Every year, the NRA Annual Meeting (NRAAM) provides a showcase for hundreds of new guns and shooting accessories to whet the appetites of America’s gun enthusiasts.
In the coming months, I hope to try out some of these new toys, and I’ll let you know what I find out.
It is no secret that a major segment of the shooting industry is increasingly dominated by the tactical and self-defense market, especially concealed carry handguns and the AR-15 platform. One of the more eagerly anticipated new products is a striker-fired, polymer frame handgun by Ceska Zbrojovka Uhersky Brod, better known by its American wholly-owned subsidiary, CZ-USA.
This company, which is based in the Czech Republic, is perhaps best known for the CZ-75 semi-auto pistol. The CZ-75 is a well-regarded, double-action pistol with a double-stack magazine and an ambidextrous, frame-mounted safety (which in my view, is greatly superior to the slide-mounted safety found on many modern double-action pistols).
CZ’s new pistol is the P-10C, chambered in 9mm Luger and .40 S&W. The “C” designates it as a compact sidearm, and it is, with an overall length of a hair over 7-1/4 inches and a width of 1 ¼ inches. Shipments to dealers began only a few weeks ago, and initial response seems to be enthusiastic.
Unlike other CZ semi-auto pistols, the P-10C is striker-fired, with no external hammer. Three-dot front post and rear notch sights are dovetailed into the slide, and generous front and rear serrations make it easy to open the slide manually.
Metal parts have a durable nitride finish to withstand the wear associated with daily use. The frame is described as “fiber-reinforced polymer,” which I do not doubt. I’ll take their word for it.
Ergonomics in general are well thought-out. The P-10C has an ambidextrous slide release, magazine release and takedown lever. The magazine release and the takedown lever worked as advertised, but not so with the slide release. Try as I might, I could not release the slide unless I depressed both levers at the same time.
The P-10C comes with three interchangeable back strap inserts, so shooters can tailor the grip to their preferences. Both the fore strap and back strap have patterns of tiny (fairly sharp) projections to provide a firm grip surface. The side panels have similar, but less aggressive surfaces.
The trigger guard is large enough for easy access even when the shooter wears heavy gloves. It is undercut at the rear to allow as high a grip as possible. In front of the trigger guard, the underside of the frame is grooved for picatinny compatible accessories.
Without an external safety on the P-10C, the shooter’s trigger finger must depress a blade on the front of the trigger to fire the weapon. An internal firing pin block provides additional security against accidental discharge.
I was fortunate enough to be among the first to receive a P-10C for test and evaluation (T&E) shortly after dealer shipments began.
Field stripping the P-10C was fairly easy according to instructions, after a couple of false starts. Field-stripped, the P-10C breaks down into four components: frame; slide; barrel; and recoil spring (with its internal guide rod)—no small parts to keep track of.
Reassembling the P-10C was equally easy.
I tried to get the trigger to operate without depressing the blade mentioned above, but no luck. Your finger must depress the blade on the front of the trigger, or the gun will simply not fire. This test gun has a two-stage trigger with about 3/8 inch of travel followed by a tiny hint of creep before let-off.
According to my trusty Lyman trigger pull gauge, trigger pull averaged just short of five pounds for three shots. With an empty magazine in place, the P-10C weighed an eyelash short of 26 ounces. A full load of Remington FMJ’s (15 in the magazine and one up the pipe) brought total weight to a half ounce over two pounds—not bad!
At the range, the P-10C performed flawlessly with FMJ ammo by MagTech and Remington as well as Cor®Bon +P 115-grain hollowpoints. No stoppages of any kind occurred during my range session.
Accuracy was equally good with all three brands of ammo.
The P-10C was not intended to be a match pistol, so I set the targets at seven yards. I chose this distance for two reasons. First, almost all situations that require the use of deadly force occur at this range or closer. Second, if an assailant is farther away than seven yards, it is hard to show in a court of law that you reasonably felt that your life was in imminent danger, and you had to shoot in self-defense.
Although I don’t get to practice much, my lefty version of a two-hand Weaver stance yielded several 15-shot groups you could cover with your hand. However, loading a 15-round magazine to full capacity is frustrating and slow. Occasionally, I have seen magazines that have a way to depress the follower to make loading easier. I’d like to see that feature on the P-10C’s magazines.
Despite the fact I am a great believer in the .45 ACP, the P-10C chambered for 9mm Luger is a fine sidearm for concealed carry. However, there are a few improvements I would like to see.
The P-10C is a good buy with an MSRP just over $500.
—by Stan Skinner
—BY STAN SKINNER
How often should an armed citizen train? What is a good measure of your handgun skills?
I found the Dot Torture drill to be a valuable indicator of fundamental handgun skills. It also can be quite humbling. You can download targets in a standard paper size bright orange targets with large text. These targets consist of 10 two inch circles and have instructions outlining each course of fire.
This is a 50 shot drill, and it is best practiced cold as an honest indication of handgun skill level. Standard practiced distance is three yards for beginners, five yards for average shooters, and seven yards for experts.
When I was first introduced to this drill I thought it would be a breeze. Without a time limit I could easily shoot a one-hole group from seven yards with a full-sized tactical pistol. However under the stress of a shot timer with my compact carry pistol I’m frequently humbled at seven yards.
The Dot Torture drill begins with five rounds slow fire. Easy enough. The next is five single shots each fired from the draw testing your reaction and draw time.
Dots three and four require a draw and shot in each circle testing your transitions. Dot five is a set of single-handed drawn and fired shots.
Targets six and seven require double taps and transitions. Dot eight will slow you down as you fire five rounds with your weak hand. Then finally you practice not only drawing your firearm but speed reloads with Dots nine and ten.
I found that my cold gun fighting skills aren’t near as impressive with my compact Walther PPS when shot cold after a few weeks of not hitting the range. The honest truth is that from seven yards I couldn’t quite tell which hole was meant for which dot at the end of the my 50 round run. My next run with a full sized H&K VP9 from five yards showed a near perfect score.
From my latest Dot Torture training I’ve come up with a few suggestions:
1. Train! Shooting is a perishable skill. I’ve heard other experts say that you should expect your shooting skills to decline one percent per day. If you are only training quarterly, expect to begin from ground zero every time. And remember, you don’t have to have live range practice to keep your skills in check. Dryfire training is free and very beneficial. If you simply run the Dot Torture Drill dry before going live you will see a vast improvement, although it will not be an accurate indicator of your skills in a defensive situation.
2. Handgun Choice: I’m guilty of bringing full sized pistols to the range more often because they are easier to shoot. Compact handguns carry easier, but require much more skill to shoot accurately. If you carry a small gun, train with that small gun. If you find your skills lacking with it you might want to upgrade your daily carry to something you will be more comfortable with in a pinch.
3. Stress: Just as there is stress in a defensive situation, we must induce some sort or stress into our training time. The simplest way to do this is to shoot against a timer, or better yet alongside another shooter. If you wish to up the ante get your heart rate up with some quick exercises before each set.
Whatever you do, train well, pray hard, shoot straight, and stay safe.
—by Dustin Ellermann
—BY DUSTIN ELLERMANN