Top Kadet

Conversion kit a well-designed, well-made unit that gives CZ-75 owner two guns in one. 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY ROB REED

While there are many dedicated .22 LR pistols on the market, one of the best for everyday use is not a pistol in the pure sense, but instead is a conversion kit for the popular CZ-75 from the Czech Republic. And although this is not a new product, it remains one of the best of its kind on the market.

The CZ Kadet .22 LR conversion kit is an all-steel slide with a fixed barrel that mounts on most CZ-75 variants. (CZ USA)

The CZ-75 Kadet (and the more recent Kadet II) .22 LR conversion kit is a CZ factory-made unit that allows a shooter to quickly and easily convert a CZ-75 series pistol from centerfire to rimfire ammunition (and back again). This gives the shooter a lighter recoiling gun, which shoots less expensive ammo, while retaining the same trigger, controls, and overall feel of the pistol.

The Kadet unit consists of a replacement slide assembly with a fixed .22 LR barrel. The rear sight is adjustable for both elevation and windage. The entire unit is made of steel and is coated with a durable black polycoat. A Kadet kit-equipped pistol closely replicates the weight and feel of a standard pistol. The kit includes two 10-round .22 LR magazines. The Kadet magazines are made with a .22 LR inner liner sleeved in a full-size centerfire
metal magazine body. The integral baseplate and followers are both plastic. The magazines cannot be disassembled and, unlike some other designs, there is no way to compress the magazine springs for easier loading.

To install the Kadet kit on a pistol, take the complete pistol and pull back the centerfire slide until the witness marks on the slide and frame line up, push out the slide stop, and slide the centerfire top end off from the front. (This should be familiar to any CZ-75 owner.) Then, slide the .22 LR unit on the frame, line up the witness marks, and reinstall the slide stop. It’s that simple.

The smaller diameter of the .22 LR muzzle is the only thing that gives away that a Kadet kit is installed on this CZ-75. (MARIE VERHEYEN)

BECAUSE A TIGHT FRAME-TO-SLIDE fit is important for accuracy, certain points on the rails of the Kadet slide are very slightly oversized. This may require the user to fit the kit to the pistol the first time it is installed. All this takes is a needle file, a little focused time, and some patience. Simply note the high points on the rails of the kit slide and alternate between a few file strokes on the Kadet slide and test fittings until the Kadet slide goes completely onto the frame.

The Kadet kit was recently redesigned slightly to work with the newer Omega trigger system, and these newer kits (the Kadet II) may not require as much, if any, fitting. The Kadet kit works on the full-size CZ-75 and SP-01 and the compact CZ75 models, including the P-01, P-06, PCR, and RAMI. The Kadet kit will not work on the CZ-97, CZ-75 TS, or P-07 Duty models. When used with the compact models, the magazine will protrude below the mag well.

In my experience the CZ-75 Kadet kit has proven to be reliable, accurate, and fun. I’ve owned mine for over a dozen years and have fired untold thousands of rounds through it in that time. I’ve found the Kadet-equipped pistol to be more reliable than most other .22 LR pistols I’ve tried.

This view of the author’s well-used CZ-75B with a Kadet kit installed shows both the small area of the slide that reciprocates and the fixed barrel.

The only times I have a problem is when the pistol gets excessively dirty, usually after several range sessions without cleaning, especially if using the cheaper .22 LR ammo that is known to leave more residue behind. The problem typically manifests when the slide starts to feel gritty or “sluggish,” and sometimes includes failures to feed or failures to extract. These problems typically clear up with the application of additional lube at the range, followed by a thorough cleaning before the next trip.

Of course, like any .22 LR pistol, the Kadet-equipped CZ-75 will likely show a preference for certain ammo for both reliability and accuracy. As this often differs from gun to gun the best way to find what shoots best is to try different brands and take notes.
THE FIXED BARREL HELPS PROMOTE accuracy. While it’s not up to the standards of a NRA Bullseye competitor’s pistol, in my experience it shoots as well, if not better, than any “plinker grade” or entry level .22 LR target pistol. The adjustable sights allow the shooter to sight in for any particular load or distance and are easy to see. While the exact trigger feel and weight depends on the specific host frame, I’ve found the gun is capable of very precise shooting, especially when fired single-action.

In addition to using it for general shooting, I’ve found a Kadet-equipped CZ-75 to be an excellent training pistol for new shooters. The similarity of the controls to other centerfire pistols is a bonus, as is the general accuracy and reliability of the unit.

There are, however, a few issues with this design worth noting. The first is that the requirement that the Kadet slide be hand-fitted to the host pistol may be off-putting to some shooters. This is mitigated by how easy it is to do and the fact that the new units require less, if any, fitting. But frankly, if this is an issue for you, perhaps you shouldn’t invest in a conversion kit in the first place.

Another view of the author’s CZ-75B with the magazine in place

In order to make the action work with less powerful .22 LR ammunition, the Kadet slide had to be redesigned from the centerfire original. Instead of a one-piece slide, which moves on the frame, the Kadet slide is made of two pieces. The larger piece, which includes the top and bottom of the slide, stays in place with only the smaller cutout portion of the slide actually reciprocating. This makes manipulating the slide to load the pistol a bit more difficult as the
moving part is smaller than the complete slide and some shooters find it hard to grab.

The other potential issue is with the Kadet magazines. While well made, they cannot be disassembled for cleaning or maintenance. Fortunately this has never become an issue for me, but is something to be aware of.

The CZ-75 Kadet .22 LR conversion kit is a well-designed, well-made unit that gives the CZ-75 owner “two guns in one.” A Kadet kit-equipped CZ-75 is easily the equal of any .22 LR pistol in its price class and is practically a must-have for any CZ-75 fan. ASJ

A CZ-75 with a .22 LR Kadet kit installed looks and, more importantly, handles like a regular centerfire CZ pistol, while allowing the use of less expensive .22 LR ammunition. (CZ USA)

Contact: CZ USA cz-usa.com/products/view/cz-75kadet-adapter

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April 2nd, 2017 by