The CZ 75 is a semi-automatic pistol made by Czech firearm manufacturer ČZUB. First introduced in 1975, it is one of the original “wonder nines” and features a staggered-column magazine, all-steel construction, and a hammer forged barrel. It is widely distributed throughout the world and is the most common handgun in the Czech Republic.
Development of CZ 75
The armament industry was an important part of the interwar Czechoslovak economy and made up a large part of the country’s exports (see, for example, Bren light machine gun, which was a modified version of the Czechoslovak ZB vz. 26). However following the 1948 communist coup d’état, all heavy industry was nationalized and was (at least officially) cut off from its Western export market behind the Iron Curtain. While most other Warsaw Pact countries became dependent on armaments imports from the Soviet Union, most of the Czechoslovak weaponry remained domestic (for example, the Czechoslovak army used the Vz. 58 assault rifle, while other communist bloc countries used variants of the AK-47).
Following the Second World War, brothers Josef and František Koucký became the most important engineers of the CZUB. They participated to some extent on designing all the company’s post-war weapons. Kouckýs signed their designs together, using only the surname, making it impossible to determine which one of them developed particular ideas.
By 1969, František Koucký was freshly retired, however the company offered him a job on designing a new 9×19mm Parabellum pistol. Unlike during his previous work, this time he had a complete freedom in designing the whole gun from scratch. The design he developed was in many ways new and innovative (see Design details).
Although the model was developed for export purposes (the standard pistol cartridge of the Czechoslovak armed forces was the Soviet 7.62×25mm Tokarev, which was later replaced with the Warsaw Pact standard 9mm Makarov pistol cartridge), Koucký’s domestic patents regarding the design were classified as “secret patents”. Effectively, nobody could learn about their existence, but also nobody could register the same design in Czechoslovakia. At the same time Koucký as well as the company were prohibited from filing for patent protection abroad. Consequently, a large number of other manufacturers began offering pistols based on CZ 75 design (see Clones, copies, and variants by other manufacturers).
The pistol was not sold in Czechoslovakia until 1985, when it became popular among sport shooters (sport shooting is the third most widespread sport in the Czech Republic, after football and ice hockey). It was adopted by the Czech armed forces only after the Velvet Revolution in 1989.