Growing up in the 90s, CZ pistols were always revered with a type of mystique among trigger pullers. You always heard about how great they were, normally closely followed by a testament to the accuracy of the unique slide to frame fit and comfortable ergonomics. For me they were much like a Browning Hi Power or Rolex Submariner watch- an elegant design that would in one way or another make the pages of Soldier of Fortune while being found in one of the world’s hellholes. You always heard about them, but rarely would you see them in person outside of competitive circles or the happenstance gun collector.

Vintage CZ ad. Courtesy: Google

What I didn’t know then was the intense following the pistol had and still has, especially with the older generation shooters and SOF guys. And it wouldn’t be until much later on that I got bit by the bug. I had been a diehard 1911 guy- owning a few and having dabbled into custom work, for me, John Browning’s model was the pistol. But as life changes, I found the virtues of shooting 9mm. A couple of pistol classes after my Afghanistan deployment, and 9mm became very attractive due to a lower recoil, lower weight, and lower cost in bulk. Doesn’t mean I don’t still have a deep affection for .45, just that for the high volume shooting I was doing, along with the likelihood of family members needing it for training and personal defense, 9mm was nice. After hanging out with some of my buddies who were old-hand types and CZ owners, the design started to really pique my interest.

The P-07 with its oversized controls makes for an easy handgun to use, even when wearing gloves.

So back in 2012 I found the P-07 Duty- a new, compact, polymer pistol. There was next to no information on them on the interwebs other than CZ only outlets. And even though I already had the de-facto cool guy standard, the Glock 19, I wanted something different. For $327 out the door, how could I go wrong?

CZ’s trademark design- the slide sitting in the frame as opposed to conventional pistols- allows for a low bore axis in the hand and a somewhat reduced muzzle flip. But what I really liked was the trigger out of the box. A double action/single action with a decocker, CZ’s Omega trigger was far cleaner than a Glock out of the box, better than the Beretta M9 I had trained so extensively with in the Army, and felt nearly as crisp in single action as my Springfield TRP Operator- at $1100 less. And like its steel framed brothers, it sits very nice in the hand, much more akin the to the feel of my 1911s then having to get used to the grip angle of my Glock, a common complaint among newer Glock shooters. All that’s a matter of opinion though, and I shoot just fine with either one.

So with all that said, think of this as an extra long-term, real world review. No extreme torture testing, no beating it on a rock until it breaks, no nonsense- just a guy training and carrying a handgun that he could stake his life on. Since 2012 I’ve carried this pistol on an off as an every day carry, alternating between it and my Glock 19. Between range maintenance sessions and a few classes, I’ve got just over 6k rounds according to my shooter’s log. I keep a log on each of my weapons, including any point of aim/point of impact shifts from the last session, round count, the load of ammo and whenever I change something on the gun, whether maintenance or an upgrade. This gets pretty boring with most of my equipment- especially pistols, but I’ve found that issues are easier to diagnose that way if/when they arise. And in that amount of time and the number of rounds, here’s my thoughts.

The Good

The P-07 and Gen 3 Glock 19 side by side. Similar size, similar weight in hand. Both excellent options for a sidearm.

What initially drew me to the design is the same factors that keep me using it, despite having other options. It feels great to shoot. Seriously. The weapon sits in your hand much the same way a 1911 or Sig does. All of the controls are exactly where they need to be and are, for me at least, the perfect size. Like most Glock owners, my Gen 3 19 has an extended slide and magazine release- with the P-07, it’s not needed. Textured spots are strategically placed as memory points for your hands when shooting isosceles, which has been great when I loan the pistol to newer shooters I’m training. The frame-over-slide design is typical CZ and works beautifully, making a very smooth shooting experience for those younger shooters and especially for a compact design.

But most important to me, above all else, is a good trigger. Growing up a diehard 1911 fan, I’ve got an affinity for the crispness of a good single action. The other CZs I’ve had the pleasure of shooting ranged from an old Soviet era bringback CZ-75 by a shooting buddy of mine, a first imported generation CZ 75B, a CZ P-01 and an SP-01, all steel frame. The newer generation CZ pistols feature what they call the Omega trigger, which is a simpler design than the Browning Hi Power derived original. In single action the P-07 very crisply breaks right around 3lb, with a respectable 9lb or so double action. Reset continues to be very sharp, with a consistent breaking point even after wear in. In fact, the trigger has only gotten better with time and rounds through it, wearing out the little bit of grittiness that it had from the factory. It’s not as nice as my TRP, but then again, it was $1100 cheaper and gets shot a lot more these days.

Functionally speaking there is very little wear on the parts. The barrel rifling is still sharp and I have no noticeable changes in point of aim/point of impact. I’ve had no issues with springs. The handgun is every bit the tank of its all steel brothers and I have no doubt it will continue to be so. I only have one malfunction to report- a failure to fire one round. It was Wolf full metal jacket training ammo- it may have been a bad primer. I’ve never had a single malfunction from my Glock, so it’s a data point nonetheless.

The Not-So-Good

The infamous frame bulge is just barely noticeable but it’s there. It has not, to date, affected any function of the pistol.

Mine is an early second generation pistol. The first generation had a widely known issue with the polymer frame bulging around the metal pillars which house the trigger. While CZ stated this was only a cosmetic flaw, it still left some folks uneasy. The second generation was supposed to have fixed the issue…and it didn’t. They’ve got a third generation now which has. But I can say that with the number of rounds I’ve had down the tube it has not affected the function at all. Most shooters probably would never notice it, and I only did after I read about it on a CZ dedicated forum looking for any potential issues the pistol may have.

The stock sights could be better. They’re a polymer Novak-style that, while effective, are kinda chintzy. I feel like they should be made from steel and they remind me of the awful stock Glock sights. But that said I haven’t had an issue with them, so I never changed them for an aftermarket option.

The P-07’s sights are really my only complaint. The rear sight has suffered a bit of damage from training.

And that brings me to my real issue with the design. The aftermarket. While its better six years later since I bought it, it’s still nowhere near the behemoth that both the Glock 19 and the 1911 enjoy. Holsters are a bit harder to find than for either of those other two. Magazines are proprietary and are on the expensive side. Being right around $45 a piece, this can be a drawback for a guy who’s looking to stash several. But aside from the magazines, I feel very little needs changing or upgrading on it as is. Aside from possibly the sights, it’s a well designed and built pistol.

Concluding Thoughts

This pistol, far more than my Glock, made me a fan of the 9mm. It’s ease of use and shallow learning curve has been a benefit to many folks I’ve trained with on the range, and has converted at least one fellow diehard 1911 fan and Marine vet into an everyday carrying CZ man. If you’re looking for something different, well built and flat out fun, the CZ P-07 is a good option. There’s a reason the original design has such a following among those who know.

At its price I think the handgun is a steal. As of this writing the street price as went up a bit from what I paid back in 2012, but I still think it’s an excellent option at a lower price than most of its competitors. It’s certainly durable and the learning curve for making new shooters is a bit less. Inspiring confidence in newer shooters with its comfortable ergonomics and accuracy, I can say from experience it’s the handgun I like to train others with. CZ is building them here in the US now and appears committed to increasing their presence. And I for one am looking forward to what they’re offering.

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The spring training dates are filling up. Summer dates will be announced soon.

 

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