The CZ-75 pistol is a time-tested design that continues to evolve to meet new user demands. Originally made for the military and police, the CZ-75 has followed the path of the 1911, with derivatives now made in several countries and in configurations that span from competitive race guns to compacts for concealed carry.
The latest variants are designed for shooters who use sound suppressors, with the P-01 being one of five such recent releases.
The P-01 is a Czech-made pistol made with an aluminum frame, a steel slide machined from a billet and a cold hammerforged barrel. Parts made from forging are stronger than from cast or billets, and CZ’s use of a forged frame and barrel distinguishes this pistol from many others on the market that have much higher price tags and shorter life spans.
The P-01 uses a traditional locked breech design similar to the Browning High Power on which locking lugs atop the barrel just forward of the chamber mate with corresponding grooves in the slide.
Dimensionally, the P-01 is 8 inches long, 5.7 inches high and about 1.3 inches wide. The length might seem longer than the typical compact, but it reflects the extra half-inch barrel length for mounting a suppressor. Lengthwise, it’s close to the Glock 17; and, at 29 ounces, it is practically equivalent to the SIG P229.
The P-01 comes with two 16-round magazines, but it can also use the same 18-round magazines from the CZ 75 SP01 Tactical. This is advantageous for those who wish to carry the P-01 in a holster with its shorter standard mag, but with 18-round mags as backup.
According to CZ-USA, “The Omega designation refers to a simplified firing system that’s used in 75 Omega-series guns, as well as the P-07/P-09. It uses interlocking parts to make full disassembly easy to do without gunsmithing tools. All current Omegas are user changeable from ambidextrous safety to ambidextrous de-cocker and back.” Thus, users can carry hammer back, “cocked and locked,” or with a hammer de-cocker.
Changing from the safety to de-cocker is done with a straight punch or even a nail, but you will learn how to do it much quicker by watching the Mrgunsngear YouTube channel instead of trying to decipher the directions in the manual. Configured either way, the P-01 Omega uses a traditional double-/single-action firing system via which the first round is shot double action and successive rounds are shot single action.
The slide is locked closed when the safety is applied, and the safety can be applied when the hammer is at full or half cock. Using the safety on a half-cocked hammer is useful for those (e.g., uniformed police) who carry a sidearm unconcealed and risk a gun snatch. With the safety applied, the snatcher might not be able to fire the weapon quickly. (This is a police selling point for the Beretta 92 SF, with its safety/de-cocker.)
The P-01 is clad in “Urban Grey” polycoat finish, which is a mix of grey and flat dark earth powdercoat paint applied over a phosphate finish for added protection if the outer surface wears off.
One of the reasons the CZ 75 and its progeny are so popular is the shape of the pistol’s grip, which has inspired numerous copies—including the famous, but short-lived, Bren Ten favored by Jeff Cooper. A close look at this pistol’s frame shows sculpted curves that give the shooter a higher and more comfortable grip to control recoil, along with a beavertail, and grooved front and backstraps. The grip panels also contribute significantly to this pistol’s comfort and ease of shooting, because they are contoured with a palm swell to fit the hand and are made of rubber with a checkered surface. A comparison grasp of a Glock, with its fl at sides and pebblesurfaced sides, demonstrates this pistol’s superior grip design.
The DA/SA trigger has a DA trigger pull weight of approximately 13 pounds. In contrast, the SA weight certainly helps marksmanship, with a total weight of 3 pounds, 10 ounces and a break stage of 1 pound, 8 ounces, measured with a Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. The SA trigger travel has moderate creep and overtravel that have no bearing on the P-01’s intended use as a tactical pistol. The P-01’s slide release and bilateral safety levers can be activated without a change of grip, but I would prefer a longer and wider slide release lever for easier manipulation.
Although pistols with threaded barrels are common, the P-01 is one of the very few that come from the factory with sights sufficiently high to give an unobstructed sight picture when shooting with a suppressor. These sights have tritium inserts (3-dot pattern), with the front sight tall and square enough to allow emergency racking of the slide if one hand is injured. The added height of the rear sight also provides a much-needed surface to grip when racking the side—a big improvement to the small serrations on a slide that rides inside the frame. There are a few Kydex holsters that fit this pistol and its extra-high sights, including one from Alex & Ryan Design.
The P-01 was shot first from a bench rest at 20 yards, then off-hand and finally, with the Dead Air Armament Ghost-M suppressor. Reliability was perfect with all loads tested. The two smallest bench rest five-round groups at 20 yards both measured 1.18 inches at the centers and were shot with SIG Sauer’s 124-grain JHP and Freedom Munitions’ 124-grain FMJ. Those were followed by a 1.57-inch group with the Winchester USA 115-grain FMJ. The Winchester load shot to point of aim, while the other loads printed 2 inches high (this can be corrected by installing a new rear sight from CZ).
Handling was very good, and recoil was easily managed, even with a one-hand grip. However, the grip angle of the P-01 made it point slightly low for me when instinctively indexing a target. Tactical reloading was easier than on many pistols, because a fully loaded magazine inserted and locked into the pistol without requiring excessive force when the slide was closed.
Testing a pistol with a suppressor makes much more sense in a simulated tactical environment than on a square range. As a result, I mounted a Streamlight TLR-2S weapon light and conducted an informal night fire exercise outdoors in the woods with 8×11-inch targets randomly placed at 15 to 30 yards and no other lighting.
The Streamlight works well with the P-01. It mounts and dismounts quickly on the pistol’s forward rail, and the unit’s controls are just ahead of the trigger guard. The on/off rocker switch is easily reached by the index finger. The TLR-2S offers momentary or constant on/off and can be quickly switched to activate the red laser, the light or both. It is also lightweight enough so it does not discernably change the pistol’s balance point or weight.
The TLR-2S throws light evenly without an annoying hot spot, and its 160-lumen output is certainly bright enough to detect and ID targets. With the mounted suppressor, a shadow appears in the upper portion of the light’s beam, but it is not dark or large enough to be a hindrance. However, I did find that more-rapid engagement was possible using the pistol’s night sights instead of using the laser dot. I also found the laser of limited value when it painted and was “stopped” by interceding vegetation between the shooter and the target.
I tested the P-01 with the recently released Ghost-M suppressor from Dead Air. The Ghost-M is a modular design, meaning it can be used in a standard 8.75-inch (12 ounces) length or short, 6.2-inch (9.6 ounces) configuration. It has a .45-caliber bore diameter, but it can be used on several pistol calibers of .45 inch or less with pressures that do not exceed a 10mm Auto. It also is rated for subsonic .300 BLK.
Dead Air publishes an impressive 34.6dB sound reduction when shooting the Ghost-M with 9mm ammo in the standard configuration, dry and without a wipe. With the standardlength Ghost-M, the P-01 is 16.25 inches long. I preferred the short configuration, which seemed to preserve more of the pistol’s quicker handling characteristics.
The P-01 and Ghost-M performed very well as a unit. The pistol functioned 100 percent reliably, even when pointed directly downward and shot with a limp wrist—a challenging test of a suppressor’s booster device. More significantly, the Ghost-M showed only a minor shift in point of impact, sending rounds about 2 inches directly high at 18 yards. Some units I have used shift point of impact 6 inches or more at the same distance, thereby making them unusable for some applications or requiring major sight adjustments.
During night fire, the Ghost-M did not eliminate muzzle flash, even with the wipe attached, although it was much reduced when running the can wet with about 5cc of water poured into the blast baffle area (as expected, the water misted off fairly rapidly). The Freedom Munitions load produced the most flash, and back pressure was felt on my firing hand, while the Winchester load produced much less. Other loads might eliminate muzzle flash altogether.
The P-01 Omega is a good, all-around pistol with some value-added features that most competitive models lack. Its aluminum frame is light enough for concealed carry—but with the durability and longevity of a forging—and the hammerforged barrel will last a very long time. The sights work well with or without a suppressor and save the user about $100 if a sight change is required. Finally, the Omega system offers two different trigger mechanisms (de-cocker or safety lever) that can be easily switched without sending the pistol to a factory armorer.
- CALIBER: 9x19mm
- ACTION: Semiautomatic; locked breech
- BARREL: 4.4 inches
- CAPACITY: 16+1
- OVERALL LENGTH: 8 inches
- HEIGHT: 5.7 inches
- WIDTH: 1.38 inches
- WEIGHT: 29 ounces
- SIGHTS: Fixed, high profile, tritium, 3-dot pattern
- GRIPS: Rubber
- FINISH: Urban Grey Polycoat
The average velocity was measured 10 feet from the muzzle with an Oehler 35P chronograph. Figures are in FPS.
|Freedom Munitions 124-grain FMJ||1024||1061||1048|
|SIG Sauer 124-grain JHP||1125||1163||1142|
|Winchester USA 115-grain FMJ||1086||1180||1131|
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the April 2017 print issue of Gun World Magazine.