I think the CZ 75 is one of those rare firearms that is universally appreciated and enjoyed. Sure, it might not be a super modern handgun, but the CZ legacy is interesting. Two brothers, Josef and František Koucký, designed the weapon in 1975. The pistol was built behind the iron curtain, and the patent was a secret. While the weapon was protected from being copied in the Soviet States, it could be replicated elsewhere without issue. This resulted in dozens of companies producing clones.
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In fact, you might be surprised by how many different companies have produced or imported CZ clones. Italian companies like Tanfoglio produce CZ clones—and damn good ones. EAA imports them, and so do numerous Turkish firms. With that said, today, I plan to show you some unexpected CZ clones.
1. The AR-24 — An Armalite Clone
As a brand, the Armalite brand has died and been reborn a few times. In 2006 Armalite was still around, but it wasn’t exactly the same Armalite that produced the AR-15. The company still made ARs, but they wanted to diversify, and to do so, they imported the AR-24 from Turkey.
These are very well-made guns, not like a bad Turkish shotgun. The AR-24 came in standard and compact sizes in both 9mm and 40 S&W. These guns are a little more Tangfolio than CZ with its squared-off dust cover. Once that version of the Armalite company folded, so did the AR-24.
2. The Springfield P9 — Italian Made, American Imported
Remember when I said the Italians produced CZ clones? In fact, their TZ-75 isn’t just a ripoff of the CZ-75, it was a solid clone. So much so that Springfield briefly imported the gun in the early 1990s. It became the Springfield P9, and Springfield went whole-hog importing it. They imported full-sized, compact, and subcompact variants in 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, and even 9x21mm.
The Springfield P9 series were finely made guns, and they featured a factory comp model with a compensator and competition extended controls. The P9 series were imported because FIE was no longer importing the guns, and Springfield needed a modern semi-auto for their lineup. It was a solid choice for Springfield, but then EAA decided to take on importing the Tanfoglio guns. Springfield saw their way out of the CZ clone market and put their eyes on importing the XD series from Croatia.
3. Jericho 941 — Israeli Made
When the Israelis needed a new service handgun, they didn’t exactly have the capability to rapidly design and produce a new gun. They had a hodgepodge of firearms, that included some Italian Tanfoglios. They partnered with Tanfoglio to produce a new firearm based on the CZ-75. This became the Jericho 941.
When you look closely, you can clearly see the CZ influence, but a passing glance wouldn’t reveal its origins. The Jericho features a much more aggressive slide with that same shark look of the Desert Eagle. The Jericho proved to be rugged and reliable, and they’ve been imported for decades. To this day, they are still imported and regarded as very reliable and well-made.
4. The Sphinx SDP — The Swiss Clone
If you want to pay a lot of money for a CZ Clone, the Swiss have you covered. The Sphynx Systems SDP series are some top-tier CZ Clones. Sphinx did more than just produce another CZ-75. They went with a polymer frame, (which CZ would do with the duty series as well), added a Picatinny rail, and even mixed in a decocker instead of a safety.
These extremely well-made guns take refinement to a different level. CZ’s ergonomics were already fantastic, but Sphinx took that even further with a beavertail, undercut trigger guard, and shorter barrel. The compact and duty models are only separated by grip size. These are outstanding pistols, but Sphinx is seemingly out of business.
5. The B&T Mk2 — Another Swiss Roll
B&T apparently purchased Sphinx, and it shows. The Mk2 picks up where Sphinx left off. It has a polymer frame, a similar grip contour, a Picatinny rail, and a decocker. Heck, the barrel length of the Mk2 is the same as Sphinx if you choose the threaded barrel option. Look at the hammer, it’s even bobbed like the Sphinx.
That said, the B&T Mk2 is not just a clone of the Sphinx. The frame has some clear differences with some cutouts to the frame, a rear rubber over mold grip, and of course, an optics cut. The optic’s cut is a Shield RMSc cut, and it’s the same kind of quality you expect from B&T.
The World of Clones
The CZ 75 design doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. Clearly, it’s an inspirational pistol that can be found in basically any configuration you could want. From cheap to high-end, the CZ design offers a little bit of everything. It often pops up in unexpected places. The best CZ is obviously a gun from CZ, but the fact that it is cloned so much speaks to its versatility.
Which is your favorite CZ clone?