February 27, 2019
By Joel J. Hutchcroft
Photos by Michael Anschuetz
When CZ-USA introduced the polymer-frame P-10 C auto pistol last year, it was the company’s first-ever striker-fired semiautomatic. Currently, the P-10 C is offered chambered for 9mm Luger. You can have it with an all-black finish or with a black slide and a Flat Dark Earth (FDE) frame. There are suppressor-ready versions in the standard all-black finish and in what CZ-USA calls Urban Grey, which is a black slide and a gray frame. Also, there is a new version of the rugged, reliable pistol that comes with an FDE frame and a White Nitride slide. It is, in my opinion, the best-looking version of the gun by far, and it’s the one I am reporting on here.
One of the advantages of a striker-fired mechanism has to do with the relationship between the bore axis and shooter comfort. A striker-fired mechanism characteristically allows for a lower bore axis, and a lower bore axis typically permits the pistol to sit lower in the shooter’s hand, which usually means muzzle flip is easier to control.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the chief complaint about striker-fired pistols. A striker-fired mechanism normally requires stiffer springs for reliable operation, and that usually makes the slide more difficult to rack. For instance, some recent hammer-fired pistol designs claim their slides are as much as 27 percent easier to rack than similar striker-fired pistols. I have no way to scientifically confirm such claims, but I will say the slides of hammer-fired designs do feel easier to operate manually. As far as the P-10 C goes, while its slide may be technically more difficult to rack than a hammer-fired pistol, it is still easy to retract and presented no difficulty whatsoever for me to operate during my shooting sessions.
Another common complaint with many striker-fired guns is they typically have a sloppy, heavy trigger. Not so with the P-10 C. CZ-USA says its trigger breaks at between 4.5 and 5.0 pounds, and the FDE/White Nitride version I tested averaged 5.7 pounds for 10 measurements with my RCBS trigger pull scale. Take-up was smooth, the break was crisp, and the reset was short, which allows for quick follow-up shots.
Another advantage of the P-10 C is that it’s easy to field strip for regular cleaning and periodic maintenance. Here’s how easy it is: Remove the magazine and be certain the pistol is not loaded by racking the slide and checking the chamber, return the slide to its forward position, point the pistol in a safe direction, squeeze the trigger, retract the slide slightly, pull down the takedown lever, and move the slide forward off the frame. Remove the recoil spring assembly from the slide and then remove the barrel.
Yet another advantage, at least in my opinion, is that unlike many autoloading pistols these days, the P-10 C will fire with the magazine removed. And speaking of magazines, my P-10 C came with two flush-fitting 15-round magazines. The bodies are metal, and they have removable polymer baseplates and polymer followers. CZ-USA also offers a “low-capacity” version of the P-10 C FDE/White Nitride that comes with 10-round magazines.
Other good features of the P-10 C include the accessories rail on the frame (it has a single cross-slot) and three easy-to-install interchangeable backstraps that are held in place by a roll pin at the bottom of the frame. Push out the pin in either direction, and slide the backstrap down and off the frame. Reverse the proceedure to install your preferred backstrap. They come in small, medium, and large sizes. I have medium-size hands, and the medium backstrap fits me like a glove.
It’s worth mentioning that the P-10 C was built to withstand the rigors of military use, and its fiber-reinforced polymer frame has a generous trigger guard that accommodates shooters wearing gloves. The trigger guard is undercut to permit a grip that is as high as possible. The grip angle allows the pistol to point naturally, like an extension of the shooter’s arm, and avoids what CZ-USA describes as a “brick-in-the-hand feeling that has plagued many in the striker-fired genre.” The grip also has a mild palmswell (grip circumference measures 6.24 inches with the small backstrap in place) and a deep beavertail. All those elements combine to make the P-10 C a comfortable-shooting pistol.
Size-wise, the P-10 C is large enough to shoot like a full-size gun but small and lightweight enough to conceal relatively easily. It has a 4.02-inch cold-hammer-forged barrel, and the pistol is 7.3 inches long overall, 5.2 inches high, and 1.26 inches wide at its widest point. The slide proper is 1.0 inch thick. The pistol weighs 26 ounces unloaded. Sight radius is 6.5 inches.
Speaking of sights, my FDE/White Nitride P-10 C came with metal, three-dot tritium night sights. The front sight has an orange ring around the tritium dot, and the smooth rear sight has white rings around the tritium dots. Both sights are dovetailed into the slide and secured with screws. The shape and rugged construction of the rear sight allows for one-handed manipulation of the slide on a belt or other stable surface.
I have to point out that CZ-USA’s website states several shipments of FDE P-10 Cs were imported with standard three-dot sights due to a delay in the production of factory night sights for the P-10. These guns have the FDE frame but not the White Nitride slide. They are listed under a different SKU and are priced at the same level as the standard black P-10 C (MSRP: $499).
The slide stop and magazine release are ambidextrous. And although the pistol does not have an external thumb safety, it utilizes a firing pin block and a trigger safety. The trigger safety is similar to other triggers of the type in that the safety lever has to be engaged before the trigger assembly can be squeezed fully to the rear.
Now let’s take a look at the new White Nitride finish. Nitride is a treatment process that actually bonds to the components and creates a super-durable skin. It is designed to be superior to the spray-and-bake finishes some gun companies use. Nitride is typically black in color, but according to CZ-USA, the White Nitride finish has the hardiness and lubricity of the firm’s standard nitride finish but without the blackening process. It gives this P-10 C’s slide the look of stainless steel, which I think is attractive.
The slide has serrations at the rear (10) and up front (eight). And it’s beveled to reduce weight and to make the gun more comfortable to carry.
I first fired a P-10 C last year soon after it was announced. I put the then-new design through a full day of shooting, including several self-defense scenarios, and found it to be easy to shoot well. Putting the FDE/White Nitride version through a similar shooting session on a hot and humid day this past August, I confirmed the new version’s grip allows a high handhold, just like the original configuration I fired last year. The high handhold helped make shooting the pistol very comfortable. The grip has an aggressive texture that I really like. The texturing is located in three distinct areas: the frontstrap, both sides, and the backstraps, and I found it to be very effective.
Because the P-10 C was designed to drop right into some of the most common retention holsters in use by law enforcement agencies across the United States, a wide variety of common holsters is available. I used a Galco Hornet leather belt holster for my shooting drills, and it was quite comfortable.
I also fired the pistol for accuracy from a bench. During that phase of testing, I fired 10 different 9mm factory loads, ranging in bullet weight from 115 to 150 grains. As you can see from the accompanying chart, all loads produced five-shot group averages less than 3.50 inches at 25 yards. That’s for five, five-shot groups with each load. The tightest group average was 1.93 inches, and it came with Federal’s HST 150-grain JHP ammo. Reliability was stellar, with no failures during the entire 400-round shooting session.
Easy to control, easy to field strip, a great trigger pull, total reliability, excellent accuracy, a durable finish, and good looks. The FDE/White Nitride P-10 C has it all.