CZís Model 27 7.65mm Pistols


by R.K. Campbell

photography by R.K. Campbell

December 26th, 2006




One of the more interesting and complicated pursuits for a collector is studying the many pistols manufactured by Bohemian Arms Factory or Ceska  Zbrojovka. This company is part of a giant concern that has manufactured  practically every military implement imaginable. The original Bren gun was a product of CZ. The modern CZ 75 scarcely needs introduction.

A pistol which I find interesting is the CZ Model 1927. The CZ 27 is basically a refined or simplified CZ (19)24 .The CZ 24 was in turn an outgrowth of the Model 1922. The CZ 24 was a compact, locked breech .380 ACP caliber pistol, About 190,000 were made, and a few sales were made to foreign military services, notably Poland. The CZ 24 was deemed too complicated for the cartridge. The CZ 27 reverted to simple blowback construction and the less powerful 7 .65 mm (.32 ACP ) cartridge. Frankly, we have fired each extensively and there is little to choose from between these minor calibers.  A number of experienced shooters feel the .32 acp may be more feed-reliable, even more accurate than the larger round.  Personal experience with the CZ pistols and the J P Sauer and Sohn 38H has shown the .32 ACP can be a surprisingly accurate round.  Neither is as powerful as a common .38 Special by any means, so the argument is a moot point in terms of power.

More about the cartridge later.

The CZ 27 was made for police, security guards and commercial sales.  Commercial guns often exhibit a deep, lustrous blue finish and straw colored hammer and trigger.  The pistol illustrated is an early commercial model.  These pistols are marked on the top rib.  The inscription is BOHMISCHE WAFFENFABRIK  A.G. IN PRAG. Pistole Modell 27 Kal. 7.65 is marked on the left side of the frame.

Later pistols omitted the rib inscription in favor of a simpler mark on the left side of the frame.  Wartime pistols were less well-finished but we have seen few rough examples.  The CZ 24 was not produced after 1939, but several variations of the CZ 27 were produced apparently until 1951.

The early production variants are more desirable for collectors but all are good shooters. Total production reached about 700,000 pistols.  While a sizable number, the CZ 27 was not produced on a scale with the Luger, Walther P-38, Browning Hi Power, or Colt 1911.

The CZ 24 is a standard single action exposed hammer autopistol.  The safety is unusual in that it uses a button type release.  When the pistol is cocked, the safety lever is pressed down if desired.  Next, to release the lever, the button just below the lever is pressed.  It is important to press this lever dead on as lateral pressure will not release the safety.  For practical purposes, this safety may be ignored as I would be loathe to carry the CZ 24 cocked and locked.  This is old steel and a design not comparable to the cocked and locked Colt in safety.

There is a magazine safety that prevents the pistol from firing if the magazine is removed from the gun.  This is a common European safety device.

The single column magazine holds eight rounds of .32 ACP ammunition.  The heel type magazine release does not lend itself well to fast reloading.  This is another European device that is not without merit.  Heel type magazine releases are less prone to dumping in the holster.  They require the shooter to save the magazine rather than eject it in the field.  The idea was that a soldier with other types of magazine releases might be prone to waste magazines and find himself with a single shot pistol after the battle.

Luckily, two magazines were available for this pistol.  Both appeared original.  After a thorough mechanical check, we were ready to fire the CZ 27.  Examination showed all parts and surfaces appeared as new.

The load used for the majority of the firing test was Fiocchiís ball ammunition. A load of proven quality, the full metal case bullet offers feed reliability.  Despite the mechanical check, the first few rounds were fired with head turned and the pistol was fired into the ground.

With the safety check out of the way we proceeded to accuracy tests.  The CZ 27 sets well in the hand, with a solid feel.  The rear hump of the grip frame is not elongated by any means but hammer bite, as often experienced with the Walther P series pistols, is not possible.

The sights are not bad at all, a pronounced rear V mated with a front post.  They are well regulated to 15 yards.  Many small pistols have vestigial sights and rough trigger actions, making practical accuracy difficult.

Not so the CZ.  Trigger compression was about four pounds, with no drag and little overtravel.  Combined with the pistolís fixed barrel and good sights excellent accuracy potential exists.  At a long fifty feet, we were able to secure several 2 inch groups.  This is adequate for the intended mission. 

The pistol exhibits little recoil, simply hanging on the target.  It is easy to understand why some shooters appreciate the .32 for defense use.  It is easy to fire and fire well.  The cartridgeís construction is far more resistant to oil, water and solvent than any rimfire.  The .32 ACP case is dated by a semi-rim but offers good feed reliability.  No .32, even the .32-20, is a powerhouse but the .32 acp breaks 1,000 fps with itís standard 71 grain .308 inch bullet.  In comparison the 98 grain .32 Smith and Wesson Long revolver cartridge loading clocks 638 fps from a like barrel length.

It has been said these little bullets will do the job if you put them in the right place.  This may be true, but if they have no chance of penetrating to the right place they cannot take effect.  Leather jackets and bones stop most .32 caliber bullets short.  I have observed .32 caliber bullets bouncing back when fired at a tree or fence post!  Modern research using ballistic gelatin confirms the.32ís donít get it as defense weapons, which we have known all along. 

Frankly, this bothers me not at all.  I find the CZ 27 an enjoyable pistol in a battery that includes the High Power 9mm and Colt 1911 .45 acp.  It is that most enjoyable of pistols, a recreational plinker with a bit of historical significance.  My CZ is not a defense gun or a competition pistol, it is simply a nice gun and an artifact to enjoy.

My young son enjoys firing this pistol.  It is quite accurate at short ranges and light enough for easy manipulation.  The CZ 27 is a fine pistol for breaking young shooters in on centerfire pistols.  This type of quality would be very expensive in a modern pistol, which makes any CZ found at a reasonable price an excellent investment.

If you must put a CZ to work it would not be a bad field pistol, more than capable of  taking certain types of small game and pests at moderate ranges.  All types of possible shots at long range may be taken with this pistol, and sometimes we connect with dead limbs and the like at unspeakable ranges. 

Perhaps a collector may not approve of shooting this pistol, but it is not completely new, just in very nice condition.  The same type of debate exists among those who fly old aircraft.  As the supply of Merlin and Allison engines wanes, many question the wisdom of flying the older aircraft.  As for me, Iíll be firing any old gun that is safe to use as long as I am able!

At present, these pistols seem to bringing in the two hundred dollar range, although an exceptionally nice pistol my bring a premium of up to three hundred dollars.

The CZ pistols are all interesting and well made.  If you have a chance to purchase a Model 27, donít hesitate.  Just enjoy it for its own merits and donít try and put it to work!

R.K. Campbell

Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.



Click pictures for a larger version.


The CZ 27.



Note rib marking.



Fit and finish of these handguns is excellent. Barrel to slide relationship is tight, which is part of the reason for the pistolís fine accuracy.



The CZ 27 proved compatible with modern hollow point loads from Speer, Incorporated.



A ten yards, triple tap-control is excellent with this pistol.