CZ has long been known for making some of the best production handguns in the world, particularly amongst the competition crowd. After years of CZ owners gunsmithing the CZ-75 into various forms of race guns, the Czech company began making match-ready production pistols. A popular model was the Tactical Sport, or TS. But the model known simply as the Tactical Sport has been missing from the CZ lineup for a few years now, and many competitive shooters and avid fans of the brand had begun to fear that the gap might be permanent. But fear not – the Tactical Sports pistol, like the phoenix has risen again with upgrades and improvements. And it now bears the mark of the sequel: The TS2
The re-issued CZ Tactical Sport, now branded TS2 freshens the already coveted competition pistol to be more in line with the rest of the CZ product line. The frame has been re-designed to provide updated ergonomics, and the slide follows the design que of the Shadow 2. And being a CZ, of course those fit together with that incredibly low bore axis that greatly reduces muzzle rise when shooting. That “inside-out” slide to frame fit which is a trademark CZ design element, and the very reliable and performance-oriented internals remain unchanged.
What has changed – for the better, in this writer’s opinion, are some of the key ergonomic features. Ergonomics by nature is subjective, but because our bodies are shaped the same way, it can be applied as a science. A definition of ergonomics that I like is: “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently”, from Merriam-Webster. We toss that word around a lot in the gun world, but to many people it is interpreted as ‘fits my hand and feels comfortable’ – and while that’s an important starting point, there is much more to it. If you think about the many elements of your interaction with your handgun – especially a competition handgun, you begin to realize that there are many nuances involved in achieving a highly ergonomic handgun. The CZ Tactical Sports family of pistols has always been on the forefront of that endeavor. Does that mean it is perfect? Maybe, maybe not. That will be up to each shooter to decide.
The updated frame is also a blend of CZ designs that aim (pun intended) to keep your hits on target. The backstrap now bears the dogleg bend of the Shadow2, rather than the previous curved shape. It seems to drive the web of the hand further into the grip tang and beneath the generous beavertail. The checkering on the backstrap and front strap of the gun is deep and covers a large area of contact. Finishing that off is a set of very thin aluminum grip panels with nicely milled checkering in a visually pleasing design. The magazine release button has also been significantly extended. Whether this is a plus or not, I’ll address later. All of these things combine to make a handgun that does not budge from your grip position while running a course of fire.
The CZ TS2 occupies an important position in the product line of pistols built for competitors. It is in many ways a hybrid of the Shadow 2 and the Tactical Sport Orange (TSO) at a price point right between them. The frame and slide look more similar to the Shadow 2, including the oversized trigger guard, but it lacks the accessory rail on the dustcover of the Shadow 2 and is not as deep or heavy out front as the TSO. This latter detail belies the fact that the TS2 is, in fact, a full ounce heavier. This weight of 48.5 ounces, sadly eliminates this gun from acceptance in the sport of IDPA – at least under the current rules.
When it comes to shooting however, the TS2 is much more similar to the TSO than to the Shadow 2 – even the single-action version. The uniting factor there is the trigger. The trigger shoe of the TS2 is straight and set far back into the ample trigger guard. It is constructed of polymer and has an adjustment for over-travel. The smooth faced trigger has a hooked bottom to give you an ideal index point for maximum leverage and comfort. The polymer construction of the trigger has two important advantages. It prevents the trigger shoe from becoming a heat sink and causing discomfort to the shooter’s finger during a high round count stage; and as a reader of my review on the CZ TSO pointed out – it also keeps the trigger very light to help reduce the chance of a discharge if the loaded gun were ever dropped and landed on its back. The polymer trigger is unlikely to have inertia enough to move fully rearward in that situation.
While we’re talking about the trigger – let’s discuss the elephant in the room. This trigger is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Does that sound unbiased? Sorry, I guess it is. This is a sub-two-pound trigger, out of the box. My Lyman digital gauge never got within 4 ounces of two pounds! Light and crisp are the two best words to describe the trigger on the TS2. The adjustments made at the factory seem to be spot-on as well, with no perceivable pre-travel or over-travel. The reset stroke is short with good tactile feedback and no required take-up thereafter. After a bit of time getting your trigger finger acquainted with this gun, you can run triple-taps at auto-sear speeds. To facilitate this and keep you on the trigger and off the mag release, the three magazines provided carry 20 rounds of 9mm ammo. While I’m delivering good news, let me also tell you that the magazines are compatible with the other Tactical Sports pistols – like the TSO and the Czechmate. There are other parts compatibilities as well, both external and internal.
SHOOTING THE TS2
Whenever I have the chance to test and review a competition gun, I look for an opportunity to run that gun in an actual competition. One where I have the pressure of the clock and score sheet, and the judgement of my fellow shooters. This can add elements to the tests and evaluation that are simply not possible any other way – even with practice drills. Now, because I spend at least as much time focusing cameras and banging on keyboards as I do on the trigger, I’m not ever going to be “the guy to beat” at the match. But that said, I’ve been competing long enough that I do okay and I can tell if a gun is helping me or hurting me. So, when I took delivery of this TS2 from CZ-USA, I looked at the calendar to see if such an opportunity would exist. Not only did I have the chance to compete with the gun – the very first shot I fired with this pistol – and the hundred and twenty or so that followed, occurred in a steel challenge match – on the timer – with spectators. No pressure.
If you’re not used to the CZ competition pistols, the first thing you’re likely to notice is the weight. That 48 ½ ounces is a bit more to tug from the holster than your garden variety polymer framed gun or even most 1911s. Next, you’ll appreciate the deep undercut trigger guard that aids the high grip provided by the deep recess below the beavertail. The checkering will keep your hand planted in position as you break shot after shot. The blackout rear sight is very tall with anti-glare serrations and a nice square notch, through which you’ll see the bright red fiber-optic front sight. Because the TS2 is engineered for maximum recoil management, you’ll barely see that front sight move between shots. This allows full advantage of the fast trigger because there is virtually no lag time between shots to recover your sight picture.
I used a Blade-Tech holster that I’ve had for some time, that was made for the Shadow 2. Because the TS2 is a bit longer, it’s not a perfect fit, but the trigger is fully covered and it works well enough. Another small win! Steel Challenge is always fun, and because it’s all about speed and transitions it’s a great way to break in a pistol like the TS2. It performed flawlessly, and I think I finished in the top five… I’ll take that. Especially when considering I had never fired the gun prior to that first beep.
The ambidextrous safety favors the right-handed shooter, with its left side control being wide enough to easily swipe on and off, and to use as a thumb rest while shooting. Lefties are less fortunate, in that the right-side control is nearly flush to the frame and more difficult to use. Adequate for the right-hander who must occasionally start the stage weak-hand-only, but you lefties will want to modify that.
A generous magwell made of aluminum and finished in a gloss black provides a funnel for reloads, and for me also a nice wedge out front for locking in the pinky of the support hand. Based on your hand size and grip style, your mileage may vary there.
We’re in the midst of the worst ammunition shortage in recent times (if not ever), so while I did feel compelled to shoot a couple of measured groups at 25 yards, I did not see a need to waste serious money to prove once again that this gun is capable of accuracy far beyond my ability to realize. I chose two loads from personal inventory – Federal American Eagle 124 grain and Magtech 115 grain – both FMJ. My primary curiosity was whether the TS2 might have a bullet weight preference, as many pistols do. And while far from a conclusive test, five rounds of each indicated that the 124 gr. might be preferred. This is good news to me, as that is my bullet weight of choice for competition loads. The Magtech group measured 2.73” overall with the best three at just 1.03”. The Federal group did better at 1.57” for the full five shots and an impressive 0.550” for the best three.
JUST MY OPINION
Who is this gun for? Clearly, CZ markets this gun to the competition shooter – with emphasis on the tactical sports – after all, that’s what they named it! The TS2 is the entry level pistol in the Tactical Sports line from CZ-USA, priced low enough to put it within reach of many serious competitors that might be ready to stop modding the family sedan and get a true sportscar. The design and ergonomics of the CZ are legendary, but the reliability, durability, and quality of materials and workmanship equally set it apart from the crowd.
I eluded above to the extended mag release and that it might not be a plus, in my opinion. This is very much a ‘your mileage may vary’ topic, so bear this in mind. While shooting the steel challenge match, after the first couple of stages I noticed that the lower palm of my support hand below the thumb was quite sore, and was even a bit red. By the third stage, it was painful while shooting. Between stages, I examined the gun and my hand and realized that the mag release was being shoved into my flesh with each recoil impulse – just enough to be very abrasive. Due to its shape and size, it was rather painful. To fix this, I channeled my inner Michael Jackson and donned a single glove to absorb the chafing. It worked, even though – unfortunately, it was not sequined. That is something I would have to resolve.
I don’t recommend this gun as a multi-purpose handgun to be kept in the nightstand and then taken to the match on Saturdays. This is a purpose-built competition pistol that will give you one of the best production handguns available for match use. Anyone looking for the competition pistol that can challenge their skills to reach the next level and beyond, should be taking a long hard look at the CZ TS2. Either that, or be prepared to start saying “congratulations” to those who do.
Learn more at CZ USA New TS2