August 21, 2019
By Brad Fitzpatrick
Since CZ-USA opened its doors in 1997, the company has steadily increased the number of firearms offerings available to American shooters, a list that now includes everything from sleek semiauto carbines to classically styled side-by-side shotguns. In 2017, the company rounded out its firearms portfolio by releasing its first striker-fired semiauto pistol, the P-10 C.
As the “C” in the name implies, the P-10 C is a compact handgun outfitted with a 4.02-inch barrel and a double-stack magazine and was designed to compete with the Glock 19, Walther PPQ and the Springfield Armory XD. The “C” also hinted at the fact CZ planned to offer the P-10 in other sizes, so it should have been no surprise when the company added a subcompact version, the P-10 S with a 3.5-inch barrel, and a full-size model, the P-10 F, which sports a 4.5-inch pipe.
In addition, CZ launched optics-ready versions of the S, C and F versions of the P-10, all of which are equipped with plates that allow the shooter to quickly and easily mount popular reflex pistol sights like Leupold’s DeltaPoint Pro and Trijicon’s RMR.
Striker-fired guns are new to CZ, but the new P-10 F Optics Ready I tested was built right here in the United States—as are the standard P-10 S guns.
This is a big step for the company, so Handguns talked to Jason Morton, CZ-USA’s vice president of marketing, about it. Morton said there are some big advantages to building guns here.
“More security for one thing,” he said. “This way you don’t have import restrictions to deal with. And by building guns here, it also gives us access to federal government contracts as well as state and local law enforcement contracts. Plus, it lets us cater products to the U.S. market and not have to worry about the worldwide market.”
(Ed. note: At press time we learned that CZ-USA was moving operations, including its headquarters, to Arkansas.)
Morton said the P-10 was the logical place to start: “The pistol has high consumer market potential as well as high law enforcement potential.”
The P-10 F Optics-Ready features a fiber-reinforced polymer grip and a machined steel slide with a black nitride finish. The attention to detail is impressive. Field-strip the gun and you’ll find the interior of the slide is free from ugly machine marks. The feed ramp comes polished from the factory, and there’s no slop in the frame-to-slide fit.
The gun is tight but smooth, and the slide features beveled corners that widen from the rear of the slide to the front. The P-10 F Optics-Ready comes with front and rear slide serrations that are deep and sharply angled, and there’s a beefy extractor on the right side of the slide that bites down on the cartridge case to ensure reliable function.
The rear serrated combat sight is dovetailed in place and features a tactical shelf that, while not as pronounced as those found on other duty/combat pistols, functions for one-handed cycling. The front tritium night sight is pinned, and in low light it produces a green glow that’s easy to see.
Just ahead of the rear sight is a removable plate that’s held in place by two screws, and when the plate is removed, it reveals the cutout base that allows for optics installation. The cover plate features checkering that corresponds to the slide serrations, and the plate fits seamlessly onto the slide when no optic is installed.
CZ’s engineering team has done a good job designing the P-10 F’s full-size polymer frame. The grip itself is long enough to accommodate CZ’s 19-round double-stack magazines and the largest hands.
The grip angle is reminiscent of the CZ 75, and the angle promotes a high hand hold that naturally seats the hand in the proper position. There’s also a pronounced undercut behind the trigger guard, and together these features elevate the hand on the gun. The trigger guard features a flat-front design, and there’s plenty of space inside the guard for shooting when wearing gloves.
CZ includes three different interchangeable polymer backstraps. Swapping the backstraps requires knocking out a pin near the base of the grip, allowing the inserted grip to slide out so it can be replaced. A slight palm swell helps fill the hand for improved comfort and better control when firing. There’s no doubt the texturing on the grip was designed to keep this pistol planted, although it might be too aggressive for some shooters.
I fired the pistol more than 200 times without gloves and didn’t find it too abusive, but if you’re adverse to the bite of the texturing, you can easily remedy the issue by adding a slip-on grip cover or with sandpaper.
An accessory rail under the barrel allows you to add additional optics or lights.
The P-10’s controls are straightforward and consist of a relatively large, serrated slide stop; a trapezoidal magazine release button; and a takedown plate with serrated extensions protruding through the frame. The slide stop is ambidextrous, and the magazine release can be swapped from the left side to the right side. This means the P-10 F is ideal for both right- and left-handed shooters. There is no manual safety, but there are passive firing pin block and trigger safeties.
The P-10’s rear sight is windage adjustable by loosening a screw in the top of the unit and then drifting the sight right or left in the dovetail, and the front sight can also be replaced with taller or shorter models to adjust for elevation. The sights that are included on the gun are not designed to co-witness with the red dot sight.
Takedown is similar to other striker-fired guns in the class. With the magazine removed and no ammunition in the chamber, the trigger is pulled and the slide pressed rearward less than 5mm to relieve pressure. This allows the takedown plate to be lowered by pinching and pulling down on the extensions so the slide assembly can slide forward and be removed.
CZ’s striker-fired semiautos have some of the best triggers in this market, and the trigger on the P-10 F Optics–Ready is no exception. The partially cocked double-action trigger comes with a bladed safety and a rather straight profile with a rather wide and slightly rounded trigger face.
Initial take-up is smooth and stack-free, and when trigger tension increases, all that’s required to release the striker is a short, firm press. There’s also a very short tactile and audible reset. The trigger pull on the gun I tested averaged 5.3 pounds for 10 pulls.
With its 4.5-inch barrel the P-10 F Optics–Ready is similar in size to other full-size striker-fired 9mm pistols like the Glock 17 and Springfield XD(m). The P-10 F’s overall length is right around eight inches, and the height is 5.8 inches from the base of the magazine pad to the top of the slide. At its widest point the CZ measures just over 1.2 inches, and unloaded weight was 28.4 ounces. Sight radius is just over seven inches, and length of pull from the top of the grip to the face of the trigger is 2.7 inches.
I removed the P-10’s cover plate and mounted a Trijicon RMR reflex sight on the provided mounting plate. The plate is held to the slide by two screws, and the sight fits on the plate and is held in place by two additional screws and posts that are machined onto the plate and fit into the body of the RMR.
Both the Trijicon and CZ designs are well machined and durable, and throughout the test the optic never loosened or changed zero. The RMR is very light, and with the optic in place the total weight of the unloaded P-10 F was just 29.5 ounces. In addition, the reflex sight still functions in many standard P-10 F holsters without modification.
You’d expect a full-size pistol with a quality reflex sight to produce good groups at 25 yards, and the CZ did not disappoint. Of the five loads tested, three generated groups in the 1.75-inch range when fired from a Caldwell pistol rest, certainly better than is possible with most pistols using standard iron sights. Bench-rest accuracy is excellent, in part because of the P-10 F’s good trigger.
Off the bench the CZ really shines. The grip angle naturally positions the shooter’s hand to secure the gun and absorb recoil. There’s no excessive muzzle flip, and once you learn to feel for the trigger reset, firing fast double-taps and mag dumps was simply a matter of realigning the RMR’s iron sight and pressing the trigger.
Early in the test the slide locked open a handful of times after firing, so I pulled the gun apart and cleaned and lubricated it. The problem occurred once more before the next magazine was empty, but after that it disappeared and the CZ ran through the next 150 or so rounds without a blemish. I suspect it was part of the breaking-in process, which wouldn’t surprise me since the CZ has a rather tight finish from the factory.
Aside from that there were no issues with failures to feed, chamber, extract or eject. After the test was complete, I removed the RMR and fired the remaining ammunition—perhaps three full magazines of assorted 9mm leftovers—through the CZ without any problems.
Most Optics–Ready buyers have at least some intention of mounting a reflex sight on their guns, so it would have been easy for CZ to offer basic iron sights on this gun, but to its credit, the P-10 F comes with great factory sights. The front tritium globe glows like a green halo that is visible in any light conditions, and the back sight is functional and sturdy.
I’m also a fan of the beveled slide edges that reduce the odds this gun will print under clothing. They shave off a bit of weight, and they give the gun a streamlined, classy look.
The checkering on the sides and top of the cover plate allow for a firm grip when conducting an overhand slide release, and the magazines are robust and durable, dropping free when the release is pressed, even when they are grimy from a full day of shooting.
The numbered holes in the rear of the magazine actually line up with the corresponding cartridges within, and the bright orange follower is easy to see.
There’s a lot to like about the CZ, but does it stand out in the ultra-competitive striker-fired market? I think so. For starters, it has one of the top factory triggers in this segment and exceptionally good balance and construction. The black nitride finish on the slide and the barrel is tough and will stand up to abuse, and the iron sights are well designed—although I wish they were tall enough to use with a reflex sight in place. With a suggested retail price of $590, the CZ is also less expensive than optics-ready rivals like the Glock 17 MOS or the SIG P320-M17.
The most obvious calling for the P-10 F Optics–Ready is as a duty or competition gun, but even if you’re neither a law enforcement officer nor a competition shooter, you can still appreciate all this gun has to offer. With the reflex sight in place, you can add a powerful tactical light on the rail, and the 19+1 capacity makes the P-10 F a formidable bedside gun.
Yes, the striker-fired pistol market is crowded, but guns like the P-10 F Optics–Ready certainly stand up to the toughest competition. CZ did its homework, and this American-built 9mm is worth a long look of you’re in the market for an optics-ready pistol.
CZ P-10 F OPTICS-READY SPECIFICATIONS
TYPE: striker-fired semiauto
CALIBER: 9mm Luger
CAPACITY: 19+1 (as tested)
BARREL: 4.5 in.
OAL/HEIGHT/WIDTH: 8/5.8/1.3 in.
WEIGHT: 28.4 oz. (no optic)
CONSTRUCTION: black nitride-finished steel slide, fiber-reinforced polymer frame
TRIGGER: 5.1 lb. pull (measured)
SIGHTS: windage-adjustable black serrated rear, tritium front post; plates for Trijicon RMR, Leupold DeltaPoint Pro plus blank plate
MANUFACTURER: CZ-USA, cz-usa.com