Thursday, May 28, 2015

CZ P-09 Initial Review

Several years ago I had a CZ-85 Combat in 9mm, but it had some issues related to the slide stop and also its grip was too large for my hand. I wound up trading it off. However, I retained a desire to own a CZ handgun, and two nights ago I came home with one of CZ's newer polymer-framed models, a P-09 Duty. Price was $566 OTD.

CZ introduced the compact P-07 a few years ago, and the P-09 a couple years later. Both combine a CZ-75 type mechanism with a more modern polymer frame. This allowed CZ to cram large magazine capacities into slim grips. In 9mm, the P-07 has a 16 round mag, while the P-09 holds 19 in its flush fit magazine.

The P-09 came in a plastic case with a test target, manual, warranty info, cleaning brush, cleaning rod with patch loop, two magazines, a gun lock, replacement back straps, and safety.

As configured from the factory, the P-09 is a DA/SA design with a decocker. However, by replacing the decocker with the safety, the gun can be carried cocked and locked, like a 1911 or Browning High Power. If configured with the safety, you can also carry the gun hammer down on a loaded chamber, but you have to manually lower the hammer to do so. Both sets of controls are rather flat. I don't think this is a problem with the decocker but if I was using the safety, I'd want it to stick out a little more for a better purchase. I'll stick with the decocker.

The interchangeable backstraps allow you to modify the size of the grip to better fit your hand. Mine came with the Small backstrap installed, which I will leave in place.

Like many modern designs, the P-09 sports an M-1913 Picatinny rail under the frame in front of the trigger guard. I'm planning to mount a light there.

The P-09 is pretty thin at a ~1.5" thick, but the height (~5.8") and length (~8.1") make it a full size pistol. It weighs 27.35 oz. unloaded without a magazine.

The sights are typical modern service pistol sights: fixed, well-defined, and have a three-dot pattern. The dots are actually photo-luminescent paint and will glow in the dark if charged by exposing them to light. To me this is a gimmicky substitute for tritium night sights or even fiber optics. I may swap out the front sight for a FO unit.

The DA trigger has a long, creepy takeup but feels less than 10 pounds (I don't have a trigger scale). The SA pull also has some creep and is probably around 5 pounds. Not great but not horrible for a new gun. It will smooth up with use, and I won't think of replacing any parts or doing a trigger job until the gun has a minimum of 500 rounds through it.

For a person like myself with small hands, the P-09 has a very ergonomic grip. The trigger reach is short enough that I can get the pad of my index finger fully on the trigger without stretching. Also, the decocker (or safety if it's installed) are both ambidextrous, and the magazine catch can be reversed for lefties. Even though I'm a southpaw, I'm leaving the mag catch as-is. Long ago I learned to use the middle finger of my left hand for mag catches.

The back of the grip has a nice beavertail that spreads recoil out across the web of your hand.

Before I shoot a new gun for the first time I always field strip it. This is to ensure that everything inside is in good shape, that it's properly lubricated, and it's a good way to familiarize yourself with a new gun. After getting the P-09 home last night I took it out to my shop and following the instruction manual, took it down. Takedown is simple, similar to that of a Browning High Power. The slide stop is still a bit stiff coming out so I needed to use a dowel to get it started. The other things of note were that the gun was bone-dry, and that the recoil spring is captured on its guide rod, so removing and reinstalling it was a snap. After oiling the gun with FP-10 and running a patch through the bore, it went back together easily.

Yesterday I took the P-09 to Langhorne Rod and Gun Club and put 125 rounds of Herter's 9mm 115 FMJ through it. The Herter's ammo was made in the Czech Republic by Sellier & Bellot for Cabela's, so it was only fitting to use it in the CZ.

The magazine springs are very stiff, so I was glad that I had my Butler Creek MagLULA with me. (Seriously, don't leave home without one if you're shooting an autoloader with a double stack magazine.) Getting the 19th round in was very hard, so I called it good at 18. After the mags see some more use I suspect they'll get a bit easier to load.

Accuracy was good. At 10 yards I was able to keep most of my shots inside of a ~3.5" hole, except for called flyers caused by me. There were no malfunctions.

The first 36 shots:

89 more shots:

CZ autoloaders have relatively low bore lines, so muzzle flip wasn't bad at all. And, even though the gun is fairly light, recoil was mild.

Today provided a good test of the P-09's grip stippling. It was hot and humid, so my hands were sweaty. Despite this, I had no problems hanging onto the gun.

With only 125 rounds through the gun so far, it's not even broken in or proven. However, my initial impression is VERY favorable. The reviews I've found online by actual owners have all been favorable, so I'm expecting that I'll remain pleased with it. The CZ P-09 looks like a good choice for range duty and home defense. If I was buying a similar pistol with concealed carry in mind, I'd look to the smaller CZ P-07. That said, one should be able to CCW a P-09 with a good holster, gun belt, and cover garment.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this, and I know Paul would have loved it and discussed it intelligently with you, but I can only say I picked up some good tips. I was impressed with the things that came with the gun for that price, too.

Dave Markowitz said...

I put another 100 rounds through the CZ tonight, and as expected the gun ate them all without a hitch. The more I handle and shoot it, the more I like it.

I also got to shoot a SIG 320, which is a nice pistol, but I prefer the CZ due to its lower bore axis.

Unknown said...

Nice review. I'm picking mine up today. Can't wait to shoot it!

Dave Markowitz said...

Thanks. I'm sure that you'll like it.

Anonymous said...

Good review. I am a long time Beretta fanboy and have been seeing so much about CZs, I figured I needed to try one. I picked up the P09 last week and instantly fell in love with it. I shot better with it right out of the box than I did with my PX4 Storm, which I've had for some time. That says it all right there. For the first time, other than with my rimfire, I didn't once feel the urge to get closer than 25 yards.

Angus said...

I have been a LONG TIME Beretta fanboy and on a whim, decided to give a CZ P09 a shot and HOLY COW! I usd my Beretta 96A1 to pay for the CZ and haven't regretted it one bit. I've been carrying this for a couple of months and am now considering a P07 to replace my PX4 Storm. if I traveled back in time one year to tel my tear younger self this, my year younger self would probably beat my ass. I think I'm now a CZ fanboy.