Ergonomics. You’ve probably come across this term many times in the past, but what exactly is it and why should you care? Is it just a marketing buzz word or does it bring real benefits? Simply put, it’s an area of science that focuses on the design of a product, system or environment that’s optimized for humans and their specific anatomical abilities and limitations. But it’s interesting to note that advanced ergonomics is not necessarily something you “see”. It’s something you “feel”.
Ergonomics in firearm design
When speaking about firearms, a well-executed ergonomic design maximizes comfort, increases efficiency, improves handling and optimizes operations with the gun. All factors that, in the end, help users shoot more accurately on a more consistent basis.
Many areas of the firearm are optimized during the ergonomic design process, but not all are noticed at first glance. The angle and contour of the grip. Textured surfaces for reducing slippage and increasing hand/finger traction. Positioning and shape of controls. Dimensions and shape of the frame. Distribution and balancing of mass. Although not a comprehensive list, these ergonomic refinements work together to ensure the firearm is as user-friendly and comfortable as possible before, during and after firing.
A constantly evolving science
Impressive advances in ergonomics have been made over the years, with CZ among the leading manufacturers propelling ergonomic firearm design to higher levels of sophistication. With their legendary CZ 75 as one of the most comfortable and user-friendly pistols on the world market, CZ already sits at the top of the ergonomics hill. But not content to rest on its past accomplishments, CZ continues improving and refining the ergonomic design of its firearms.
Birth of CZ’s DiFEND method
When CZ started work on a new, short firearm in 2015, they wanted it to have the very best ergonomic design on the world market. To achieve this goal, top designers from CZ teamed up with the Regional Technical Institute, which is part of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the prestigious University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Their joint mission was to develop a unique, highly advanced methodology for the ergonomic design of this new firearm, which was in fact, a pistol.
The result of their work led to creation of the “DiFEND” method (Digital Firearm Ergonomic Design). DiFEND is a one-of-a-kind methodology that combines the use of software tools, sophisticated measuring devices and a multitude of modern approaches to produce firearm designs that excel in every ergonomic area. From grip angle and contour to placement of controls, balance of mass and frame finishing, to name just a few.
Diving deep into ergonomic modeling using NASA approved tools
The core of DiFEND methodology is the use of highly advanced ergonomic software tools that were originally developed for use by NASA (US National Aeronautics and Space Administration). This unique software utilizes a digital human model (DHM), which allows the firearm design to be tested and verified in a virtual reality environment.
The DHM within the software is biometrically accurate, which means its gender, height, weight, reach, and other body part dimensions can be fully adjusted to account for many types of people. The DHM also allows for anthropometric adjustments according to different types of populations – European, North American, Asian, etc. – for even further customization of the ergonomic design.
Additional areas within the DiFEND methodology include verification and measurement of other prototype parameters. These include use of a high-speed camera, strain gauge glove, and more, for ensuring accurate and ergonomically viable firearm designs for specific target groups, such as the armed forces, sport shooters, etc.
Designs that transcend borders
By implementing biometrics and anthropometrics into the design process, together with full testing within virtual reality, CZ is able to create firearms that are optimized for a wide range of users across different areas of the world.
Let your hands discover the value of an optimized ergonomic design
Hold, handle and operate a CZ firearm at your local gun store or CZ distribution point today to discover how far ergonomics has come in the design of firearms. With CZ’s DiFEND method, seeing is not believing. Feeling is.