CZ P09 Duty as a Survival Gun
Oleg Volk 10.28.13
Most firearms positioned for survival are tiny 22-LR lightweights, as are the rifles. However survival situations are more likely to take people by surprise at a time when they have nothing more than their daily carry weapon in their possession. One possible carry pistol is the P-09, which would make a surprisingly useful sidearm for either the backwoods or the urban jungle.
The pistol is a conventional DA/SA tilt-barrel autoloader but with a few extra features. It ships with a de-cocker lever which can be easily swapped out for the included safety for cocked-and-locked carry. The magazine holds 19 rounds, bringing the total loadout with a single spare to whopping 39 shots of 9×19 Luger. In the .40 S&W variant, magazines hold 15 rounds each, for a total of 31. Despite the capacity, the grip is very thin and the trigger reach is reasonable (especially in single action mode) making this a viable weapon for shooters with smaller hands.
The trigger guard is large enough for gloved use. The lightweight polymer frame makes daily carry practical. The grip is long and subtly textured, with three backstraps included for accommodating different hand sizes. On each side of the frame, a roughly finished patch suggests the forward thumb placement, aiding in the correct hold for effective recoil control. Felt recoil is negligible, far below most 9mm handguns.
The advantage of concealed carry in times of unrest or natural disasters are considerable. Being armed but low-key lowers exposure to hostile action from others while giving means for a ready response should it be necessary. 9×19 Luger ammunition is sufficient for self-defense and also for small to medium game. The main challenge with small game is getting sufficient accuracy. While the skill of the shooter plays a big role, the mechanical accuracy of the pistol and the quality of the sights and trigger are paramount.
With slow, deliberate aim and trigger pull, a pop can sized target can be hit reliably out to about 25 yards. That means it has the ability to take a rabbit that far out, spoiling a minimal amount of meat with ball ammunition. Other than .22 LR and 12GA, 9mm Luger is the most common round in the US and many other countries, so finding additional ammunition would be relatively easy. The pistol can safely use +P fodder as well as heavier subsonic rounds.
This target illustrates both pluses and minuses of the P09. When the shooter does a good job of trigger control, all bullets go through the same hole. When the shooter fails, they do not. In single action, the trigger has a surprising amount of take-up followed by considerable overtravel. Combined with a light return spring, it means that the finger has to be deliberately allowed to re-set after each shot — an easy task but so dissimilar to Glock or M&P trigger feel that a bit of familiarization helps.
The target above was my first magazine through the gun. For users of other CZ pistols, the trigger will feel far more familiar, though the take-up and overtravel are still greater than on the CZ75 variants. That is my sole complaint with the pistol, which otherwise qualifies as one of the most comfortable and capable service pistols recently designed.