CZ speaks with the best in the world

The CZ Shooting Team is an elite group of the world’s top shooters who were so thoroughly impressed with CZ, and the top-level performance of their firearms, that they joined forces. The team’s latest asset is Eric Grauffel, a living legend from France and multiple world champion in three IPSC divisions.

The value that Eric brings to CZ is not limited to participation in competitions, but also his extensive firearm knowledge and experience that has contributed to his domination of the planet’s most elite competitions.

How did you get into guns and sport shooting?

My dad introduced them to me when I was just a child. While he was in the army, he won a national championship and then established a shooting club with a few of his friends in 1975, I believe. He ended up presiding over it for about ten years.

When I was a kid, both of my parents worked. Since I never had a babysitter, I spent just about every weekend at the shooting range. I must have been about six, so I had access to guns and ammunition from an early age. I started shooting when I was about eight years old, so we can say that I’ve been around guns almost all of my life.

Eric Grauffel

When did you take up IPSC shooting?

I started competing consistently when I was about 15, so that’s around 25 years. Let’s say that in the world of professional shooting, I’m quite old. (laughing)

What do you consider to be your greatest success?

I would say that it’s got to be the champion titles I’ve won all over the world, some of which were won several times over. I believe it’s something that no one else has achieved yet, and I think it will take a while before anyone does.

What led you to collaborate with CZ? Where did it all begin?

Well, I’ve always had an excellent relationship with members of the CZ Shooting Team. We met at competitions all the time and became friends. I’ve known some of them since they were just little nippers. (laughing) I also got on very well with Team Leader Jakub Sondel. He would always come up to me and say: “Hey, who knows? You never know. One day. We’ll see…”. And then, I came up with a new project of building a shooting academy. Jakub heard about it, and in the end, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to create something bigger than just a training center. So on January 1st, 2019, I was invited to join the team.

How is your cooperation going with CZ?

We’ve been working together almost 2 years on the shooting academy in France that is just about to start construction finally With the opening of the academy, we’ll be able to make sport shooting more accessible to the broader public, and at the same time, promote this brilliant sport. We have a strong team of instructors in place, all of that will help us promote the brand, as well as the sport. What I want to say is that it’s not just a business venture; it’s much more than that.

I also have my own shop and team of people. We want to create new models, and I think we’re very good at it. We like to test and modify whatever we can. So, we cut things down, do a bit of upgrading here and there, and find alternative solutions. We improve the components, materials, and put the resulting model into production. For me, it’s important that other people can buy the same firearms I use. The models are not specifically made for particular shooters. They are customized but still accessible to everyone. I will also be involved in the development of a new gun for the Standard and Open divisions.

Working with such a renowned company, becoming part of such a great shooting team and participating in several projects is a lot to do all at the same time! It’s challenging, but at the same time, very exciting.

Eric Grauffel

In what aspect do you think CZ pistols are better than the competition?

 They’re all different. We can’t say the gun I use today is better than what I’ve used in the past. It’s as if you compared the success of Michael Schumacher when he was with Mercedes to whens he went over to Ferrari. Success is a combination of a driver and his equipment, which definitely plays a big part.

We’re on the top of the world when using CZ guns. We’re in the lead and losing is not an option. So, we have a great combination of the shooter and the equipment he or she has available. This makes for a win-win situation. When we have great guns and great shooters, it’s then just a matter of finding out which gun is best for each shooter.

What CZ guns do you currently own and which ones do you use for competition?

CZ guns? I have lots of them! From the P10 to the Czechmate Open race pistol for IPSC competitions, as well as different models from the Shadow 2 series – Standard, Optics-Ready, Orange and Tactical Sport. As a CZ team member, I have access to a wide range of CZ guns. I just need more hands to play with all of them!

I prefer the new models for competitions. For the production division, I use the CZ SHADOW 2 ORANGE with the new barrel bushing, which offers even better accuracy. I am also active in the other divisions, like Open, Production Optic, Production Optic Light, and of course Standard. As I’ve already mentioned – I’m unfortunately getting on a bit for this line of work, so I need a few tricks up my sleeve to stay sharp. (laughing)

What are your upcoming plans and immediate goals in the IPSC?

Shooting, I expect. I need to keep shooting. I’m also very competitive, so I need to shoot and compete. Shooting is like a drug for me. And regarding new goals – I don’t know yet. I’ve already achieved a lot. But the main goal for me is to keep taking part in the most important events and strive to be the best in the world. I’m still very competitive.