This is it…the final post in this series. I know what you’re thinking: “About D@#$ Time!” Sorry it’s taken so long to get this done.
In the first post of the series, we Introduced the CZ-82 to our collection and identified the areas that needed work.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 1, we discussed the loose grips issue and disassembled the slide components.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 2, we disassembled the magazine catch and lightened the magazine catch spring tension.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 3, we removed and disassembled the safety and disassembled the slide.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 4, we removed the slide stop and spring, and then the trigger, trigger spring and trigger bar.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 5, we removed main spring, hammer, sear, and associated other fire control parts.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 6, we covered the basic trigger job.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 7, we reinstalled the hammer strut, hammer, sear, auto safety, ejector, and disconnector.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 8, we reinstalled the trigger, trigger bar and trigger spring.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 9, we reinstalled the mainspring and plug and the safety assembly.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 10, we reinstalled the slide stop and trigger guard latch pin.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 11, we reassembled the magazine catch and reinstalled the trigger guard.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 12, we reassembled the slide and installed it on the frame.
In this edition, we’re going to install and review the fancy new grips I got from Marschalgrips and then discuss how I feel about the corrections I made and how it all turned out.
As a reminder, the reason I decided to replace the grips was because the original plastic grips had a tendency to move on the frame making it hard to be consistent. A commenter drew my attention to the fact that overtightening the grip screws can cause tiny cracks in the grips making them impossible to ever get tight again. With that in mind, and with an eye toward making the pistol a bit prettier, I ordered new grips from marschalgrips.com.
Marshalgrips has a very good selection of grip styles for the CZ, but I wasn’t looking for anything too custom. One problem is that I’m left handed, but my wife and kids like shooting my guns too, so if I got custom, finger groove/thumb rest grips made for me, they wouldn’t be able to shoot it comfortably. With that in mind, I went with the standard ambidextrous grips in checkered walnut, grey finish. The cost was $45 plus shipping.
I wasn’t expecting the turnaround time to be speedy and I wasn’t disappointed, it took over a month to get them after placing the order, but that is expected with a craftsman who makes each set individually.
When I did get the package, I took a picture because I’ve never gotten any mail from Budapest Hungary before and I thought it was interesting.
At any rate, I was very happy with the initial look. The craftsmanship is very good, the lines clean, the finish smooth and even and the screw holes were reinforced with recessed metal rings.
So far so good.
They installed easily enough, but I immediately ran into a problem: The magazine fit was now tight to the point that I couldn’t even insert the mag all the way without forcing it. I’m pretty picky about mags dropping free on their own after the mag release is pressed so that wasn’t going to do at all.
The problem was easy enough to identify. The magazine well inside the grip was just barely too small.
Not a problem, a bit of 600 grit emery cloth and some fitting took care of the problem with alacrity.
I had to remove a little from the front of both grips.
After fitting them a bit better, the mags inserted and dropped free perfectly.
But then I ran into another minor problem.
The safety on the left side was a little to close to the frame and the new grip was interfering with its operation.
This is a more significant problem because it required fitting on the outside of the grip…where the finish is.
I removed as little as possible from the corner to allow the safety to operate and didn’t mar the finish too badly.
Unfortunately, over time, the safety has caused some marring of the finish since I installed the grips. which I’m a little disappointed about.
I can try touching up the finish, but I’m afraid I won’t pick exactly the right color and it won’t blend well. It’s really not that noticeable and this is a working gun, not a wall-hanger, so I can live with it.
The only other thing I’m disappointed about is that I could still feel a slight bit of movement of the grips on the frame. I don’t think this is a hit on the grips themselves, I think it is a flaw in the design of the pistol. There is basically nothing holding the grips in place except the single mount screw and it is simply impossible to get the screws tight enough to stop the movement without damaging the grips. The Marschal grips were significantly better in this regard than the originals, but there was still some movement.
I did find a solution however. What I ended up doing is trimming a piece of double sided scotch tape for each side and placing it between the grip and frame at the rear over the mainspring well. Then I used locktite on the screw threads when I installed them.
After a couple of hours, the glue on the tape adhered well enough that I can’t feel the movement any more, but I still should be able to get the grips off with no problem when the time comes.
At any rate, here’s what the finished product looks like.
I am very pleased with the looks of the pistol with these grips and I am impressed with the workmanship and quality of the grips. The minor fitting problems I had did not surprise me overly considering that the grips were made some 4500 miles away from the frame that they were supposed to fit on. I wasn’t expecting a perfect, drop-in fit.
They get my recommendation.
I’ve now had this pistol for some time and have been carrying it regularly as my discreet carry piece. I’ve also used it to shoot in a couple of bowling pin matches and a steel plate match as well as many trips to the range.
To recap the issues that I had with it when I first got it: The trigger was creepy and rough, the magazine release was too tight making it difficult to release the magazine, the grips moved on the frame, the trigger bit my finger, and it was shooting a bit low and left.
I am very happy with the results of my trigger job. By judicious use of a stone, I reduced the creep dramatically and smoothed it up at the same time. The trigger pull is now light, smooth and crisp.
By replacing the grips and using the double sided tape, I got the grips to stop moving around so that is no longer a problem.
When I reassembled the slide, I did adjust the rear sight a little to the right, which fixed the “shooting to the left” problem. It still shoots just slightly low, but I repainted the front sight and left the paint strip a little below the top of the sight, which encourages me to use more sight when aiming and brings the shots up where they should be.
One thing I forgot to mention is, before reinstalling the trigger, I did use a jewelers file to smooth and round off the edges of the trigger. Then I used 600 grit emery paper to smooth it and touched it up with cold blue. That cured the trigger bite problem. I didn’t have to take much off, just enough to round the edges of the trigger a little more.
One thing about the finish. As noted in the first post of this series, this gun did have some pretty significant holster wear, to the point where the finish was completely gone in a couple of areas. I did clean the finish up with cold blue, but I have to say that the bluing didn’t take as well as I’d have liked and isn’t proving to be very durable.
Finally, I’m VERY happy with the results of weakening the magazine catch spring. The mags are held securely when in use, but I can easily release them with one finger from either side of the mag release.
This little gun is slightly underpowered for a defensive firearm in my opinion, but it is a little hotter than the .380 which is the minimum I’d consider for defensive use. Because of the double stacked mag, it isn’t quite as concealable as it’s single stack cousins like the Makarov, but because of its relatively weak cartridge, I like the idea of having 13 rounds to work with.
The recoil is a little snappy, but not unmanageable and it is very accurate. I have been consistently pleased with its performance and have never had a failure to feed, fire, eject etc.
It is not too heavy (of course this is very subjective…my standard carry piece is a full sized 1911 that I carry openly so I’m used to a relatively heavy gun) and I am able to carry it with an IWB holster, even under a tucked shirt, without printing.
As far as disadvantages: it is hard to find parts for them because they’ve never been sold at retail in the US. This is alleviated by the fact that most CZ-83 parts (which are sold here) are identical and will work on the 82. Also, it does not have a decocker, so if you are inclined to carry condition 2 (round in the chamber, hammer down) and fire the first shot in double action, this is not a very safe firearm for that. The only way to decock with a round in the chamber is to use your thumb to lower the hammer while pulling the trigger; which is, in my humble opinion, a recipe for a negligent discharge. This is alleviated by the auto safety which ensures that the hammer cannot contact the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled. In my opinion, this gun is safe to carry in condition 1 (cocked and locked) and that is how I carry it. I WOULD NOT carry it that way loose in a purse or pocket. It would be too easy for the safety to be inadvertently switched off and have something get caught in the trigger. I would only carry this firearm in condition one using a holster that covers the trigger completely.
In a nutshell, I like it. Especially for lefties, I think this is an excellent choice for discreet carry as long as you understand the limitations of the design and keep in mind that these are surplus, used pistols and may require some work to get them into shape.
In fact, I like this gun so much that I bought a couple more to play with. One thing I’m definitely going to do is try a complete refinish on them. I’m thinking Parkerizing. At any rate, when I get to that, I’ll be sure to post the step-by-step and we’ll see how it turns out together.
Thank you again for your patience in waiting for me to get this series finished. I hope you weren’t disappointed.