Recently we learned that our wonderful BHP clones have just about dried up. The Argentine FM 95's won't be imported any more, the Charles Daly HP's are out of production, and FEG is bankrupt, leaving us who shoot on a budget in the lurch for a good, low-priced pistol. Well, maybe not. Anybody ever heard of the CZ 40B? I just bought one from CDNN for $289.95 and I think it's just about the finest firearms buy on the market today.
It too has been discontinued as of this year, but there are still lots of them in the pipeline - CDNN had 173 of them last week when I ordered mine, and this gun is really worth pursuing. From everything I can learn about it, and from my first experiences with it, I think it's money in the bank.
The CZ 40B began life a few years ago as a joint venture between Colt and CZ to help Colt get its foot back into the police firearms market, so the story goes. The gun is a dedicated built-from-the-ground-up .40 caliber - not an adaptation of a 9mm frame. They made it with an alloy frame, a double stack mimic of the 1911 grip frame style, and the Sig-style locking system. It's only commonality with the CZ 75/85 series pistols lies in the use of the CZ 75/85 double/single action trigger, the CZ 75/85 sear blocking safety, and the CZ 75B magazines. All else is brand spankin' new. The gun was first produced by CZ for Colt as the Z40 and had a newly-designed DAO trigger at that time.
Colt was not able to continue marketing the gun and had to back out of its end of the deal. So CZ replaced the trigger in what had been the Colt Z40, made some other changes, and began marketing the gun as the CZ 40B. The production run lasted for several years, but I can't determine the exact years of production. My new gun was made in '06.
When I did my homework on this gun I was struck with how much shooter attention it had attracted on the CZ forums. The forum entitled "Club CZ 40B" had been visited 2,202 times and had generated 331 responses. Reading through them, I concluded that this gun has a very large and dedicated following. The folks in the CZ gunsmithing business say it is the most reliable and trouble free of all the CZ's, which is really saying something in my book..........ok ok, I confess - I'm a CZ nut!
But don't anyone conclude that this gun is just a worked-over CZ 75B. To the contrary, it doesn't look, act, or feel like any other CZ I've ever handled or shot. It has the 1911 style grip frame, which is totally different from the usual CZ ergonomics, and it has a feel all its own. It doesn't heft like a CZ 75B, nor does it heft like a 1911. If I had to stick my neck out real far, I'd have to say it hefts more like a Sig than anything else I've ever handled.
Now for the accuracy department. The gun is reputed to be an unusually accurate .40, and my brief experience with it on the range the other day bears that out. Weather limited me to only shooting 65 rounds in it, but those were very supportive of it being a very, very accurate pistol. Here's how it went:
I was able to shoot ten-shot bench rest groups from 10, 15, and 25 yards with Winchester whitebox 165 grain hardball, and one five shot, 25 yard group with Winchester Ranger LE 155 JHP's. The gun delivered a 2" group at 10 yards, two 2 1/2" groups at 15 yards, and a 4 1/2" group at 25 yards. The five-shot Ranger LE group was an astounding 3 1/2"....and all this with 65 year old motor skills, arthritic hands, and a new pistol fresh out of the box. The gun performed flawlessly. It is equipped with very substantial three dot fixed sights on the order of Novak, Heinie, etc. The ones at CDNN have night sights. Dunno if its Tritium, but the dots are pale green, so they might just be Tritium.
Having arthritic hands I was a little concerned about an increase in recoil because of the lighter alloy frame. However, my take on that is that the increase in recoil is, first, entirely acceptable, and, second, tends to be more in the muzzle flip department than in straight-back felt recoil. I don't think I'd have much trouble handling it in a combat match despite my hands, I'd just have to work a little harder, that's all. I think the gun probably recoils about like a similarly loaded 1911 .45......how's that for subjective?
The one thing the lovers of the BHP will have to get used to is the 40B's size.........it's a BIG gun compared to the BHP. It's an unapologetic, purposeful looking, combat pistol designed for police service, and it has no semblance of a "recreational" appearance at all IMHO. It's a fighting gun and it looks like it.
The pistol comes in a blue CZ pistol case with one magazine and a super-thumb style CZ loader. The factory mag that comes in the gun is a ten shot number that sells for $30, but the $18.95 MecGar 12 shot CZ 75B .40 caliber mags work super in it, so that's the way I'm going with it.
So that's my thumbnail sketch of the CZ 40B, folks. To each his own and I'm not about to go throw out my HP or my CZ 75 and 85. But this gun is one that I have no intention of letting get away from me and I think it will give years of service. I also have no doubt that CZ will offer factory parts and service for it for years to come, but like I said I'm a CZ nut and I have a lot of faith in the outfit. Hope this is useful to anyone looking for an extremely good, accurate, and economical .40 caliber automatic pistol. Best.
PS - A dealer friend told me today that when this pistol first came out several years ago as the Colt Z40 the MSRP on it was close to $600........that $289.95 is looking better all the time.