Double Trouble: CZ 75D PCR Review
Not everyone wants the same boring poly striker gun and - if you read the typical CZ 75D PCR review - this Czech pistol is anything but. Arguably, it's a perfection of the double-action system...arguably.
In fact, the Czech Republic saw fit to make it the official carry gun of their police forces, at least until the P-01 came along. Which is sort of funny, for reasons we'll get into.
The party piece of this pistol is that it has all the benefits of the CZ 75 Compact, but with a decocker instead of a manual safety, making double-action carry much more tenable. Is it portable pistol perfection? Read on to find out…
CZ 75D PCR: Variations On A Theme
The CZ-75D PCR is a variation on the theme of the CZ-75, an evolution if you will from the original or, more accurately, from the CZ 75 Compact. It was designed for use as a police sidearm, as PCR stands for "Police Czech Republic."
The frame is changed to an aluminum alloy instead of steel, with different machining than that of the CZ 75 Compact. It's lighter - almost a full pound lighter than a Gov't 1911 - though far from the lightest in the compact segment.
The CZ 75D PCR also utilizes a different slide design, with fore and aft serrations. The standard sights are also different, with a combat ramp rear sight (instead of standard posts) though they are white dots rather than standard night sights.
The slide design was carried over to the CZ P-01, which replaced the CZ 75D PCR as the standard service pistol in the Czech Republic. The standard P-01, of course, has the same operating system as the PCR, but has a full-length 1913 rail on the dust cover.
Instead of the manual safety, the CZ 75D PCR makes use a frame-mounted decocking lever. Just like the manual safety on the standard CZ 75, Browning Hi Power and the 1911, it's placed within easy reach of the thumb.
The most logical operating systems for double-action semi-autos, of course, is either a decocking safety (a la Beretta, Walther) or a decocking lever, a la Sig Sauer or CZ. The decocker allows the user to safely drop the hammer and carry in double-action mode. The long, hard trigger pull guards against accidental discharges and does so better - arguably - than pistols with passive trigger safeties only.
Thus, there is no need to carry the CZ-75D PCR cocked and locked, as many people prefer not to carry with one engaged. In other words, the gist of the CZ 75D PCR is that it's optimized for use as a carry gun, as opposed to just a chopped version of a service pistol.
CZ 75D PCR Specifications
The CZ 75D PCR starts with the same barrel as the CZ 75 Compact, and in fact many of the dimensions are the same.
Barrel length is 3.75 inches. Overall dimensions are 7.24 inches long, 5.03 inches tall and 1.38 inches wide. The pistol comes standard with CZ's standard black rubber grips, though these can be swapped for thin grips that will shave the width down to less than 1.25 inches.
The grip profile is classic CZ, with a beavertail that allows a high, tight grip and the classic CZ palmswell, so the pistol is incredibly comfortable.
Carrying capacity is 14+1 of 9mm, and the pistol is not available in .40 S&W. A 10-round version is available in states that restrict magazine capacity due to hating freedom and everything good in life.
The aluminum alloy drops carry weight to 27.5 ounces unloaded and sans magazine. It feels quite well balanced though a touch nose heavy unloaded, but balances almost perfectly once a full complement of freedom seeds are aboard.
Standard sights, as mentioned, are white dots though a number of aftermarket suppliers (and CZ themselves) will be happy to sell you night sights should you wish to have them instead.
The trigger will vary, so what you get from a trigger gauge may be a little different from what the official figures say. That said, the typical CZ 75D PCR review pegs the trigger at 8 to 9 pounds in double action mode and 4 to 5 pounds in single action mode. Far from the stiffest DA pull, though you do have to deal with the DA length of pull. That said, you buy this gun because you WANT double action mode and for that, it is eminently well-suited.
MSRP is $599. While that's not chicken feed, it's fairly competitive with a good number of compact striker pistols, especially when you consider that this gun is all metal...including the trigger. So, costs about the same as many poly guns, doesn't actually weigh a whole lot more, and feels better in the bargain. What's not to like?
CZ 75D PCR Review
Read the typical CZ 75D PCR review, and you're likely to be regaled with a tale of double action perfection. Is it?
Perfection? Not quite. Darn close, though? About as close as it gets...though the more discerning you are, the more you might notice a few things.
If you're looking for a classic carry pistol, with excellent ergonomics and better accuracy than the standard gun in the same class of size and price point, you'll be pleasantly surprised. CZ pistols have better ergos than almost any other gun company. The CZ palmswell and grip profile are second to none. After all, the CZ 75 was informed by the Browning Hi Power, and cribbing from one of the all time greats is not a bad idea in the least.
There is arguably no more logical operating system for a self-defense pistol or service pistol, save possibly for a decocking safety. This makes carrying the pistol safe and incredibly intuitive.
If you haven't handled a CZ before, the ring hammer installed on most of the 75 family is quite narrow in width and depth. Now, this matters because manually decocking requires good, firm purchase of the hammer. A smaller hammer makes that less feasible, ergo you WANT the decocker.
Recoil is easily managed and - typical of most of the CZ 75 family - the gun is capable of outstanding accuracy in the right hands. The more exact you are, the more the pistol will be; CZ pistols reward practiced hands with surgical precision. If you're a beginning shooter you may wonder where those uber-tight groups are hiding. Persistence, though, will pay off.
Where are there some flaws, however?
First is the sights. While not unusable, they are rather small and that can be a concern for some shooters. Again, plenty of upgrades are out there, but not everyone wants to have to pay to make a gun better after plunking down $500+.
The trigger is good but it isn't exceptional. In double action mode it's pretty good, but the single-action trigger has a bit of creep, much like a Series 80 1911. Granted, this is a sub-$600 working gun, not a $3,000+ race gun, so you shouldn't expect perfection in this aspect to begin with.
The controls are also right-hand only, so lefties are straight out of luck.
Next up we have the decocker itself. While it's in a very logical location, it also has a very long throw. Most people will have to press to almost (if not past) full extension of the thumb in order to trip the decocker, which lowers the hammer to a quarter-cock notch. The travel on the decocking lever is a bit farther than it arguably should be, since the whole point of its location is intuitive one-handed operation.
To be fair, Sig Sauer pistols are just as bad in that same regard. Get your hands on a P226 or P229, and you have to push the decocking lever down to the magazine release, which you need some long very long thumbs to do while keeping a firing grip. (I barely can, and I wear size XL gloves.) Sig also asks you to pay double what CZ does and frankly their base models don't have double the build quality or - for that matter - double any other feature over this gun or the CZ 75 BD.
That said, can it be lived with? Of course! I wouldn't hesitate to get this gun over the CZ 75 Compact, were you to ask. It's more logical for a carry pistol as you don't have to manually lower the hammer. This gun should be on any shortlist of double-action pistols for daily carry.