and 1.5 inches wide. The standard model carries 15+1 of 9mm onboard (some versions 17+1 with newer magazines) and weighs 34 ounces unloaded.
The Beretta 92 beat out the Sig Sauer P226 to be the new service pistol for the US armed forces in the 1980s, and it quickly became a popular service pistol for other militaries as well as many police departments ever since.
Some revisions were made over the years, of course, and there are now a number of variants to be had besides the base 92FS model.
The same is true of the CZ 75, of course, but you can get a Beretta 92 to fit multiple tastes. Tactical models, compact versions for easier concealment, whatever you might want.
. What Sets Them Apart?
On paper, there's not much to set the CZ 75 vs Beretta 92 apart. Frankly, you get a great gun either way.
Both are known to be reliable, accurate, and well-suited to almost any application. Both have been used as duty pistols and both are common in practical shooting sports.
Concealed carry of either firearm is...complicated to say the least, due to sheer size, but then again, plenty of people carry one or the other without issue.
So...let's get into the nitty-gritty.
The main drawback to the CZ is the operating system. A DA/SA pistol with a manual safety defeats the purpose of having a double-action system to begin with; the SAO or D (decocker) models make a bit more sense in that regard.
CZs are a little harder to find in stores, and a little harder to source parts for. Not impossible, but not quite as easy.
The Beretta has a few drawbacks as well.
The standard 92FS has always been considered a brick with a grip that's 1.5 inches wide and a standard trigger reach of 2.9 inches from the back of the grip to the trigger in DA mode. The CZ-75 has a trigger reach of 2.75 inches. As a result, the 92FS is an issue for people with smaller hands, a common complaint from US service personnel. Granted, short-reach trigger kits exist for both guns and both are known for being dramatically better shooters with a trigger job.
The slide-mounted controls can give some people fits. It's been known for ages that running the slide with an over-the-top grip can inadvertently place the gun on safe on the standard FS model. Some people have issues reaching the safety lever with the shooting hand thumb, but that's more of a training issue (use the support hand!) than anything else.
The standard 92FS has a fixed front sight, which some people don't care for. However, some models have a dovetailed front sight, which is swappable.
By contrast, CZ controls are basically copied from John Browning. Intuitive, easily manipulated...but the base model is for righties only.
The 92's safety/decocking levers are ambidextrous; the standard CZ 75 is not.
In truth, both are excellent pistols but both have these tiny quirks that might make one or the other better for you. You may also just find you like one more than the other, or you may not.
If you asked the guy writing this, I would choose the '75 if I had to choose between the base models. The ergonomics and controls are just too compelling. BUT...add the 92X series into the equation? I'd take any of the 92X series guns in a heartbeat.
You might have a totally different opinion.
Ultimately, the best of the two is the one that's best for you. Handle and shoot both. The one that fits best and that you run best is the one to get. You won't go wrong either way.