By Will Dabbs, MD, GUNS Magazine
Photos Robert Jones
Well-lit and rigged for semi-silent running, CZ’s Suppressor Ready P10-C is arguably the complete 9mm defensive package.
The CZ P-10C is the latest iteration of a long line of superlative Czech combat handguns hearkening back decades. Featuring state-of-the-art materials science, cutting-edge design, and well-reasoned features, it optimizes the current family of polymer-framed, striker-fired CZ pistols to accept a sound suppressor and tactical light. While the P-10C is indeed the top of the current tactical heap, the circuitous path it took to arrive there bears exploration.
Back when I was a kid, pickings were pretty slim. Cops carried wheelguns and GIs packed 1911s, but that was really about it. John Browning’s 9mm Hi-Power melded a 13-round capacity with a proper single-action trigger to become arguably the best combat handgun of World War ll. In 1966 the French introduced the MAB PA-15 and upped the capacity by two. There things languished for a spell.
HK debuted their breathtakingly flawed VP70 in 1970, and the world gained a handgun that packed 18 rounds onboard. I bought one just for the magazine capacity. A year later Smith and Wesson offered their high capacity Model 59 and the earth began to quiver. Finally a gun manufacturer had combined the SA/DA trigger of the Walther PP-series guns with a proper high-capacity magazine. Thus was born a new genre of 9mm pistols.
Robert Shimek, a popular 1980s-era gunwriter, first coined the term “Wondernine” to refer to the coming avalanche of high capacity handguns that began invading American gun safes and LE holsters at the time. Smith, GLOCK, SIG and Beretta all made them, and we American gun nerds suddenly couldn’t get enough. Among a crowded field, however, there lurked a most extraordinary specimen with Iron Curtain origins.
Communists have never been renowned for the quality of their consumer products. Western cars like BMWs, Jaguars, Corvettes and Ferraris will reliably set your heart aflutter. Soviet-bloc designs like the East German Trabant? Well, not so much.
One gleaming exception to this rule was the Cold War-era Czech CZ-75 handgun.
CZ stands for Czech Armory in the native tongue and they first opened for business in 1936. CZ then produced aircraft machineguns, military pistols and small-bore rifles. When the Nazis occupied their country they were compelled to produce and repair small arms for their German overlords. (I own a wartime-vintage Czech-made P38. It is a thing of beauty). After the Nazis were forcibly evicted, CZ went back to producing weapons for the Czech military.
The CZ-75 was introduced the same year Beretta started building their Model 92 and it was a magnificent piece of kit. As Czechoslovakia found itself on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, these superb combat handguns couldn’t be imported into the US through conventional channels.
However, there was still a way well-heeled handgun enthusiasts could get their mitts on one. Way back then, American military personnel stationed in Europe could order firearms for personal consumption through their local overseas rod and gun club. These organizations drew from a deeper well than did mainstream American importers, so the CZ-75 was on the menu. As a result, GIs could buy themselves a CZ-75, bring it home, and then sell it at an obscene profit. Thus was the American gun nerd’s circuitous introduction to legendary CZ quality and engineering.
Gemtech’s GM9 suppressor features a Linear Inertial Decoupler for reliability and compactness.
The pistol has a distinctive lack of “control clutter. The sole external safety is built into the trigger.
Fast-Forward To Now
Nowadays CZ is an arms powerhouse. The Iron Curtain collapsed under its own weight and Czechoslovakia redefined itself as the Czech Republic. Along the way CZ’s legendary penchant for superlative quality and engineering has propelled the company catalog into the Information Age. Their newest pistol is the 9mm P-10C, and it’s a proper piece of hardware indeed.
Its design has evolved so far beyond that of the CZ 75 as to be all but unrecognizable. There are several variants of the P-10C (including the one I used — the “Urban Gray Suppressor-Ready” version).
Let’s tackle the dimensions first. It’s got a 4.61″ barrel, an overall length of 8″ and a weight (unloaded) of 26 oz. The trigger is a crisp 4.5-lb. striker-fired mechanism sporting the abbreviated reset we all seem to covet. The double-stack magazine packs 15 rounds and the polymer frame is both comfortable and indestructible.
The triggerguard is aggressively undercut, and there are three interchangeable backstraps to custom fit the gun to your hands. The gun’s sole external safety is built into the trigger and the frame comes standard in an attractive soft-gray hue. The magazine release button and slide release are identically reproduced on both sides of the frame for optimal operation regardless of your particular “handed-ness.”
This P-10C comes from the factory prepped for your favorite sound suppressor. That means the steel sights are elevated and the barrel is threaded 1/2×28. Using standard American muzzle threads rather than those weird European left-handed metric sorts was a kind move. All that remains to run the gun quietly and well is to install your preferred can on the snout and hit the range.
My choice of a suppressor was relatively uncomplicated. Gemtech’s GM9 sports a Linear Inertial Decoupler for reliable operation on Browning-style recoil-operated handguns and is remarkably compact. Gemtech — founded by Dr. Phil Dater — knows a thing or two about making loud guns quiet.
The double-stack magazine has a 15-round capacity.
The elevated sights and threaded barrel spell “suppressor friendly.”
At 12 meters from a simple rest, it delivered respectable groups with several brands/weights of factory 9mm ammo. Photo: Will Dabbs, MD
Slide a SureFire X400 combination light and laser on the railed dustcover and you have the perfect home defense tool. The trigger has a predictable take-up along with a crisp break, and the low bore axis combined with the extra weight of the can and the light keep the gun sedate and controllable. The action is exceptionally tight.
Unlike most modern polymer-framed handguns, the P-10C required a break-in period for reliable operation. Fifty rounds of cheap 9mm ball and a couple hours of leaving the gun unmolested with the slide locked back loosened everything up nicely however. Once settled into its groove the P-10C reliably gobbled up everything from 65-gr. NovX polymer bullets to 147-gr. Winchester Suppressor-Ready loads without a hiccup. Five-shot 12-meter groups averaged between 1″ and 2″.
Magazine changes are fast and the gun shoots straight and well. Given the diminutive size of the GM9 it takes a little ablative material like wire-pulling gel or dB Suppressor Foam along with heavy subsonic bullets to make the gun truly easy on the ears. However, the turbocharged combination of the P-10C, the GM9 and the X400 will reliably and quietly secure your castle.
The field of high-end combat handguns is crowded these days with lots of quality manufacturers vying for our hard-earned cash. In the case of the CZ P-10C the gun is well reasoned, the system nicely balanced and the trigger top shelf. The X400 pierces the darkness, while the GM9 safeguards your ability to communicate should you need to discharge your firearm indoors. When run alongside the superb CZ P-10C, the end result becomes more than just the sum total of its parts. CZ knows how to build guns, and they’ve done this one up well. MSRP is $549.