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Reviews : Arsenal

CZ P-01 Compact Duty Pistol

This bargain 9mm from the Czech Republic is one tough duty pistol.

August 01, 2003  |  by Roy Huntington


The integral light rail will accept many commonly available accessory lights, like those from Streamlight and SureFire.

CZ's P-01 is an elegantly designed handgun whose curves and angles seem to blend in a business-like, yet appealing manner. The authoritative black finish is a matte polycoat, applied over a classic phosphate base. While it may wear on the edges, I would have to assume it would be more than adequate for duty use, considering the abuse it was subjected to during testing.

The controls are conventionally placed, with the magazine release in the normal position on the grip frame behind the trigger. It also sports a somewhat extended slide release and a de-cocker. Unlike the CZ 75, the P-01 has no conventional safety and cannot be carried "cocked and locked."

There are some nice design touches in the ergonomics of the weapon. Its grips are checkered rubber, there's a nifty lanyard loop, and the grip frame is grooved on the rear and front strap to enhance your grip. These vertical grooves "flow" into your fingers and palm when you squeeze the pistol, and I think they function better than checkering.

An integral light rail is also part of the package and it fits all the standard models of weapon lights. The rail allows easy removal of the lights from the handgun, letting an officer use a standard duty holster and affix the light when needed. Also, the "beavertail" extension is long enough to safeguard the web of your hand when shooting and the sights are a bold, three-dot type. Tritium is available.

The CZ P-01's trigger is nicely curved and smooth, as all good double-action triggers should be and the front of the trigger guard is squared slightly and grooved for the pointer finger of the off-hand. Although, in today's world, that grip mode is becoming rapidly obsolete.

Forward serrations on the slide are largely for aesthetics only  because the construction of the slide runs inside of the frame (like the P-210). This helps to keep things tidy and also helps to lower the slide to the hand, which, in turn, helps to soften the perception of recoil. It also has a tendency to aid functionality due to the recoil being more directly supported by the shooting arm. Plus, it looks cool.

Other features include a forged, aircraft aluminum alloy frame, hammer-forged barrel, and firing pin block. The magazines appear to be very well constructed and are of 13-round capacity. Also, we believe the longer mags from the CZ 75 series guns will fit the new P-01.

Finally, the best feature about the CZ P-01 is the price. It sells for around $575 at full retail. Surprisingly affordable for such a well-equipped and comfortable gun.

On the Range

Vertical grooves in the front and back strap “flow” into a shooter’s palm and fingers to help keep control of this handsome pistol.

Range testing was limited due to time constraints. However, since I've had experience with the CZ 75 series and Springfield's P-9, I knew what to expect from the P-01.

It fed perfectly, partially due to the integral feed ramp on the barrel and the robust recoil spring, which ensures positive delivery of the next round from the magazine. Recoil was soft and manageable, due primarily to the excellent grips, the grip profile, and because of the low position of the slide in the frame. In short, the P-01 was a real pleasure to shoot.

However, trigger pull was a bit of a disappointment. The double-action pull was very long (common with DA/SA autos), and it was fairly gritty. This, too, is common on military-style autos, and there's no doubt a good pistolsmith would be able to slick up this obviously high-quality system. Single action was also on the long side and gritty. Let-off was unexpected but not due to a crisp break. It just sort of "slid along until it went off," and again, a good 'smith can fix this in a jiffy.

Accuracy was on par with what you would expect. The trigger pull made it a bit harder than I would have liked, but 3.5-inch groups at 25 yards were possible, with some a bit bigger. That's great accuracy for a duty pistol, and the 50-yard gong rang hard while it was hit again and again off-hand.

I had two failures to feed initially with some weird truncated 9mm ball (it had a very flat point), but the little P-01 overcame that and then trucked along nicely with everything else. A brand-new gun often has a few bugs before it gets broken in.

In short? This is a very impressive pistol, and the reasonable price belies the inherent quality that is obvious to anyone who picks it up. The compact CZ P-01 may be a very good answer for those agencies looking for one gun to equip both uniformed duty officers and off-duty and/or plainclothes personnel.


Caliber: 9mm
Barrel Length: 3.8 inches
Overall Length: 7.2 inches
Sight Radius: 5.3 inches
Height: 5.3 inches
Width: 1.4 inches
Weight: 27 ounces
Finish: Black, polycoat
Sights: Fixed three-dot
Capacity: 13 rounds
Action: DA/SA de-cocker
Safeties: Firing pin block, safety notch on hammer,
              de-cocking lever
Price: Approx. $575 full retail

Roy Huntington is a retired officer, a long-time member of the Police Advisory Board, and the editor of American Handgunner magazine.

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Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

alexandru tamaianu @ 9/3/2013 10:07 AM

Yes it is true...The very, very good gun...I carry in last 15 years only CZ guns, and now the last i

Caliguala @ 10/26/2013 6:52 AM

I just bought a P01 and already have the iconic CZ 75B. CZ stock triggers are usually gritty and rough out of the box, but typically smooth out after a couple of hundred rounds and some dry firing with snap caps. CZ's seem to fit my hand better than any other pistol; I love my Glocks, and shoot well with them, but they are not as fun and pleasurable to shoot as my CZ's.

Diamondback @ 8/8/2015 10:41 AM

The mag capacity is 14 rounds not 13.

bob cannon @ 10/31/2016 3:52 AM

The mag capacity is 14 but you can only get 13 in it, Ive been told this is by design. LOVE THIS GUN!

RJB @ 9/4/2017 5:40 AM

After getting into Dan Wesson 1911's I decided to research CZ knowing that they own DW. Finding out about the Czech Armory's long, rich history and the worldwide usage of their firearms in the military and police industry I decided to purchase one, I bought a 2075 Rami, one of the nicest most accurate guns I have ever owned. I then went on to trade in my three M&P Shields, a full size 9mm and a compact 45 for more CZ's. I bought a P-01 Omega, SP-01 Phantom and stumbled onto a limited edition two toned matte finish 75B with night sights and coco bolo grips, less than 500 imported since 2012, not even going to shoot that one, its just for showing off, it's GORGEOUS. Anyway, I'm a CZ guy for life, can't quite figure out how CZ eluded me for all these years. Next to my DW 1911's the CZ's out shoot any guns I've ever had, I've had many and I still have many, only now the bulk will be of the CZ and Dan Wesson variety. It's also true that they get smoother and sweeter every time you shoot

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