This is a discussion on Sig M11-A1 and CZ 75 Compact Reviews/Comparison within the Pistols and Revolvers forums, part of the HandGuns, Pistols and Revolvers, Long Rifles, Shotguns, SKS, AK, AR category; As promised here is my review and comparison of the CZ 75 Compact and the Sig Sauer M11-A1 Desert. I will give (my version) of ...
As promised here is my review and comparison of the CZ 75 Compact and the Sig Sauer M11-A1 Desert. I will give (my version) of an in-depth analysis and range review of each platform, some negative takeaways and comparisons between the two. The only caveat I have is that my Sig has had a little work put into it, and being a higher-priced edition, it also has some factory enhancements made versus a run-in-the-mill P228, or even a regular M11.
I typed this on my phone, will attach pictures in a bit - apologies for any misspelling
Sig Sauer M11
The M11-A1 was Sig's attempt at fulfulling the RFQ issued by the Army for a new combat handgun, the M9 had won as we all know but the M11 has seen time in combat, and is in circulation - when I was with SOCSOUTH, some of our NSWC counterparts (SEALS, etc) were using M11s, some had Mk25s (the up-gunned P226), as well as Glocks, etc. How does a M11-A1 differ from the regular P228/P229 it is based on? Not too much, you see it has the MFR and NSN and QC code on a data plate that military-issued weapons have on them, for all intents and purposes this is rebranded P229 E2 (Enhanced Ergonomics) with some different parts.
It uses the 229-1 (E2) barrel, it is phosphate coated for lower coefficient of friction and it pretty easily racked because of that, the Desert has a FDE coating that rubs off on the black phosphate though, more of an aesthetic thing but it is worth mentioning. If you wanted to add a threaded barrel you would use a 229-1 9mm barrel versus a P228 barrel.
The grip panels are an extremely aggressive/stippled panel with the P228 logo emblazoned on them, Sig's grip panels meet in the back to form a backstrap, which also covers the mainspring housing and hammer strut. I replaced the mainspring with a lighter one to lessen the trigger pull in DA, being a compact, Sig uses the Polymer sleeze to set the strut in, so if you bought a new spring get the shorter one.
The gun also comes stock with Sig's SRT (Short Reset Trigger) System, which has a skinnier profiled trigger, and the reset is a lot shorter - if I had to put a number on it, stock it probably broke in DA around 8.5-9lbs and in SA around 3.5-4 - now that I have a few hundred rounds through it, and with the new spring - those numbers are much lower, it is a very smooth trigger with no noticeable (to me) creep or travel.
The trigger guard is squared off towards the front but tapers and slants down and back towards the grip, it has checkering but if you shoot with your support index finger in front of the trigger guard it can slip off, versus the CZ which has a concave trigger guard face with checkered for more secure positioning of the finger. The slide and frame material IIRC are both carbon steel, very solid and great machining, there have been a lot of complaints about Exeter Sigs versus German Sigs, but I have found the construction of this M11-A1 to be very nice. The front strap has some checkering machined into the front, not a whole lot, but with the FDE coating and the 228 E2 grips, it is very grippy even in sweaty hands.
More on ergonmics the trigger guard isn't as undercut or big as the CZ which may lead to issues with gloves, it has a swell where the beavertail would be, you can get a decently high grip on it but not as much as the CZ - it is definitely more 1911-esque with the grip profile. There is no safety, only a decocker where as the CZ has a safety. Unlike the other 229's, the M11-A1 does not have an accessory rail.
The slide is beefy with a decent amount of serrations, easily manipulated and it wears the excellent Sig Night-Sights, they sit decently high and are 3-dot. The problems I run into are manipulated the mag release, it almost sits flush next to the grip panels, there is an extended mag release you can get in the aftermarket, but for almost $1100 MSRP (more around $900 street) you'd expect the magazine release to live up the potential. The same goes for the decocker and slide release, I can manipulate them but my wife with smaller hands, and my father with very huge hands have trouble with them.
The only other complaint is the recoil rod, it is a cheap hollow aluminum piece I replaced for a tungsten one, it definitely helps with muzzle flip and is a lot cleaner, but that is just my opinion. The magazines that it came with are 2-15rd magazines that are brushed aluminum and not very good, I continue to have issues with them and instead use 17rd extended base Mec-Gar 229-E2/M11 magazines that are much cheaper than stock 15rds.
Overall it is a very clean gun as we can expect from Sig, pretty expensive, for the price you can get 2 Glocks or 2 older CZs, or other similarly priced handguns. The gun is probably more accurate than I am, the barrel has had no issues with any of my loads, and the phosphate coating lends itself to cycle with my subsonic 165gr hand-loads. I have not noticed any accuracy suffering from using Coated lead bullets, and it has fed all weights and types of 9mm - I have used 115gr, 124gr, 135gr, 147gr and 165gr plated, lead and FMJ bullets - +P loads, SD loads, and never had any issues. It points very naturally for me, with the tungsten guide rod follow-up shots are easily done, and the front dot is easily picked up for me.
This is the compact version of the venerable (and widely copied) CZ-75 pistol, this a Kansas City CZ, but it was still made in the Czech Republic. I love CZs, for the price you cannot find a more accurate pistol, there are some faults to the design as people point out, but compared to my M11-A1, this gun performs just as well and I haven't had to put any money into it at all.
If you DID want to use aftermarket parts, Cajun Gun Works makes a huge amount of aftermarket performance parts that are very well priced and the staff over there is extremely knowledgeable about the platform, but I feel this gun will stay stock. Unlike the PCR (the Czech National Police compact 75), this is all steel construction, no aluminum frame - making it much heavier for carry, but it is great for shooting.
The slide is a lot shorter and has less serrations than the M11-A1, it is a little difficult to manipulate if you are unfamiliar with the "Czech retarded midget slide" as one of my co-workers so eloquently calls it, but it is not impossible. The sights sit very low to the bore, and may be hard for some to pickup, I am considering color in the front dot with a neon green or red, or even swapping out the sights.
The trigger is amazing, mines breaks at an even 3 pounds, and probably around 8.5 pounds in double action, it sits a lot further up in the trigger guard versus the Sig and my wife has trouble reaching it, it has a decent amount of travel due to this in both DA and SA modes, but nothing that should impact accuracy if properly trained and familiarized with the platform. As I mentioned in the Sig review, the trigger guard is much bigger to use with gloves, the face is serrated and concave to better support finger position and the undercut is much better, partnered with a proper beavertail you can get a very high grip on this pistol, partnered with the low bore axis and all-steel construction it is a sweet shooter.
The hammer is a skeletonized ring with serrations, I feel the wishbone style hammer on the Sig is easier to use, but on the CZ you can carry in the half-cock position if you so choose. It does not have a decocker, but instead uses a very big safety that is easily maniuplated. Ahead of this is the takedown lever, again much easier to manipulate than the Sig's.
The grips are stock CZ grips, they are nicely checkered for a good grip, not as abrasive as the Sig which makes it better to carry. There is no backstrap or front-strap serrations, so the grip is a little slick, to me it is not an issue because the stock 14-round magazines have baseplates that have a lip that extends, my hands fit perfectly between this lip and the trigger guard for a great fit, some may have issues with that.
On magazines, they are 14-rounds and a better construction than Sig, Mec-Gar also makes very affordable 16rd extended magazines, or you can slap in the 26-rd SP-01 magazine in it to channel you inner mall-ninja. The magazine release button is easily reached and is not interfered with by the grips at all, which is great.
Shooting, this gun is again probably more accurate than I am, it shoots just as good as my Sig with its fancy barrel and double MSRP. I have only tested 115gr Tula, 124gr Aguila, 115gr WWB and Federal and some Hornady 147gr Crit Def so far but the recoil is a non-issue, the recoil rod is polymer, I may replace it, but a tungsten rod definitely is not necessary.
Price may be a breaking point for some, honestly, if you had no idea of the cost of either, you couldn't tell them apart from an accuracy standpoint, CZ makes excellent triggers and barrels - it comes down to ergonomics and usage - the M11-A1 is more of a "combat" handgun, big controls, big slide, aggressive grips - where the CZ75 Compact is a range/CCW, non aggressive, low profile sights and slide, very ergonomic.
The M11 gets the nod as far as accessories, the grip panels are awesome, the night sights are just great and the SRT as well as the trigger profile are very good additions to an already greatly 228/229 platform, the FDE coating is very good and I love the coating on the barrel, but the CZ fits me much better, it was made to get a solid grip on and the stock magazines are much better than the crap I got with my Sig.
I would try them both out for size, the CZ wins in the price category, you can get the Compact and still afford 200rds of 9mm and a set of night sights while paying MSRP versus the M11-A1. My personal pick is the CZ, I have only put a hundred or so rounds versus the near-thousand in the M11, but it fits better and it is a proven platform.
I know CZ makes a quality firearm, but I sure like the way the Sig looks and feels. The Sig Sights are very easy on the eyes if that makes sense. I just couldn't justify slapping $1100 down on the Sig. Maybe one day...
The Sig sights are a lot better, like I mentioned the M11 is supposed to be a "combat ready" pistol - the notches between the rear sights are a little wider and just pickup easier.
They make a Mk25 P226 with a Burris for about $1200 OTD at my LGS - I would get that if I had to do it again, 20rd mags, optics and rail make the Mk25 much better
CZs do make all around cheaper and high quality pistols, the CZ85 has great sights - Id recommend looking at that
Sigs are a bit overpriced IMO - I paid $200 + a Gen 3 Glock 26 in trade for my M11-A1 Desert so that came out in my favor, I wouldnt ever pay full price unless it was the P226 Mk25 w/ optic or P220-10 Elite Match
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You lost me once I saw the safety and hammer. Let alone the $1000 price tag.