I have been thinking about writing this blog for some time. There are several reasons for it. Last year we celebrated 100th year anniversary of the iconic 1911. I live in Wyoming and the caliber of choice in the “Old West” for self defense, target or competition pistols seems to be the .45 ACP. I also have the CZ 97 B in my collection. The idea of comparing those two pistols shot on the same day was very appealing. It is like comparing cars made in two different countries. The cars can have same engine power output,same size but they will feel different. These handguns were designed and produced for the same purpose. Self defense and upholding the law in the hands of citizens. Different variations have also made it to the holsters of law enforcement around the world. I will write the facts about these pistols and add my personal opinion too.
Dan Wesson Valor 1911 .45 ACP
This is one the finest, most accurate 1911 on the market. The accuracy out of the box is unmatched. It is a classic looking 1911. Mine is black with beautiful VZ slim line G10 grips that ensure tight grip under any condition. The Valor has 8 round magazine, pretty standard for 1911. It feels very comfortable and you want to shoot it more. More practice leads to better accuracy. This gun shoots exactly where you aim it. If you point at bulls eye from ten yards and can hold it there, you will punch bunch of holes through it. I have shot few hundred rounds through mine if not over a thousand and have not had any malfunctions. Accuracy and reliability is what you want from Valor when you are spending that kind of money. Yet you get exactly what you pay for. You can not say that about few other manufacturers I have had the displeasure to shoot.
CZ 97 B cal. 45 ACP
This is a modern european take on a .45 caliber pistol. Designed and produced in Czech Republic since 1997. There are couple of things about this double stack that immediately caught my eye. It is a large gun and the trigger guard is huge. Works for me, I am not an average human being with 6’4″ and 245 lbs., and it works for law enforcement officers wearing gloves on the job. Winters in Czech Republic are not exactly mild. It has a double stack magazine with capacity of ten rounds. I absolutely love the feel of this gun. Fills out my hands like no other gun out there. The accuracy is right up there. It does take a while to get used to it. I found it more comfortable to shoot lot of rounds, we’re talking 300-400 hundred in a day, than any other handgun I have shot up to this point. Overall CZ 97 B’s performance exceeds its price range. I had the pleasure to receive the aluminum grips directly from CZ factory. Before I finished the blog I went back to the range to confirm what grips work the best for me. I had a choice of the original wood, rubber or aluminum. The aluminum were pretty awesome looking, however I had the best accuracy, comfort and performance with the rubber ones. I put rubber grips on CZ 75 Kadet also. The Shadow has them too. I am just rubber grip kind of guy.
Side by side:
I prefer CZ over Valor for few reasons. I’m not taking anything away from the Dan Wesson 1911. It is subjective opinion by a shooter who loves his new hobby and tries to help other gun owners to think and decide for themselves. CZ is bigger, good for me, more mass helps reduce the recoil. Yes it has less recoil than Valor. As I’ve mentioned, bigger trigger guard allows me to find the trigger lot faster. Saved time gives me an opportunity to aim better. A friend of mine put me through few practice rounds of IDPA course and my results were much better with CZ 97B.
One thing convinced me that Valor is a very fine pistol. I had friends out at the range in Jackson Hole, WY who never shot any kind of gun before. That day we shot .22LR CZ 75 Kadet, 9mm CZ 75 Shadow (my wife’s favorite) and the Valor. They shot the best with the 1911. Hard to believe but you cannot deny quality. It’s just not the gun for me. I am a practical kind of guy and the CZ 97 fulfills my needs. CZ-USA offers two models, one with safety and one with decocker. In my opinion, CZ 97 could be possibly the most effective home or truck self defense gun that I know of.