Sunday, August 13, 2006

Battle of the Initials
HK versus CZ

Left: HK P7 M8 Pistol
Right: CZ 75D PCR
Middle: Wayne Clark automatic swinguard stilleto knife with a 5 inch ATS-34 blade, T-6 Aluminum liners and bolsters and G-10 scales. The knife measures a total 11.25 inches overall.

(click to enlarge picture)

In this post we will compare two similarly sized compact, semi-automatic 9mm handguns; the HK P7 M8 and the CZ 75D PCR. For this comparision we will examine 8 factors: size, capacity, sights, trigger, grips, ergonomics, accuracy, and price.

I wrote about the HK pistol last week so there is little new to say about it. It is still a classic firearm, very modern, and very fun to shoot is the CZ. The CZ is one of the most copied firearms in the world. It is made in Czechoslovakia and while they were behind the iron curtain they did not bother to patent their design. Consequently other manufacturers of differing quality have pirated the design and marketed clones some of which do not quite measure up.

So let’s begin the comparison:

While both pistols are compact the HK is just a little shorter and a little thinner. Here’s how they stack up:

Specs: CZ75D PCR..... HK P7 M8
Weight: 1.7 lbs..... ......1.72 lbs
Length: 7.2 inches .....6.73 inches
Barrel: 3.9 inches .....4.13 inches
Height: 5.3 inches .....5.1 inches
Width: 1.4 inches ......1.14 inches
Frame: Alloy .............Steel

Advantage goes slightly to HK. It is shorter yet has a longer barrel and slightly thinner. The weight difference is negligible.

The HK P7 M8 has a single stack magazine capacity of 8 + 1 while the CZ 75D PCR has a double stack magazine holding 14 + 1. The advantage goes to CZ for holding 6 more rounds while only adding a mere fraction to the width of the pistol.

Both have fixed sights front and rear with the rear sights being drift adjustable for windage. Both pistols sights are low profile with the CZ having a snag free Novak-type rear sight. This is a very slight advantage for CZ.

The HK P7 M8 is single action only and the CZ is a traditional double action type (double action on the first shot and single action for follow-up shots). The triggers on both of these pistols are very good however; the HK has a short single action only trigger pull and has a very crisp release. The Double Action pull on the CZ is a little bit on the long side and there is a fair amount of creep in both the double and single action pull. While this all gives the HK trigger the advantage I want to assure everyone that the CZ trigger is not detrimental to the handling and shooting of the pistol.

The grips of the CZ are contoured rubber which gives the best feel of any auto pistol that I own. The HK on the other hand does not really have replaceable grip panels. The grip frame is stippled to give the shooter more control over the pistol. While the stippled grip frame is certainly comfortable the advantage here goes to CZ.

The CZ does not have a traditional safety lever and instead has a decocker which was easily engaged by my right thumb in order to lower the hammer after having chambered a round. The CZ also has an enlarged magazine release which is also easy to reach with my right thumb. The HK pistol has no safety lever, but rather it employs a squeeze cocking device that also acts as a grip safety. The gun is completely safe until the squeeze cocker is engaged making the pistol ready to fire in its single action mode. The HK also has an ambidextrous magazine release lever right behind the trigger guard. I find that it is very easy for me to reach that lever on the right side of the frame with my trigger finger while I catch the falling magazine with my left hand. The advantage here goes to HK.

Let's get right to it...this one is a draw. Due to the HK's gas operation the P7 M8 is one of the only semi-auto pistols, chambered in a military cartridge, to have a fixed barrel. This enhances accuracy. The CZ has a detachable barrel affixed to the frame by an underbarrel link held in place by the slide relase pin. However the CZ has two integral rails on which the slide rides along the frame. This also enhances accuracy.

Two targets placed at 21 feet. The target on the left absorbed 26 rounds and the one on the right took 24 rounds of 9mm ammo.

(click to enlarge photo)

Both targets were set at 21 feet. The target on the left took 16 round and the target on the right took 34 rounds.
This is not really a fair comparison. The HK P7 M8 is no longer produced and was never manufactured in large quantities. So when you come across one it commands a hefty sum (figure probably $1500 if it is in very good shape). The CZ on the other hand retails between $350 and $450 depending on the gun shop and is a bargain at either of those prices.

So who wins. Well that kind of depends on what you are looking for. If your are a collector and are in the market for a reliable, accurate and unusual piece that will undoubtedly increase in value go with the HK P7 M8. If you are just looking for a reliable and accurate 9mm shooter, go with the CZ.