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Just after World War Two, the CZ works began production of a new and efficient little .25ACP nine-shot pistol that could fit in the palm of your hand. Then, when they were cut off from importation, imitation became the sincerest form of flattery.

The CZ45

Continuing pre-war work on the CZ36 pistol, Czech firearms engineer Jan Kratochvil perfected the design of a small, 15-ounce, five-inch long, blowback pistol chambered in 6.35mm Browning (.25ACP), then a popular defense round in Europe. Kratochivil simplified the CZ36 design and added a John Browning-inspired stirrup-shaped connector to the hammer of the little pistol to increase its reliability.

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The outcome was a little handgun that was the Ruger LCP of its day-- only in a marginally smaller caliber. About the only complaint was that the little steel-framed capgun had a very stout DAO trigger pull.

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However, unlike most .25ACP caliber pistols, which are often considered 'jam-a-matics' the new CZ worked everytime you pulled that trigger. Its 8-shot magazine and a round in the chamber gave decent firepower for the time and the gun was small enough for a pocket or a purse. The design was finalized in 1945 (hence the CZ45, or sometimes CZ 1945 designation) and placed into production.

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The gun proved popular in foreign sales and CZ legend has it that these guns were made in quantities that far outstrip any other single model. In the 1950s and 60s these guns sold in the United States for anywhere from $15-$25 retail over the counter until importation was cut off in 1968.

It banned from importation by the Gun Control Act of 1968, as were many small European pistols, due to its size. Currently you can luck into these from $200-$300 in working condition and more for nice examples, which proves that firearms do not lose their value over time.

A good up-close video of a CZ45 made in 1947.

The current CZ92 (which, like its younger brother is still not allowed to import into the US due to the GCA) is the current re-boot of this pistol. *Incidentally, the CZ-USA RZ-45 is absolutely no relation to this gun.

Here comes the Intertec

In the 1980s, a Swedish gun engineer by the name of George Kelgren teamed up with one Carlos Garcia in the Miami area to market a string of inexpensive firearms under the Intertec company banner. Kelgren was the brains and took a submachine gun design he made for the Swedish Army, changed it over to a polymer-framed semi-auto and sold it as the famous Tec-9.

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To augment the sales of that little range toy, Intertec rolled out the Protech-25 pistol in 1991. Running around $199 or less, these little gatts are a pretty faithful (if unlicensed) copy of the CZ45. An 8-shot .25ACP, they had a zamak (pot metal) frame but a heavy steel slide and internals to keep it safe.

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Due most likely to its original borrowed design, the gun worked and was popular for a time as the gun was small (5-inches overall, about the size of a Beretta Jetfire, but very flat) and lightweight at 14-ounces. Meant as a pocket gun, however, it had diminutive sights, DAO with a funny trigger, and had no safeties.

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When Intratec folded in 2000, the Protech-25 went with it and they are no longer supported, making repairs near impossible if you have one.

Looking at the Intratec 25--you see the overall similarity between the CZ45, but soon realize it's a budget clone.

These clones are growing in popularity with Kel Tec fans (as Kelgren went on to found that company in nearby Cocoa after leaving Intertec). As such, they often go for $250-$300 depending on condition.

Hey, it is a strange world.
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