CZ 75 Compact DA/SA 9mm Pistol Review

Several say the classic CZ 75 B is the most popular 9mm full-size pistol design and the most copied 9mm in the world today. The Ceska Zbrojovka (CZ) 75 B is a double-single action, steel, hammer-fired pistol currently manufactured in and first introduced in the Czech Republic. Well, recently the 75 Compact 9mm pistol was introduced, and shooters wonder if it is just as good or better than the full-size 75 B. Col Ben takes a look at the new 75 Compact and shoots it for a firsthand review of it, using his ten criteria. Is it a worthy contender for concealed carry?

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CZ 75 Compact Review
Several say the classic CZ 75 B is the most popular 9mm full-size pistol design and the most copied 9mm in the world today. Others have told me it is one of the best all steel 9mms they have shot. Well, I evaluated the CZ 75 B Single Action model here earlier and they are correct about its accuracy. But what about the smaller version, the CZ 75 Compact 9mm pistol.  Is it just as good and even better for concealed carry? Well, I had to find out for myself and for readers. When CZ contacted me with one, all systems were “go” for me. I had to analyze, test, and evaluate it for myself and for you the readers.

The Ceska Zbrojovka (CZ) 75 Compact is a double-single action, steel, hammer-fired pistol currently manufactured in and first introduced in the Czech Republic. Both the CZ 75 B and 75 Compact feature all-steel construction, a high-quality hammer-forged steel barrel, a very comfortable grip and angle, a short recoil-operated, locked breech, quality detailed construction, a staggered double-stack column, high-capacity magazine, and a very tightly-fitted gun.

A very special and unique feature for the 75 Compact and 75 B is that the slide rides inside the frame rails, rather than outside of them. CZ-USA says this is for better recoil control. I noticed firsthand that this provides a very tight slide-to-frame fit and a very efficient barrel lockup, which contributes to its accuracy and recoil control. The slide rides lower in the frame than most double action pistols which results in less leverage for the muzzle to rise or flip for greater control.

I also like that you can carry the CZ 75 Compact with the hammer back and safety on for my preferred single-action cocked-and-locked operation, Condition 1, like my 1911s… or manually decocked for a double-action first shot with no need to take off the safety before firing, for those not trained in 1911s or prefer this mode.

CZ 75 Compact vs CZ 75 B SAO Full-Size
CZ 75 Compact (top) and CZ 75 B SAO Full-Size Compared

To begin this review, I want to give you the 75 Compact Specifications and Features. Next, I’ll give my specific criteria, then compare each criterion to the gun’s characteristics and features, and lastly show my range live-fire test results to help you analyze and compare it to your own criteria and desired features. You can add or subtract from my criteria to meet your needs and preferences. Know that I am not on the CZ-USA payroll, have not been paid by them for my review, and have not been influenced by them in any way to say certain things about the gun. I want to be honest and straight-forward with my opinions and ideas the way I see the pistol to sincerely help folks. Specifically for this CZ 75 Compact 9mm, I want to learn how accurate is this compact pistol? How reliable is it for concealed carry? Is the trigger press soft and short in single action mode and what is it in double action? Is the external safety, slide stop and/or mag release easy to access, to operate, and does it freely release mags? What are its pros and cons? Do I recommend this CZ 75 Compact for concealed carry and/or home defense?

CZ 75 Compact 9mm Specifications

Model NumberModel #91190, CZ 75 B Compact
Caliber9mm
Barrel Length / Type3.75"; Hammer-Forged Steel
SightsFixed; 3-Dot; Green Front & Rear Dots; Rear Square Notch
Weight32.8oz w/ Empty Mag
FrameStainless Steel; No Accessory Rail
Slide MaterialStainless Steel; Slide Rides Inside the Slide Rails to Help Minimize Recoil
TriggerDouble-Single Action
Trigger PressTBD; Est. 9# DA / 4.5# SA
Magazines / Capacity15 Rounds; 2 Mags; Steel; Drop Free
Height5.03"
Width1.38"
Length7.24"
SafetiesManual Thumb Safety (Left-Side Only); Firing Pin Block Safety; Safety Stop on Hammer
GripsPlastic; Very Ergonomic
OtherLimited 5-Year Warranty; No Ambidextrous Manual Safety
MSRP$544

CZ 75 Compact 9mm Features

  • Soft Recoil with Enhanced Recoil Control from Slide Riding Inside Frame Rails
  • Rounded with No Shrap Edges for Easier Concealed Carry
  • Durable High-Strength Hammer-Forged Steel Barrel
  • Superior Ergonomics: Ideal Grip Angle; Comfortable Grip & Easy Control
  • Low Bore Axis and Design to Aid Trigger Reach
  • Solid Construction with Tight Barrel to Slide Fit
  • Reset is Quick and Audible
  • Do Not Need to Press Trigger to Field Strip; Easy Disassembly & Reassembly
CZ 75 Compact in Alabama Holster's OWB Flapjack Holster
CZ 75 Compact in Alabama Holster’s OWB Flapjack Holster

Holster for the CZ 75 Compact

Alabama Holster is a fine Silverhill, Alabama holster company that handcrafts each of their holsters by hand. Greg the owner and his exceptional team take great pride in each product they make and even offer a 30-day return policy on all holsters. They are a fine group of military and competition shooters that know what makes an excellent holster. Their Flapjack Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) Holster is the time-tested Pancake Holster which works for concealment and outside-the-waistband carry. This kydex holster rides high and pulls the gun very close to the body and is very durable. They remove excess material only leaving what is needed to keep the holster strong and functional, with a small footprint for carry. It stays open for one-handed re-holstering and with built-in retention, the gun locks in tight. It also has a small (half) sweat shield.

CZ 75 Compact 9mm- Right Side
CZ 75 Compact 9mm- Right Side
CZ 75 Compact 9mm Pistol with Sig Sauer V-Crown JHP, M17, and Elite FMJ Ammo
CZ 75 Compact 9mm Pistol with Sig Sauer V-Crown JHP, M17, and Elite FMJ Ammo

CZ 75 Compact 9mm Review Criteria and Considerations

Here are 10 of the criteria and factors I use for evaluating any handgun, so I will use them for the 75 Compact. In addition to my criteria, there are other subjective features that may be appealing for some, like smooth rounded corners, ambi mag release, action, caliber, appearance, number of mags included, type of sights/modifications, bore axis, rail, grip angle, included extras like a holster and pouch, customer service, etc. So, I combined these into my last Miscellaneous criterion. I must admit that ALL gun-choice decisions involve tradeoffs, but I really want ALL of my criteria to be met. I assigned a total possible point score of 10 points for each of my 10 criteria for a total possible score of 100 points. You can certainly add your own additional criteria and preferences or subtract any of mine.

In deciding, you make your own tradeoffs according to your personal goals, priorities, preferences, needs, and use, but take a total system perspective and recognize that there are several overall features, characteristics, and pros and cons to include and then consider them.

CZ 75 Compact 9mm Range Test

Thanks to Sig Sauer for providing some ammo for my testing and evaluation of the 75 Compact. I shot their high-quality 9mm ammo:

  1. Sig Sauer Elite Performance 115 grain FMJ (rated MV=1185 fps & ME=359 ftlbs);
  2. Sig Sauer V-Crown 124 grain JHP (rated MV=1165 fps & ME=443 ftlbs);
  3. Sig Sauer V-Crown 147 grain JHP (rated MV=985 fps & ME=317 ftlbs); &
  4. Sig Sauer M17 124 grain +P FMJ (rated MV=1198 fps & ME 395 ftlbs)

The ammo was reliable, worked very well, and I did not have any malfunctions or stoppages. I was pleased with the performance of the premium Sig V-Crown and Elite ammo. My preference is the 124 grain JHP, with its 443 ft lbs of energy.  I really like the overall ergonomics of this gun. The gun felt very good in my medium-sized hands, was comfortable, and the polymer grips were just right for me. Not too aggressive texturing. You might want to consider changing from the standard polymer grips to some custom grips, if needed for your hand size and personal preference. This is the only change I would suggest initially, until you have more range time with the gun. But, I was anxious to see how the sights worked.

This 75 Compact pistol does not have an ambidextrous manual safety nor ambidextrous magazine release. I like the single-action trigger press because of the inherent accuracy from the lighter trigger press and reduced movement advantage. The slide was very easy for me to rack and the felt recoil and muzzle rise were very manageable. The stainless steel slide and frame really helped with accuracy, but again make the carry tradeoff decision for yourself. Also, the beavertail allowed me to grip the gun high for better control. I really like the short reset. The 2 included mags were steel and held 15 rounds each, ample for self-defense carry with an extra mag. It did not have an accessory rail, but I liked the rounded and smooth lines without it. Below, I will get more detailed with my opinions for each of my evaluation factors of my criteria, after my range testing of the 75 Compact pistol.

After initially cleaning the gun, I decided to shoot it at two of my usual test distances of 7 and 10 yards, using my Concealed Carry Drill. My first 30 rounds (with a mag change), fired rapid fire with this 75 Compact and the Sig Elite Ball FMJ, were at 7 yards and at 10 yards. All hit in a nice 2.50″ group for this old Mr. Magoo with visual impairment. BUT, shoot it for yourself to make your own decisions, based on your abilities, goals, traits, proficiency, and purpose. You will be surprised at how accurate it is. Below are my hits for the 75 Compact at 10 yards.

Target Hits - CZ 75 Compact 9mm - 10 Yards
Target Hits – CZ 75 Compact 9mm – 10 Yards

Range Test Reviews for the CZ 75 Compact 9mm for each of my 10 Criteria:

1. Accuracy and Reliability – Score: 10

The accuracy of the 75 Compact was excellent, with its 3.75″ barrel, very fine ergonomics, and weight at personal protection distances of 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 yards. Its heavy weight,  beavertail, grip texture, lower recoil, and nice trigger significantly helped its accuracy. I really enjoyed shooting the gun. I want to fire more than only 200 rounds with this gun before I decide on using it for home or personal defense. I liked the crisp and smooth trigger. The quality-made stainless steel slide and barrel looked good and contributed to accuracy. I used my Modified-Isosceles Stance and a two-handed grip when I shot the gun.

2. Trigger Press – Score: 8

The CZ 75 Compact trigger press averaged 8.50 pounds in double action and about 5 pounds in single action mode, with ten readings from my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. The 8.50-pound press average is over my 6.50-pound max in my specified criteria. But this is a DA/SA gun. I am used to shooting my 1911s, and they have trigger presses less than 5 pounds in single action, almost all with presses between 4 and 4.5 pounds. I guess I am spoiled with the 1911 trigger, but the 75 Compact’s trigger press was good in single action, and I did like the short reset and crisp break. I suppose you could put in a lighter main/hammer spring of about 13 pounds or so to help. I did notice just some creep, but nothing so pronounced to have a significant effect on accuracy. In comparison, my CZ 75 B full-size pistol has an excellent single action only trigger press of 4.5 pounds, and it is great. Given the only 200 rounds or so I fired with the Compact, its smooth, crisp, and consistent press was certainly acceptable for me. It will probably improve over time after more break-in and getting 500 rounds or more through it. This is very much personal preference.

3. Trigger – Score: 10

This classic gun’s trigger has a very identifiable click, and the short reset point was easy to feel. I liked the crisp quality feel of the short takeup and positive trigger reset. I experienced no stacking in the press weight, and the trigger was not gritty at all. My shots were consistent each time, and I could easily recognize both the tacticle and audible reset point. This curved compact trigger is nice, but I prefer the straight trigger of my CZ 75 B full-size pistol.

4. Barrel Length: Score: 9

The 3.75-inch length steel, hammer-forged barrel of this compact gun and its beavertail were nice and helped me control muzzle flip and felt recoil. My gunsmith friend told me that the cold hammer-forged process hardens the barrel’s steel causing a very durable and long-lasting barrel. It also leaves a very smooth and consistent surface on the inside of the barrel that helps accuracy. The stainless steel barrel was high quality, and I believe it will be very durable.  The overall gun length did not affect carrying it as much as the gun’s unloaded weight of over 32 ounces. I do not believe I could everyday carry this gun with its unloaded weight of 32 ounces. So, I have to carry it for at least ten days or so to see how the weight is for carry. But, make no mistake this quality barrel contributed a lot to my accuracy. The barrel length helped with the gun’s very nice balance, handling, and it pointed well. I had no feeding problems whatsoever.

CZ 75 Compact Front Sight
CZ 75 Compact Front Sight

5. Sights – Score: 9

The gun comes with 3-dot sights, and the dots are green, rather than the usual white dots. These were great for my colorblind eyes. But, the dots were too small for my aging eyes, but my wife said they are fine for her. My 75 B full-size pistol has a green fiber-optic front sight, and they really stand out for me. Windage adjustment can be done by drifting the rear sight in the dovetail.

6. Proper Gun Weight – Score: 8

The almost 36 ounce loaded weight of the 75 Compact was heavy. Although it was accurate, it is not optimal for carry for me. But, it is very acceptable for range use, competition, and home defense. You must make your own tradeoffs, especially with the added weight and stability for accuracy and better felt recoil, etc. I definitely would use this gun for home defense, since the many pros strongly outweigh the weight factor. Also, it might work well for my International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) shoots.

7. Caliber – Score: 10

I really enjoyed shooting the CZ 75 Compact. Its accuracy made me look good. I understand why the design is a classic and so well respected among law enforcement and competition circles. It is a very well built, all-steel gun and it was so comfortable in my hand. I really like and prefer the 9mm caliber for my main home defense and protection gun. I enjoy practicing with the 9mm since it is not snappy, the recoil does not bother me, and 9mm ammo is less expensive than some other carry rounds. This 75 Compact pistol digested all ammo well without a single malfunction or stoppage.

8. Capacity – Score: 9

There were two steel mags included, both 15-rounders and they had round witness holes. I liked their high capacity, and they were very sturdy and well made. It would be nice to have a third mag included. I believe for almost all uses a shooter should have at least three mags minimum on hand and included, to save up front expense for buying another and for proper defense. I understand that the added cost and the goal of keeping costs down are factors. I had no feeding problems with the ammo, and the mags ejected freely (after some light oil in the right places), and they worked well.

CZ 75 Compact- Thumb Safety, Slide Lock, Curved Trigger, Beavertail, and Textured Grips
CZ 75 Compact- Thumb Safety, Slide Lock, Curved Trigger, Beavertail, and Textured Grips

9. Ergonomics – Score: 10

The ergonomics of the 75 Compact are excellent. The upswept beavertail helps get your hand positioned high at the very top of the backstrap for better recoil control. The grip angle is just right for me and allows a lower bore axis. It felt solid and very good in my medium-sized hands and the grip texturing was just right when I fired the 200 rounds. I was able to reach all the controls without changing my grip easily. The magazine release was easy to reach and operate, with the mags releasing freely. The smooth, contured edges, rounded trigger guard and its ample size, and grip helped me with a comfortable and solid-feeling grasp. It fit my hands very well. I liked that the 75 Compact had a manual thumb safety, so I could carry it cocked and locked.

CZ 75 Compact Case
CZ 75 Compact Case

10. Miscellaneous – Score: 9

The 75 Compact is very easy to disassemble. The slide release acts as the takedown lever. So, lineup the two takedown lines, push out the slide lock lever and push the slide forward and off. Easy! As always, I disassembled, lubed, cleaned, and re-assembled the pistol before I shot it. I did not have to press the trigger to disassemble it, and it was quick and very easy to takedown without using any tools. This gun has a lot of safety features like a firing pin block and the thumb safety. The gun does not come with a holster like some guns, but there are several available to fit it, like the Alabama Holster shown earlier. The 75 Compact does come with two high-quality, steel 15-round mags. In the nice case, there is a cleaning brush and rod, with the Owner’s Manual. The price for this quality gun is very competitive. The superior quality build and materials help ensure a long useful life. And it does come with a Limited 5-Year Warranty.

Conclusions for CZ 75 Compact 9mm Review

Total Points = 92 out of 100 Possible.

I recommend this CZ 75 Compact for definite consideration as your home defense and/or fun recreational range gun. You even might want to consider it as your concealed carry gun after you gain familiarity with it, but it is a heavy gun to regularly carry.

I am impressed with its accuracy and reliability right out of the box. And I like its trigger, although the trigger press was long and hard, compared to my 1911s and some of my striker-fired pistols. The heavy all-steel weight does help a lot with very manageable felt recoil, muzzle flip, and accuracy. I had no malfunctions at all in my testing. And this pistol has a rock-solid feel, unlike polymer pistols. There definitely was quality workmanship, and its finish was uniform and beautiful. The durable polycoat on the frame is very protective, and I did not get any scratches at all on the gun with range use.

Although it is heavy, as an all-steel gun, the big advantage was that it was very accurate since I did not move that much due to its heavy weight. My felt recoil was very little with this 9mm Compact. The nice grip angle, upswept beavertail, steel barrel, and quality build made the gun feel great and it performed equally as well. While the compact’s curved trigger is nice, I do prefer the 75 B full-size’s flat trigger. And for me the small 3-dot sights were difficult for me to pickup, given my aging eyes. The gun was heavy and after a few days of carrying it, I am deciding if I want to carry this gun. Because it is accurate and reliable, I may make a carry tradeoff for those considerations. For occasional concealed carry, it would work fine as a gun among your others in your rotation, with a quality and sturdy belt and holster. Because of its great accuracy out of the box and its ergonomics, I am very tempted to regularly carry it. But, again, the heavy weight does not allow me to recommend it for regular carry at this time. CZ does make a CZ P-01 compact DA-SA 3.75″ barrel pistol with an aluminum-framed 9mm with reduced weight to consider for carry. It has a decocker for those who prefer hammer-down carry and has a heavy first-round trigger press.

While there are some less expensive guns on the market, for me this one is reasonably priced for an all-steel pistol and what you get. But you decide for yourself, based on your criteria and objective, how you will primarily use the gun, what features are important to you, which ones you are willing to pay for, then try the gun before you buy it. Critically evaluate the gun YOURSELF with hands-on per your criteria, purpose, and skills with standard drills, with various ammo types and brands, over an extended break-in period of about 500 rounds.

Continued Success and Be Safe Friends!

Contacts

CZ-USA
1-800-955-4486
Kansas City, KS 66117

Sig Sauer Elite Performance Ammo
1-603-610-3000
Newington, NH 03801

Alabama Holster
1-251-379-0103
Silverhill, AL 36576

Photos by Author and manufacturer.

* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.

© 2019 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. or copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at [email protected].