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CZ’s Embarrassing Volkspistoles: The CZ100 and CZ101

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Developed in the 1990s and entering production in 1996, the CZ100 and CZ101 were CZ’s first polymer-framed pistols. They were offered in both 9mm and .40S&W, with the CZ100 being a double stack design (magazine capacity 10 or 13 rounds) and the CZ101 being single stack (magazine capacity 7 or 8 rounds). Interestingly, the .40 caliber model included a ported barrel/slide from the factory.

The design intent was to create an inexpensive, very simple personal defense pistol – a sort of volkspistole if you will. In order to do this, there are a lot of polymer parts, like the rear sight and striker spring guide rod. The frame itself is polymer, without any metal reinforcement of the slide rails (although there is a metal insert for the locking cam to act on). In fact the polymer used isn’t even a glass-reinforced one. CZ says that there was no undue wear after 15,000 rounds, but this design didn’t inspire a lot of commercial confidence.

While the design is generally done to be very cheap, the striker involved an unusual locking block mounted on top of the slide, which is surprisingly complex to disassemble, and includes several very small parts and springs. The trigger is a double action one, with a very long pull and reset. This negates the need for a manual or trigger safety, but is not suited to precise shooting. A DA/SA style version (the CZ110) was release in 2000, but failed to become any more popular than the 100 and 101.

Ultimately, the pistols were disappointing form a commercial perspective. Production ended in 2007 after right about ten years, with a total of about 35,000 examples made including both calibers and all three models. CZ doesn’t really like to talk about these pistol, but they used the experience to help develop the P10, which has been a far more successful and highly-regarded polymer-framed design.

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