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Wizard of Oz: Zev Tech’s OZ-9 Compact Pistol

Zev Tech's OZ-9 Compact Offers a Modular Solution for Your Carry Pistol

Photos by Niccole Elizabeth

As the aftermarket for defensive pistols continues to evolve at exponential rates, stock pistols are more blank slate than finished product for savvy consumers. In response, equally savvy manufacturers are becoming more aggressive with their out-of-the-box offerings. Frame texturing, slide cuts, optics mounts, and grip chops — formerly the purview of artisan gunsmiths — are now available as built-in, OEM features. But the universal problem with pistol modifications of any kind is that they become permanent fixtures to the gun. In most cases, undoing or redoing a particular change to a frame or slide is all but impossible. Many a shooter has spent hard-earned coin on a suite of upgrades only to sell or trade away the prized custom blaster after their needs or wants change along the way.

Zev Technologies has been a staple brand in the Glock aftermarket for longer than most. Last year, its years of experience in aftermarket upgrades culminated in the release of its first original pistol offering — the OZ-9. Succinctly named, the Original Zev 9mm might look like any number of customized factory guns found elsewhere in the market. But the OZ-9 is much more than a cut-up version of Herr Gaston’s Austrian brainchild. Recently, Zev released the more carry-friendly OZ-9 compact.


The most prominent feature of the OZ-9 series is what Zev calls the internal steel receiver. This is a drop-in, all-metal chassis that includes a Picatinny accessory rail, frame rails, and housing for trigger internals. The internal receiver on our test sample came finished in black Diamond Like Carbon (DLC). DLC is a physical vapor deposition (PVD) surface coating that offers increased dry lubricity and hardness, making it a popular option for firearms components that see a heavy degree of mechanical wear and tear. Zev offers several lengths of slide, barrel, and frame for this system. Best of all, the chassis is removable from the frame by knocking out a single pin just above the end of the trigger guard. That’s the good news.

The catch is that the OZ-9 and OZ-9C use two slightly different-sized internal receivers, making parts compatibility a little dicey right now. We traded several emails and phone calls with Zev to make sure we got this right. At time of writing, here’s what we know: the OZ-9 specs are based on Zev’s Gen 3 products. The full-size OZ-9 chassis will accept Zev’s Z17 and Z34 slides and barrels, but the OZ-9C will not. Both the full-sized and compact receivers will accept Zev OZ-9 grip frames. The trigger and internals on both receivers were modeled on Zev’s Gen 3 parts, except for the mag release which is Gen 4 style.

By the time you read this, the gun industry will be ramping up for SHOT Show 2020. Zev Technologies is aware of the gaps in modularity and assures us that a number of additional OZ-9 series components will be released to supplement what’s already available.

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The OZ-9C’s grip frame offers trigger guard undercuts, a magwell and front strap relief cut as standard fare.

For those considering the OZ-9 as a foundation for franken-builds, Zev advises, “We designed both the OZ-9 and OZ-9C to work with only ZEV parts. We understand that people are going to try and mix and match, but we don’t recommend or warranty that.” So tinker to the extent of whatever loss your wallet can handle, and do so at your own risk.

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