It seems like most of my favorite firearms never get the love and respect they deserve. CZ as a brand has had quite the comeuppance in the last few years, and it’s unfair to say they are underrated. However, they do produce a number of underrated guns, including my favorite CZ, the P09. The P07 and P09 series came before the uber-popular P10 and never gathered much steam outside of CZ nerds like me.
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The CZ P09 is a full-sized handgun and combines the features of guns like the CZ 75 and SP01 with a polymer frame. Like the CZ 75 series, the slide rides inside its frame rails rather than outside. This sits the slide much lower and often gets credited with lower recoil and muzzle rise due to a lower bore axis. I don’t quite buy this as there are just a few MMs of difference in bore height compared to most handguns. However, we’ll cover that later.
The CZ P09 and P07 series of pistols were a modernization of the CZ 75 design that ditched the metal frame for modern polymer, and it really simplified the trigger system of the CZ style pistols. I’ve owned this P09 for several years now, and it remains one of my favorite firearms.
A Deep Dive into the P09
This is a big boy of a handgun and certainly isn’t aimed at the concealed carry crowd. The CZ P09 features a 4.54-inch barrel with an overall length of 8.1 inches. The gun weighs 31 ounces unloaded and is 1.46 inches at its widest point. It would do well on Tinder at 5.79 inches tall. CZ accepted the idea of body positivity when they designed the P09.
The P09 is big but capable, very ergonomic, and easy to handle. The weapon comes in both 9mm and 40 S&W, and this particular model is 9mm. CZ releases a number of different models with different features. Mine has the FDE frame and comes with night sights. Standard models are black with three-dot sights.
What might impress you is the magazine capacity. The flush-fitting magazines hold 19 rounds, and the gun comes with two of them. Additionally, CZ includes +2 base plates with your gun. This racks capacity up to 21 rounds with 9mm. Not bad for a handgun by any means.
The P09 also allows shooters to choose between a decocker and safety. Shooters get both with their purchase, and swapping between the two is fairly easy. I’m a decocker man, but the safety allows you to carry locked and cocked if you so choose. Finally, you get a nice long rail for fitting all the various accessories you may have.
These guns retail for about 600 bucks.
CZ P09 Ergonomics
CZ captured my heart by proving they know how the human hand works. It seems crazy, but yes, CZ designs their pistols to be used by the standard human hand, and it shows. The grip is quite long and fairly thin and fits nicely in your hand. The texture grips you and gives you something to hold onto. The gun comes with two grip inserts to alter the size of the gun’s grip.
At the top, we have a huge beavertail that allows you to press your hand into the gun and get that high grip. The trigger guard features a nice undercut to accommodate your firing hand with that high grip. My finger doesn’t have to travel far to find the trigger, which can be a problem with DA/SA guns.
Additionally, the controls are fantastic. The safety or decocker is ambidextrous, and the magazine release is also reversible. CZ placed the controls in an easy-to-access position. I can hit the decocker, the magazine release, and slide lock without moving my hand. The slide lock is one of the few designs that isn’t pinned down by my thumbs when I use a thumb’s forward grip.
The downside to ergonomics is that the P09 doesn’t offer much slide to get a good grip. That small slide is aggressively textured but doesn’t provide the biggest gripping surface.
At the Range
The CZ P09 delivers a pretty show at the range too. CZ pressed the rear sight as far back as possible and the front sight as far forward. This opens up your sight radius and makes accurate fire easier. The sights are great with a thin front sight that doesn’t obscure small targets or targets at longer ranges.
The trigger is somewhat lacking. It’s suitable, and not bad. The stock trigger has a long, somewhat heavy double-action pull that is fairly smooth. Predictably the single action is much smoother but has a fair amount of pretravel before the wall. The reset is also quite long, and I opted to replace mine with a Cajun Gunworks trigger.
The recoil is mild, and the muzzle flip is minimized. I’m not saying bore axis doesn’t make a difference, but I think the difference is really only noticed when it’s extreme, like the Chiappa Rhino. The reason the CZ P09 has lower felt recoil is the lighter, more minimalist slide, and you have less weight flying rearwards after each shot.
After each shot, the gun is easy to get back on target for the next shot and the next after that. CZ designed the gun to allow for a high grip on the gun and to maximize control over the gun. The big design also makes the gun easy to control. This is one of the many guns I suggest to new shooters who are looking to move up from a rimfire to centerfire.
The gun also runs like a top. In my years of ownership and even a few classes, I have never had a problem I can remember, even with the worst ammo on the market.
What I’d Change
There is much I’d change with the CZ P09. I wish CZ would go back to the P09 and cut the slide for optics. An RMR cut would be a great addition to the gun. It’s accurate and already large, so why not? CZ produced a variant with a gray frame that is suppressor ready. It’s already got the tall sights, so slap that optics cut on there.
The CZ P09 is a fantastic pistol, and if you’re burnt out on the standard polymer frame, a striker-fired weapon then give the P09 a look. Let it lead you into the dark side of hammer-fired DA/SA pistols.