Sometimes I just get a “feeling.” Like the first time I ever stood in front of a classroom and realized I wanted to teach. Or the night I met a certain tall brunette. Every once in a while, for reasons that usually can’t be explained, something is just right, and in a moment of wonderful clarity, I know that it’s right. The CZ 75 P-01 is like that. Although it’s not necessarily the weapon for me, it has made one thing very clear: my next gun purchase won’t be like my last, which was emotionless and 100% criteria-based. Instead, I’m going to let “what feels right” have more sway in the decision-making process. A lot more sway, in fact.
Why does the P-01 version of the venerable CZ 75 conjure such a devil-make-care attitude within me? I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s because we’re the same age; my name is Don and I’m a “DG 75”. On the other hand, unlike the P-01’s manufacturer (Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod”) my manufacturer has a pronounceable name (“Carolyn”). Speaking of my mom, I inherited her small hands. The P-01’s thin grips perfectly pervade my petite paws, promoting a palpably positive physical perception. That, and it just looks cool.
The P-01 model is CZUB’s alloy-framed compact version of the CZ 75 platform. I know: a lot of folks decry compact handgun aesthetics. Long appendages ain’t everything. To my eyes, any gun that echoes (even if faintly) the classic profile of John Browning’s famous Hi-Power still looks damned good, even if its dimensions have been diminished.
A big part of the “feels so right” formula probably comes courtesy of a “feels so functional” design mentality. From the anti-glare serrations atop the slide (running from the front sight to the rear), to the under-frame accessory rail, to the serrated front and back straps (and wonderfully-subtle rubber grip panels), the P-01 looks like a tough little block of steel. It feels like a precision instrument swathed in iPhone levels of user-friendliness. Some folks might still think it’s ugly, but I have a hunch this gun would look better to anyone after they spent some time firing it.
Of course, several mechanical events need to take place before you fire a semi-auto. In the P-01’s case, all these are resolutely enjoyable. Traditional double action means that you have not one, not two, but three manipulatable apparati to handle: a mag catch, a slide lock, and a non-safety decocking lever. That’s all in addition to the slide and the trigger. With the exception of the slightly-short mag catch, each is an ergonomic dream come true. Every mechanical interaction proves positive and substantial. You get the immediate impression that the gun would feel just as good after a half-million cycles.
Of particular note is the slide. In addition to its short overall travel and easy-racking recoil spring, the P-01’s full-length rails are milled in such a way that the grooves for the slide lie inside the frame rather than outside like most other self-loaders. I don’t have empirical data to back this up, but I strongly suspect that this innovation reduces slide wobble as the gun ages.
I do have proof of is how the P-01 handles itself at the firing line. It goes down like this:
Start squeezing the trigger. Enjoy a smooth and steady increase in resistance until the effort begins to level off. Feel a very slight last-minute ramp-up toward the end of its travel/ And then the sear breaks lighting off the first round. Muzzle flip is slight and quick, and the back-so-soon slide does its thing without any undue distraction. Repeat the above 14 more times in quick succession and you’ll be smiling. Guaranteed.
When the smoke clears, you’ll find bullet holes in your target grouped as tight – if not tighter – than many other similarly-priced 9mm handguns with sub-four-inch barrels. You may also find a new appreciation for a little pistol that feels more inherently “right” than other guns you think you’d rather have. What you absolutely won’t find: any nits worth picking for the CZ 75 P-01.
Model: CZUB (Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod) CZ 75 P-01
Action type: Short-recoil operated, locked-breech semi-automatic, traditional double action (double action/single action with decocking lever)
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Capacity: 14-round magazine
Barrel length: 3.8″
Overall length: 7.2″
Weight: 1.8 lbs.
Grips: Checkered rubber panel
Sights: Fixed three-dot
Finish: Black Polycoat
Current Value: $672 (retail)
(Out of five stars)
Style * * *
Sure, it’s a compact, but spend some time with it and it looks much prettier than your initial impression.
Ergonomics (carry) * * *
Even with a slim alloy frame and short overall length, it just doesn’t possess the miniscule dimensions of today’s ultra-tiny 9mm compacts. Still, it’s a great package and much more concealable than any full-sized semi-auto.
Ergonomics (firing) * * * * *
On this gun, if it moves, it’s terrific. Period. Even stuff that doesn’t move feels good. Think “hand Nirvana.”
Reliability * * * * *
My experience with the gun, anecdotal evidence from owners, and a bit of online research all say that this thing is dead-reliable, even with crap ammo. I believe it.
Customize This * * * *
Though not as popular as a 1911 or a Glock, the little CZ has plenty of aftermarket options, including this example’s NcStar laser which was mounted to the (standard) accessory rail under the frame.
OVERALL RATING * * * *
Even though it may not be completely suited to every handgun need out there, the whole package just feels so right that you’ll want one anyway.