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.
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.
Comparing the CZ-97 to a Smith & Wesson 1911 there is not much of a weight difference.
Barrel Length: 4.8 in
Weight: 2.4 lbs
Overall Length: 8.3 in
Height: 5.9 in
Width: 1.4 in
Trigger mech.: SA/DA
Safety elements: Manual Safety, Safety Stop on Hammer, Firing Pin Safety, Loaded Chamber Indicator
S&W 1911 Specifications:
Capacity: 8+1 Rounds
Barrel Length: 5″
Front Sight: Dovetail White Dot
Rear Sight: Novak® Lo-Mount Carry
Grip: Wood Checkered
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:
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.
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.
Berry’s 230gr Plated Round Nose Bullet
5grains of W231
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.
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.
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.
– 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
– 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.