It is hard to find an AK enthusiast who does not know about Zastava. Founded in 1853 in Serbia, to this day Zastava Arms remains to be one of the largest arms manufacturers in the region. For many years, several companies imported Zastava AK variants which became very popular in the US. But recently, just before the Shot Show, Zastava announced creation of Zastava Arms USA – exclusive importer and distributor of Zastava Arms products for the US market.
But Zastava Arms is not just AKs. They also produce hunting rifles, machineguns, grenade launchers and most importanly for the US civilian market – handguns.
Zastava Arms manufactures several pistols, most prominent being CZ999. It is chambered for 9×19, has a double action trigger mechanism and has 15 round capacity (if you live in free state).
Don’t confuse it with CZ (Ceska Zbrojovka) from Czech republic. In this case, CZ means “Crvena Zastava” – “Red Banner”, the old name Zastava Arms factory had while Yugoslavia was still a socialist country.
CZ999 looks like a copy of Sig Sayer P226, but it has a different controls. Decocking lever and magazine release are ambidextrous. Also, decocking lever also functions as the slide release, which is a pretty rare feature.
I shot some of the CZ999 variants in the past and one think I did not expect was – they felt BIG. Maybe it is just me, but CZ999 just felt too big for concealed carry. That is why when I came to Zastava Arms USA booth, I was glad to see a compact version of CZ999 – EZ9 compact.
It has the same controls and same magazine capacity – 15 rounds.
Another handgun they make is M70A – Serbian version of Soviet TT (Tula, Tokarev).
Traditionally, Zastava arms pistols were priced very reasonably, back in the day you could buy a CZ999 for $350. If Zastava Arms USA will continue with this policy, their handguns will find plenty of customers on the US market.