Test: ZEV Technologies OZ9 – The first complete pistol from the GLOCK tuner

ZEV Technologies OZ-9 in 9 mm Luger
The ZEV Technologies OZ9 in 9 mm Luger boasts the best top equipment and impresses on the shooting range with good handling, function and shooting performance.

The OZ9 is a full-grown pistol in 9mm caliber and although a whole range of components from the in-house extensive GLOCK tuning parts range are used, it's not just a revised GLOCK. Rather, ZEV Technologies wanted to create something of its own here. A custom-made pistol equally suitable for sports shooters as well as for carry, reflecting the experience of countless years spent manufacturing after-market parts and reworking production guns.

In terms of size, the OZ9 is very similar to the GLOCK 17, but when you take the OZ9 in your hand for the first time, you will be in for a truly weighty surprise. While a standard GLOCK 17 Gen5 weighs only 1.57 lb/716 g, the OZ9 weighs 1.87 lb/850 g – almost 20% more. The reason for this can be quickly identified and also explains the biggest difference between the OZ9 and its ancestor: in a departure from the original GLOCK design, ZEV designed the frame in two parts, combining a steel chassis with a replaceable polymer grip.

Chassis and polymer grip of the ZEV OZ-9
Chassis and polymer grip of the ZEV OZ9 are only connected by a pin in the front area of the trigger guard.

On closer inspection, such a two-piece design offers a number of advantages. First of all, the combination of the steel chassis – true to the principle "mass is the best recoil brake" – and the polymer grip, which dampens recoil forces well, promises a more pleasant shooting experience. In addition, the separation of the actual grip from the gun part accommodating the trigger assembly offers the advantage that the grip can be easily replaced or reworked by the owner without any major effort. For the manufacturer, such a construction offers the advantage that the grip with its rather complex shape can be produced relatively simply by polymer injection molding – this makes it is easier to create different designs since only the steel chassis has to be machined. In view of the far-reaching technical changes that go along with the chassis construction, one would be doing the OZ9 a great injustice if one were to regard it as a mere tuned up variant of a GLOCK.

OZ9 – The first complete pistol from ZEV in detail

The ZEV OZ-9 with SKB hard-shell and accessories
The ZEV OZ9 is delivered in a SKB hard-shell case with precisely cut foam inlay. Also the included accessories, such as two Magpul PMags 17 GL9, different firing pin springs or the Magpul Daka pouch, are quite impressive.

As already mentioned, the OZ9 presented here corresponds to a GLOCK 17 with regard to the frame, slide and barrel size/length ratio. In the USA there are already other versions with longer barrels (Enhanced SOCOM) or slides in GLOCK-34 length (Pistol Competition) available. Both frame and polymer grip are completely new ZEV's developments, whereby the steel chassis in particular has some interesting features. For example, ZEV does not rely on a relatively simple, stamped steel frame (with outwardly bent slide guides and inserted locking block), but instead machined the chassis – which extends over the entire length of the gun – from a 4140 steel blank, which is then provided with a carbon coating. The milled slide guides are longer and additionally provided with undercuts, through which dirt is expelled. In addition, the Picatinny mounting rail, which is now almost obligatory on pistols, is milled directly into the chassis. The polymer grip, which is available in three colors (black, grey, sand), is connected to the chassis with only one steel pin in the front section of the trigger guard. You will look in vain for any screws or similar. In the upper area, the front of the grip features a discreet groove. For our part, we could do without it, since such finger grooves rarely really fit our own hand. Apart from that, the rest of the polymer grip's design is completely effective. The surface in particular has been given an extremely grippy texture.

Pro Plus magwell of the ZEV Technologies OZ-9
OZ9 polymer frame in standard size. In front of it is the Pro Plus magwell, which fits seamlessly into the polymer handle. They are connected by a pin.

A removable PRO-Plus magwell completes the grip at the bottom and thus enables rapid magazine changes. But even with the magazine funnel removed, changing the magazine is no great challenge thanks to a generous chamfering all around the magazine well entrance. ZEV Technologies provides its OZ9 with a slightly enlarged magazine release button, which can be swapped from left to right. Its surface texture is not only attractive to look at, but also provides a very good manipulation. Contrary to the mentioned finger groove on the grip front, we particularly appreciated the double groove on the trigger guard. This means that both the firing and non-firing hands are higher on the grip and thus closer to the barrel bore axis, which has a positive effect on recoil control. The double grooved trigger guard is coupled to a raised and extended beavertail.

Before we turn to the upper part of the OZ9, let's have a final look at the trigger. A PRO Flat Face Trigger is used here. The trigger, featuring a GLOCK-type safety, breaks after overcoming an average of 3.28 lb/1490 g and has only a slight overtravel. The trigger system is completed by an in-house trigger bar and a lighter spring.

The trigger of the ZEV Technologies OZ-9
The double groove on the trigger guard allows for an extremely high grip of the OZ9. In our test gun, the ZEV Flat Face Pro trigger released the firing pin after overcoming an average pull of 3.28 lb/1490 g.

When looking at the slide, the numerous signature ZEV serrations are immediately noticeable. In addition to their striking appearance, they also contribute to increased functionality and a more pleasant firing behavior. Compared to a standard GLOCK 17 slide, the OZ9's slide weighs almost 1.8 oz/50 grams less thanks to three ports, generous bevels on the edges and milled areas, which may not seem much at first glance. But since this reduces the moving mass, you feel every gram and perceived recoil is much less pronounced. The deep serration also contribute to weight saving and provide the necessary grip during all loading and unloading operations.

Following the concept of the lowest possible moving mass with a high stationary weight, the ZEV OZ9 also features a steel spring guide rod which adds further valuable grams to the scale and provides more weight on the front.

The ZEV Technologies match barrel of the OZ-9 
The ZEV Technologies match barrel of the OZ9 features circular millings all around and a stainless steel spring guide rod that provides more weight on the front.

Even the ZEV V2 match barrel was not spared from the milling orgy. In addition to complex millings in the chamber area, the barrel features milled circles all around. Last but not least, the area in front of the rear sight is milled to accommodate a Mini Red Dot Sight (MRDS), which is covered by an equally elaborately designed plate when not in use. ZEV decided to use the Trijicon RMR Footprint, which is quite popular in the USA. If you want to shoot your OZ9 with iron sights, the shooter's eyes will be pampered by the excellent ZEV Combat V3 sights, including a drift-adjustable rear sight. In contrast to many serial manufacturers, ZEV does everything right here. Both rear and front sight feature a glare-free cross-ribbing, with a deep black surface finish and their dimensions are ideally matched. The picture seen from the rear sight blade with its extra deep notch (0.139x0.144, or 3.55x3.68 mm) in conjunction with the 0.114”/2.90 mm wide fiber optic front sight almost perfectly bridges the gap between fast target acquisition and reasonable accuracy. All in all, the ZEV OZ9 impressed with its clean finish and surface quality both inside and out. Only the durability of the surface coating, which ZEV calls DLC (Diamond like Carbon), fell short of the otherwise excellent overall impression. Unfortunately, after only a few draws from a Kydex holster the first signs of wear on the edges became apparent.

ZEV OZ9 – Technical specs

Model:ZEV Technologies O.Z-9
Price:1679 USD (price may vary in your country)
Caliber:9 mm Luger
Magazine Capacity:17+1
Frame:Two-piece steel / polymer
Slide:11.2 oz/318 g, steel
Operation:Modified Browning system with open cam
Barrel Length, Twist:4.5”/113 mm, 1-254 mm
Rear Sight:3,55 mm, crossribbed and drif-adjustable ZEV Combat V3 rear sight
Front Sight:0.114”/2.90 mm, cross-ribbed ZEV fiber optic front sight
Sight Radius:6.6”/167.6 mm
Action/Trigger pull:Striker-Fired, 3.28 lb/1490 g (average)
Safety:Internal drop safety, trigger blade safety
Dimensions (LxWxH):8x1.6x5.5 in (204x41x140 mm)
Total weight (including magazine):1.87 lb/850 g
Accessories:2 Magpul PMAG 17 GL9 magazines, SKB hard case, Magpul Daka pouch, spring kit, manual, ZEV OZ9 patch
ZEV O.Z-9 with Holosun HS 507
The ZEV OZ9 has a standard mounting interface for the Trijicon RMR, covered by an attractive and also elaborately milled plate when not in use.

With the ZEV OZ9 on the firing range

Excited about how the gun wold perform in the test fire, we went to the shooting range with 6 factory cartridges with bullets ranging from 115 to 140 grains. To determine the gun performance at the classic 25-meter distance, we mounted a Holosun HS507C MRDS on the ZEV OZ9, which we just had at hand during a test and which is fortunately compatible with the Trijicon mounting interface. The average grouping of all factory loads tested was 1.88”/48 mm at the end. After the OZ9 had sufficiently proven its accuracy potential, we removed the MRDS and fired a series of standard exercises using the iron sights. There were no malfunctions during the entire test with about 600 cartridges fired.

Test-firing the 9mm ZEV OZ-9 pistol
Test-firing the 9mm ZEV OZ9 pistol: note the reduced muzzle flip.

OZ9 from ZEV Technologies: test conclusion

Test: ZEV Technologies OZ-9 – The first complete pistol from the GLOCK tuner
For the shooting performance test of the ZEV OZ9 we mounted a Holosun HS 507 C, which is compatible with the RMR Footprint.

ZEV Technologies has certainly not reinvented the wheel with its chassis system on the OZ9. Virgil Tripp and Sandy Strayer already did so in 1993 with their Modular Hi-Cap Frame Kit for the 1911. And SIG Sauer, too, uses the concept of a trigger assembly inserted into an easily replaceable polymer grip module for their highly successful P320. But ZEV Technologies has finally managed to open up the wonderful world of modularity to all GLOCK disciples among us. The ZEV OZ9 leaves a positive overall impression. It impresses with its flawless workmanship (with some reservations about the durability of the surface coating), a detailed yet highly practical construction and a good shooting performance. The only downer is the rather high price of 1679 USD, which will be even higher in Europe due to import duties and local VAT. Having an exclusive taste has always been a little more expensive. Last but not least, a hint that might be decisive any interested buyer: the OZ9 (without magwell) is now on the IPSC Production Division list and there is nothing to prevent it from being used in the most popular IPSC Division.

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