CZ-97 Review and Range Report:

I now understand the cult like following of CZ. I walked into my local shop and there was this beautiful large size CZ-97. I am a revolver fanatic but this semi auto caught my eye. The dealer acquired this through an estate auction. The CZ-97 did not have a scratch on it and according to the estates logbook, which was also acquired by the dealer was never fired.
cz97size-2

Form:

The CZ-97 is a very large pistol but due to my massive hands the grip feels just right to me. To put this in perspective the grip of an S&W 686 feels a little small in my hands. CZ introduced the CZ-75 in 1975 hence the “75” as part of it’s model number. This pistol is a 9mm platform and has captured the hearts of many shooters around the world. Ceska Zbrojovka “CZ” introduced the CZ-97 in 1997 with the hopes of creating another cult like following like they had with the CZ-75. Unfortunately for CZ this never came to fruition. Though not a complete failure I attribute the lack of excitement and following of the CZ-97 to its size. This pistol holds 10 rounds staggered within the magazine, which contributes, to the size of the grip/frame. Though there is a positive side to the size of this pistol, it is a very soft shooter for 45ACP.
CZ9745

Comparing the CZ-97 to a Smith & Wesson 1911 there is not much of a weight difference.

CZ-97 Specifications:

Barrel Length: 4.8 in
Weight: 2.4 lbs
Overall Length: 8.3 in
Height: 5.9 in
Width: 1.4 in
Frame: steel
Grips: wood
Trigger mech.: SA/DA
Sights: fixed
Safety elements: Manual Safety, Safety Stop on Hammer, Firing Pin Safety, Loaded Chamber Indicator

S&W 1911 Specifications:
Model: SW1911
Caliber: .45ACP
Capacity: 8+1 Rounds
Barrel Length: 5″
Front Sight: Dovetail White Dot
Rear Sight: Novak® Lo-Mount Carry
Grip: Wood Checkered
Frame: Large
Finish: Matte
Material: Stainless Steel Frame and Slide
Overall Length: 8.7″
Weight Empty: 39.0 oz. or 2.3lbs

Again the extra capacity of the CZ-97 adds to the girth of the grip making itself uncomfortable for those with smaller hands. Holding 10 rounds in the magazine and 1 in the chamber 10+1 when the traditional 1911 holds 8+1. Perhaps a better comparison would be against a Sig P220 but I don’t own one so I can’t give a realistic comparison, though Sig’s website says the P220 weighs in at 30.4oz = 1.9 pounds with a capacity of 8 rounds.

AT THE RANGE:

Function:
The CZ-97 performed flawlessly what can you say it is a CZ and the CZ-75 (97’s little brother) is known for its accuracy and reliability, the 97 fits within the same category. I first put 25 rounds down range as fast as I could realign the sights on the shoot-n-see target. The weight of this pistol absorbs the recoil and makes for very fast recovery. During this range trip I also brought along my 10inch Ruger Mk II and a Marlin 25MN (22magnum) for plinking purposes. I had to sight the Marlin in; when I got this weapon it had Burris scope on it I had not shot with before. After having tons of fun on the range plinking with the 22’s toward the end of the day I decided I wanted to test the CZ-97 for accuracy. I realized this was probably not the best time for these test as I was feeling a little tired and noticed a little shaking in my two handed hold. The target below shows the accuracy but I am sure it can be much better if the shooter is doing his part.
cz97size-3

Targets:

The first target represents 10 rounds of my 230grain reloads at 7yards two-handed slow fire on a 5inch target. These 10 rounds were squeezed of in approximately 70 seconds (1minute 10 seconds).
targetsize

On the second a 3rd targets I cut back on the ammo I loaded into the magazine due to eye fatigue. The 2nd target I only loaded 9 rounds and the 3rd target I loaded 7.

The second target represents 9 rounds of my 230grain reloads at 15 yards two handed slow fire on a 5x7in target.
targetsize-1

The third target represents 7 rounds of my 230grain reloads at 25 yards two handed slow fire on an 8in target.
targetsize-2

Ammo Used:

Berry’s 230gr Plated Round Nose Bullet
5grains of W231
COL 1.270
Winchester Large Pistol Primer
Assorted Random Cases

    Please do not use this reloading data. Find yourself a reputable manual and always start at the beginning levels and work your way up never to exceed the max.

Flaws:

The only flaw I found with this nice specimen is the sights. The sights are 3 dot white sights but the white was very dull and some time difficult for me to pick up. Though this can be a deal breaker for me at times this was a used weapon and it has definitely earned a spot in my safe and is a keeper. The sights are dovetailed in and are easily replaceable. So if you all know of a good set of sights for a CZ-97 please point me in the right direction.

Final Impression:

For those that have medium to large size hands will find the CZ-97 a nice smooth shooter, that’s very accurate and reliable. Though the CZ-97 has not drawn the following of its little brother the CZ-75 it is still very capable and worth owning. This is the softest shooting 45ACP I have in my safe and I look to enjoy it for many years to come. Of all the 45’s I own this has now become my favorite, though I do not give it a perfect rating it shows how committed I am to giving the reader and honest review.

The finish is a very deep shiny blue. The trigger is smooth and breaks crisp with no slack take up. The CZ-97 has an MSRP of $709, I have seen them on auction websites with a buy now price of $620 new. I was lucky to walk out of the door with this one factory box and all for $400.

PROS
– reliable
– accurate enough for defense (May replace my S&W model 64 as my bedside home defense weapon)
– good grips, nice trigger and safety
– relatively inexpensive $709 compared to a Sig P220 with an MSRP of $1150

CONS
– Size, You will not being using this for concealed carry
– No decocker

Though I have read that CZ introduced a version of the CZ-97 with a decocker I have yet to see on being offered in the stores.

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CZ-97 Review and Range Report:, 6.8 out of 10 based on 37 ratings

24 thoughts on “CZ-97 Review and Range Report:”

  1. Thanks for the informative review. I am a CZ shooter. I recently acquired a Glock 17L (6.02in barrel) and pitted one against the other with same ammo and conditions. The CZ won hands down. I have never shot any other pistol as accurate as a CZ. The 97 Has had the best of my curiosity for years, but not much has been written about its performance. Your review is consistant with the performance of the 75B. The only negative thing that I have read regarding the 97 is that it sometimes fails to feed hollowpoint ammo. May or may not be true, some specimens can be more finiky than others. However, your review was much appreciated. Thank you very much for your comprehensive evaluation.

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  2. Thanks RevolverGuy,

    Great report, I appreciate your time taken, the great shots of your CZ-97 etc., “Great Buy!” I am a retired US Navy Master Chief and have put a few rounds down line over the past 50 years. I took a 1938 CZ-38 380 Browning off a NVA LT combat victom of mine (he had no further use for it anymore) while making a few tours through country in 68, 69 & 1970. Never fired it until a year or so ago. “Boy was I suprised”, smooth as glass and first time out put 8 rounds in a 2 inch circle at 25 yards. I shot up 3 more boxes with same results. I went right out and picked up a modern version of the little CZ-38, now by chance called the CZ-83. Wow, what a little stinger this one is too. Good build, 5 star quality and just as smooth and tight as the older brother. Needless to say, I fell in love with the CZ line and their outstanding craftsmanship. Next week I will pick up the CZ-97 BD (Decocker Model) and maybe a bit later on the CZ-97 B model in Glossey Blue to match my other two CZ’s. Folks, from the quality build in my 1938 CZ-38 to the present day CZ’s, they have only gotten better! My Sig-229’s (40 S&W and sig-357), Colt 1911, Springfield XD-40 and all my others now sit in their, the CZ’s shadow. I guess you can tell, I’m one happy shooter… Thank You CZ for setting the bar higher and keeping up the great quality, much appreciated.

    V/R

    Kent M Whitney
    Master Chief, USN, Very Retired

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  3. Kent,

    First and foremost thank you for paving the way for me and protecting our freedom and constitutional rights. I did 11 years in the Marine Corp, active duty before getting hurt.

    I love the CZ also, the problems I have is making up my mind which one I should own next, and the availability of them. In my local area there is not a shop I can walk in and examine one.

    Glad you enjoyed the review.

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  4. I appreciate the great review. I have a cz 75 b and I love it. I’m looking for a new 45 acp and am seriously considering the cz 97 bd. My only concern is that the cz 75 fits perfect in my hands so I’m afraid that the 45 model might be too big. Does anyone think this could be a concern?

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  5. Andy,

    If you have small hands it may be a problem for you. If you have medium sized hands then I would recommend you get out and handle on before buying. I have let a few people handle mine with medium sized hands and some loved it others were not so fond of the grip size.

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  6. Hi Guys, let me tell you, I love CZ’s, the first handgun I ever purchased was the CZ Shadow(SP-01) in 9mm, the perfect ipsc pistol for the production class up here in Canada. Love the gun, super accurate, tight machined surfaces, slide racks tight but yet smoothly. Never, ever malfunctioned period, in over 2200 rounds to date with factory ammo(118/124/147 grain, loved them all) Since then, have purchased many handguns including the 97BD with the night sights. Love this gun, it is slimmer feeling in your hand compared to the slightly wider 97B model. I have big hands but yet felt the 97B was just too much of a stretch in my hand and I kind of felt the gun was sitting a little loose in that I didn’t have a firm grip on the gun. The BD model with the decocker is just perfect, I am holding the gun as opposed to the gun holding me, lol. I have only put about 300 rounds through her to date and did find some issues with factory ammo feeding into the barrel, it was getting cocked. I understand this was a problem for some of these guns and the quick fix is to polish the feed ramp with a dremel tool. I have yet to do this, just threw her in the safe. The gun was accurate and felt great. Recoil was amazing, like a heavy load 147 grain 9mm. Incredibly light 45acp. I will try some of my own loads and play with bullet lengths if the polishing of the ramp doesn’t fix things. Not remotely concerned.
    I have an HK USP 45, it feels like crap, the slide catch is in the way of where I place my weak hand on the gun. This causes the slide catch to get caught up on my weak thumb and not engage the slide properly thereby not locking the slide open on the last round fired. Bad placement by HK, really bad and shocked as the German’s design and build the shit out of everything!!! I also have a Colt 1911 Series 80 in stainless. Wish I never bought it, all the hype about 1911s is a joke. It’s a 100 year old design, no wonder they are so finicky. I would never use this gun if my life depended on it. Last purchase was a Springfield XDM-40, the only plastic gun I have ever loved.

    If budget was an issue and I could only own one handgun, trust me on this one, by the CZ model that fits your hand best. They are all built well and accurate as hell and easy to shoot. They are also the best bang for the buck out there, hands down.

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  7. nice gun to take to the range. your are right not good for concealment. but very accurate gun to shoot with my hand loads. 200gr lead with 4.0 grn red dot made my group close with 1/2 inch difference at 15 yards one handed low recoil. specially with my big hand.

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  8. I have many 45’s. The CZ is a favorite but it ate it’s slide lock slap up shooting my hand load lead 230 grainers. I called the Co. and they sent me a free new one . Same deal, ate it up .Then I bought one for $42 bucks and had it hard’in by a gunsmith, no joy , ate it too. By chance was ordering some Wolf springs for another weapon when I mentioned this problem . Wolf Springs Co. said this Pistol has a 13 pound spring and it needs a 16 pound recoil spring. For a lousy $8 bucks (the new Wolf Spring cost) I fixed what other wise is a fantastic 45 double action autoloader . I have every model from Colt to Beretta but the CZ is the most accurate 45 in my stable with those crude & rude sights !

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  9. Yeah most everyone I know that owns a CZ97 one of the first things done after purchase is changing out the recoil spring to a 16pounder. I probably should have mentioned that in the article.

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  10. After researching different sources; I purchased a CZ 75B SW40 for $650 out the door. I estimate around 1500 rounds of various Makers and grains. At a recent gun show, I purchased 1000 rounds of Winchester reloaded 180 grain FMJ; as a result, at around 800 rounds, there was one stovepipe (casting eject as the next round load in chamber, causing a jam). This incident happened around the 20th rounds, but the gun was cleaned prior to use; and reached beyond 1000 rounds without cleaning.

    My friend told me this could be the result of the ‘reloaded’ ammo. No such incident have occur using factory new ammos. I no longer buy the reloaded ammos, a jam to the gun is one of the worst feelings, regardless if it happened at the range.

    Overall, I love my CZ-75B! I will not trade it for a Sig or Beretta.

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  11. Love my CZ-75B. Have had it for two years now and it is so accurate and reliable. This thing will feed, fire and eject anything! Follow-up shots are incredibly easy. If not for my range’s policy of no more than one shot per second I could empty a mag in no time at all and very accurately too. The weight and feel of this piece makes it an extension of your arm, it is incredibly well balanced. It is true it may not be the most ccw friendly pistol out there, even though I can – and have – carried it ccw with the appropriate holster all day. It is all steel. No plastic. Over all, this is a “must have” in my mind. CZ apparently LOWERED their prices recently, from about $599 to $499 for the 75B 9mm. You owe it to yourself to check out this gun before you buy anything else. The ergonomics, feel, accuracy, reliability and durability of this gun compared to the competition is phenomenal. I am not paid by CZ for this nor am I in any way, shape or form associated with them. Just a happy customer. Good luck with whatever you choose!

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  12. I found this review late, Jan-2012, thanks, comprehensive write-ups for the 97 are few and hard to find. I love my 97 its name is ‘Thumper’ and it is the most accurate and soft shooting .45 pistol in my safe. One change I made was the grip, CZ’s wood was pretty but felt rough while shooting so I installed a Hogue rubber grip made for a CZ-75. There is a trick to getting it to fit. The rubber grip needs to be softened by heating it in a pan of water. that wasn’t quite enough however as the steel pistol cooled the rubber before I could get it stretched and screwed down. The fix I used was to drop the grip back in the water and put the pistol in the oven set on about 200 degrees. When everything was warmed up the installation went very well, [caution hot pads may prove useful.] Thumper looks great in black and is even softer shooting. My range requires only ‘aimed’ shots, mine were coming so fast on one drill the owner had to come and fire a few mags to verify how quickly you could run that gun. All in all I love my CZ97.

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  13. First, both Revolver Guy and Kent I very much so appreciate your service to our country. I was in the National Guard during medical school, did my time so to speak and received help with my medical school tuition. In 1990 I was called and placed on a higher level of readiness but, if you recall, the ground war was about 100 hours long so I never did get called. I am well into my 40’s now and have just recently decided to re-join the ARNG here in Atlanta. I feel I owe more than I what I received, but more importantly I feel I owe it to the brave men (and women) who are out there putting it all on the line. I feel I can at least be there to help them in their time of need.

    Anyway, when I was in the Guard I had to qualify with the .45 (I think that was the handgun at the time) and they also let me shoot the M-16. Well, I was first in qualifying with the .45 in our company and…as unsettling as it was to our “real soldiers” I was #2 with the M-16. Interestingly, some of the men thought that was funny and others were not too thrilled that the camp Doc did so well…lol. Well, I just got into shooting at our local range and I ordered my first CZ. One of my patients, alarmingly, brought his CZ85B to the office one day to show me his gun. Needless to say I kept an eye out for any administrators. Well, I shot my patients 85B at the range and loved it. I ordered a Stainless CZ75B and it is coming in the mail in 2 days (I have been tracing its movement online… :) At our range I have shot at least 10 different handguns and none of them came close to the CZ85B in accuracy and feel (the Beretta was close). I am SO EXCITED to shoot my 75B when it arrives!

    I am in a position where finances are not a major limiting factor and I want to purchase a nice .45 ACP. I have looked at some nice models on the market, Dan Wesson, Night Hawk, Les Baer, etc.. But, I then looked at the CZ97B. I do not have big hands so it sounds like I might struggle with the 97B. Is there a .45 ACP out on the market that is a “nice gun” and would be a better fit for someone who does not have large hands? Again, I am willing to pay a little more if this is necessary. But, what I really want is a gun that fires and handles like the CZ75B (well, I have only shot the 85B)? This is far more important than any other factor. If you can give me some advice I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you beforehand if anyone can help me, much appreciated. Everybody take care and be safe.

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  14. I loved the 97B. Could carry it like a 1911, though it looked much better. Grip was too big for me and I began to see some battering of the barrel bushing. This was back in ’98 and the problem may have been addressed. To this day I think it is the best looking full sized pistol out there. Unfortunately I can grip the 1911 much better and am back owning one of them. 97B very soft shooting.

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  15. Dave McG, or anyone for whom the 97B feels a little too large –

    Put some slimmer grips on it. It may make you fall in love again. No reason to get rid of a fine pistol like the 97 if you don’t have to.

    I had a CZ-75B which felt perfect for me and decided to take the plunge with a 97B. A set of thin custom wooden grips was just the ticket. They can be found through the online cz forums.

    Good luck!

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  16. I have owned a CZ75 for almost 20 years now, and I love it! It has a wonderful feel to it, and I shoot great with it. Lately, however, the gun has been jamming. Not just a few times either. I’ve used nothing but Remington 9mm 115gr Lugar and Winchester 9mm rounds in it. The gun has been cleaned regularly and I’ve taken it to a gunsmith who has looked at it. He and several others in the store keep telling me the jamming is due to “limp grip”. I’ve studied my grip, had my brother-in-law and cousin (both former Marines) shoot it – around 600 rounds – and it will jam on them as well.

    I’m not really sure of the age of this gun – it doesn’t have an intial after the 75. I think it’s probably at least 25 years old. But if I have to resort to buying another one, I will most certainly, without hesitation or second-guessing, buy another CZ. I think they are exceptional guns.

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  17. Andrea,

    Have you replace the springs, recoil, extractor springs? I would at minimal do that.

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  18. I have a CZ~75 compact in 40 smith and wesson , The pistol reminds very much of the Browning Hi-Power and certainly the 1911 when you field strip it as per shooting it
    its very much like the Hi-Power it wants to be held.
    It is one of my favorites , I will take issue with anyone who knocks handguns or rifles
    for you are doing the work of those who want to take them from us. Unless the weapon
    is a piece of junk that is a different story.
    I have a colt 1911-A1 a real service pistol it belonged to my father I was having issues with it fire a shot and it would jam, I would clear the jam and would get two shots off
    and jam again than I might get another than get three shots off, I was on the ten yard
    range, despite this pain in the ass Jamming , the groups were stunning, one group
    was a string of three shots all touching another was four shots the widest one was a half inch and there were four flyers and five holes in the bulls eye about an inch apart.
    and this is a 1911 with the standard combat sights, it can shoot, the issue was a broken
    firing pin spring which is over fifty years old as is the recoil spring both have been replaced. I two want a CZ~97 B and I would also like the K2 and the Baby Eagle.
    all have great rep’s.

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  19. Andrea Have your springs checked it could be a busted firing pin spring or the springs
    could be compressed to the point they have become weak, I would just have them replaced. wolf springs are around eight dollars.

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  20. Regarding that Sig 220 price quote, I have two (albeit compacts) for under $900. Yes new, in Virginia, 4473 required.

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