First in an occasional series.

The very first CZ-75 on display at CZ's Uhersky Brod headquarters.

Even that staunchest of single-action semiauto proponents, Col. Jeff Cooper, praised the CZ-75 as a worthy pistol. Developed by Ceska Zbrojovka in 1975, the gun is considered one of the original "wondernines"--the high-capacity double-action 9mm pistols that changed pistolcraft.

The all-steel gun is of locked-breech, tilt-barrel design with radial locking lugs and is short-recoil operated. It employs a staggered-column magazine and features a hammer-forged barrel. The slide rides inside the frame rails rather than outside, allowing a tighter slide-to-frame fit and increasing accuracy potential.

What set it apart, at least initially, was its double-action trigger pull--which was smooth like a revolver's--and the fact that it could be carried in Condition One (hammer back, safety on) or with hammer down and then fired double action. The second generation of the gun included an internal firing pin safety, and the spur hammer was changed to a ring design--becoming the CZ-75B.

Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, few CZ-75s found their way into this country, but in the early 1990s they began to be imported here in significant numbers. Today the gun is imported by CZ-USA.

There are a wide variety of versions on the market, including decockers, single-actions, .40 calibers, compacts and more. In October 2007, CZ celebrated the production of the one millionth CZ-75.--JSR

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