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Looking over the new catalog from CZ-USA, it doesn't take much to figure out why this company's handguns are so popular. Based on the trusted CZ 75 design, presently CZ lists more than two dozen variations chambered for the 9mm, 40 S&W and the .45 ACP.

With a history that dates back to around 1919, this Czech company started out with a modest undertaking called the Fox pistol. In 1923, it hit it big by supplying the Czech Army with not only pistols and rifles but also motorcycles, bicycles and even artillery pieces. The firm is also credited with designing the ZB-26 machine gun, the Bren gun and the Model 58 rifle. But it was the CZ-75, introduced in 1975, that gave the company a higher profile and increased sales in the United States.

CZ now has a Custom Shop that produces guns complete with all the sight, trim and trigger options. Combat guns are a big part of the line as is a Tactical gun made from the ground up for IPSC competitions. New this year are select models available with the Crimson Trace grips, and one that caught my eye was the CZ P-01, chambered only for the 9mm cartridge.

The P-01 has a Commander-type hammer spur and tritium three-dot sights. The rear sight is drift-adjustable for windage.

With a footprint that will just cover a 5x7 photographic print, this gun has a steel slide with a forged aircraft grade aluminum alloy frame. With this combination, the gun balances just right in the hand, particularly when the pistol is fully loaded.

The CZ P-01 features a light rail with a single crosscut on the bottom of the frame.

The slide has front and back serrations for easy cocking or checking for a loaded chamber. (For those looking for extra security or confirmation of a loaded gun, a loaded chamber indicator is available at extra cost.)


Manufacturer CZ-USA,, 800-955-4486
Type recoil-operated semiauto
Caliber 9mm
Capacity 14
Barrel Length 3.8 in.
Overall Length 17.2 inches
Weight 1.7 lbs.
Sights three dot tritium
Trigger single action/double action with decocker
Grips checkered polymer
Frame optional Crimson Trace Lasergrips, loaded-chamber indicator. Comes with extra magazine plactic hard case and five snap caps.
Overall Height 5.3 in.
Price $825

I'm an average guy with average hands, and what I really like about this compact gun is that it fits perfectly in my hand. The P-01 has an arched rear mainspring housing and is available with Crimson Trace LaserGrips, a combination that suits my shooting style, especially if I need to get into a defensive mode quickly.

All the more prominent features of the gun are rounded off for concealed carry, and the squared-off trigger guard is oversized for gloved hands.

Even if you don't purchase the gun with the Crimson Trace option, you'll find the front and rear strap of the pi

stol grip are serrated vertically for extra holding power. There is a rakish beavertail extension for keeping the gun at bay when firing and an extension on the magazine to keep all your fingers on the gun for control. The butt features a lanyard loop.

The P-01's light alloy frame is well detailed and finished in CZ's proprietary black polycoat. All the gun's corners are rounded, and the trigger guard is somewhat oversized to accommodate shooting with gloves. The front of the guard is squared and checkered. The rest of the guard is smooth and contoured for a more comfortable hold, especially at the grip frame and guard juncture.



Hornady FMJ/strong> 100 1,184 12 3.00
Remington JHP 115 1,148 9 2.75
Federal FMJ 123 1,1015 11 2.50
Notes: Velocity recorded 10 feet from the muzzle with a Shooting Chrony Chronograph. Accuracy tested offhand; results are the average of five shot groups at seven yards. FMJ, Full Metal Jacket; JHP, jacketed howllowpoint.

The P-01 is available with Crimson Trace LaserGrips.

Whoever designed the P-01 was really thinking when it came to the operator controls. For one thing, the magazine release has been extended for easy access. To release the magazine, all I have to do is turn the gun just a little to the left, push inward and full or empty magazines eject without balking.

Directly above the release is the slide lock or release and again, it is made for stressful defensive situations; the slide can be release with a minimum of effort. The release has a large thumb pad with steps that add to the non-slip qualities.

The P-01 features a decocker, which is located at the rear of the slide. With the gun cocked, pushing the decocker down and past an audible click lowers the hammer from a full cocked position to a hammer safety notch position (half cock). This action also returns the trigger to double-action mode.

The laser is activated via a pressure pad housed in the front strap of the grip. On the range, both the laser and the point of aim were the same at seven yards.

Trigger pull on my sample was 61â'„2 pounds single action, 14 pounds in full double action and a little less when hammer is at the safety position. There is a bit of slack in single action, but with the trigger polished smooth and contoured for your finger, most of this feeling is forgiven when firing.

Topside on the slide you'll find the three-dot front and rear sight assemblies with tritium inserts. The rear sight fixture is adjustable only for windage; the front blade is pinned in place. A light rail has been machined directly under the muzzle end of the frame.

The P-01 is a really comfortable gun thanks to the arched frame and extended beavertail. Note the lanyard loop and the on/off switch for the Crimson Trace grips.

As mentioned, in addition to the fixed sights, my gun came with the new Crimson Trace LaserGrips. The laser is activated by slight pressure on a pressure switch located about halfway up the grip frame, and there's an on/off switch on the bottom left panel.

One thing that may be of interest to CZ fans is that the P-01 is the only NATO spec pistol on the market that is available to the public, and after three years of very intensive testing is now used by the Czech National Police as their official sidearm. With only seven malfunctions in more than 15,000 rounds fired, I can see why.

Chambered for the 9mm Luger, testing the gun was a pleasure simply because of the geometry of the gun. The gun shoots at its point of aim, it breaks down easily for maintenance--all for a price I can handle. What more can you ask?

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