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Review: CZ P-10 M

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CZ’s full-size P-10 made quite a splash on its initial release in 2016, and this flagship polymer-framed pistol has grown into an impressive line of models covering almost every target shooting or self-defense application. The most recent addition fills one more niche as the ultra concealable, deep-cover P-10 M chambered for 9 mm Luger.

Deep-cover pistols are a growing segment of the citizen’s battery and have long been carried by the well-equipped law enforcement officer. Once the realm of the five- or six-shot snubnose .38 Spl. revolvers, self-loading pistols in 9 mm Luger are making inroads into this category offering higher capacity and faster reloads in an equally small and more controllable package.

One of the newer kids on the block is the P-10 M as a slimmed down version of its bigger brothers, with snag-free sides offering few external controls other than the ubiquitous trigger-shoe safety of modern striker-fired pistols and a very flat, but easy-to-reach, left-side magazine catch. The seven-round magazine is slightly staggered to keep the height of the pistol down to 4.3″. Weight of the pistol unloaded is only 20.1 ozs., and weight fully loaded with 7+1 rounds of Hornady 115-grain FTX on board is 23.4 ozs.

CZ P-10 M black 9 mm handgun with blue background and magazine removed.The slide of the P-10 M has angled grasping cuts front and back for sure slide manipulation. Because the slide release is internal, the slide needs a quick tug to recharge after a mag change. Centered over the trigger guard bow on both sides of the frame are stippled areas giving your forefinger a textured surface on which to rest when presenting the pistol. The grip area is lightly textured on the sides and aggressively textured on the front and backstraps. At the base of the grip is a sculpted oval in the frame and magazine base in case you have to pull the magazine free. Mags rocket out when the catch is pushed as a rule. The magazine itself is a staggered design holding seven rounds helping reduce overall height of the pistol.

Seven rounds may seem picayune in today’s high-cap world, but the mags can be easily loaded with finger pressure alone, and add less weight in a gun meant as a back-up to a full-size pistol or one deeply hidden (think ankle holster) where weight is a major consideration.

The nicely sculpted steel slide has deep serrations front and rear that are easy to operate even with sweaty hands. Reductions on the sides of the slide taper from front to rear to ease presentations from a holster. Subtle sculpting breaking the edges of the front of the slide ease reholstering. Both slide and the 3.19″ barrel are given a hard-wearing nitride finish for corrosion resistance. Underneath, the recoil spring guide has twin springs captured on the rod.

Atop the slide are fixed three-dot sights giving a sight radius of 5.45″. The sights are treated to give off a green glow after exposure to light. Both sights are fitted into dovetails and locked in place from the top by a small Allen head set screw. The front sight screw requires a 0.050″ Allen wrench, and the rear sight a 1.5 mm. Neither tool is included, but Brownells has them. The pistol has been initially sighted in at the factory, and CZ suggests adjusting windage at the rear, and adjusting elevation by exchanging the front sight if necessary. The front sight blades are numbered.

CZ P-10 M com pared with Colt revolver on tan background with brown leather belt, removed magazine and loose cartridges.As a deep cover hideout gun, the P-10 M compares favorably in size with the one of the storied originals: the six-shot Colt Detective Special in .38 Spl. The P-10 M’s 7+1 rounds of 9 mm offers a higher payload and faster reloads. The large, square trigger guard bow is a signature feature of the P-10 line, though it looks out of place on such a diminutive pistol.

The fiber-reinforced polymer frame has a fixed-size grip (no interchangeable backstraps) along with aggressive texturing on the frontstrap and backstrap for a no-slip grip. The sides of the grip have less aggressive texturing. The sides of the frame just above the trigger guard bow have lightly stippled panels. They give your trigger finger a tactile place to rest off the trigger. At the front of the frame, an accessory rail accepts lights or lasers.

One aspect I greatly appreciate is the barely discernible mold seam on the inside of the trigger guard. Too many other polymer-frame pistols have raised mold lines inside the trigger guard that raise a blister on my trigger finger as it is forced into contact there under recoil. That never happens with the CZ.

The trigger is the reset type and breaks at 7 lbs. If you can “run the reset” (which I did to shoot the groups) it breaks more crisply at 6 lbs. When shooting fast, I shoot almost every pistol so equipped by letting the trigger fully reset. Speaking of shooting, that aggressive front and backstrap stippling really tenderized my palm and fingers after a hundred rounds. I believe they could be reduced without compromising their purpose.

an overhead view of the CZ P-10 M on blue background, overhead view showing white three-dot iron sights.The P-10 M has fixed 3-dot sights with phosphorescent dots that glow green for a short time after exposure to light. The rear sight is windage adjustable and CZ offers different height front sights if a correction for elevation is necessary.

The magazine ends in a small extension so all three fingers of a medium-large hand can wrap around the pistol, but can give the little finger a pinch during rapid magazine changes. Empty magazines rocket out of the gun even with the slide locked back. Oval scallops on either side of the frame and magazine allow the mag to be grasped and pulled out if it ever becomes necessary.

With the only external safety on the face of the trigger, a quality holster is best for the deep-cover role with a loaded chamber. There are quite a few hard-shell synthetic or wet-molded leather holsters currently for the P-10 M designed to protect the trigger, so carry fully loaded is safer. Galco alone offers more than a dozen models. If using a soft holster, it may be prudent to leave the chamber unloaded.

CZ warrants the pistol for standard and +P 9mm ammo but not ++P, since there is currently no industry standard for the higher pressure loads. Ammunition for this test included Hornady 115-grain FTX, SIG Sauer 124-grain V-Crown JHP and Hunting Shack 147-grain JHP. The HSM ammo is loaded with Hornady XTP bullets in Starline brass.

CZ P-10 M with targeted and holes made by MSM ammunition.Hunting Shack ammo topped with Hornady 147-grain XTP bullets gave the best group of 2.25″ (left). A shift in the way the trigger was engaged moved the day’s final group to the center (right), but in doing so it grew to 3.25″.

Since the gun weighs so little, and the trigger pull is heavy, it takes practice to hold the gun solidly through the trigger press. The most centered group was with HSM 147-grain ammo. By the time I got to the HSM, I was certain I was pulling shots to the left. Gripping the gun harder and holding the sight picture better while moving my finger for a straighter trigger press centered the last group, but it was one of the larger ones. Still, HSM delivered the best group of 2.25″. The Hornady 115-grain FTX and HSM 147-grain loads were equally pleasant to shoot.

The Hornady FTX load shot the best four-shot group, but I got a flyer each time. It wasn’t “1st shot” syndrome since I was shooting at 15 yards and could see the flyer occur within the string. The two Hornady groups put four shots into 1.25″, but the flyer pulled out the 5-shot group to 2.5″ each time. The SIG Sauer V-crown gave groups of 3.5″, and was the snappiest of the loads. No malfunctions occurred during the test.

Because of the internal slide stop, an empty magazine must be inserted in order to lock the slide back, and means this is a two-handed gun if a reload is necessary. The rear sight has square lip on the front and I was able to press this lip on my bench to charge the gun one handed. I couldn’t do so using the steering wheel of my car. The internal slide stop has its own return spring, and will release the slide even with the pistol held upside down.

Holes in a target made by Hornady Critical Defense ammunition fired out of the CZ P-10 MThe best four-shot group was delivered by Hornady 115-grain FTX ammo. Four shots went into 1.25″ with one flyer pulling things out to 2.5″.

It’s not hard to clean the pistol without taking it apart, but there will be times when you want to “check under the hood.” Disassembly is easy but requires a pin punch. Like most polymer pistols, the P-10 M requires you to pull the trigger before the slide can be removed, so double check the chamber is empty before squeezing the trigger. Then pull back on the slide and hold it about 0.25″ out of battery and use the punch to press in on the pin protruding from the right side of the frame. Push the pin out, remove the punch and pull the slide off to the front. Press in on the recoil spring and lift it off the barrel at the rear. Lift out the barrel and you’re ready to clean.

Reassemble in reverse order. Start the pin from the left side back into the frame with a light tap from a non-marring hammer. Once started, only finger pressure is needed to press the pin flush with the frame. Cycle the pistol by hand a few times to ensure everything is in place. While it isn’t mentioned in the owner’s manual, the mag catch is reversible but requires a T-8 Torx bit to do so (also available at Brownells).

Taken within its mission of a deep-cover back-up or a final defense, the CZ P-10 M certainly performs well. If safety considerations are duly accounted for—carry in an appropriate holster whether it be on the belt, ankle, in a purse or day planner type—this small lightweight 9 mm easy to load, easy to reload, accurate and reliable would be an asset in anyone’s self-defense battery. While 7+1 is a modest boost over a revolver, if the .30 Super Carry proves efficacious, a P-10 M so chambered would likely get a meaningful increase in payload.

CZ P-10 M Specifications:

Manufacturer: CZ-USA, (800) 955-6615, cz-usa.com.

Type: striker-fired, semi-automatic pistol.

Caliber: 9 mm Luger.

Capacity: 7+1

Barrel: 3.19″

OAL: 6.31″

Height: 4.3″

Width: 1″

Weight: 20.1 ozs. (unloaded).

Construction: Black matte nitride slide and barrel, polymer frame.

Sights: 3-dot phosphorescent.

Trigger pull: 7 lbs.

Safety: trigger lever.

Price: $499.

Article by JEFF JOHN

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