Range Report: The CZ 75 P-01 — CZ’s Best Pistol?

Woman shooting the CZ 9mm wearing yellow ear muffs

There are pistols so overlooked it boggles the mind. The Czech CZ pistols (Ceska Zbrojovka Uhersky Brod) have appeal to professionals the world over.

The CZ 75 is among the most imitated pistols in the world. At present few clones have equaled the reliability and build quality of the original.

From its introduction, those with an eye for mechanical excellence have appreciated the CZ 75. I think those referring to the pistol as a double action Browning Hi-Power are mistaken. The CZ owes more to the Petter pistols than the Browning.

Few pistols today do not use the Browning locked breech system. The trigger linkage and design of the CZ 75 are superior to the Browning Hi-Power—and I am a Hi Power fan.

I’m also pragmatic concerning service pistols. The CZ 75 is perhaps the best service 9mm in the world, and if not, it is certainly among the top two or three.

Of all the CZ pistols, I prefer the CZ P-01.

CZ P-01 left side
Neat, compact and reliable, the CZ P-01 has a lot going for it.

Difference Between the CZ 75 and the CZ P-01

The P-01 differs in a number of ways from the CZ 75 while maintaining the core advantages that make the CZ 75 such a great pistol.

  • The P-01 uses the same short-recoil operation as the CZ 75.
  • The pistol is also a double-action first-shot-type.
  • The P-01 uses an aluminum frame for light weight.
  • The pistol also features a handy frame decocker.
  • The original pistol uses a safety that allows cocked and locked carry and is what is called a selective double action.
CZ 75 P-01 with slide locked back
During accuracy testing, the P-01 was consistent and turned in good results.

A Brief History of the CZ P-01

The CZ 75 in its original and still current rendition requires the hammer be manually lowered to make the pistol safe.

The new design was required by the Czech National Police. Most agencies the world over will prefer the decocker-type action. During testing of the P-01, the pistol was fired thousands of times without failure.

Dry fire and decocking the pistol thousands of times was executed without any type of failure. The CZ P-01 was also subjected to rigorous safety testing without failure or accidental discharge. Heat and cold testing were also undertaken.

When the test was completed, the CZ P-01 emerged as one of the most reliable handguns on the planet.

Woman shooting the CZ 9mm wearing yellow ear muffs
The 9mm CZ handles well and is accurate and reliable.

The Czech National Police wanted a shortened and lightened version of the CZ 75, and the new pistol delivered. The result is one of the best-balanced handguns ever made.

The balance and heft of the new pistol were superior to the CZ 75—according to most. The frame is a monolithic design that extends to the muzzle.

CZ P-01 Trigger

The P-01 features a frame rail for mounting combat lights and laser devices. Like the original CZ 75, the P-01 pistol uses a double-action trigger system.

The first shot is a long press that both cocks and drops the hammer.

The pistol fires and the slide cocks the hammer for subsequent single-action fire. The double-action trigger is smooth in operation, and the single-action trigger breaks at 4.5 pounds clean.

Paper target with bullet holes in the head region
This group was fired offhand at 15 yards during a failure to stop drill.

The CZ P-01 Slide

The P-01 retains an important design feature of the CZ 75 handgun. The slide rides inside the frame. This means more contact between the long bearing surfaces for enhanced accuracy.

This also means that the slide rides lower in the frame than most double action pistols.

The result is less leverage for the muzzle to rise. Less muzzle flip means greater control. The shorter grip of the P-01 fits most hands well, yet retains a 14 round magazine.

Firing Tests

The new-in-the-box example we tested was lubricated and inspected. The magazines were loaded with Winchester’s USA Forged steel cased 9mm FMJ loads. These loads burn clean, function well, and are a good resource for affordable training.

I drew the pistol from a DM Bullard inside the waistband holster, my preferred carry rig, during most of the testing.

The pistol’s well-shaped grip offers a sharp draw. Drawing and firing at man-sized silhouette targets at 5, 7, and 10 yards, the pistol gave excellent results.

The first shot hit probability is enhanced by a smooth trigger, and the pistol’s excellent sights are easily acquired in high-speed drills.

Control in rapid fire was good. The controls are well laid out for rapid manipulation and magazine changes are sharp and efficient.

With a combination of good control, ideal balance, and good combat accuracy, it would be hard to recommend a better 9mm pistol for all around use.


Absolute Accuracy

CZ claims the P-01 by virtue of its monolithic construction is more accurate than the original CZ 75. After much experience with both, I tend to agree.

I fired the CZ P-01 for accuracy, firing two 5-shot groups with each load and found the pistol more than accurate enough for any foreseeable need. In short, this pistol is good enough to ride with.

Accuracy Testing, 5-shot Groups, 25 Yards

LoadAverage Group
Fiocchi 124-grain Extrema2.25 inches
Fiocchi 147-grain JHP2.6 inches
Hornady 115-grain FTX Critical Defense2.5 inches
Hornady 135-grain FlexLok +P2.4 inches
Winchester 115-grain FMJ steel case3.25 inches
Winchester 124-grain PDX +P2.2 inches

The P-01 is not only my favorite CZ pistol but the single 9mm I carry most often. The pistol is rugged, ergonomic, accurate, and most of all reliable. This just may be the best buy on the market in a service grade 9mm handgun.

Do you have a favorite CZ pistol? Share it in the comment section.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (26)

  1. Hi Bob Campbell,
    Great article on the CZ 75 P-01! I am new to CC and just purchased a special P-01, all steel #99041.
    Can you please recommend “best”conceal carry method/holster(s)?
    Thanks- RCA

  2. Favorite CZ pistol > CZ PO 7 (GEN 2)

    Also fan of BHP (owns a ’72 production model)

    Great pistols

  3. I have new 75 Compact and PCR. I have heard a lot about the P01 but never seen or held one. In your opinion do you think I should consider trading my Compact or PCR for the P01 or P01 Onega. Fairly new to handguns and would appreciate your input. Thanks.

  4. I bought my 1st & only CZ Pistol 2 years ago. Before that I had a Colt 1911 Mark IV which I’d modifies with a Bomar Target rib sight. I like it a lot except the quality control I considered lacking. The firing pin struck the primer 1/32″ off center. I sent it back to colt & they returned it to me with a single comment. It was within their manufacturing tolerances. That set bad with me as a machinist & vowed to never purchase another Colt product.
    My CZ-P07 is a far cry from the Colt in quality & reliability. Quality is as good or better than anything else I’ve experienced. Dbl action trigger pull is 9 lbs & unbelievable smooth. Single action is a hair over 4 lbs. The feed ramp is highly polished… aa smooth as a chrome plated surface. I believe that attributes to it ability to feed everything I’ve put thru it. Cartridge length doesn’t seem to be critical since it’s never jammed or smoke stacked with anything I’ve put thru it so far, whether it be light or heavy loads.
    I did months of research on CZ’s pistols & finally concluded for my needs there’s nothing better available. I did mount a Crimson Trace green laser on it’s Picatinny rail to make up for my 76 y/o eyes.
    Short of shooting competition, I suspect only individual personal preferences would make someone choose differently.

  5. I’ve been carrying 75B for 3 years as my EDC.. REPLACED the sights w/TRUGLO TFX tritium/fiber optics.. Carry 2 extra MecGar 16 round mags when I leave home. Dumped my M&P 9 and bought a 2nd 75B to carry (all original) on the tractor and when I’M working cows on gun EVER!

  6. I’ve owned a CZ75B 9mm for almost a year, I bought it used. It is the most accurate and easiest handgun to shoot and to dismantle, clean and reassemble. This is now my Go- To gun for competition.

  7. Great information… I’m in the market for an 9mm auto and would love to hear more about the CZ, Do they make any more compact-carry models? Can anyone fill me in on the CZ-Dan Wesson models? A bit confused on that one.

    Thanks to CTD and all others for informative comments and information, much appreciated!


  8. Right now my favorite CZ pistol is the CZ Scorpion Evo3 S1. It’s big, rugged, and comes with 20’round mags &’30’rounders available. To me it’s the perfect home defense gun with a mini laser and rail light mounted. Now to get a can for less hearing damage.

  9. I owned a Browning Hi-Power for years, but with my old eyes the sights on the Browning were no longer my choice. I read a ton of reviews on CZ pistols and decided the CZ PO7 was my choice. I am a professional shooter and handgun trainer, when the Generation 2 of the PO7 came out I picked it up and absolutely love it. I have put in the ball park of 600 rds through mine with no issue’s what-so-ever So pick one up and enjoy the hell out of it!.

  10. I’ve purchased several Tanfoglio CZ clones, all of which are supremely reliable and accurate. I finally purchased my first actual CZ, a P-07. After 300 rounds of range/SD ammo, not a single malfunction. Power and Performance at a very reasonable price.

  11. I recently acquired the P01’s big brother, the CZ 97B chambered in 45 ACP. I can’t say enough good things about it – it’s become my favorite range gun. Granted, it is a VERY large pistol but it manages the recoil impulse of the 45 so well that even novice shooters are comfortable with it.

    As for its accuracy, the first group I shot was tighter than anything I’ve put down range with my 9mm, and I shoot the smaller gun REALLY well! If I accept that the inherent accuracy of the pistol is greater than that of the shooter (in my case no question there), then the credit should go to the ergonomics of the gun. It just feels so good in the hand.

    I also have to admit that if a gun doesn’t look cool I have little interest in shooting it. Yes, I need my pistols to be pretty, and the 97B is just drop dead gorgeous to my eye!

  12. I’m not quite clear on the differences. Is the P-01 a compact version of the 75? How does the 75 B and the P-09 compare?
    I am very interested in the CZ because of the low bore axis. Does it benefit follow-up shots as much as the rotating barrel of the Beretta PX4?

    1. The P-01 is a compact, aluminum-frame version of the 75 (steel frame) with an accessory rail and a decocker rather than a manual safety.

      The P-09 is a DA/SA polymer-frame pistol. Additionally, the P-09 (and the compact P-07) can be switched from a manual safety to a decocker if desired. However, the 75 series has a smoother trigger out of the box than the P-07 or P-09.

    2. Doug,

      The P01 is a compact version of the CZ75, however, there are other compact versions that are not P01 pistols. Those are simply short CZ75s with a short butt. The P01 is also reengineered with a monolithic dust cover. It is a first class compact 9mm based on the CZ75. I think that the Cz is easier to use well than the Storm, but nothing really wrong with the Storm. I think that the rotating barrel requires frequent maintenance in my opinion,

  13. I have a CZ-75d Compact and love it. I first saw it at our local club when an FFL brought one in to a meeting to sell. I have small hands and the CZ fit like it was custom-made for me. It is a solidly built gun that has tight and smooth operation.

    I am not an experienced shooter, but my accuracy with the CZ is better than with my Springfield XDM.

    Thank you, Mr. Campbell, for your well written and, clearly, well researched review.

  14. I love my cz pistols. Like the author, I’m amazed at how often cz pistols are overlooked for defensive use. They do however have a huge following in the pistol competition sports not only in the u.s. but worldwide.
    I think either myself or the author might be just a little confused. The p-01 has an aluminum alloy frame, the rest of the gun being steel with the exceptions of the rubber grip panels, polymer magazine follower and guide rod.
    The full size 75 pistols on the other hand, are all steel construction with the exception of the grip panels and magazine follower. Also recently cz switched to polymer guide rods in their full size pistols too.
    So unless I’m mistaken, the full size all steel pistols would be of monolithic construction with the aluminum frame p-01 and pcr models not.
    As far as accuracy is concerned, CZ pistols across the board have a reputation for excellent accuracy. However I have seen no difference in mechanical accuracy between the standard full size cz models and any of the compact models (p-01, pcr or steel compact). Where I have seen reports of improved accuracy are in the hand fitted cz factory orange and czechmate models, the cz custom shop accu bushing models, and recently the 10x bushing models coming out of Cajun gun works.

  15. The CZ-75 pistols are an incredible value. Quite frankly, I’d recommend them over a 1911 (or Hi-Power) to anyone looking for something to carry cocked and locked. Disassembly is easier than a 1911, it features a double-stack magazine, and it’s substantially less expensive than what you’d need to pay (either to the dealer or a gunsmith) to have a 1911 that runs anywhere near as well.

    As to why it’s not as popular here as elsewhere, it’s likely a matter of lineage. The CZ-75 was developed behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, and choosing the product of a USSR satellite nation over something made in America (or at least by a NATO ally) would have been decidedly unpatriotic until fairly recently.

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