May 19, 2022
By Jeff John
A long history of quality firearm design has earned CZ a preeminent place among today’s arms makers. The success of the CZ polymer-frame P-10 full-size, compact and subcompact pistols continues with the introduction of the micro-compact P-10 M. This newest offering defines the mission for an even smaller class of 9mm pistol meant to be easily and deeply concealed, with few snag points during a draw. The P-10 M can do all the normal concealed-carry chores as well as home defense and especially backup.
The 7+1 shot P-10 M further shrinks CZ’s subcompact 12+1 shot P-10 S into an even lighter, shorter and narrower 9mm pistol. Being well-armed may require a secondary “insurance” pistol carried elsewhere on the body in case the primary fails or becomes disabled in the fight. Very light summer clothing may require a gun with fewer projections to be less obvious. These are roles the P-10 M fills nicely with its lightweight and simple, smooth skin while still being in a major caliber.
There are no external controls except for the magazine release and safety lever in the center of the trigger. The mag release is easy and natural to acquire and shaped to preclude unintended activation.
Without an external safety, takedown levers or slide release, the width of the pistol is only one inch. The slightly staggered seven-round magazine keeps the height down to 4.3 inches, and weight unloaded is only 20.1 ounces. Fully loaded weight with 7+1 rounds of Hornady 115-grain FTX on board is 23.4 ounces.
The low-profile sights are of the three-dot variety and treated to give off a green glow after exposure to light. The sight radius is a short 5.45 inches. Both sights are fitted into dovetails and locked in place from the top by a small Allen head setscrew. The front sight screw requires a 0.050-inch Allen wrench, and the rear sight a 1.5mm. Neither tool is included, but Brownells has them.
Initially sighted in at the factory, CZ suggests adjusting windage at the rear, and adjusting elevation by exchanging the front sight if necessary. The front sight blades are numbered by height.
Only the commonly found safety lever in the center of the trigger prevents accidental discharge, along with a slightly heavy pull-weight of seven pounds. The very large, squared-off trigger guard—a signature feature of the P-10 pistols—is present but looks a little funny on a deep concealment arm. Of the several “universal” holsters on hand, none would accept the pistol due to the trigger guard’s shape.
The trigger guard strap is narrow, and because the only external safety is on the face of the trigger, I believe a hard-shell plastic or form-fitted leather holster—and one without a retention strap of any kind—would be the safest holster to use rather than any of the soft leather or synthetic inside-the-waistband types popular for deep carry, especially when holstering.
Bullets are launched from a 3.19-inch cold-hammer-forged barrel. The slide serrations placed fore and aft provide ample slip-free purchase operating the slide. The barrel and slide are given a corrosion-resistant matte-black nitride finish.
Sharp, aggressive frame texturing on the front and backstraps provide a no-slip grip, but I found they became uncomfortable approaching the 75-round mark. At first I was hesitant to suggest modifying the texture. For me to shoot this gun well, a tight grip is necessary, and the sharp texture keeps the gun locked in my hand.
The texture is especially welcome in hot weather as the plastic got slippery with sweat during the last days of summer. But after several sessions, I believe reducing the sharpness will be advisable. The other choice is limiting practice sessions to just 50 or 60 rounds and stopping before the texturing imbues a memory of discomfort. The texture on the sides is not sharp, so it shouldn’t need smoothing to be holstered comfortably.
The pistol is striker-fired with a trigger of the reset type, and it gives a slightly audible “click” and then a louder secondary click when reset to fire again. That secondary pull feels crisper than if the trigger is allowed to return fully, but I otherwise can’t feel any difference in pull weight as I can with some similar triggers.
The magazine is a bit odd, being slightly staggered beginning one-third of the way down, holding seven rounds with a quarter-inch extension at the base. Inserted, it gives all three fingers’ purchase, but it can give the pinky quite a pinch during rapid mag changes, as I found to my distress. The good news is all seven rounds can be inserted by finger pressure alone.
The mag catch is unobtrusive yet easy to reach. The magazines rocket out even after locking the slide back, and the only way to lock the slide open is by firing the gun dry or inserting an empty mag and drawing the slide to the rear.
The mag catch is reversible and requires a T8 Torx tool to change. The tool is not included, but Brownells has the bit for its Magna-Tip screwdriver.
After inserting a fresh mag, a tug on the slide frees the slide stop to retract and allows the slide to go into battery. The magazine must be dropped slightly or removed to release the slide over an empty chamber, and the gun will fire with the magazine removed. Should a magazine stick, both the frame and magazine pad have matching scallops to give your thumb and forefinger purchase to pluck them out.
Since the slide needs a tug to return to battery, it’s a two-handed gun. In the event of injury, the rear sight has enough of a lip I could press it on the workbench edge enough to drop the slide stop. It was a little clumsy, and I couldn’t do it against my car’s steering wheel. The internal slide stop has its own return spring and will release the slide even with the pistol held upside down.
Don’t let familiarity breed carelessness! Before beginning the fieldstrip for cleaning, remove the magazine, and look to ensure the chamber is empty. Like most polymer pistols, the P-10 M requires you to pull the trigger before the slide can be removed.
After double-checking that the chamber is empty, squeeze the trigger, then pull back on the slide and hold it about a quarter-inch out of battery. Using a non-marring tool like a brass pin punch, press in on the pin protruding from the right side of the frame to start it. Push the pin out with the punch, being careful not to pop it onto the floor (like I frequently do).
Remove the pin punch and pull the slide off to the front. Press in on the recoil spring and lift it off the barrel at the rear. The spring is captured and won’t fly. Lift out the barrel and you’re ready to clean.
Reassemble in reverse order. Start the pin from the left side back into the frame with a few light taps from a light, non-marring hammer. Once started, only finger pressure is needed to press the pin flush with the frame. Cycle the pistol by hand a few times to ensure everything is in place.
The pistol was cleaned and lightly oiled before going to the range. Nothing heavy, just the factory preservative wiped away and the bore cleaned with good old Hoppes No. 9, then lightly lubed with G96 Synthetic CLP.
Chronographing came first. Depending on the load, cases ejected anywhere from three to six o’clock. As do are all CZ pistols, the P-10 M is rated for +P ammunition but not +P+. For me, the choice of ammo comes down to reliability and accuracy rather than power. It was moot during the ammo drought, since no +P was around, but it is comforting to know a wide range of ammo is acceptable.
Since this is a micro-compact rather than a service pistol, the accuracy test was fired at 15 yards. The best groups came when I kept a very tight grip throughout the string. Moving the target to 25 yards gave acceptable accuracy for such a small pistol. Four-shot groups were in the 2- to 3-inch range, but I kept getting a flyer pulling out the group another inch or so.
I returned the target to 15 yards and loaded six to see if there was a “first-shot syndrome” occurring. There wasn’t. I was able to see a couple of the flyers land from the middle of the magazine. It was me. I believe the aggressive texturing caused me to relax my hold once in a while.
The accuracy average in the chart is for five-shot groups at 15 yards. Among the four test loads, Hornady’s 115-grain FTX Critical Defense won the accuracy crown with a five-shot group of 1.25 inches at 15 yards. A flyer, the third round in that group of six, pulled that group out to 2.25 inches. This load was also the most controllable and comfortable of the rounds tested. The CCI Law Enforcement 115-grain Gold Dot was the snappiest load, with the SIG Sauer 124-grain jacketed hollowpoint and Hornady 135-grain Flex Tip Critical Duty in between.
The only malfunction over a couple of hundred rounds was one failure to feed at round three in the magazine with the SIG 124-grain JHP, which also had the widest hollowpoint. Here was the only time the peculiar nature of this gun came into play. The third round had jammed right into the feed ramp and a tug back on the slide didn’t free it to feed. Holding the slide back and depressing the mag button didn’t drop it free. Because of the lack of an external slide stop, the magazine had to be pulled down out of the gun. The grasping scallops on both sides of the frame and magazine came in handy here.
Being at the bench gave me leisure to see if I could deduce why the malfunction occurred, but I couldn’t. The round didn’t look damaged, so I just put the round back in the mag, recharged the gun and finished the group. No other failures of any kind occurred.
Since I didn’t get another malfunction—and couldn’t induce one—I have little real practice in clearing a problem. In a crisis, I think forcibly removing the magazine, reinserting a fresh one, and racking the slide would be the fastest way back into action. At home, to see if I could induce such a malfunction, I loaded a few spent cases into the magazine. Empty cases fed with no problem. Hmm….
All in all, the CZ P-10 M is a welcome addition to the many micro-compact 9mms on the market. The addition of a laser sight or flashlight would aid the home defense role. My house gun is a full-size pistol, but I like to also keep a smaller gun handy in other parts of the house. When working in the garage, where it is usually hot, having a small, light, discreet pistol easily hidden under light clothing is worthwhile since I like working with the big door open to the street. The P-10 M is one of the better candidates for all of these roles.
And if you're looking for a sight well-suited for the CZ P-10 M, try the Crimson Trace Rail Master Universal green laser sight.
CZ-USA P-10 M Specifications
- Type: Striker-fired semiauto
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Capacity: 7+1
- Barrel: 3.19 in.
- OAL/Height/Width: 6.3/4.3/1.0 in.
- Weight: 20.1 oz.
- Construction: Black matte nitride slide and barrel, polymer frame
- Sights: 3-Dot phosphorescent
- Trigger Pull: 7 lb.
- Safety: Trigger lever
- Price: $499
- Manufacturer: CZ-USA, cz-usa.com