CZ 75 vs Beretta 92: 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 (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, which makes lock-up tight. This lends itself to great accuracy. The bore axis is often said to be low, but in truth is barely any lower than most pistols of its size.
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. Carrying in double-action mode is accomplished 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.
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.
CZ 75 vs Beretta 92...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. 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. It makes no sense to have a DA/SA pistol with a manual safety, since that pretty much defeats the purpose of having a double-action system to begin with. You can get a model with a decocker instead, though.
The CZ is also a little harder to find in stores, and a little harder to source aftermarket parts for. Not impossible by any means, but getting sights or a holster for one yields fewer options than it does for other guns.
The Beretta has a few drawbacks as well. First, it's like holding a brick. The grip is huge, as it's 1.5 inches wide with factory grips. It's also enormous front-to-back; trigger reach (the distance from the back of the grip to the front face of the trigger in double-action mode) is 2.9 inches. (The CZ 75 is about 2.75 inches, a little more manageable.) A constant complaint from service personnel was that it was hard for personnel with smaller hands to shoot it, and for precisely this reason.
Second, the controls are on the slide. First, this makes one-handed operation all but impossible unless you're Johnny Bench. Second, actuating the slide with the support hand over the slide can inadvertently activate the safety.
Not all Beretta 92 pistols can be equipped with new sights, so you have to make sure to pick a model with dovetailed front sights.
By contrast, CZ puts the controls on the frame between the top of the grip panels and the frame rails. Like the 1911 pistol, it's easily operated one-handed...unless you don't have thumbs. All sights are dovetailed, so they can be swapped if desired.
Granted, the Beretta 92 can be had in their "G" models, which replaces the decocking safety with a decocking lever instead.
The 92's safety/decocking levers are ambidextrous; the CZ's are not...unless you order the CZ 85 model, which is a 75 with ambi controls.
If you actually intend on carrying one of these pistols, the CZ is going to be a little easier in that department. While it's wide by Glock 43 standards, the 1.3-inch width can be tamed with thin grips, which bring overall width down to more like 1.1 inches. The Beretta can likewise be slimmed by about that margin, down to about 1.3 inches with slim grips. The CZ 75 is also slightly shorter, though only by half an inch.
If asked for my opinion, I prefer the CZ 75. The Beretta is a fine pistol, without doubt, and I would have no problem betting my life on one if I had to. It's one of the most popular service pistols to this day, and with good reason. However, I prefer the ergonomics of the CZ 75 to that of the Beretta. I also prefer the control layout as - to my mind - I want to be able to run the controls one-handed and as intuitively as possible.
You might find yourself totally swayed in the other direction.
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.