This is our CZ PCR Review. The CZ PCR (also known as the CZ 75 D Compact) is a unique aluminum-framed variant of the CZ 75.
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Most CZ 75 variants are steel-framed, with notable exceptions being the CZ PCR and P-01. The alloy frame is much lighter than its steel cousins.
This makes the gun much more comfortable to carry concealed or open, but it’s just a much easier gun to carry due to its lightweight. The gun comes in nine-millimeter and accepts 15-round CZ 75 magazines.
As we mentioned above, the CZ PCR is primarily designed for concealed carry.
The lack of a rail prevents it from making a good duty or home defense pistol since you can’t add a light to it, and while you could shoot this gun in competition, it really isn’t designed for that.
If you want a competition gun, you would be much better choosing a CZ 75 or one of its other steel-framed variants than the PCR. This gun really excels for one specific use.
What Makes It Unique?
As we mentioned earlier, the most unique things about this pistol are definitely its alloy frame and lack of a light rail. The CZ P-01 is definitely the most popular alloy-framed version of the CZ 75, at least in the US.
PCRs are not all that common here.
The CZ 75 D Compact has your standard CZ 75-style grip but is just a bit shorter. In its standard format, the 75 takes 16-round flush-fit magazines or 17-round magazines with a plastic flush-fit base plate.
The PCR, on the other hand, can only take a 14-round mag with a metal flush-fit base plate or 15 rounds with the standard plastic base.
No matter your hand size (with the exception of some exceptionally-large hands), you should be able to get all your fingers on the CZ PCR frame.
This gun is based on an older pistol, so there are no removable backstraps or ways to majorly change the grip on the front-rear.
It does have removable side panels that are similar to pistols that have been around for years and comes stock with rubberized grip panels, which we’ll cover in depth later on.
Beavertail CZ PCR Review
The beavertail on the CZ PCR is very comfortable when you’re holding the gun in your hand.
I will warn you that if you’re carrying this inside the waistband at the appendix and you have a bit of a belly that the beavertail is sharp enough that it could stab inward and make the gun uncomfortable to carry.
I highly doubt it could draw blood, but it definitely could cause discomfort.
The texturing on the CZ 75 is on both the front- and backstraps along with the texturing that’s part of the grip panels.
The texturing on the front and back are vertical lines that really don’t do anything to aid in your ability to grip the gun, so all of the grip is going to come from the texturing on the panels themselves.
The panels are made of some sort of rubber and have a slightly tacky feel, so they really do a good job of keeping the gun still in your hands.
If you don’t like these grips, there are tons of aftermarket options out there that you can replace them with in almost any material you can imagine, including G10, aluminum, wood, imitation ivory, and carbon fiber.
You can also get them in different widths and profiles and make them thinner than the stock configuration or with palm swells that makes the grip much girthier.
There are a lot of options to really change this grip around to fit your hands by just removing two screws and attaching new grip panels.
Overall, the feel of the CZ PCR is really good. It’s a CZ 75-based gun and those in general are just very ergonomic. It’ll work well for anybody that has medium- or large-sized hands.
Like the rest of the CZ 75 series, the CZ 75 D Compact has a very short slide. Short in terms of height. This makes it very hard to get a good grip on the slide when going to rack it.
It does have front and rear serrations but those serrations are only around three-eighths of an inch tall. They don’t provide a lot of real estate to grab the gun.
Most of the time I would use my entire hand to rack the slide on a firearm. With the CZ PCR, I use my index finger and thumb and pinch the slide.
This isn’t a deal-breaker for most people. But if you’re very concerned about easily manipulating the slide, I would have some reservations about getting the PCR.
CZ did do a good job on the serrations and made them fairly aggressive. They need to be considering how hard it is to actually interact with them and pull the slide back.
As implied in its extended name, the CZ 75 D Compact has a decocker. A decocker is a device that safely drops the hammer from single- into double-action.
This is a very safe way to de-cock the hammer and make the trigger system safer.
The decocker is positioned at the rear of the frame and is easy to reach with your thumb.
This decocker will work for people with any hand size. Note I do have to break my grip slightly to de-cock the gun without pain. Otherwise, I’m using the bone of my thumb and it hurts quite a bit.
However, like with most size concerns, your mileage may vary. It’s no big deal to break my grip to de-cock the firearm.
Magazine Release CZ PCR Review
The magazine release on the CZ PCR is positioned in a really good spot where I can easily reach it. This is as a right-handed shooter.
That being said, I probably have the smallest hands possible to not have to break my grip to drop the magazine. If you have medium-sized hands or smaller, you will likely have to break to drop that magazine.
The magazine release itself is devoid of sharp edges and isn’t painful to drop with.
I should note that the magazine sticks slightly inside the aluminum frame, more than it would in a steel-framed gun. It still drops free, but you can feel just a little more friction and resistance.
The slide stop on this gun is located fairly far forward. Unfortunately, I cannot reach it without breaking my grip. When I use the slide stop to reload, I end up using my support hand thumb with the Vickers method. This is much quicker for me than breaking my grip to drop the slide on the PCR.
The stop itself is fairly large. When breaking your grip, you can easily get your thumb underneath the slide stop. From therre you can pull the slide back manually, and lock the slide back.
There is the slightest bevel on the CZ PCR magazine well. It’s not much of a magwell and it really doesn’t do much to help with reloads. It’s not a hard gun to reload despite the lack of help from the bevel.
CZ PCR Review Overall Ergonomics
Overall, the ergonomics of this firearm are fine. The magazine release is easy to reach if you have larger hands and the decocker is fairly friendly. I do wish the slide stop was located a little bit further to the rear for operational efficiency, but that’s about it.
The CZ PCR has a double-action single-action trigger.
In double-action, you’re going to feel some light take-up before you hit a heavy, creepy trigger pull. That pull is then going to break without much warning and go into a nice rolling break as most double-action triggers do.
Once you fire that shot, the gun will be cocked and reset into single-action. It resets fairly forward of a wall, so you have to pull through some light take-up from the reset point to hit it before a little more creep and a second rolling break.
I’m a big fan of most CZ 75 stock triggers, but unfortunately, this one on the PCR is not one of them.
I think it might be due to some friction with the aluminum alloy frame. The PCR just doesn’t seem to have as good of a trigger as the steel variants.
It’s something that could perhaps be smoothed out. I’m not as happy with this as I have been with others straight from the factory.
It could just be a bad trigger on a bad day. Maybe other PCRs have a much smoother trigger?
Mine just seems a lot grittier and feels like there’s more resistance with the frame than other CZ 75 triggers.
Aesthetically, the CZ 75 D Compact/PCR is a good-looking firearm. Nothing is incredibly nice as the finish on it is just lacking and it has a lot of roll marks and writing on the slide.
That being said, outside those roll marks, the gun’s fairly attractive as far as how the outline goes. It’s not going to win any beauty contest, but it’s not going to be a gun that people look at and go, “man, that’s ugly.”
Sights CZ PCR Review
The CZ PCR comes with standard iron and three-dot sights.
They’re not horrible, but if I were to carry this gun, I would definitely replace these sights. They’re fine for shooting at the range, but for self-defense sights, I’d want something a little bit better.
The rear notch is very narrow and not that deep.
A much deeper and wider notch would be preferable for target shooting or self-defense. The sights are also a little bit weird to the sight cut, so you’re going to have a bit of a hard time finding aftermarket options for this gun.
One thing that’s unique about the front sight on the CZ 75 D Compact is it attaches via a roll pin.
Not many guns these days do that, and with the rear side being a unique cut, you’re going to have very few aftermarket options to replace the sights on this gun.
Unfortunately, there is no red-dot option for this gun at this time, and I don’t expect CZ to release one. It would require a major design change due to the PCR’s slide profile.
It can be milled, but it’s incredibly expensive and there are very few shops who will do it.
CZ 75s are known for shooting very well, but (unfortunately) the CZ 75 D seems to be a bit of an exception to that. The lighter aluminum frame doesn’t do as much to retain recoil like the CZ 75 Compact would. The lighter weight comes at a cost to its shootability.
Additionally, the trigger just isn’t as smooth as some of its steel-framed cousins. This gun shoots fine, but not incredibly well by any metrics.
Aftermarket CZ PCR Review
There are going to be some limited aftermarket sight and trigger options for this gun, but besides that, there isn’t much else out there besides grip panels.
Maintaining the CZ 75 D Compact is very easy.
You’ll take the magazine out, ensure the gun is cleared, and then you’ll pull the slide back about a quarter-inch until the line and back of the slide match up with a line on the frame.
After that, knock the slide stop out.
Once that pulls through the left side of the firearm, you can then release the slide, let it slide forward, and then remove the barrel and recoil spring. From there, you can clean the gun and reverse that order of operations to put things back together.
I’m a big CZ fan and I really like the 75 series of guns, but the CZ PCRjust doesn’t do it for me.
I’d take the weight penalty of around eight ounces to carry the CZ 75 Compact if I were going to carry a gun in this format or even a CZ P-01 steel frame.
This gun has a lot of potential, but it’s just not quite as smooth as I would like it to be. I really wish it shot a little better and the trigger was improved.
A big upgrade CZ could make for future models would be changing out the sight cut for a more modern option like those they have on the P-07 or P-10 C series. I think a cut with more aftermarket options would greatly improve the viability of this gun for concealed carry.
Let us know what you thought of our CZ PCR Review.