OK…time for something a bit different:   a review of the CZ-85 Combat 9mm handgun.  I bought one of these back in January because I have enjoyed the CZ variants I’ve owned or shot over the years — the Bren Ten 10mm handgun is one of the finest shooters I’ve ever had the joy to fire, and I’ve owned a few Tanfoglio Witness .45acp pistols — all tremendous values, as they usually cost a lot less than a comparable 1911.  My current Witness regularly outshoots my friend’s boutique Kimber 1911A1, both in reliability and accuracy.

In the last eight months, I have put about 5000 rounds through the handgun, averaging 200 rounds or so an outing.  There has never been a malfunction, and the only annoying issue is a tendency to throw Blazer aluminum brass onto my right shoulder when firing.  (I fire pistols left handed.)  It chews up all ammo I’ve thrown at it — Blazer, Wolf, Brown Bear (which it loves), and Prvi Partizan for practice ammo.  At 10 yards, I can usually pull off 2″ groups with quick double taps.  At 25 yards, my smallest group has been a hair over 2″ and largest 4″, unsupported.  For slef-defense rounds, I’ve been running Pow-R-Ball 100 gr with a speed of 1450fps (according to the chronometer another shooter had set up this summer…this should give a 430ish foot-pound muzzle energy.  Not bloody shabby!)

The handgun is well made, the finish in this case is the duo-tone — stainless steel frame and black polycoat slide.  The finish has not degraded in the time I’ve had it, although the strange gray-colored barrel had polished itself to an odd dove gray color.  I changed the grips from the plastic the weapon came with to CZ Custom’s cocobolo thin grips with half checkering.  The gun looks quite fetching and the grip is very comfortable and points true coming out of the holster.  The magazine holds 16 rounds.  The CZ-85 Combat has ambi safety and slide release, but not an ambi or reversible magazine catch — the only alteration I think this gun needs to make it the perfect southpaw gun.  Top it off with adjustable sights and phosporescent dots on the same (yes, you have to recharge them in the light.)

I like it enough that it goes on the belt once or twice a week, instead of the FN57 that I’ve been carrying for 4 years.  Quality, reliability, and accuracy are tops, and the price for a no-frills all black -85 should be in the $550-650 range, depending on where in the nation you are.

I highly recommend it.

UPDATE, 28JAN2010:  I removed the adjustable LPA night sights and traded them for Meprolight night sights — much brighter and they don’t need to be exposed to light for them to glow later.  It’s Meprolight #ML17777, and the front sight needs to be drilled slightly so the roll pin can be put in to hold the sight.

Here’s a friend firing the CZ-85.