IWA 2017 - The CSA - Czech Small Arms company debuted the Vz.15 pistol at the Nuremberg fair center, with distribution slated to kick off in late Summer in Europe and in Autumn in north America: was this the coolest pistol overall at this year's IWA?
Every time a new striker-fired pistol is introduced on the market, more often than not the initial reception is hyped up with one term: "Glock killer".
And more often than not, even those that are successful, said new striker-fired pistols never achieve quite the same success as the quintessential Austrian polymer-frame handguns – and again, more often than not, they do not feature any significative technical improvement over the vast majority of their most direct competitors.
And yet, at the 2017 edition of the IWA OutdoorClassics expo in Nuremberg (Germany), we have seen a pistol that may very well be a "Glock killer" under many points of view: craftmanship, reliability, innovation, and above all, price. It's a Czech pistol – but not the one you may think of.
Manufactured by CSA - Czech Small Arms S.R.O, chiefly known for its line of Vz.58 based rifles and carbines in .223 and 7,62mm caliber, the PI. Vz.15 semi-automatic pistol is a polymer-frame, striker-fired pistol with a light double-action trigger system that's patterned after that of the venerable Roth-Steyr M1907.
It is chambered in 9mm (9mm Luger), and feeds through Springfield XD / HS Produkt HS-9 double-stack metal magazines, manufactured in Italy by MEC-GAR, that offer an overall capacity of 18 rounds.
The frame of the Vz.15 is manufactured out of reinforced polymer, and offers a very slim grip, a squared trigger guard and a MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail for tactical accessories.
The precision-machined stainless steel slide sports front and rear serrations (those being very peculiar in shape) and three-dot sights inserted in dovetail guides. All controls are ambidextrous, and the trigger features a Glock-style safety.
The hole in the rear slide cover plate allows for the removal of the plate itself – which results in the disassembly of the striker mechanism. When the user inserts a punch tool through into the hole of the slide cover plate and depresses the striker mechanism, the slide cover plate can be removed allowing for removal of the striker mechanism, for cleaning or maintenance.
The extractor is located on top of the slide and also dubs as a loaded chamber indicator. The pistol does not feature a separate ejector, as the barrel design allows the frame to eject spent cases sideways at a 2-o'-clock angle.
And this is more or less where non-peculiar features end. What remains tells the CSA Vz.15 pistol sternly apart from most of the competition.
First of all is the bore axis: the Vz.15 has the lowest bore axis available on the market today, and quite possibly the lowest possible bore axis in a semi-automatic pistol.
Not only this provides for a dramatic reduction of muzzle climb and enhances controllability, but also reduces dimensions for more comfortable carry – both open and concealed.
Within the frame, behind the trigger group and about where the lower portion of the barrel connects with the slide, are two small springs that absorb and reduce felt recoil, to further enhance controllability.
On the rear portion of the slide, the depressor of the trigger group can be accessed and rotated, allowing shooters to "do their own trigger job" and increase or decrease the trigger weight.
But most important of all, the CSA Vz.15 features a single transfer bar trigger mechanism that allows the pistol to be field-stripped without dropping, releasing or decocking the striker at all.
Yes, you got it right: unlike other striker-fired pistols (think Glock, FN FNS series, Springfield XD, Beretta APX) that require the release of the striker before disassembly, the Vz.15 can be stripped with the striker cocked, and thus potentially with a chambered round.
This feature goes at the root of one of the most common causes of accidental or negligent discharges with striker-fired pistols: the need to pull the trigger or otherwise release the striker before disassembly.
Just like "Glock killer", the term "idiot-proof" is somewhat abused in the industry, but the CSA Vz.15 is as close as it gets to actually be idiot-proof.
The Vz.15 pistol will start shipping to distributors by the end of Summer 2017 (August) in Europe, and in Fall 2017 in north America. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is set at about 400€ for Europe and 400$ for the United States – and that includes shipping in a foam-padded dedicated molded case with two magazines, a magazine loader, a cleaning kit, instructions manual, and a dedicated polymer holster.
Don't know you, but we at GUNSweek.com just can't wait to test one, and that may happen soon, so stay tuned!
Czech Small Arms Vz.15 - Specifications
116 mm / 4.5"
Three-dot, dovetailed on slide
198 mm / 7.7"
567 g / 20 oz.
- € 400.00 (Europe, MSRP)
- $ 400.00 (U.S., MSRP)