A Review of the TriStar C-100
A while back I was looking at 9mm CZ-75 compacts, but at over $500, the price was a little prohibitive. Looking at similar guns and clones, I found the TriStar 9mm C-100; a clone of the CZ 75 compact made in Turkey by Canik. It seemed fairly well rated online, and it was only $340. I thought, "Oh well, I can shoot it a while, and if I don't like it, I can always sell it and buy a CZ later." That was two years and several hundred rounds ago, and I must say that I am still impressed by the C-100. If the CZ is better than this clone, it must be a heck of a gun.
Action DA/SA (without decocker)
Frame Aluminum Cerakote
Slide Steel Cerakote
Grips Black plastic
Barrel 3.9 in, six-groove, 1:18" RH twist
Capacity 15 rounds
O.A.L. 7.2 in
Height 5 in
Width 1.37 in
Weight 24.48 oz (unloaded)
Trigger SA/4 lb, DA/12 lb
Fit and Finish:
This was one of the first things I noticed about the C-100. Straight out of the box, I noticed that the gun was covered in a light oil like 3-in-1 that wiped off easily; not thick stuff like Cosmoline that I've gotten on other guns from that part of the world. The action was smooth as silk, and takedown took about ten seconds. The inside was coated in the same light oil, and cleaned easily with some paper towel, a few Q-tips, and a patch through the barrel. Usually when I clean a cheaper gun, paper towel and Q-tips catch on burrs and imperfections, but the inside of the C-100 was nice and smooth. The machined parts all fit perfectly together, and the mechanical parts all functioned without any grit.
The aluminum frame and steel slide of the 9mm model were both satin black Cerakote, and fit together nice and tight. The only thing I didn't like was the plastic grips, and that is just for personal reasons. They were perfectly fine, but I tend to prefer either wood or aluminum. For overall fit and finish I would rate the 9mm C-100 at 5/5 on a scale of 0 5.
From the very first round I put through the C-100 until the present, I have had zero failures to feed, zero failures to fire, and zero failures to eject. I have fed nearly everything through it: a variety of dirty surplus steel, steel Tula, Aluminum, Brass, RN FMJ, RNFP, and JHP. It is probably the best feeding gun I have ever owned. The sights are fixed blade 3-dot snag free sights that are good and wide, and pretty accurate. The slide grip is a little thin (as are the CZ's and other clones), but easy enough to rack. The grip is easy to hang onto, and the low bore axis makes it a pleasure to shoot. Takedown and cleaning is as simple as pushing the slide back slightly and popping the slide stop out with your finger; and reassembly is just as easy. I'd rate the function 5/5.
It took me a little time to adjust to the width of a double-stack from that of my 1911, but soon enough I realized that this pistol was very accurate. I'm usually not that great with a pistol, but with the C-100 I can regularly put 15 rounds in a 2 inch group at 30 feet. I tend to put rounds a little low and to the left with the fixed sights, but the precision of the pistol typically produces tight groups. I'd rate the accuracy of the pistol at 5/5.
Parts and Accessories:
There doesn't seem to be a great deal of upgrades and accessories available for the C-100 on the open market. There does seem to be an availability of parts though. TriStar USA does not have a parts list you can order from on their website, but it does say to contact them for spare parts. So far I have not had to order anything, but I've read that you can get most parts from them. There are very few places that sell C-100 parts, but there are a number of parts that are compatible with CZ. From everything I have read the TriStar C-100 will use the following CZ 75 compact parts: magazine, magazine brake, main spring, trigger, trigger pin, trigger spring, trigger bar lifter spring, magazine release spring, main spring plug, and slide stop. Cajun Gun Works also sells a variety of parts for the TriStars. CZ 75 compact aluminum and polymer grips will also fit the C-100. Although I've not tried them, rumor has it that the wood grips from a CZ are just different enough that they won't fit a TriStar without modification. If you want wood grips, though, CGW sells them on their website. This lack of available upgrades and the hoops that you must jump through to get spare parts causes me to rate the parts and accessories for the C-100 at 3/5.
The TriStar C-100 is an exceptional gun for the price. It is accurate, functions well, and is good looking. It is big enough to shoot well, but not so large that it can't be carried concealed; although if I were going to carry concealed, I would purchase a flat-bottom CZ compact 14 round magazine to avoid the extra length of the finger rest. It's a tough little gun that (at least in my case) always works. I use mine for a nightstand home defense pistol, and I completely trust it to work when I want it to. If it weren't for the difficulty in obtaining parts and upgrades I would rate it 5/5 overall. As it is, I have to give it an overall score of 4.5/5.