When I was a broke college student, one of my favorite things to do was look at guns online. Although I didn’t have the money to buy anything at the time, I knew that would change after I got my first job. During my research, I read about a pistol I had never heard of before. That pistol was the CZ-75 B, and learning about it led me to my favorite handgun, the CZ P-01.
The CZ-75 and its variants, including the CZ-75 P-01 are excellent pistols. They are accurate, reliable, and have better ergonomics than almost any other handgun. CZ-75’s also have lower recoil than many pistols, making them enjoyable to shoot.
History of the CZ-75 and Its Variants
The CZ-75 is a hammer-fired semi-automatic handgun. It was developed in the ’70s by Josef and Frantisek Koucky. The Koucky brothers used aspects from a couple of different firearms to create the CZ-75, namely the Browning Hi-Power and Sig P210. Like the Browning Hi-Power, the CZ-75 uses a linkless locking cam system. This means that the slide and barrel join together with interlocking lugs milled into their respective surfaces. When the gun fires, the slide moves to the rear fully, while the barrel only moves slightly to the rear. The barrel’s movement is limited by the firearm’s slide stop, which fits into a channel machined into the bottom of the barrel.
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Like the Sig P210, the CZ-75’s slide fits inside of the frame. This design is fairly unique. Most firearms, such as the M1911, have slides that fit over the outside of the frame. Having the slide run inside of the frame allows the two pieces to have much more contact. This increased contact allows the firearm to lock up tighter and more consistently. This and the linkless locking cam design help give the CZ-75 a great deal of inherent accuracy.
CZ-75’s are double-action/single-action handguns. This means that the pistol can fire when the hammer is all the way down and also when it is cocked all the way to the rear. Some CZ-75 variants have a manual safety which allows the firearm to be carried “cocked and locked” like an M1911. If desired, the user can manually lower the hammer. This will make the first trigger pull heavier, similar to that of a double-action revolver. Any follow-up shots will fire with a single-action trigger pull. This is because the slide will push the hammer all the way back as it cycles after firing.
Some models, such as the P-01, SP-01, and CZ-75 BD replace the manual safety with a decocker. Since there is no manual safety, pistols such as these cannot be carried “cocked and locked”. After chambering a round, the user must press the decocker to lower the hammer to the “half-cock” position. With the hammer in this position, the gun is safe for holster carry and will fire by simply pulling the trigger.
Why I Chose the CZ P-01
As I started to read more about the CZ-75 B, I also began to learn about the pistol’s variants. Out of all of them, the compact P-01 and full-sized SP-01 appealed the most to me. I spent a while trying to figure out which one I wanted to get first, but I decided on the P-01 due to its suitability for concealed carry. Although in the spirit of full disclosure, I did end up buying the SP-01 Tactical a few years later. However, that is a story for another day.
The P-01 is similar to the CZ-75 B Compact but with a few differences. The P-01 has an alloy frame instead of a steel frame. This reduces the weight of the pistol, which is important for a carry pistol. The P-01 also features an accessory rail and replaces the manual safety with a de-cocker.
As far as capacity goes, the P-01 is a perfect compromise between a subcompact and a full-size handgun. It holds 14 rounds of 9mm in standard magazines. Most subcompacts will only hold 10 or fewer rounds, while many full-size guns will hold somewhere around 17 rounds. 14 rounds is a nice compromise for a gun that is concealable, yet shoots as well as a full-size handgun. Also, magazines from full-size CZ-75’s are compatible with the P-01, although they will hang out of the bottom a little. This is really nice if you are ever lucky enough to own more than one CZ-75 series handgun.
Ergonomics and Balance
One of my favorite things about the CZ P-01 is its ergonomics. This is mentioned in nearly every article about CZ-75 series handguns but with good reason. The grip profile fits perfectly in the hand. If you were to take modeling clay and squeeze it, the clay will look something like a CZ grip. This is a common design feature shared by all CZ-75 pistols.
The P-01 has serrations on both the front and back straps to help users maintain a secure grip. They are deep enough to do the job but are not uncomfortably sharp. In addition, the P-01’s grip panels are made of checkered soft rubber. They are contoured to provide maximum grip and comfort. They may grab onto clothes a little when drawing the firearm, but they feel awesome when shooting the gun.
The weight and balance of the CZ P-01 make it feel like it is part of your hand. Out of all the pistols I have fired, none of them even come close to how natural the P-01 feels in the hand. Even compared to other CZ-75’s, the P-01 just feels like it belongs in my hands while shooting.
The P-01’s combination of ergonomics and balance makes it very easy to shoot accurately. That same combination of ergonomics and balance also makes the P-01 one of the most enjoyable guns to shoot. Although I do carry the pistol for defense, it is very nice to have a gun that is just plain fun to shoot.
Functionality and Accuracy
The most important aspect of a firearm’s functionality is its reliability, and the P-01 is an extremely reliable handgun. During development, it endured some pretty extreme tests. In addition to actual shooting, these included 4,000 dry firings, 3,000 de-cockings, drop tests from multiple heights, as well as being submerged in mud and sand. The average number of stoppages during this testing was only 7 per 15,000 rounds. This gives the P-01 a “Mean Rounds Between Failure” rate of 2142 rounds, which is very impressive.
Another important aspect of functionality is how easily a user can manipulate a firearm. The CZ P-01 features forward-facing serrations on the front and back of the slide. These help the user have enough grip to load the firearm and clear stoppages quickly. This is important due to the slide-in-frame design of the handgun, which reduces the amount of slide the user has to grab onto. The P-01 also features a beveled magwell to help aid with magazine insertion.
The P-01 is a very accurate firearm. The linkless locking cam and slide-in-frame design give the gun a great deal of inherent mechanical accuracy. At the same time, the P-01’s ergonomics and balance give it excellent shootability. Combining inherent accuracy with shootability creates a perfect storm of accuracy. I personally shoot the P-01 more accurately than any other handgun I have ever shot. The only possible exception to this would be the CZ SP-01, which is simply a larger descendant of the P-01.
The P-01’s double-action and single-action trigger pulls are good for a defensive firearm, but there is room for improvement. Cajun Gunworks specializes in CZ handguns and has a solid reputation among CZ shooters. They offer parts kits as well as professional gunsmithing services. I order my parts from them, and I have never had a bad experience. CZ Custom is another great source for parts and gunsmithing services.
As far as sights are concerned, if you decide you want to upgrade, aftermarket sights are easy to find. Meprolight sells sights that feature tritium vials that will glow for up to fifteen years. You can find them by clicking here. These are the sights that come standard on the SP-01 Tactical, and they are really nice. Other manufacturers make sights for the P-01 as well, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find something to suit your tastes.
CZ P-01 Concealed Carry Considerations
The P-01 is suitable for concealed carry, however, it isn’t a gun that you can pocket carry. To be comfortable, you will need to invest in a good holster. I have been using a Crossbreed Supertuck for over seven years. It does a great job concealing the P-01 and has held up very well. It stays pretty comfortable throughout the day, which is important if carrying for an extended period of time.
I like to use Mec-Gar magazines when carrying concealed. Their Compact CZ magazines have a flush-fitting baseplate which makes the gun a little easier to conceal. In addition, their build quality is excellent. I actually prefer Mec-Gar magazines over the ones that came with the gun.
A concealable handgun is one of the most important firearms that a prepper can own. The CZ P-01 is an amazing handgun that possesses all of the qualities you could want from a defensive firearm. It is reliable, accurate, functional, and enjoyable to shoot. If I could only have one handgun, it would probably be my CZ P-01. It is small enough to conceal, but can still reach out and hit targets at a distance. If you have never shot one, hunt one down and try it out.
Design Specs (From CZ-USA)
- MSRP: $646.00
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Capacity: 14 Rounds
- Frame: Aluminum
- Trigger: Double Action/Single Action
- Sights: Fixed
- Barrel: Cold Hammer Forged
- Barrel Length: 3.75 inches
- Weight: 28.1 ounces
- Overall Length: 7.2 inches
- Height: 5.03 inches
- Width: 1.38 inches
- Safety: Decocking Lever, Safety Stop on Hammer, Firing Pin Block Safety