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Taking the Already Great CZ 75 B Pistol and Making it Even Better
When I was looking to buy a handgun for home defense purposes, I decided that I would get a semi-automatic pistol to replace a revolver that I previously owned. I liked the idea of having a larger number of rounds available in a high capacity semi-auto handgun. When I decided to go that route, the only question that remained was which model to choose (and in what caliber). I did a lot of research and read a lot of reviews and gun owner testimonials. In the end, I chose the CZ75B because it had such a good reputation among those that have owned and shot it. A good track record nearly 4 decades long was impressive. I wanted to get a pistol with a metal frame instead of the more common polymer/plastic guns. The CZ75 had a steel frame, and since I was just planning to use this as a home defense gun, I was not concerned about the added weight of the steel frame. I wanted a rugged, reliable, and proven gun that would stand up to the test of time. After deciding on the CZ 75 B, I then had to choose between 9mm and S&W .40. Sure, I like the idea of the extra power of the S&W .40, but I decided to go with the 9mm for a couple different reasons. First of all, the standard magazine for 9mm CZ75 was 16 rounds, and the comparable .40 CZ75 would hold 12 rounds. In addition to the higher magazine capacity, the 9mm is one of the most widely used rounds in the world. Ammunition choices are plentiful and good deals can be found on 9mm ammo compared to the .40 and other more expensive rounds. The .40 is a great choice too, but with all the good choices of modern defense ammo available for the 9mm, I felt comfortable going this route.
In case you didn't know, the CZ 75 has a long history and is still used extensively around the world. According to the CZ company, the CZ75 is the most widely used handgun by military, law enforcement, and security forces around the world. More than 1,000,000 of these handguns have been made since it's introduction nearly 40 years ago. Even though the handgun design might be old, that does not mean that it is outdated or ineffective. The CZ75 has a good reputation of being reliable, accurate, and enjoyable to shoot. When I first got mine, I did not have a lot of handgun shooting experience. It took a while to get used to shooting my CZ 75, but that was not the fault of the gun itself. I was just very inexperienced shooting a semi-automatic handgun. In fact, my only previous experience shooting handgun was with a revolver, and I had very limited experience with that as well. In any case, I just shot my CZ 75 B bone stock and it sat in my gun safe for some years before I took a renewed interest in shooting it more. It was a great gun as is, but I wanted to try to make it even better. Below are some of the simple things that I did.
1) LIGHTEN TRIGGER PULL - One of the things that I really wanted was a lighter trigger pull in the hopes that I would be more more accurate in my shooting. If a gun has too heavy of a trigger pull, then it is easier to pull the gun off target when squeezing the trigger. I found this to be true in my case. I got some 9mm snap caps and proceeded to dry fire my CZ75B in order to try to break it in and polish the mating surfaces of the trigger assembly a little. Of course, you can break in a gun by shooting it more, but ammunition is not cheap and so I decided to try to go the dry fire route to save on ammo cost. This did seem to help a little, but not as much as I'd like. I think I did around 1,000 dry fires. I'm sure if I did a lot more, then the results would probably have been that much better. By the way, don't dry fire the CZ75 (or most other guns) without a snap cap. These dummy rounds (snap caps) provide something resilient for the firing pin to strike, and it helps protect your gun from damage while dry firing. Another thing that I did was to change out the factory rated 20 lb mainspring (aka hammer spring) with a lighter 16 lb mainspring. This spring is what is cocked when the hammer is pulled back. Changing this spring to a lighter one will reduce trigger pull effort in both single action and double action modes. Some people go down lower to 13 lb mainsprings in order to further lighten and improve the trigger pull. The lighter you go on the mainspring, then the lighter the trigger pull becomes; however, there is a point that it is probably best not to cross if you want a reliable firing handgun. The mainspring is what powers the hammer and too weak of a hammer spring can lead to misfires if the primer is not hit hard enough by the firing pin. I was told by a CZ expert that a 15 lb mainspring is the lowest that they would recommend for a gun used for defense purposes. You can get away with a lighter spring if you only use your gun for target shooting, but just be aware that you can experience misfires if you are shooting ammo with harder primers. In my case, I wanted to decrease the trigger pull, but I didn't want to give up reliability. I decided to err a little on the heavier side with a 16 lb mainspring to try to ensure good primer strikes even if the spring had weakened some over time.
Changing Mainspring for Lighter Trigger Pull
In the picture above, you can see that the mainspring is located in the backstrap area of the handle. Just remove the grips and it's pretty easy to push out a small pin, remove the flat spring, and then change out the mainspring. In case you are unfamiliar with taking apart your CZ 75 B, then later at the bottom of this page you will find a video showing some basic steps in disassembling your CZ75. Switching the mainspring from the factory 20 lb spring to the 16 lb spring made a nice difference in improving the trigger pull. In the future, I might try to experiment with a 15 lb mainspring, but for now I plan to leave it as it is. Another thing I did was to put a tiny bit of grease on the hammer sear surfaces.
Hammer Sear Areas Where to Apply Grease
In the picture above, you'll see the two areas where I applied the grease being pointed out by a couple of toothpicks. I used a grease fortified with moly in the hopes that this would reduce friction and smooth out the trigger pull a little more. You don't want too much grease, or else you'll make a big mess. I used a toothpick to apply a tiny dab of grease at each of the 2 hammer sear areas. This seems to help a little, but it's not a big difference in itself. It's easy enough to do, so I figured it was worth trying.
2) SETUP GUN FOR HIGHER RECOIL AMMO - Another thing I wanted to do was set up my CZ so that it would be better equipped to handle more powerful ammunition. I wanted to shoot some +P and +P+ 9mm ammo, and I wanted to make sure that my CZ75 was tuned for these hotter loads. One of the things that I wanted to change was the recoil spring. It's a good idea to periodically change the recoil spring anyway (around every 3,000 rounds on the CZ75B), but it is more important if you plan to shoot some harder kicking loads. Higher powered loads will send the slide back harder and faster, and if the recoil spring is too weak, then that can mean that the slide gets hammered harder as it flies back on each shot. A stiffer recoil spring will absorb some of this extra force when shooting hotter ammunition. Another thing I found out was that CZ started putting stiffer springs in the CZ 75 B from the factory. Earlier, they were supposed to be putting in 14 lb spec recoil springs. Apparently some of these factory 14 lb springs were actually weaker and acted more like a 12 lb (or less) recoil spring. In any case, I decided to order some new factory current recoil springs for my CZ 75. When I got them, I could tell that it was true that CZ is now putting in stiffer recoil springs than when my pistol was built. From what I was told, the latest factory recoil springs are closer to a 16 lb spec. The new factory spring was definitely much stiffer than the original recoil spring that came in my gun. It was so stiff in fact, that I had trouble getting it installed in my pistol. When I put the recoil spring on the guide road and compressed it to fit into my gun, it would jump out wildly. At first, I couldn't even get the gun assembled with the new factory spring. Even when I was able to carefully get everything back together, the new recoil spring would bow so badly inside the gun that it would cause the slide to bind up. I had read that some people were able to install a stiffer recoil spring and then lock the slide back and let the gun sit for a few days like that to help the spring take a set. After that, some people found that the stiffer recoil spring worked fine. In getting the spring to "take a set", the spring tension and the overall length of the spring are reduced and it can make the spring work better. Since I had a hard time even getting my spring installed in the gun without it flying out or bowing badly, I decided that I would try to do something different. I got some threaded rod, a couple washers, and a couple nuts and made a small spring compressor. I installed the new recoil spring and compressed it down to around 3" and let it sit for a few days. The original recoil spring was around 5.25" long. I first experimented compressing it less (as shown in the picture below), but later I found that I needed to compress it more in order to get it to take a set. I found that if I compressed it somewhere around 1/2 the original length for a few days, then that worked pretty well. By the way, in case you want to do this, 1/4" threaded rod is a good size. In my case, I already had some slightly smaller metric threaded rod, so I just put some head shrink tubing over the threaded rod to give the spring a better fit. If the rod is too small, then the spring will bow and curve more when it is compressed. A 6" long x 1/4" diameter threaded rod should be just about right for this purpose.
Recoil Spring Compressor to Help Set Spring Before Installation
In addition to the new recoil spring, I also decided to install a recoil buffer to better protect my gun from higher recoil loads. The buffer pad goes on the guide rod first, and then the recoil spring goes over the rod and sits against the buffer pad. By the way, my CZ75B came from the factory with a plastic guide rod. At first, I was really turned off by this, because plastic doesn't strike me as a great choice for a guide rod. Then again, I'm not a gun designer and many modern semi-automatic guns now come from the factory with plastic guide rods and they seem to hold up just fine in service. I've read that the plastic guide rods are less prone to damaging the barrel lug or the slide during cycling. Also, a plastic guide rod is supposed to be self lubricating and affected less by dirt and grime. A plastic guide rod is also lighter and cheaper to make for gun manufacturers. In any case, I did order a stainless steel guide rod from the CZ Custom Shop. I also ordered some new factory plastic guide rods from CZ-USA, and for now I've decided to stick with the factory plastic guide rod. My original plastic guide rod was a little beat up, so I installed a new factory plastic rod. If the plastic guide rods get chewed up too fast, then I'll probably give the stainless steel guide rod a try.
Recoil Buffer Installed on Guide Rod with Recoil Spring
I wish the CZ 75 B came from the factory with a full length guide rod. Then installing a stiffer recoil spring would be a much simpler operation, because the spring would be fully restrained and the spring could not bow or jump out like it can now. The CZ Custom Shop does sell some full length guide rods for the CZ 75 B, but it requires a hole being drilled in the recoil spring pocket at the front of the slide. I really don't want to be drilling on my gun, so I'll stick with the shorter guide rods for now. Back to the buffer... the small polyurethane buffer pad gives the slide a soft stop to hit against when the slide flies back. I figured it was cheap insurance so I installed one.
3) INCREASE AMMO FEEDING RELIABILITY - This one is very important. It doesn't matter how powerful or accurate your pistol is if it's unreliable. To save on shooting costs, I usually shoot Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) bullets. My CZ75 has been very reliable shooting a variety of different brands of FMJ ammuntion. I didn't want to waste too much money shooting lots of expensive Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) defense ammo, so I just did a little testing with Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P ammunition and kept the mags loaded with that. One day, I decided to shoot some more JHP ammo and I was encountering some jamming problems. For a defense gun, this is bad news! I could see that the nose of the hollow point bullet was snagging on the feed ramp leading up into the barrel chamber. I took the gun apart and put the barrel in a vice (between 2 pieces of wood). I then proceeded to polish the feed ramp area using a Dremel with a felt tip and some Mibro polishing compound. I used the very fine Mibro #6 (green) polishing compound. After maybe 10 minutes of polishing, I had a feed ramp with a mirror finish. I carefully cleaned the barrel to remove the abrasive polishing compound and I put the gun back together.
Polished Feed Ramp for Increased Reliability with JHP Ammo
The next time I shot my CZ 75 B, I was expecting the JHP jamming problem to be totally gone. It was not. I tried Speer Gold Dots 124gr +P ammo, and I still had some occasional hang ups. I then tried some Federal 9BPLE +P+ that has a good reputation of feeding well in semi-automatic pistols because of the bullet shape. These also got jammed on the feed ramp occasionally. When looking at what was happening, I could see that it appeared that a small feature on the slide stop part was actually contributing to these JHP bullets hanging up on the feed ramp. It appeared that the side of the bullet was being pushed every so slightly by the "nub" (or whatever you want to call it) on the slide stop. This was pushing it aside just enough to cause the hollow point nose of the bullet to hang up on the feed ramp. Below is a picture showing a new factory slide stop on the left and my older slide stop with the polished area on the right. In the picture, it almost appears like the angle of that feature is different, but that is just an optical illusion. I didn't remove enough material to change the shape of the part. I merely polished the face of that feature and removed the factory machining marks and gave it a mirror finish.
Polished Area on Slide Stop for More Reliable Feeding
After polishing this part, I put the gun back together for testing. In the shooting that I was able to do so far, my CZ75 has been much more reliable in feeding JHP ammo. I haven't had a chance to shoot much more of the 124gr Gold Dots, but the Federal +P+ bullets fed with 100% reliability so far after making these minor changes. So, if you want to make your CZ75 less sensitive to ammunition types, then you might want to consider polishing these critical areas in your gun as well. At the very least, the feed ramp area would be the most important. Polishing these areas means less friction and less chance for bullets to snag and jam. Then again, if your CZ75 shoots fine just the way it is (with no jamming problems), then no need to worry about any of this polishing. In addition, shooting a lot of rounds through a gun will also help polish surfaces where the bullets rub against. Shooting a lot of ammo through a gun is a more expensive way of polishing internals, but then again if you like to shoot, then this approach can mean more fun.
Finally, in case you want to take apart your CZ75B to do a little work on it and you are unfamiliar with how to disassemble your CZ 75 B, then you might find the video below helpful. I found it helpful in changing out my mainspring. The creator of this video did a good job demonstrating how to remove the slide (in case you want to change recoil springs), and also how to change the mainspring (in case you want to try to lighten your trigger pull).
NOTE: Some people with the CZ75B handgun have reported that using Mecgar magazines improved reliability. Some have said that buying an aftermarket Mecgar mag eliminated jamming problems with ammunition like the Speer Gold Dot. Keep that in mind if you are having jamming problems with hollowpoint ammo in your CZ75. The interesting thing in all this is that apparently Mecgar manufactures the OEM magazines for CZ! If the factory mags are manufactured by Mecgar, then why would the aftermarket Mecgar magazines be more reliable? I'm not sure, but I'm just sharing other people's positive experience switching mags in their CZ 75 B. I suspect that it has something to do with slight variations in the feed lips of different magazines.