Obscure Object of Desire: CZ P-09 Modular Handgun System Trials Pistol

P09MHS-2

As you’re likely aware, the U.S. Military is holding a competition for a new pistol. It’s called the Modular Handgun System, or MHS, and the winning gun is slated to replace the Beretta M9 to the tune of up to a $586MM contract. As I’d guess few were aware, CZ was thinking of throwing its hat into that ring and went so far as to manufacture a very limited number of P-07s and P-09s, in 9×19 and .40 S&W, for MHS submission . . .

CZ ended up choosing not to enter the MHS competition after all, at which point the even smaller number of these pistols that had been imported into the U.S. went up for grabs. I caught wind of this, made some calls, and the MHS P-09 seen here is now mine all mine. Also, muahaha!

P09MHS-1

With that out of the way, let’s talk numbers. Unknown to me is how many test mules and prototypes were made and either kept or destroyed by the factory, but I was able to confirm how many of these rare birds were imported into the U.S.:

  • 50 P-09s in 9mm
  • 50 P-09s in .40 S&W
  • 10 P-07s in 9mm
  • 5 P-07s in .40 S&W
  • 12 P-09 suppressor-ready top end kits (complete slides with threaded barrels and tall sights), 6 of those in 9mm and 6 in .40

Two of the biggest Modular Handgun System requirements are satisfied by any P-09 and any new P-07 (not the previous “P-07 Duty” models, though): a Picatinny accessory rail for mounting lights, lasers, etc., and a modular grip size to facilitate ergonomics, an easy reach to controls (slide release, safety, magazine release, trigger), and effective recoil control. The grip size options should at least accommodate shooters with hand sizes from the 5th to 95th percentile, and must be adjustable at the operator level.

P09MHS-8

Another of the military’s MHS requirements is both standard and extended capacity magazines. Included in the box with these CZs is one standard mag and two extended, all with aluminum baseplates that conform to the MHS magazine protrusion specs. In 9mm, capacity is 19 rounds flush fitting and 21 in the tall boys, while my .40 holds 15 and 17.

That isn’t Cerakote on the slide. It’s nitrided like the P-07 and P-09 slides normally are, and then it receives an Ionbond treatment (which I think is their Decobond). The frame is molded from FDE-colored polymer, rather than coated, and the chemical composition of the polymer has been slightly tweaked to ensure it passes the Mil-Spec drop test even after 30,000 rounds of .40 S&W. The goal here with the color scheme is to satisfy the apparent MHS requirement of a non-reflective, neutral color.
P09MHS-3

MHS marking requirements include serial numbers and other information, such as the manufacturer’s contractor cage code, in various places on the firearm. A QR code (Data Matrix ECC 200) is required for inventory, maintenance, and other tracking purposes. These MHS CZs get a special plaque in front of the right side safety with that cage code, the part number, the serial number, and the QR code on it.

P09MHS-4

Proof marks are required to show that the firearm has passed tests with over-pressure ammunition. In the case of the P-09 here, the CIP over N marking means 30% over standard C.I.P. pressure (a Euro version of SAAMI standards). The two-tailed dancing lion guy means it was proofed at Czech Proof House in Prague, and the 15 means it was manufactured in 2015.P09MHS-6 CZ’s MHS pistols have a bobbed hammer and are, interestingly enough, double action only. I can’t really explain this, as I’d expect it to hurt the CZ’s performance in the “shooter in the loop” accuracy testing and the shooter subjective feedback impressions category. Better Warfighter accuracy than the M9 is an MHS requirement, but a DAO trigger is not. It may keep some soldiers from shooting themselves in the foot, but if CZ actually submitted these…well…you know where I’m going with this.

To be fair, MHS guns must be “other than single action only,” but I still find it odd that CZ went with DAO instead of its normal DA/SA mechanism. If anyone’s interested in the real nitty-gritties, the MHS CZs also have special trigger pins and trigger return springs.

P09MHS-5

An external safety mechanism is an MHS requirement, and ambidextrous controls (or at least ones that can be swapped from one side to the other by the operator) are desired, so these CZs come with an ambi thumb safety installed and the magazine release can be moved to the right side. No decocker is included in the box (like it is with a normal P-09/P-07) as, obviously, it would serve no function on a DAO gun.

P09MHS-9

Empty chamber left, loaded chamber right.

Although I couldn’t find it anywhere in the Modular Handgun System RFP, a loaded chamber indicator is built into the rear of the extractor. It’s another feature unique in the CZ line to only these MHS guns. The LCI protrudes and offers tactile indication that a round is in the chamber. Visual, too, but it’s pretty dang subtle as far as LCIs go.P09MHS-7

Sights are 3-dot, Tritium night sights of standard height. It seems like most companies’ MHS guns all have threaded barrels and tall sights to meet the Modular Handgun System suppressor-ready mandate, but the text of the RFP states that these features don’t have to be standard equipment. Instead, a “suppressor kit” can be provided separately with threaded barrel and tall sights, and to these ends CZ was clearly intending to supply a limited number of thus configured conversion slides.

At the end of the day, it sounds like CZ decided against entering the MHS due primarily to the “S.” System. The submission isn’t just for a handgun, but for a complete system including sound suppressors and multiple types of ammunition. I believe CZ has a good relationship with Czech ammo manufacturer Sellier & Bellot, but ammo and silencers aren’t CZ’s specialty and mixing in these other variables adds significant cost and complexity. Indeed, submitting for the MHS test at all is a huge investment with no guarantee of any return.

Heck, the entire test may never even result in a replacement handgun in the first place. In this case, though, it did result in a nice little unicorn to add to my stable.

comments

  1. avatar MurrDog says:

    .40? Even the US military couldn’t be that dumb.

    1. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

      If they are going to keep shooting ball ammo, might as well go bigger

      1. avatar James in AZ says:

        That’s why i still carry the despised worthless 45acp that no operators ever care to touch

        1. avatar seans says:

          Can’t tell if that is sarcasm, but pretty much all of SOCOM has moved away from .45 including Marsoc. Its still popular for suppressed use but thats about it.

        2. avatar James in AZ says:

          @seans
          I run 45 in FMJRN just for extra feeding reliability. Should i run hollowpoints i’d rock 9 all day everyday. Suppose what you say is true, a pistol to them is a sidearm, to me it is a main weapon. Were i in their shoes, heck, i would even consider carrying 2 rifles mags instead of a pistol. Granted a bang of 9 is better than an empty 45, but since i dont clear through buildings, i dont really expect to run 2 mags through my glock 21 here CONUS

        3. avatar Sunshine_Shooter says:

          That’s really stupid. “If I ran hollowpoints, I’d use 9mm” & “if you’re going to run ball, might as well go as big as possible”.

          9mm hollowpoints expand to a diameter BIGGER than .451. You can carry TWICE AS MANY of these BIGGER PROJECTILES in 9mm HP than .45 fmj.

          If you carry .45 ball for feeding reliability then you have a DEFECTIVE GUN and a DEFECTIVE BRAIN for not getting a better “primary weapon”.

      2. avatar MurrDog says:

        Well the military has already started using hollow points, excuse me, “carbine barrier rounds” in rifles, might as well do the same for their handguns.

    2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      It’s an open-caliber competition, but the military has specified that it requires better terminal performance than the current 9mm ammo. That doesn’t mean not 9mm, but some companies may be submitting .40, .357 sig, .45, and others in addition to 9mm. They want to test a ball round with better performance — which in 9mm is going to mean some +P+ kind of stuff and I’d guess maybe a flat meplat — and a non-traditional round that will likely be a hollow point of some variety. Yes, HP is on the table. But part of the MHS is submitting multiple, new types of ammunition to meet specific requirements that are outlined in the RFP.

      1. avatar Edi says:

        “As for calibers, reportedly the .45 ACP is the least favored option, but no word yet on the 9mm versus its competitors .40 S&W and 5.7x28mm.”

        http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/06/02/breaking-us-armys-modular-handgun-system-moves-forward-downselect-3-competitors/

  2. avatar TravisP says:

    Who do I need to call around to?

    1. avatar Bob in MI says:

      I’ve got a buddy that works for the sales department of CZ. According to him Jeremy S. is a very lucky man indeed. The vast majority were already picked up by current employees. I told him if he ever decides to part with it I’d be willing to pay a premium. By vast majority I mean he was currently unaware that any of these made it into the hands of someone who doesn’t work for CZ.

      1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        CZ Custom says they got 19 P-09 and 2 P-07, and most of those were sold retail from what I can tell. They were on the CZC site briefly.

        I tried to get one of the suppressor ready slide conversions but those were all snatched up internally @ CZ. It’s actually very cool that they allow their employees first crack at stuff like this. Definite perk of working for a gun co! Of course, I’d probably be broke with all of the one-off and unique and rare stuff I’d end up buying haha. As it is, this gun was not in my 2016 budget and as far as impulse buys go it isn’t quite like a 50 candy bar at the cash register haha

  3. avatar Erik says:

    Wow! I love that finish. Is it available anywhere in a color other than tan? Just like to see what they look like.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Yes, Ionbond can be done in a huge range of colors and sheen levels (matte through highly polished) and is really tough, too.

  4. avatar James in AZ says:

    Finally a bobbed hammer, hooray.
    Safety on a DAO? Okay… Anyway better than DA/SA.
    Slanted rear sight dunno why

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      External safety is an MHS mandatory requirement.

      1. avatar Edi says:

        Decocker is not required?

        1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          Not that I could find in the documentation. It also doesn’t specify hammer-fired or anything. It does specifically say it must have a manual safety and it does specifically say it has to be something other than single action only.

          Of course, with a double action only setup like this, a decocker would serve no function. The hammer is always decocked and there’s no way to put it in any other position without pulling the trigger.

        2. avatar Rick says:

          Jeremy. I was lucky enough to find a p-07 and p-09 in 40 cal. In the MHS. Love the FDE two tone! Will shoot the p-09. Will save the p-07 as is! Might bring a lot of cash some day!! Thanks for the info

  5. avatar PeterW says:

    You had better keep that dangerous weapon out of Kalifornia, we don’t need any dangerous guns not on the Approved Roster of Safe Handguns here!
    /jealous

  6. avatar Independent George says:

    The submission isn’t just for a handgun, but for a complete system including sound suppressors and multiple types of ammunition.

    Oh how I love government procurement specs.

    If this is case, the ‘S’ basically contradicts the ‘M’ by making the suppressor and ammo part of the same system instead of being able to mix and match with off-the-shelf materiel.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      According to the RFP doc, the “modular” part is primarily in reference to the ability to adjust grip size and the ability to swap around various rail-mounted accessories.

  7. avatar Bungameng says:

    What are the characteristics of the DAO trigger compared to standard Omega SA/DA P09 trigger?

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      No difference. Although CZ did use a trigger spring that’s unique to these MHS guns, in double action it feels exactly the same as the double action on any other P-09 or P-07. That was my impression of it, and the guys at CZ Custom who were chatting about these guns on the CZ forum (they got like 19 of them to sell off) said the same thing.

      1. avatar Bungameng says:

        Well then – ouch.

  8. avatar other Chris says:

    this object isn’t all that obscure. but it is desired.

  9. avatar pres stone says:

    good looking shooter, DAO is a killer in a hammer fired though. pitty.

  10. avatar Paul53 says:

    Jeremy, my 63rd birthday was last month and I didn’t get so much as a card. Just saying……….

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Hmm 63 seems random. Everyone likes round numbers. Call me on your 100th and we’ll talk. 100… like the serial number on this gun 🙂

  11. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Nice score!

  12. avatar Jimmyjames says:

    Seems like with all the trouble, time and money CZ put into this special model and the fact that they already have a ton of other models with subtle variations, that they would have gone ahead and put these into production and debuted them at SHOT show this year.

  13. avatar Accur81 says:

    Think it’s possible to order a DA / SA version of this and / or the P-07 through their custom shop? This handgun looks cool! I briefly surfed their custom site on my iPhone which resulted in multiple crashes.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      CZ Custom has a good relationship with CZ-USA, but they’re totally separate companies. CZ-USA doesn’t have an in-house custom shop, unless you count the fact that they own Dan Wesson and DW has a custom shop.

      I’m not just saying this because I hope my gun here remains rare and unique (although I do), but, no, I don’t believe any commercially-available version of these MHS pistols is going to be made, and they apparently have no intentions of including some of the features of these guns (LCI, DAO, slide finish, info plaque, these aluminum magazine baseplates, etc) into any production guns.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        I bet CZ could make a lot of money on that finish. You bought a beautiful gun. Not sure if CZ does / has aftermarket .40 to 9mm conversion options. Not that there’s anything wrong with .40 cal.

        I suppose I could get a standard FDE-framed P-09 and the treat the slide to achieve a similar effect.

  14. avatar VF 77 says:

    Dude – Quite the cool unicorn ya got there, Mr. S! I absolutely love my FDE 09 and my threaded 07. Hard not to love these new CZ’s once you get one in your hand (let alone pull the trigger). The one thing not mentioned often is just how slim the 09 grip is, even being a double stack (19+1 at that). I swear it almost feels like a 1911 in my hand.

    1. avatar Mark Horning says:

      Odd, because I thought the one I handled was huge, and Huge compared to a CZ-85 much less a 1911.

      1. avatar VF 77 says:

        I can’t imagine we’re talking about the same gun. I just measured it side by side with my 1911 and the grip diameter is almost exactly the same (with thin grips on the 1911 at that). It also tapers in a bit at the top of the grip area too.

  15. avatar SurfGW says:

    It is good that the competition is driving some new models, but don’t expect the Army to buy any. Recent combat experience has taught the Army and Marines that pistols have little combat value and require extensive training. This is why the services are taking pistols away from all but Battalion Commanders and SgtMajors. Like James in AZ said, he would rather carry 2 extra rifle mags for the same weight

    1. avatar Bob in MI says:

      Completely agree, the only reason I was glad that I had a pistol when I was in Iraq was the fact that it was easier to carry to the chow hall when we were on Camp Ramadi.

  16. avatar RobinTn says:

    I was tempted when these came up for sale on the CZ Custom website, until I saw DAO. I can’t bring myself to buy guns I won’t shoot, pretty though. I believe Stuart @CZC managed to put one of the P-07’s in his collection. Talk about a unicorn.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Yeah, if I choose not to shoot this one it’ll be the first gun I’ve purchased with no plans to actually use. I’m thinking that’s the case and it’ll truly be a safe queen. Mainly, I’ve shot multiple P-09s and P-07s so there’s no fascination here and I know exactly what it’ll shoot like, I’m not thrilled about the DAO trigger as you mentioned, I’m not a big .40 fan (especially for plinking, and I ain’t gonna CCW this thing)… so I’ll probably leave it new in box and enjoy it as a collector’s item.

      I’m sure I could be talked out of it for the right price, though 😛

      1. avatar John P. says:

        I hope you do decide to shoot and enjoy it. As rare as it is, it’s still fundamentally a tool. In this case all of the embellishments are functional vs. the finishes, exotic woods, engraving, inlays etc. that compromise the functionality of the more typical collectors’ items and transform them into safe queens by design.

        1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          Yeah, I just don’t think I’ll enjoy shooting it enough to warrant shooting it. I own a P-07 and have had two different P-09s and there’s just nothing here that I’m not already totally familiar with. At least functionally. I honestly bought it for the non-functional aspects… it’s my only safe queen!

  17. avatar Erik says:

    Men tend to think the .40 is a great round without being overly powerful in a defensive handgun like a 10mm. It’s recent demise is in sync with the rise of micro brews and plant based protein.

    1. avatar Bob in MI says:

      Or, and hear me out. its demise is based upon the fact that the only organization that had the money and wherewithal to do an extensive study and test on the ability of handgun calibers to stop a threat, found that there is no discernable difference with modern ammunition between any of the major handgun calibers. (google FBI ammunition test)

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Really. I hadn’t heard that, specifically. But I have recently bought 2 9mm and have a 3rd or order, where 30-40 years ago I laughed at the cartridge as a useless beanshooter, chose instead between .45 and .357, ended up going with Pythons. Ammunition has improved so much since then it is difficult to believe. For example, My first box of .357 was soft lead 158g semiwads over a beastly powerful charge, jacketed ammo was not available except for reloading. After 10 rounds, looking down the barrel I could not make out any rifling, and with my thumbnail I pulled a sheet of lead away from the bore. Took hours to clean out, I took up handloading the following week, never fired a cast bullet again except for once when I used the Python to qualify for the AF, using their issue .38 ammo, which had no problem.

        1. avatar John P. says:

          That was a smart way to handle your pistol qual. My approach was to stay on good terms with the CATM guys and show up early on range days. That gave me a chance to get a handpicked S&W 15 vs. one of the rattling battered ones piled up in the ammo cans they used for storage.

  18. avatar Vhyrus says:

    Can I ask how much this thing cost you or will I just start crying again once I find out?

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      A gentleman never tells.

  19. avatar Charles Fick says:

    Jeremy S,

    I just found a P-07 40 MHS, with the dancing lion from Prague, Also has the special plaque on the right side with all all numbers to boot. I believe it is 1 of 5… 40’s you are talking about in your article. The question is do we shoot them or safe queen them?
    http://www.czfirearms.us/index.php?topic=77281.0

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Wow! Even luckier bastard than me haha

  20. avatar Rick F says:

    Just purchased the p07 and p09 Mhs in 40 caliber !! Love them!! Will shoot the 09. Will leave 07 untouched .

  21. avatar Brian CZ whore says:

    I got # 84. SHot 200rds through it yesterday. I like it! Traded my standard model p09 plus cash for it. Price was $550 and it is a 40s&w

  22. avatar Ted says:

    I got #117. Any info on how to convert to DA/SA?

    1. avatar Rick F says:

      I have a p07 and p09 in the MHS. Would also like to know if they can be converted to DA/SA. Can anybody help us out ? Thanks.

      1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        They can, yes. I bet it’s as easy as replacing the hammer with a normal one. This one lacks the hooks for single action but I *think* the rest of the trigger and fire control group are the same. If that’s wrong, then worst case is you’d have to swap out the sear cage or add a disconnector or something, plus the hammer definitely needs to be swapped.

        I’d look into it further but don’t have a P-07 here at the moment so can’t compare the internals. David at Cajun Gun Works is likely the guy I’d go to if I wanted to have this work done by somebody else, wanted advice on it, or wanted to purchase the parts required to do it myself…

        Edit: looked at some photos online and can’t be 100% sure, but I’d say I’m 95% sure that just a hammer swap would do the trick and result in a DA/SA gun…

        1. avatar Rick F says:

          Thanks for the info Jeremy. Will look into it.

        2. avatar Ted says:

          I checked with CZ USA. Said that we only need a P-09 hammer and disconnector. You can order them on CZ webstore or with a parts rep by calling 800-955-4486 ext:335.

        3. avatar Rick F says:

          Thanks Ted.I will do that.

        4. avatar Rick F says:

          Hey Jeremy any idea what a 40 cal p07 Mhs is worth now??

        5. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          No idea. But apparently they only made five of them. With the right publicity to drive awareness, it would probably do well at auction.

  23. avatar Jimbo says:

    I am starting to feel needy here folks. All I have in the way of CZ are a CZ75 Compact 9mm and a CZ75 P01. Man I love those guns. I have Glocks, Springfields, M&P’s, Rugers and others and my CZ75 P01 is the most dead accurate sweet shooting handgun I’ve ever come across…now in addition to the SP01 I also want a P09.

    I swear guns are gonna break me, but if ya gotta be poor this is the way to go!

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      That’s an error. CZ specifically said they chose not to enter. It’s weird that Janes seems to be surprised the army hasn’t made a final choice on the MHS caliber. The MHS includes handgun, caliber, and silencer testing. Choosing the caliber is a significant part of the MHS itself, not some side note that’s being chosen separately.

      1. avatar Edi says:

        Maybe CZ said one, but do second.

  24. avatar dEX_RX says:

    I just picked up SN US00079!

    This thing is so cool! Previous owner had a DA/SA kit installed. Feels buttery smooth. Previous owner also shot it so it’s no longer “untouched” which makes me feel a little better about shooting it myself. This things a keeper for sure!!

  25. avatar Eric says:

    One of these is currently for sale on Gunbroker! They linked your article.

    http://www.gunbroker.com/item/690928446

    1. avatar Brian says:

      I actually shot mine today. 200rounds. It shot great. The DA trigger pull is not bad

      1. avatar Rick F says:

        Shot mine on Labor Day. Love my unicorn!!

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