ASG CZ 75 Update

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Since doing the review on the ASG CZ 75, I have spent some more time with this replica. And I can now say with confidence that it does have hop-up, and that this does affect groupings and accuracy.

The hop-up takes the same form seen on 6mm replicas: A nub presses on a rubber or neoprene membrane and pushes this through a slot in the top of barrel. As the BB passes down the barrel, it hits the bump formed by this nub, which imparts backspin on the BB, affecting its flight and trajectory. This is the first time that I have seen functioning hop-up in a 4.5mm replica. Most people will tell you that there is no point in having hop-up on a replica firing steel BBs because these are too heavy for the backspin to substantially affect their flight. But this doesn’t appear to be the case…

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You can just about see the hop-up nub in this picture – it’s the flat area on the right (top) of the inner barrel. This shows the nub adjusted for maximum effect.

Hop-up is adjusted by turning the slotted screw on the base of the hop-up housing on the inner barrel. If you turn this too far, it affects operation of the gun – with the hop-up turned all the way up (i.e. the screw turned all the way clockwise) the loading nozzle is locked in the inner barrel and the slide won’t retract. Easing it off a little allows the slide to retract, but leaves the blowback sluggish and the slide fails to lock back. Easing it off further frees everything up and restores normal operation.

But, how does it affect shooting? On a 6mm replica, hop-up is mainly used to adjust vertical placement of shots. At 6 yards, the effect is minimal, but at longer ranges it’s more noticeable. However, I have spent a fair amount of time playing with the hop-up on my 6mm replicas, and I have also found that adjustment tends to affect groupings at six yards – there is often a “sweet-spot” which provides the best and most consistent groupings, and this can only be found by experimentation and test. So, I wondered if the same would be true of hop-up on a 4.5mm replica?

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Typical grouping at six yards before adjustment

The groupings I was getting with the ASG CZ 75 as supplied were reasonable, though with a fairly large lateral spread (around 2½” – 3″) and were inconsistent, sometimes the grouping would be much tighter. I tried adjusting the hop-up to see if it changed things. I started with the hop-up close to the middle of its range of adjustment, where the pistol cycled reliably. Hop-up is very sensitive, so it’s best to adjust by small increments (no more than ¼ – ½ turn of the adjustment screw each time). I did all test shooting from a rested position, to remove any errors arising from my technique.

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Results were varied. Adjusting the hop-up did change the centre of groupings vertically, but only by a total of 1″ or so, and the lateral spread was still fairly large and inconsistent, varying from 1½” to 3″. Hmm, time for a re-think.

On my 4.5mm replicas, I tend to put a drop of silicone or Pellgun oil on the neck of each CO2 cartridge before piercing. This sprays a fine mist of oil on internal seals and helps to keep everything leak free and lubricated. I don’t do this on 6mm replicas, either gas or CO2 powered, because the oil also sprays on to the hop-up rubber and makes it less effective. I had used oil on most of the CO2 cartridges I had loaded in the CZ 75, and a visual check showed the inside of the inner barrel to be oily, which was almost certainly affecting the operation of the hop-up. Time to clean out the inner barrel and hop-up rubber.

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I used a pull-through improvised from some gardening string and a small piece of cloth soaked in warm water with a little washing up liquid in it – this removes any oily residue inside the barrel and on the hop-up rubber. I did this several times and then finished with a clean, dry cloth to remove any dampness.

I loaded a fresh CO2 (without using oil!) and went back to shooting. And the results were much better. The lateral spread on groupings was reduced and much more consistent. By further adjustment of the hop-up I was able to get the CZ 75 to produce consistent groupings of under 2″ centred close to the point of aim. Result!

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Typical results for ten shots, six yards, rested, after cleaning the barrel and hop-up rubber and adjusting the hop-up

So what does all this mean? First of all, hop-up does appear to work with steel 4.5mm BBs though the effect is less noticeable than on 6mm plastic BBs. However, if you use oil on your CO2 cartridges, that’s likely to affect the performance of the hop-up and may produce inconsistent groupings. If you have a 4.5mm replica with hop-up (and so far, the ASG CZ 75 is the only one I have come across) I’d suggest that you:

  • Stop putting oil on CO2 cartridges, and,
  • Clean the inner barrel and hop-up rubber to remove any oil, and,
  • Adjust the hop-up a little at a time until you find the sweet-spot for your gun.

And hopefully that will produce tighter, more consistent groupings closer to the point of aim.

Given that all this is contrary to the popular belief that hop-up doesn’t work on 4.5mm steel BBs, I’d be interested in comments from anyone else who has tried this. Are there any other 4.5mm replicas with hop-up? Does adjustment work?

And can we have hop-up on more 4.5mm replicas please? I had almost stopped buying steel BB shooting replicas because of the lack of hop-up adjustment. Pistols like the Tanfoglio Witness and the Cybergun GSG92 and Sig Sauer P226 X5 are fantastic replicas. But whether individual examples shoot above, below or on the point of aim seems to be purely a matter of luck and given that none have adjustable sights and you can’t try different weights of BB, there is nothing you can do about it other than fitting an optical sight. Being able to adjust the vertical centre of groupings on 4.5mm replicas would be a real step forward.

A short update video review and new shooting test is also available.

Target downloaded from: http://umarexboysclubforum.myfineforum.org/index.php

Related pages:

ASG CZ 75 review

Tanfoglio Witness review

Cybergun GSG92 review

Cybergun Sig Sauer P226 X5 review

ASG CZ 75

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I generally don’t like surprises. Because, let’s face it, they’re usually unpleasant. I was surprised when I managed to shoot a hole through a very expensive double glazing unit with my Tanfoglio Witness. I was very surprised to discover that I hadn’t secured the seat properly on one of the motorcycles I had re-built and found myself standing at a set of traffic lights with just a seat clutched between my thighs as the bike accelerated briskly up the road. You get the picture. Happily, I’m rarely surprised by replicas. I have owned a fair number from different producers and I generally have a good idea of what to expect before I even pick a new pistol up. But, just occasionally, I find something unexpected in a new replica and that happened recently when I was provided with an ASG CZ 75 for review.

I have owned several ASG replicas, and they’re generally pretty good. In terms of blowback, semi-auto BB shooters, I have owned an STI Duty One and a CZ P-07 Duty. Both were very nicely made and finished, powerful, reliable and reasonably accurate, but I didn’t especially care for the trigger action on either – like many replicas they both use the first part of the single action trigger pull to queue up the next BB for shooting and neither could be field stripped. Not show-stopping issues to be sure, but I do like functional accuracy and a true single action trigger. I had assumed (always a dangerous thing to do) that the ASG CZ 75 would be similar and had never owned or shot one. How wrong I was…

Real steel background

State-owned arms manufacturer Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod (CZUB) was established in 1936 in the small town of Uherský Brod in what was then Czechoslovakia and is now the Czech Republic. Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, the company was privatized in 1992 as Česká zbrojovka a.s. PLC. CZ currently employs more than 2000 people, making it one of the largest firearms manufacturers in the world.

Back in the early 1970s, military orders were starting to drop-off and the Ministry of Foreign Trade requested CZ to begin work on the design of a military and law enforcement pistol which might have export potential to Western countries. The design brief was for a pistol chambered for the 9x19mm round, with a high-capacity magazine and capable of being carried “cocked and locked” (i.e. with the hammer cocked and a manual safety applied). Chief designer František Koucký (with some help from his brother Josef) produced a design where the slide of the pistol ran inside rails on the frame, rather than the conventional approach where the slide is outside of the frame. This was claimed to give smoother and more controlled slide movement, though it did mean that the slide serrations are a little small. Czech architect and designer František Crhák was also asked to provide ideas on the visual design of the pistol, and the result was a simple, distinctive and instantly recognisable design.

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Early model CZ 75

Functionally, the all steel CZ 75 is a relatively simple design using a modified Browning short recoil operated, locked breech action. Early prototypes were single action only but the final version featured both double and single action with a half-cock position for the hammer in order to make manual de-cocking safer (because it can be carried cocked but with the safety engaged, the manual safety does not incorporate a de-cocking function). Mass production began in 1977 and the CZ 75 quickly gained a reputation for power, accuracy and reliability. It also has superb ergonomics, combining the slim pointability of a 1911 with the advantages of a double-stack magazine.

During the early 1980s, the CZ 75 became one of a small group of pistols referred to as the “Wonder Nines“. Police in the US were still largely armed with revolvers at this time, and a number of influential gun writers including Jeff Cooper and Robert Shimek urged the adoption of 9mm handguns with large capacity magazines which could be carried ready to fire, but with a manual safety. The CZ 75 was one of the pistols identified as a Wonder Nine and it was eventually adopted by some US Police Departments as well as by police users in the Czech Republic and Turkey. The CZ 75 and its derivatives have also become very popular as target shooting and self-defence weapons around the world.

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CZ 75B

The earliest versions of the CZ 75 featured a rounded trigger-guard and a spur hammer though these were quickly replaced on the CZ75B with a combat style trigger-guard and a rounded hammer. Subsequent versions have included the select fire CZ 75 Automatic and the aluminium framed compact P-01. More recent pistols from CZ such as the polymer framed P09 Duty continue to use the internal slide and other operational features from the original CZ 75. The CZ 75 has also been used as the basis for several other handguns including the IWI Jericho 941 series, the Tanfoglio TZ-75, the Chinese Norinco NZ-75 and the Springfield P9.

The ASG CZ 75

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Danish group Action Sport Games A/S (ASG) produce a range of CO2 powered 4.5mm semi-auto and revolver replicas. ASG have a licensing agreement with CZ and a number of their replicas are based on CZ designs. The ASG CZ 75 is an all-metal licensed replica of an early CZ 75 featuring blowback, a full-size drop-out magazine and full CZ markings. Up to 17 steel BBs and the CO2 are stored in the magazine and all controls from the original are replicated visually and operationally.

Spec;

Calibre: 4.5mm

Magazine capacity: 17 steel BBs

Propellant: CO2

Barrel length: 4.3″ (110mm), smoothbore

Weight: 2.1lbs (950g)

Overall length: 8.27″ (210mm)

Sights: Front: Post, fixed. Rear: Notch, fixed.

Action: SA/DA

Claimed power: 312fps (95m/s)

Packaging and presentation 2.5/5

7514The ASG CZ 75 comes in a card box with a polystyrene insert shaped to fit the pistol and extras. It is supplied with a hex tool for removal of the magazine base plug, a small box of steel BBs and a very short user manual. The manual doesn’t mention the full and half-cock hammer positions or tell you how to field strip the replica.

7515Visual accuracy 9/10

754Dimensionally, this is a very good replica indeed.  The lines of the original and the shape and location of sights, controls and grips are precisely the same. Even the distinctive tiny, silver hammer pin retaining peg is in place. The magazine on the ASG CZ 75 does have a larger base than the standard CZ 75 magazine. However, CZ provide an extended magazine for the CZ 75 which increases capacity to 18 rounds, and the magazine on the ASG version is based on this, so it’s a reasonable solution to the need to fit a 12g CO2 cartridge inside the mag.

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Later model CZ 75 SP-01 fitted with high-capacity magazine

The finish on the replica is a semi-matt black compared to a fairly glossy black finish on the original, but it looks reasonable and it’s close to the finish on later models of the CZ 75. The trigger is chromed and outer barrel is finished in polished alloy on the replica, which look good and replicate the finish on the original. Markings are fair. The “Model 75 Cal. 9 Para” on the left of the slide is correct though the “Made in Czechoslovakia” text which appeared on the left side of the frame of early versions of the original is missing and the CZ logos on the slide and grips are modern style rather than the 70s version. There is also additional white ASG text on the right of the frame, but at least it’s small and fairly discreet.

Functional accuracy 14/15

The ASG CZ 75 features blowback operation and the slide moves through a full range of movement. The slide lock/release works as it should and the slide locks back when the last round is fired. Like the original, the hammer has a half-cock and full-cock position. On the cartridge version this is used to safely de-cock a loaded pistol – the hammer is de-cocked only from full-cock to half-cock. This is probably not something you’ll be doing often on a replica, but it’s nice to see such attention to functional detail. With the hammer in the full-cock position, the pistol can be fired in single action. With the hammer in the half-cock position, the pistol can only be fired in double action. The manual safety can be applied only with the hammer in the full-cock or half-cock position. With the hammer fully down, the pistol can be fired in double action, though on mine this is notably stiff (but it does seem to be improving with use).

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Hammer at half-cock (top) and full-cock (bottom)

The ASG CZ 75 can be field stripped in the same way as the original (though this isn’t explained in the manual). To remove the slide, the magazine must be removed and two marks on the left rear of the slide must be aligned. The slide release can then be pushed out from the right and removed from the left, and the slide can then be moved forward off the frame. It’s very similar to the takedown procedure on any 1911 style pistol.

759Slide alignment marks (arrowed, left), slide stop removal (right)

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Overall, this is a very good functional replica of the CZ 75. It accurately replicates trigger action, slide movement and locking and takedown and it’s very close to weight of the original. This would probably make a good training aid for anyone who also owns the cartridge version.

Shooting 34/40

To load the magazine with CO2, the plastic cover on the base must first be removed. There is a small plastic button in the centre of the base which is pressed, then the plastic cover can be slid off to the front. This exposes the tightening plug which can be removed using the supplied hex key (though it also has a large slot so a coin or screwdriver can also be used). The plug must be completely removed so that the CO2 can be inserted from the bottom of the mag. Once it’s in place, the plug is replaced and tightened until the cartridge pierces, which it generally does cleanly and without any major loss of gas.

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Up to 17 steel BBs are then loaded into the magazine. The follower doesn’t lock down, so it must be held in place whilst you are loading.

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The magazine is then replaced and you’re good to go. The slide must be racked to prepare for the first shot and, due to the design of the slide, the area of serrations is fairly small. This, combined with a strong return spring, means that you do have to grasp the slide strongly to get a good grip. Racking the slide also cocks the hammer, so most of your shooting will be done in single action. Fortunately, the ASG CZ 75 has a very nice, light, true single action trigger. There is some free-play, but the pull is short, light and consistent. Blowback is strong and snappy and this replica shoots with a reasonably loud bang. Sights are simple and basic (no white dots here), but clear and perfectly adequate.

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The CZ 75 can be fired in double action if the hammer is fully down or in the half-cock position. With the hammer at half-cock, the double action trigger is moderately heavy, though smooth and consistent. With the hammer down, the first part of the double action pull is much heavier, though this does seem to be improving with use.

The CZ 75 shoots well, with groupings on average of around 2″ at six yards, though this does seem to vary. One magazine of BBs might group at 1½”, while the next might be 2½” or even 3″. On the target below, the group was around 2½”, but if you watch the video review, you’ll see a grouping that’s close to 1½”. This seems to happen in a number of steel BB shooting replicas I have owned, and I have no idea why. In general, the first magazine I shot in a particular session with this pistol seemed to be less tightly grouped than subsequent efforts. The CZ 75 is roughly comparable to something like the Cybergun Tanfoglio Witness in that it isn’t going to compete for accuracy with your pellet shooting replicas, but it is accurate enough for satisfactory target shooting and plinking. It feels adequately powerful and I have no reason to doubt the claimed 300+ fps. In temperatures of around 26 – 28°C I was getting between 50 and 60 shots per CO2. Power doesn’t seem to drop off, and accuracy and power are maintained until virtually the last shot. The slide locks back reliably when the last shot is fired.

Good recoil effect and a loud report make this a satisfying replica to shoot. It also inherits great ergonomics from the original, the single action trigger pull is wonderfully light and short and the sights give a clear picture. Overall, it’s a very nice shooter indeed.

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Ten shots, six yards, semi-rested

Target downloaded from: http://umarexboysclubforum.myfineforum.org/index.php

The sights are non-adjustable and my CZ 75 shot around 1½” low and to the left at six yards. Or at least it did until I adjusted the hop-up. Hang on a minute, I hear you say, this is a 4.5mm replica, so it can’t have hop-up. And I’d agree, except that it appears that it does. There is an adjustment screw on the outside of the inner barrel housing which seems to press on an internal O ring – which is precisely how the hop-up works on 6mm replicas. And when I gave this screw and experimental turn, it did seem that the groupings changed until they were pretty close to centred for elevation on the point of aim (though still a little to the left). I know that sounds unlikely, but that’s just how it happened.

It’s possible I suppose that the inclusion of hop-up is a left-over from a 6mm version, but generally the hop-up mechanism isn’t included on 4.5mm replicas. And the conventional wisdom is that, even if it were included, it wouldn’t make any difference because the steel BBs are too heavy. The manual certainly doesn’t mention hop-up adjustment, but then it doesn’t say much about anything. It’s possible that the improvement in groupings is simply a coincidence and nothing to do with adjusting the screw – it could be part of the gun wearing in. Or I may just have had too much wine with my lunch. So, I don’t claim that the ASG CZ 75 has hop-up adjustment. But it does have something that looks an awful lot like it.

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Mysterious screw. Hop-up adjustment?

Quality and reliability 13/15

I haven’t had any functional issues with my CZ 75. It loads and holds gas without leaks and everything works reliably. When shooting the first few magazines, there was an occasional double loading of BBs which resulted in a notably less powerful shot. However, this hasn’t recurred and I assume it’s just part of the process of wearing in. Like most ASG replicas, this feels well made – the slide fits tightly and with almost no play, all the controls works crisply and positively and the grips seem robust and don’t flex or creak when the pistol is gripped.

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The finish is good, but not perfect. There a couple of areas on the frame and magazine where there are minor flaws in the paint. You have to look very closely to see them, but they appear to be slightly thicker areas of paint which have dried to leave a slight discoloration. Now, I have noticed that the finish on the previous ASG semi-auto replicas I have owned seemed to last better than the average. On most modern replicas, the finish is applied electrostatically, which gives an even, but very, very thin coating of paint. On some replicas this produces a finish so fragile that it wears if you look at them hard enough. I don’t know whether these slight defects in the paint on the CZ 75 imply that ASG use some other process to apply a thicker and more hard-wearing finish?

A very minor issue is that there is a tiny area of wear to the finish on the very back of the long beavertail. I’d guess that the equally long hammer is clipping the edge of this as the slide retracts under blowback. There is also a little wear inside the slide where the outer barrel is rubbing against the inside of the slide. It’s not major, and because the outer barrel is polished alloy, there is no finish to be worn off and this wear isn’t apparent unless you remove the slide and look inside. Otherwise, the finish on my ASG CZ 75 is holding up very well indeed.

Overall Impression 14/15

I hadn’t realised how much I have got used to replicas of polymer framed pistols until I picked up the hefty, all metal CZ 75. It’s notably heavier than, for example, the polymer framed ASG CZ P-09 Duty, and it feels good. OK, if I had to carry a pistol round all day, I’d probably appreciate the light weight of more modern guns. But as an occasional target shooter and replica collector, I really enjoy a weighty pistol.

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Like most ASG replicas, it seems to be well made too. The finish looks good and (if my past experience of ASG replicas is a guide) should be durable too. I also appreciate the attention to detail in things like the half-cock position for the hammer, the light single-action trigger and the ability to field strip. Like the original, it isn’t a complicated design and the sights and controls are simple and basic but easy to use. Niggles? Very few really – the slide serrations are rather small and it can be difficult to get a good grip on the slide, the double action trigger pull seems sticky in the first stage (though this seems to be improving with use), I don’t especially care for the extended base to the magazine and accuracy seems to be variable, though within reasonable limits. Otherwise, this is very good indeed.

Conclusion

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OK, this is pretty easy: Bored with 1911s, Beretta 92s and plastic framed pistols? Want a replica of something a little different? Then you need one of these. For collectors, it’s a very nice replica of a transitional design which comes somewhere between the 1911, the Hi-Power and more modern pistols like the Sig P226 and the Glock 17. For shooters it’s a powerful, weighty, reasonably accurate BB pistol with strong blowback, a true single-action trigger and great ergonomics. It’s also fairly frugal with CO2, it’s relatively inexpensive, it looks good and it feels great in the hand compared to most polymer framed replicas. For me, the only puzzling thing is that it has taken me so long to discover the ASG CZ 75. Surprised? You bet! But in a good way…

Total score: 86.5/100

Many thanks to ASG for supplying the CZ 75 for review.

Video review

Related pages:

ASG CZ P-09 Duty review

ASG Dan Wesson revolvers

Cybergun Tanfoglio Witness review

Links:

CZ 75 on the ASG website

ASG CZ P-09 Duty

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Danish group Action Sport Games A/S (ASG) produce a range of 4.5mm and 6mm BB shooting semi-auto and revolver replicas. I have owned several ASG pistols including a couple of Dan Wesson revolvers, a blowback CZ P-07 Duty and an STI Duty One. They were all pretty good, seeming to have above average build and finish quality for mid-range replicas. However, at the start of 2014, ASG introduced a new range of pellet shooting pistols including a blowback semi-auto replica. Now, I like semi-auto replicas, and I like blowback guns, but when I heard this I had mixed feelings. The theory of a pellet shooter with blowback is good – you should get the realistic recoil effect of blowback plus the power and accuracy of a pellet shooter, but somehow products from other manufacturers who have attempted this have fallen short. I was therefore delighted when I was recently provided with a new ASG CZ P-09 Duty blowback pellet shooter, so I could find out whether it’s actually any good…

Real steel background

Česká Zbrojovka (Czech Arms Factory – CZ) has been producing a range of sporting and military firearms since 1936. In the period between the first and second World Wars, Czechoslovakian companies exported weapons round the world (the Bren machine gun used by British forces, for example, was produced in Czechoslovakia). Following the end of World War two, CZ continued to produce weapons such as the Model 58 assault rifle and the Scorpion machine pistol for Czech forces and their Soviet bloc allies. Following the break-up of the Soviet Union and the formation of the Czech Republic, CZ became a private company in 1992. In 2005, CZ bought the US Dan Wesson firearm company. Today, still operating from the small Moravian town of Uherský Brod, CZ employs over 2000 staff, making it one of the largest firearms manufacturers in the world.

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CZ 75

In 1975, CZ introduced the CZ 75, a 9mm, short recoil operated, locked breech pistol using the Browning linkless cam system (as seen on the Browning Hi-Power, which it somewhat resembles). The design of the slide on the CZ 75 is notable in that it rides on rails inside the frame, rather than sitting outside and over the frame as on 1911 style pistols. This allows the slide to be slimmer and more compact.   The CZ 75 is a full-size, military and police sidearm and it quickly gained a reputation for rugged reliability and good accuracy and is still being manufactured today.

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CZ P-09 Duty

In 2012 CZ introduced the P-09 Duty, basically an updated CZ75 featuring a glass-fibre reinforced polymer frame and an improved trigger system. The P-09 Duty is able to hold 19, 9mm rounds in its large magazine whilst retaining good ergonomic qualities. Like the CZ 75, the P-09 has quickly gained a reputation for reliability and accuracy at a very reasonable cost. The P-09 is popular both as a law enforcement and military sidearm, and as a sporting pistol (especially in the Czech Republic where shooting is the third most popular sport, after football and ice hockey).

The ASG CZ P-09 Duty

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ASG have a licensing agreement with CZ and many of their CO2 powered semi-auto replicas are based on CZ pistols such as the CZ 75 Compact and the CZ P-07 Duty. Most ASG replicas are available in 4.5 and 6mm forms. However, for the first time in early 2014, ASG launched a range of pistols with rifled barrels which were capable of shooting .177 pellets. These included updated versions of the Dan Wesson revolvers and a pellet shooting, blowback version of the CZ P-09 Duty.

The ASG CZ P-09 features a polymer frame and grip and a metal slide, hammer, trigger, slide release and safety. The inner barrel is deeply recessed and the outer barrel includes a removable end-cap, allowing the fitment of a moderator. An under-barrel accessory rail is provided and each pistol has a unique serial number. The ambidextrous manual safety/de-cocker is fully functional.

cz7The P-09 is able to shoot both .177 pellets and 4.5mm steel BBs.  Both types of ammo are loaded in a double-ended magazine which incorporates two, eight shot rotary carriers, giving a total capacity of 16 shots. The magazine is very similar to those found in the Umarex PX-4 and the Gamo PT-85 (actually, it appears to be identical to the PT-85 mag). Both front and rear sights feature white dots. CO2 is retained inside the grip and this licensed replica features accurate CZ markings. Unlike many other ASG replicas which are made in Taiwan, the CZ P-09 Duty is manufactured in Japan.

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ASG provide a number of accessories for the P-09 including spare magazines, a hard case, a barrel extension, a tactical light and a laser sight.

Spec;

Calibre: .177 pellet/4.5mm BB

Magazine capacity: 16 pellets or BBs

Propellant: CO2

Barrel length: 3.8″, rifled

Weight: 702g

Overall length: 205mm

Sights: Fixed, white dots

Action: SA/DA

Claimed power: 492fps (using .33g pellets)

Packaging and presentation 2.5/5

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The ASG CZ P-09 comes in a simple a cardboard box with shaped card inserts to locate the pistol. It’s a perfectly serviceable box, though not something you’d use to display the pistol. The P-09 is supplied with a single magazine and a short user manual.

cz21Visual accuracy 9/10

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CZ P-09 Duty (above), ASG CZ P-09 Duty (below)

ASG claim that the original CZ drawings were used to create this replica, and I see no reason to doubt that – this is about as good as it gets in terms of a visual replica. Every line, pin and contour or the original is replicated, down to the complex whorls and curls of the anti-slip grip finish. Even the base of the grip and magazine replicate the look of the original (something many replicas fail to do). All controls are accurately replicated and markings are as per the original. Even the obligatory safety markings are discreetly engraved rather than painted in bright, white text.

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The black finish on the metal slide closely matches the finish of the plastic frame and grip, making the various parts of the pistol look as though they belong together. A particularly nice touch is that the inner barrel is deeply recessed, leaving a large visible barrel opening. If you put this replica next to a P-09 firearm, I suspect you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference. The only visual clues are that the ejection port is recessed rather than cut-out (though the port and ejector pin are crisply moulded) and the small actuating button in the centre of the left side manual safety/de-cocker which isn’t present on the original.

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Functional accuracy 12/15

The ASG CZ P-09 Duty has good weight – it’s around 100g lighter than the original firearm, but it does provide convincing heft. The hammer, trigger, ambidextrous safety/de-cocker and magazine release all function as per the original. The slide release on the left of the frame does not move and has no function (the slide on this replica does not lock back). The plastic magazine is of reduced size. What looks like the base of the magazine is part of the removable section of the grip which gives access to the CO2 chamber.

The slide moves under blowback action though it cannot be locked back. There is no simple way of removing the slide and the P-09 cannot be easily stripped for lubrication or cleaning.

Shooting 37/40

cz4Preparing the ASG CZ P-09 for shooting is simple. The lower part of the grip and the backstrap are removed to reveal the CO2 chamber. CO2 is inserted, and the metal tab tightened to pierce the CO2, which it does with almost no loss of gas. The first time I loaded CO2, I came close to over-tightening the tab, as I was waiting for the tell-tale hiss of escaping gas which didn’t happen.

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Pellets or BBs are then loaded into the double ended magazine. ASG recommend using flat-fronted pellets only, to avoid jamming issues. Two chambers are visible at a time on each rotary carrier, so there is no way to use any form of speed loader and loading takes a little time and requires careful placement, especially of pellets. At least when you’re done you have 16 shots before re-loading is required. The magazine clicks positively into place, though it is quite deeply recessed in the grip.

cz14With the manual safety on, the trigger and hammer are locked. To move the safety from “safe” to “fire”, the small button in the centre of the safety on the left of the frame must first be depressed. It’s a slightly fiddly process, and difficult to achieve with one hand (especially if you’re left-handed). However, I rarely use the safety catch on most of my replicas so this wasn’t a major problem.

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With the safety off, the first shot can be fired in double action or the hammer can be manually cocked for single action. There is no need to rack the slide before shooting. In both double and single action the trigger pull is fairly long, and there is a distinct catch as the rotary pellet carrier is indexed. The actual release point comes almost at the extreme rear point of trigger travel and there is distinct additional pressure as this point is reached. However, the release point is consistent and clear. If you pull the trigger almost to the point of shooting and then release it, the pellet carrier will index again when you pull the trigger a second time, leaving an unfired pellet behind. The non-adjustable white dot sights are clear and easy to align.

cz9The pistol fires with a distinct crack rather than a loud bang, and blowback is strong and rapid. The blowback action only cocks the hammer, it does not index the next pellet for shooting. The slide does not lock back on empty (a function of loading pellets via a rotary carrier), so you do need to count your shots.

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Six shots, six yards, semi-rested. RWS CO2 Target pellets, 0.45g (7.0gr)

The good news is, this is a very fine shooter. A six yards, mine shoots slightly to the left of the point of aim and around ½” low when using .45g (7.0gr) pellets. A lighter pellet would probably allow it to shoot very close to the point of aim. Rested, it will group at about 1″ at six yards. Freestanding, this increases to 1½” – 2″, but that’s probably down to my ageing eyesight and wobbly limbs rather than any fault of the pistol. In my experience, that’s about as good as it gets for a pellet pistol shooting over open sights, and certainly almost as good as any multi-shot pellet pistol I have tried.

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Six shots, six yards, freestanding. RWS CO2 Target pellets, 0.45g (7.0gr)

CO2 consumption is reasonable for a blowback pistol: at 24°C, I got around 50 – 60 full power shots from a single CO2. Accuracy is maintained until power starts to drop noticeably. I don’t currently have access to a chronograph, so I can’t comment on the claimed power of 492fps using .33g pellets. Most user reports suggest power somewhere in the 350 – 400fps range with heavier pellets, but the P-09 certainly shoots with pleasing authority and knocked large chunks out of my wooden backstop, so it has more than adequate power for target shooting.

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The P-09 can also shoot steel 4.5mm BBs. These are slightly easier to load in the magazine than pellets, and locate positively into the magnetised chambers. However, I haven’t tried shooting it with BBs. I’m concerned that steel BBs may erode the lands in the rifled barrel, and I don’t want to risk compromising its accuracy with pellets. I’d assume it would shoot the lighter BBs with more power, but I doubt it would be any more accurate. Other than that BBs are a little cheaper than pellets, I can’t think of any reason you’d want to shoot BBs with this pistol.

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This is a very nice shooter indeed. It is more than accurate enough for my level of shooting ability, and I imagine that it’s good enough to provide satisfactory target shooting fun for most people. I haven’t had the opportunity to try it at ranges longer than six yards, but I suspect that it may also have the power and accuracy to be used at ten yards and more. One small disappointment is that it doesn’t have adjustable rear sights. On a pistol this accurate, I’d have liked to be able to adjust the point of impact to precisely align with the point of aim, though mine shoots close enough out of the box that this is a fairly minor niggle.

Quality and reliability 14/15

Given that the CZ P-09 was released less than six months ago, it’s difficult to say anything definitive abut long term reliability, though I can say that mine has performed without any problems at all. Some owners have reported that the strong blowback can shake the front sight loose, and even cause it to fall off. Mine has remained firmly affixed, but it’s something that may be worth checking if you own a P-09.

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The overall fit and finish of the P-09 are very good indeed. The slide has no rattles or side-to-side movement and cycles smoothly. The trigger and hammer have no looseness or rattles, the magazine locks and unlocks crisply and the rear and bottom part of the slide which give access to the CO2 chamber fit neatly with no movement or give. Even the CO2 tightening/piercing tab is metal rather than the more common plastic. The paint on the slide seems thick and chip resistant, and mine is showing no signs of wear. The plastic grip and frame are robust and nicely textured, replicating the complex anti-slip finish of the original.

I have read other reviews which suggest that the P-09 isn’t up to usual build quality of ASG products, and I don’t really understand this. I can’t fault the P-09 in terms of fit or finish and it shoots very nicely indeed. The removable grip base/backstrap can be a little fiddly to replace, but once it’s in place, it fits neatly and without any movement or give. For what it’s worth, in my opinion this is as good as anything else produced by ASG.

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Overall (and like most ASG replicas) this seems well made and well finished and I’m not aware of any major issues.

Overall Impression 13/15

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It’s difficult not to compare this to the other blowback pellet shooters currently available. It certainly feels as if it has better fit and finish than the Umarex PX-4, and is a better shooter than both that pistol and the similar Gamo PT-85. In terms of accuracy, it’s close to the Umarex Desert Eagle, though it has better CO2 consumption and (for me) much better ergonomics than that pistol. I also prefer the metal slide of the P-09 to the all plastic construction of the Desert Eagle and I feel that this helps to give more convincing blowback.

This is the first time I have come across a blowback replica which combines good accuracy, reasonable CO2 consumption and easy handling and consequently it’s a replica I really enjoy shooting.

Conclusion

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The ASG CZ P-09 Duty is rapidly becoming one of my favourite replicas. I like the understated, functional look of the original and this is a spot-on visual replica. I also like blowback pistols and I appreciate the power and accuracy that only comes from shooting pellets though a rifled barrel. However, the other blowback pellet shooters I have owned have disappointed for various reasons. This one doesn’t. It has good weight and heft, great ergonomics, it appears to be well made and finished and it’s available at a reasonable price. Most importantly, it’s a cracking shooter – powerful, accurate and with the convincing simulated recoil effect that only blowback can provide. Of course, it isn’t perfect – I’d have preferred an open ejection port and adjustable rear sights for example – but it’s pretty close.

Only time will tell whether it’s reliable in the long term, but if like me you have always fancied a powerful pellet shooter with blowback that’s also a decent shooter, this could finally be the one.

Many thanks to Action Sport Games for providing the CZ P-09 Duty for review.

Total score: 87.5/100

Update

OK, it has been over three months since I initially posted the review of the ASG CZ P-09 Duty (where did the time go?). And I thought I’d do an update. First impressions can be deceiving. When you get a pistol, it’s new and unfamiliar and it can be different to pick out its strengths and weaknesses accurately. But after a few weeks or months, you get to know it better and it’s easier to set it in context compared to other replicas. So, I thought I’d update this review with my thoughts on the CZ P-09 after three months.

Looking back at the review, I don’t think I said enough about the accuracy of the P-09 Duty. The three dot sights are clear and easy to use and I can place a pellet reliably at six yards, every time and on the point of aim. Of all the replicas I currently own, this is the most consistently accurate. It’s powerful too, punching holes through backstops that are adequate for other replicas.

The blowback is also very strong and very sharp. Strong enough to jar your wrist, and a pretty good facsimile of firearm recoil. In fact, it has the strongest recoil effect of any of my current blowback replicas. I don’t know how it does this though – it doesn’t seem to have a large or heavy slide and it seems to be fairly good in terms of CO2 usage. I also now recognise that it’s also very loud – firing it back-to-back with other replicas shows that this is the loudest by a fair margin. This combined with the recoil effect make it feel more like shooting a .22 rimfire pistol than a CO2 powered replica.

I have had no mechanical issues with the P-09 at all. Not even a single jam or misfire. It still pierces and loads CO2 eerily quietly. And the finish seems to be holding up well with no areas of wear or chipping. I’m still not entirely convinced by the single-action trigger though. I dismantled the magazine and lubricated it, which helped. But there is still a lot of travel before you get to the release point. It’s not terrible, but it’s not a true single action trigger either. The manual safety is still fiddly to operate, but then I hardly ever use it, so it’s not a huge issue.  I’m not as bothered by the lack of an open ejection port as I was, and I still like the understated look of the P-09.

So, have I changed my mind about the ASG CZ P-09 Duty after three months of use? Not really. If anything, I’m more aware of its positive points now than I was then. Overall, I still feel that this is a powerful, loud, accurate replica with very strong blowback and it seems to be well made and finished and reliable. Still recommended.

Related pages:

Umarex Beretta PX-4 Storm review

Umarex Desert Eagle review

Links:

ASG website  

CZ (USA) website  

Buy

You can purchase the ASG CZ P-09 Duty from Pyramid Air here.

Video review: