The CZ 45 is a compact blowback operated semi-automatic pistol chambered in .25 ACP. It was made in Czechoslovakia and later in the Czech Republic. Derived from the CZ 36 following World War II, the CZ 45 is currently manufactured by Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod as the CZ 92.
In 1945 the CZ 36 was redesigned by Jan Kratochvil to make it easier (hence cheaper) to manufacture and became the model 1945 or CZ 45. The safety lever which had sometimes appeared on the CZ 36 was eliminated (though a few early model 45s were manufactured with a safety lever). The changes included the addition of a side plate to simplify assembly and a magazine safety. The CZ 36 had a connector from the trigger to the hammer that ran on the left side of the magazine, whereas the CZ 45 has a Browning style stirrup-shaped connector that runs on both sides of the magazine.
The overall design of the receiver, slide, guide rod, and recoil spring are very similar to the earlier Browning .25 design. The barrel mount is also like the Browning, with a single lug that rotates into a slot in the frame. The trigger pivots on a pin.
When the trigger is activated and the hammer is down, the connector is pulled forward, rotating the hammer backward into cocked position. When the hammer reaches full cock, it is freed to fall and strike the firing pin, which ignites the cartridge. The hammer is not cocked by the slide—technically speaking, this is a self-loading repeating pistol, not an automatic or semi-automatic. Other than the heavy double-action trigger pull, the only safety mechanism is the magazine safety. When the magazine is inserted, it moves a bar which allows the connector to engage the sear. When the magazine is removed from the gun, the bar disconnects the trigger from the sear.
Disassembly is similar to the Browning. Remove the magazine and make sure the chamber is empty. Draw the slide back about 1 centimeter and rotate the barrel clockwise a quarter-turn. Remove the barrel and slide forward off the receiver. Other than the guide rod and recoil spring, there are no small parts that come loose.
The CZ 45 holds 8 rounds in the magazine and has a simple groove down the top of the slide for sighting. Its great merits are its simplicity and reliability, ease of field-stripping, and accuracy—despite its primitive sighting groove and double action only trigger.
The only design weakness in the CZ 45 is a brittle firing pin (like its younger cousin the CZ 52). This gun should never be dry fired.
In 1992 the gun was slightly redesigned, given a magazine release behind the trigger and a futuristic grip, and is now sold as the CZ-92. Unfortunately, due to the Gun Control Act of 1968, the gun can no longer be imported into the U.S., as it is too small. After the GCA blocked further importation, US Manufacturer Intratec started producing a near-exact clone called the Protec, though the build quality is somewhat lower.
CZ 45's are somewhat rare in the US resale market and go for about $250 in good condition. CZ 92's are virtually non-existing in the US and go for higher prices, despite the inadequacy of the .25 ACP as a self-defense round.