Not Just a Copy
Before we go much further, I should explain to you that the AR-24 is not just a CZ-75 clone. It’s an updated design.
The AR-24 features a gently upsweeping beavertail. It also has a very pronounced and curved backstrap that locks the hand into a comfortable shooting grip. There’s also a relief cut where the trigger guard meets the frame to allow the shooter to get a higher hold on the gun. And ArmaLite wisely excluded the trigger guard hook, which is counter to American tastes.
Westrom also changed the contours of the slide. “The CZ was heavily influenced by the SIG 210, which was derived from the Petter M1935 pistol,” he says. “I always liked the sleek looks of their slides, so I redesigned our slide to give it a similar look. I also incorporated fine slide serrations rather than the more coarse ones that are so common today.” In my opinion, Westrom’s changes have given the gun a more refined appearance.
There are also some internal differences between the CZ-75 and the AR-24. Westrom wanted the gun to have a somewhat more sophisticated safety that locks the slide, trigger, and hammer when the hammer is down and safety engaged. If the hammer is cocked, the safety locks the trigger only, so that the chamber can be cleared and the gun unloaded without having to disengage the safety like on a 1911 pistol.
Of course, cosmetics and design mean nothing in a firearm if it’s not accurate. Sarsilmaz finely cuts the barrel’s rifling to ArmaLite’s specifications rather than using the more common button rifling technique that can cause metal to be displaced. The result is a barrel capable of tremendous accuracy.
I test fired both the full size AR-24 and AR-24K compact models at 25 yards for accuracy. Unfortunately, the sun was in front of me and to my right and it made getting a consistent sight picture nearly impossible.
Despite this handicap, I fired a number of groups, from both guns, under an inch. In fact, the compact model recorded an unbelievable .59-inch five-shot group! These two ArmaLite pistols are the most accurate 9mm guns that I have ever tested.
As you might expect, the recoil from a steel-framed, high-capacity, semi-auto pistol is nearly negligible. Even the smaller gun was completely controllable and was a pleasure to shoot.
If you’re looking for a lightweight gun for off-duty carry the AR-24 is not your gun. But if you’re the kind of shooter that doesn’t mind a little bit of heft on your hip and appreciates what the weight does for recoil control and quick follow-up shots, then the new ArmaLites might be what you’re looking for (Westrom says the company is working on a polymer-framed model.).
The single-action trigger pull on both test guns broke at just under five pounds, with very little overtravel. The double-action first shot registered at a manageable 12 pounds. Westrom says that the pistols made for the Turkish military had very rough triggers, typical of service guns. “We have altered the standards of the pistol a bit to gain an improved trigger pull. Our next shipment of guns should have even better triggers.”
I fired both guns with a good variety of 9mm ammo. Each round possessed a very different bullet nose profile and both guns digested them all without a bobble. There were no failures with either gun during my evaluation.
I found both the ArmaLite AR-24 and AR-24K (compact) pistols to be accurate and possess the needed reliability for service and off-duty carry. ArmaLite’s version of the old Iron Curtain design may well be the best facsimile of the CZ-75 ever produced.
Mike Detty is an NRA-certified rifle, pistol, and shotgun instructor. A certified rangemaster and competition shooter, Detty served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and holds a degree in criminal justice from the University of Arizona.