CZ P-01 Review

A little backstory: Carried a G19 every day for 3 years. The 19 is the right amount of gun (for the imaginary gunfights?) and I shot it pretty OK. I competed with it and trained with it but I was never in love with it. I carried inside the waistband (IWB) at 4 o’clock and my 155lb/5’10” frame didn’t hide the 19 well when just wearing a t-shirt. Add to that the fact that when wearing a hoodie, a zipped up jacket, etc., the 4 o’clock position is hard to get to, I wanted to go appendix inside the waistband (AIWB). For AIWB I wanted a DA/SA for the heavy first pull and the ability to thumb the hammer on the way into the holster.

I’d always been interested in P-07’s and went in search of one. The only shop I knew carrying CZ’s was fresh out, but had a P-01 to rent. I rented the gun, and the rest is history…. Or still the future for those reading this.

After looking for a few months I ordered a P-01 and paid full retail even though I’m an FFL with distributors who carry CZ. Turns out CZ firearms are de facto permanently out of stock. Harder to find than an anti-war Democrat. Or a fiscally conservative Republican. Or a Libertarian that knows his Party’s platform. I digress.

I received the gun December 12, 2016 and checked for chamber obstructions and cleaned off the gunk the gun is sent in from the factory (is this an SKS?). I’ve read many reviews that talk about how excellent CZ’s machining and finishes are. I have no idea what pistols they are looking at. The P-01 is aluminum framed, so CZ doesn’t even finish inside the dust cover. The slide serrations are odd and the front are cut differently than the rear but they work very well. Also, the finish on the barrel is wearing off in a very uneven manner. After just over a month of holster duty the polycoat finish is polished in high wear areas. With all that out of the way, I couldn’t care less about perfect machining or finish. There are a billion 1911’s out there with incredible machining and finishes that may or may not run worth a damn. Spoiler alert: this gun runs.

Zero malfunctions the first outing of 250 rounds shot. Throughout this test, a high percentage of the rounds through the gun were decocked, double action shots. I set out to attack the DA/SA learning curve which was oddly enough very easy. The internet was telling me it wouldn’t be possible to shoot a DA/SA pistol well. They said it would be comparable in difficulty to a reality TV star winning the presidency. Anyway, the DA pull isn’t bad. After the first 250 rounds I took the gun back into my shop and began taking it down all the way. Polished the sear, trigger bar, disconnector, and firing pin block. Changed the sear angle a bit, too.
Stock: SA 5.5lbs DA 11.5lbs
After: SA 4lbs DA 11lbs

Speaking of the trigger, both Cajun Gun Works and CZ Custom shop have every part you’ll ever need. These guns are infinite in the ways you can adjust the trigger to your liking. Reset, length of pull, weight, break, takeup, overtravel, trigger profile, everything. The only thing left to figure out is how to make the decocker decock more. The factory trigger is shootable, but not fantastic by any measure. Fairly smooth, but some polishing will make it very smooth. My trigger job is great, but it won’t get you a crisp break unless you change at least the hammer hooks, which I’m yet to delve into. The engagement surface on the sear and hammer are nice and wide from the factory, making it no accident when the gun goes off in SA while keeping the trigger very shootable. I’ll be ordering CGW parts in the future anyway. Maybe I can design a decocker for them with more decock.

Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve put another 500 rounds through the pistol, for a total of 750. Mix of American Eagle 115 and Blazer Brass 124. The gun runs Speer Gold Dot 115GR HP’s flawlessly. It’s mostly been draw, shoot DA, decock and put away, or continue shooting a few in single action. Speaking of accuracy, pistols being more or less accurate is a distraction. Pistols are so tough to shoot well that what people mean by pistol accuracy is how inherently shootable they are due to factors like grip, sights, trigger, overall feel, recoil. Most pistols will shoot better than you. I’ll give you an accuracy “data point” (you can’t escape Nutnfancy’s effect on our community) anyway, below.

Accuracy: 2″x3.5″ business card, 10 rounds, 10 yards, freestanding (flyer my fault):

 

750 rounds with no cleaning:

Like I’ve already said, this pistol is extremely easy to shoot well. I can’t stress that enough. I had to have one because of how quickly I was shooting it as well as I shot my G19, how the pistol melts into your hand, and the fact that I was looking for a DA/SA pistol because I decided to start appendix carrying. Side note: compared to the G19, I went up 6 oz of carry weight. Haven’t regretted it yet. In regards to dimensions, the pistol is effectively the same height and length as a G19 and a little wider.

I’ve had one malfunction with this pistol during my testing and I have one gripe. The factory 14 round magazines can get “jammed” when loading. This usually results in it being tough to get the 14th round into the mag which is fixed by pushing the cartridges in the mag down and releasing them. This seems to correct an issue with the rounds being incorrectly staggered. The one malfunction I had was because of this issue. The magazine spat two live rounds out during firing. No other malfunctions were had. I would suggest being mindful when loading these magazines. It is important to note that this issue has only come up with the factory CZ magazines with the rubber baseplates. My Mec-Gar mags for this pistol have not had this problem. Note that the Mec-Gar mags do not have a rubber baseplate and therefore are approximately 5/32″ shorter.

Factory mags:

Mec-Gar CZ75 Compact 14rd magazines can be found at MidwayUSA ($22):

My conclusion is this: buy this pistol if you can find it. Is that biased? Of course! We’re human beings with a subjective viewpoint based off of our narrow experiences gathered while hurling through space on a rock circling a ball of nuclear fusion. Really though, this is a great pistol and has quickly become my favorite. For summer carry due to my size I may buy a RAMI BD in keeping with the same manual of arms as the P-01.

By the way, if you’re curious about the reliability of this gun, check out the concentration camp level torture testing carried out on it and read about why the pistol has a NATO stock number:
CZ P-01 gets NATO approval. The next Generation of perfect pistols – CZ-USA

Geek specs:
Caliber: 9MM
Mag Capacity: 14+1
Barrel: 3.8″ CHF
Action: Semi Auto DA/SA w/ Decocker Only
Material: Aluminum Frame / Steel slide
Origin: Czech Republic
Weight: 28oz
Height: 5.03″
Length: 7.2″
Width: 1.38″

And before I leave you with gratuitous gun porn, like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, and send me your guns when they break:
IG: @lightningworksllc
FB: Lightning Works LLC – Licensed FFL

Eric Ravak
Lightning Works LLC
lightninggunworks@gmail.com
lightningworksllc.com

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