Shooting Review: M&P 9 Shield M2.0

Shooting Review: M&P 9 Shield M2.0

 

Recently, Smith & Wesson has been revamping its M&P line with the M2.0 series. The latest in this series is the M&P Shield M2.0. Available in 9mm and .40 (the newish 45 Auto version is not technically in the M2.0 series), with and without an external safety lever, the Shield is one of the most popular pistols ever so an updated model is kind of a big deal.

By Andy Rutledge

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There’s no denying the Shield’s popularity and its genuine suitability to its primary purpose of concealed carry. I’ve recently spent a few days shooting the new M&P 9 Shield M2.0 and here I’ll detail my impressions from that experience and offer some technical comparison with popular competitor models.

M&P Shields comparison

Why Consider the M&P 9 Shield M2.0?

The M&P Shield is a purpose-made concealed carry pistol. It’s a single-stack model with a slim slide and frame that easily disappears on or into one’s waistline with a quality holster. It is not meant to compete with or replace popular double-stack pistols and it’s a bit too large to be a good pocket pistol. So it is made to fill a specific niche and it fulfills that duty as well as or perhaps better than any other pistol, depending on your taste.

The M2.0 feature updates are meant to make an already top-notch pistol a bit better. However, as I’ll detail later, the M2.0 updates don’t really amount to much of an upgrade. The changes and improvements are few and slight, but not necessarily insignificant. So while the M&P Shield model has always been worthy of consideration, the M2.0 upgrade is even more worth one’s consideration for an everyday-carry pistol.

Note that there are some variations available for the Shield M2.0, as shown on the S&W website…

Shield options

M&P 9 Shield M2.0 Specs:

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Length: 6.1″
  • Height: 4.5” with flush magazine, 5” with extended magazine
  • Width: .99”
  • Barrel: 3.1” stainless steel Armornite™ finish
  • Trigger: ~5.5 lb.
  • Sights: 3-Dot steel
  • Safety: available without or with thumb lever
  • Weight: 18.3 oz. w/empty magazine
  • Slide: Black, stainless steel Armornite™ finish
  • Capacity: 7+1, 8+1 (extended magazine)
  • MSRP: $479

Note that the model I’m evaluating here was without a thumb safety lever.

Shooting the Shield M2.0

The Shield is a subcompact pistol so it is a bit snappier than your average compact or full-size pistol yet I found the Shield M2.0 to be no more so than similar pistols, like the XDs or Glock 43. I shot the pistol from 3 to 15 yards and found it easy to maintain hand-sized groups while shooting at faster than 1 round per second. One-handed shooting was easy too and I appreciated the new grip texture. I found the 3-dot iron sights to work just fine

As an update, I’d say that this M2.0 model is quite a mild one, as it is virtually identical to the original, save for the grip texture. The M2.0’s trigger is perhaps better than its predecessor, but I still don’t like the long reset. When I did rapid-fire shot strings I didn’t short stroke the trigger, but my finger was doing more work that I’d prefer in a defensive situation.

Comfort, Controllability, & Capacity
I mentioned in other articles that I’ve not been a big fan of the Shield and primary gripe with it owes to the otherwise positive feature of the very slim grip. This slim profile aids in concealability, but the tapered elliptical radius of the back of the grip is uncomfortable for me. As a prolific shooter (several days a week) I’m not bothered by recoil impulse or snappiness, but when I train I typically shoot 200 to 400 rounds in a session. The Shield’s comfort firing a few rounds is just fine, but shooting 100+ rounds with the recoil impulse delivered into the palm of one’s hand and focused on a thin and comparative sharp backstrap is not comfortable at all. I’ve heard other shooters mention this issue, too. The wider or flatter backstraps of other similar pistols are far more comfortable than this one. Surely this won’t be an issue for everyone, but it is for me.

The M&P 9 Shield M2.0 comes with two magazines: a flush magazine that holds 7 rounds and an extended 8-round magazine. With the flush mag, my medium-sized hand just fits about half of my pinky and the extended mag offers an ample and full grip. The extended magazine makes a good backup, but it makes the grip too long for advisable concealed carry. Still, seven rounds in the flush mag and one in the chamber is pretty good for a single-stack 9mm subcompact. Though it has as good or better capacity than its competitors, that extra capacity comes at the price of the Shield 9 M2.0 being taller than any of them. The extra height may make it a bit less concealable than some, though only slightly if at all with the proper holster.

The M2.0 grip texture is quite good. It is more effective and covers more surface area than standard M&P Shield grip texture. It makes it quite easy to maintain a good grip when firing strings of several rounds. I had the opportunity to fire some rapid-fire strings and never felt like I was having trouble maintaining control of the pistol or my grip. Missing, however, is the same texturing on the forward thumb position of the frame. This position where the support-hand thumb rests is an important component to recoil management and the slick polymer here does the shooter no favors.

Shield M2.0 texture

Components and Features
The most conspicuous feature of the M2.0 line is the aforementioned grip texture. The new texture is subtle, but quite grippy and might mitigate the need for stippling. I’d have to try it with wet hands to be sure and did not have this opportunity for this review. As with other M2.0 models, the Shield’s slide has the addition of some scalloped texturing on the lower portion of the front area of the slide. I can’t imagine what purpose this feature serves and it is not very attractive.

front serrations on the Shield M2.0

The model I used for evaluation came without the external thumb safety (as all pistols should), but the Shield is available with an external safety lever. I found the slide lock to be easy to manipulate when I wanted to lock the action open. It did not get in my way when shooting and I never rode the control preventing the slide from locking back on the last round of a magazine, as can happen with some guns. The takedown lever is quite unobtrusive. It is smooth, rounded, and very low-profile on the frame. Well done with all of this.

The Shield M2.0 has the hinged trigger, with a trigger stop on the upper portion of the trigger well as an interesting way to prevent overtravel. The M&P 9 M2.0 Shield has white 3-dot sights that seem to work just fine for my eyes.

Comparisons

Here is how the M&P Shield 9 M2.0 measures up physically against other popular competitors (with a flush magazine):

  M&P Shield M2.0 XDS 9 Glock 43 Kahr PM9
Length 6.1″ 6.3″ 6.26″ 5.42″
Height 4.5” 4.4″ 4.25″ 4″
Width .99″ .9″ 1.02″ .9″
Barrel 3.1″ 3.3″ 3.39″ 3.1″
Weight 18.3 oz 23 oz 17.95 oz 14 oz
Capacity 7+1 7+1 6+1 6+1
MSRP $479 $499 $519 $810

Conclusions

Pros
For its size and in its category, the M&P 9 Shield M2.0 is an eminently shootable and concealable, single stack pistol. The external controls are well designed and unobtrusive and the capacity is as good as one might hope, given the small size.

Cons
The narrow backstrap makes prolonged training uncomfortable. Other than this and the lack of texturing on the forward frame for the support-hand thumb, I can think of nothing substantive to criticize on the Shield 9 M2.0. As for nitpicks, it doesn’t have the best trigger around, with quite a long reset, and I’ll point out that the small area of serrations on the bottom of the front of the slide are as useless as they are unattractive.

So for rating the M&P Shield M2.0…

Ergonomics (****)
The controls are well placed and unobtrusive and the grip texture is excellent. The thin grip is both good and bad, depending on your preferences. Some shooters will prefer the more vertical grip angle of the Shield as opposed to the more acute angle of the Glock 43.

Shootability (****)
Definitely a shootable pistol, though less comfortable to shoot than most 9mm subcompacts. The grip texture does a good job here.

Accuracy (***)
I found it to be plenty accurate for serious business at close range, but less so than my Glock 43 at 10-15 yards. The 3.1” barrel is not best suited to great distances. For most defensive uses, no complaints here.

Concealability (*****)
The Shield 9 M2.0 has a thin frame that easily disappears on or into your waistline—with the flush magazine. The extended magazine causes some concealability issues. Carry that one as your backup.

In Summary

This is a solid and well conceived thin-framed subcompact in 9mm. The Shield has been the popular standard for this type and size of pistol for quite a while. There have been some new competitors in recent years, but the Shield remains a top pick. I wouldn’t say it is the best of the best, but it’s certainly one of the best.

The M&P Shield is a proven performer and popular success. I have to believe that this new iteration will only help with its popularity. Also, I would tend to trust the quality of Smith & Wesson’s M&P line. Come by Eagle Gun Range and rent the M&P 9 Shield M2.0 and see what you think.

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About The Author
Andy Rutledge is a design professional, competitive shooter and avid road cyclist. He trains at Eagle Gun Range and elsewhere a few days a week to hone his shooting and defensive skills.
Shooting With Both Eyes Open

Shooting With Both Eyes Open

When any of us first starts shooting we make a point to close our off eye so that we can have a clear sight picture. That clear, unambiguous sight picture is vital at this stage because we typically have no trained mechanics or muscle memory to assist with our effort to shoot accurately. What’s more, most of us are unaccustomed to unconsciously or even consciously directing our focus into one eye while the other eye remains open.

All of this is to say, there’s a bit of a learning curve to proper defensive firearm technique (of which the eyes are just one component).

I say defensive firearm technique because there is little benefit in target shooting with both eyes open. This doesn’t mean one shouldn’t target shoot with both eyes open, but the point of having both open is so that your field of vision remains as wide as possible so that you don’t miss something important or deadly in a fight for life; yours or someone else’s. However, since humans are creatures of habit, it is best to make a habit of shooting with both eyes open.

First Steps

This process won’t be easy and you will continually find yourself wanting to cheat. The good news is that it’s okay to cheat. It actually helps.

You’ll first want to know which of your eyes is dominant. There are a few well-documented ways to figure this out, so I won’t go into that here. Go figure it out then continue reading.

Here’s your target:

a shooting bay target

Next, step up to the line with your pistol, take aim as usual, with your off eye closed and your finger taking the slack out of the trigger, then open your off eye and note the sight picture. With both eyes open, depending on what your focus habit is (front sight or target), you will have either two targets or two pistols in view, but only one properly aligned sight picture.

As shown in the images below, if your focus is on your front sight, you will have two targets in view. In this case, the target you should aim at is the one on the side of your dominant eye (right target if you’re right-eye dominant). You can confirm by blinking your off eye.

Conversely, if your focus is on your target, you will have two pistols in view. In this case, the proper sight picture will be with the pistol opposite your dominant eye (left pistol if your right-eye dominant). You can confirm by blinking your off eye.

Sight picture

Shooting with both eyes open

Note: The photos above are representative of a right-eye-dominant view.

Now, close your off eye and then open it again, all while keeping your sights on target and your finger on the trigger. Break the shot with both eyes open and while concentrating on the proper sight picture. Repeat this process roughly 50 times.

Next, repeat the process, but instead of starting with your off eye closed, start with both eyes open and try to seize the proper sight picture. Then blink your off eye once or twice to confirm (and adjust if necessary). Once you’ve confirmed and with both eyes open, break the shot. Repeat roughly 50 times.

You’re on your way!

Even so, don’t expect to transition from a one-eyed shooter to a two-eyed shooter in one day. Give the process some time.

Now, when you go back to the range or while you’re doing dry-fire practice at home, use the second method. Instead of blinking to confirm every time, try only doing so when you lose track of the proper sight picture. In other words: when you find yourself losing focus, cheat.

In time, you’ll seldom have to blink to confirm your sight picture, as your brain learns to focus exclusively on the proper sight picture. Start today and resolve never to backslide to shooting one-eyed again.

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About The Author
Andy Rutledge is a design professional, competitive shooter and avid road cyclist. He trains at Eagle Gun Range and elsewhere a few days a week to hone his shooting and defensive skills.
Shooting Review:  The Glock 19 Gen 5

Shooting Review: The Glock 19 Gen 5

 

Glock released the Gen 4 pistol line in early 2010, which addressed some caliber-to-frame durability issues and brought some mild external changes. Roughly seven years later we’re presented with the next generation in Glock’s lineup. The Gen 5 differences are equally mild on the surface, but there are some interesting changes that are not immediately apparent.

I’ve been using my Gen 5 Glock 19 since late August and have put roughly 4,000 rounds through it since. I’ve run it for static precision and in dynamic defensive drills from concealment, with and without a light attached to the rail. I have also spent time with it disassembled, getting familiar with the internal changes and issues with parts replacement (since Glocks are fun hobby kits).

Mostly, the Gen 5 Glock 19 is just a Glock 19, but there are some interesting and odd changes that warrant examination. There are also some caveats that early purchasers should be aware of. I hope to cover most of all of them here, but keep in mind that these insights are from less than 2 months of use, several times a week. More time may tell more tales.

Much of this review will deal with Gen 5 differences from previous versions and Gen-5-specific user issues (for carry, shooting, accessories, etc…). For a more basic review of the Glock 19 I encourage you to read my Glock 19 Gen 4 review here (“Review: Glock 19 Gen 4 – After 80,000 Rounds”). Note also that the photos shown in this article do not depict factory-new pistols. Rather, these are photos of the pistols of someone who uses them hard several days every week. They tend to get a bit beat up.

 

Glock 19 Gens 4 and 5

 

Why Consider the Glock 19 Gen 5?

The first and best reason to consider this pistol is because it’s a Glock 19; arguably the best all-purpose handgun ever made. It is large enough to be a duty gun and offer functional accuracy and a substantial magazine capacity while being small and light enough for everyday concealed carry.

Additionally, one cannot ignore the excellent record of reliability offered by Glock pistols. From my own experience, I’ve shot well over 100,000 rounds through Gen 3 and Gen 4 Glock pistols and the only malfunctions I’ve ever experienced were due to failed non-Glock replacement parts and a botched Cerakote job. With stock parts, a Glock pistol is near flawless in operation, even under harsh conditions.

Specific to the Gen 5, you might consider the new Glock 19 for a couple of compelling reasons. First, the slide lock lever is now double-sided. So if you’re a lefty, switch the mag-release to the right and you have a fully-left-handed pistol. For those of you who like Glock pistols, but not the grip finger grooves, the Gen 5 comes with a flat-face frontstrap on the grip. No customization necessary.

Glock 19 Gen 5 Specs:

  • Caliber: 9x19mm
  • Length: 7.28”
  • Height: 5.04”
  • Width: 1.34”
  • Barrel: 4.02” – 1:9.84” RH twist – Blued
  • Trigger: 5 to 6.5 pounds
  • Sights: Polymer “U” dot configuration, rear adjustable (standard)
  • Weight: 23.99 oz. w/empty magazine
  • Slide Finish: Black Melonite + nDLC coating
  • Capacity: 15+1 (10 – if you live under tyranny)
  • Price: ~$560 (often found for more and for less)

Shooting the Glock 19 Gen 5

The Gen 5 brings very little that is new to the shooting experience, with 2 notable exceptions. The Glock 19 has always been a soft-shooting, easily managed pistol and it has always had accuracy that will outstrip 99.9% of shooters’ ability. What’s new to this experience is brought by the new Gen 5 barrel and the flat frontstrap of the grip.

Having shot a lot with Gen 3 and 4 Glocks, I find the lack of finger grooves notable. I’m used to the grip snugging up to fill my strong hand and now it feels different. I don’t find the difference to be bad, but as the finger grooves fit my hand perfectly and I miss them on this pistol. I know a lot of folks have never liked them, so many will be pleased by this change.

 
The Glock 19 Gen 5

The Glock 19 Gen 5 after some muddy "wounded wing" training. It got dropped on the ground a few dozen times.

 

The new barrel rifling profile is purported to double accuracy at longer ranges (4” groups at 50 yards, Glock claims). I’m not yet good enough to get 4” groups at 50 yards, but I did find that my groups at 25 yards were noticeably smaller with the Gen 5 as compared to my Gen 4 shooting. I can’t say for sure, but I’ll assume that this is due to the more accurate barrel.

 
Glock 19 barrel threads

Glock added little ridges to the each side of the base of the polygonal rifling lands.

 

The Gen 5 trigger is perhaps a slight bit better feeling than the Gen 4, but it’s subjective and hard for me to tell. The Gen 5 trigger assembly is completely different from the Gen 4, configured like the Glock 43. It has a “New York” trigger spring that uses a polymer spring support and a compression spring (rather than an expansion spring hooking the bar to the cruciform). I tried a 3.5lb connector and felt no press-weight difference at all. So I tried a 2lb connector and got the 4.5lb press that I expect in my pistols. Interesting.

The bulk of the 9mm ammo I’ve run through the pistol is 115gr ball, but I’ve run rounds from an assortment of Federal Premium 147gr Hydra-Shok JHP, Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P GDHP, Federal Premium 124gr HST JHP, Hornady Critical Defense 115gr, and Hornady Critical Duty 135gr …all with flawless performance.

Malfunctions
I have experienced none in ~4,000 rounds with my Gen 5 Glock 19. The only remarkable issue I can report is that inside of the first 1000 rounds I occasionally felt a slight hesitation as the action chambered the first round of a magazine. Instead of the standard “chick” sound/feel of the slide going into battery, there was sometimes a “ka-chunk” that felt like a slight hesitation with the round chambering. This anomaly went away after about 1000 rounds and never did impact the performance of the gun. Every round chambered and fired.

Comfort & Controllability
As with every other Glock pistol, the Gen 5 G19’s trigger guard transition to the grip is quite angular and typically uncomfortable for the strong-hand middle finger while shooting. Therefore, I suggest that EVERY Glock pistol must have a Dremmel tool taken to the side and bottom of the trigger guard junction with the grip in order to create a smoothly rounded and reduced profile there. Other than this issue, the Glock 19 is plenty comfortable enough. There are some who disagree and find the G19 or any Glock pistol to be just fine without this slight modification work. With this modification I find the Gen 5 Glock 19 to be very comfortable. Without it, unusable. I, personally, would never own a Glock that had not been adjusted in this way. Sure would make for a nice Gen 6 upgrade.

The Glock 19 is in no way snappy and it’s very easy for one to manage recoil. The location of the magazine release is good and I only have to modify my grip slightly to get my medium-sized hands into position to actuate it (as I do on every pistol made). Even with Glock’s minimalist slide-lock lever, my grip often interferes with the lever and I find that the pistol will not lock open on the last round of a magazine from time to time. This is in no way the fault of the gun. It’s all me.

Concealability & Capacity
Even though it is a compact, the Glock 19 is larger than some in that classification. However, with a good and well-made holster, it is easily concealed in several positions on your belt, inside the waistband or outside. I wear a Glock 19 with a light in appendix position every day and never have a printing problem.

Note, however, that concealability is managed significantly by the holster and its configuration. Most holsters made for concealed carry are made poorly are not configured to properly angle the pistol to aid in concealment. Be careful!

The Glock 19’s fifteen-plus-one capacity is ample, especially for a compact. It is no mistake that the Glock 19 sets the standard for size to capacity ratio in the pistol world.

Components and Materials

The Gen 5 Glock 19’s largely unadorned slide comes in black Melonite finish that is then treated with an nDLC coating. The result is a darker and, reportedly, more durable finish. I really like this new finish and the aesthetic it delivers. I can’t say if it is more durable. I can say, however, that dropping it onto gravel repeatedly in training will scratch the slide and flake off spots of the finish, as shown here:

 
Scratches

Scratches and flaked-off finish after the Glock 19 Gen 5 was dropped onto gravel repeatedly during training.

 

The scratches shown above came from doing a few dozen reps of the “wounded wing” drill, shown here:

The polymer frame is much like the Gen 4, except that the grip is slightly flared on the sides to imitate a magwell (it is only imitation) and the finger grooves on the frontstrap are gone. The Gen 5 also features only one pin near the locking block instead of the 2 pins common to recent generations. Perhaps because of this change, the frame is very slightly wider and very slightly taller than that of the Gen 4. The grip texture is identical to the Gen 4 and is serviceable, unless you have wet or bloody hands (therefore, be sure to stipple your Glock if it is a carry gun).

 

Glock 19 - Gen 5 vs Gen 4

magwells

 

IF YOU CARRY A GLOCK 19 WITH A LIGHT, note that the Gen 5 with a light will not likely fit your Kydex light-bearing holster. The dimension from the top of the slide to the bottom of the accessory rail is slightly greater on the Gen 5 than with the Gen 4. This means that your gun will probably be too tall to fit into a hard (Kydex) holster with a light. It will likely take a short while before manufacturers are prepared to offer Gen 5 light-bearing models.

Customization

The Gen 5 brought some changes that will for a while play havoc with some popular customizations. None of the previous-generation Glock OEM or aftermarket triggers will fit the Gen 5. The dual-sided slide-lock lever necessitates a reduced-size area on the top of the trigger shoe. If you like aftermarket triggers, you’ll have to wait until manufacturers release a Gen-5-specific setup.

The very slightly wider frame means that the takedown tabs are ever so slightly more recessed than on previous generation models. Therefore you might opt for an extended slide stop with trapezoidal tabs. Note, however, that the slide-stop spring is no longer a leaf spring, but rather a traditional compression spring (which is very hard to install once disassembled!).

Beyond these issues, the Gen 5 is much like any other Glock pistol with regard to customization. (Caveat: if you opt for modification of your pistol, make sure you’re either trained to do so or allow a trained professional to do it for you. Altering the components of a deadly weapon is no joke.)

Conclusions

Pros
The Glock 19 Gen 5 is a Glock 19, so it is the perfect combination of size and capacity. Some folks will like the absence of front-strap finger grooves. The nDLC coating delivers a better looking finish than that of the Gen 4. Like the Gen 4, the Gen 5 has interchangeable back straps. The Glock pistol is likely the most reliable pistol on the planet, and Glock claims the Gen 5 is the most reliable yet.

Cons
Same old plastic sights, same old odd back strap shape. The slightly different frame dimension can present holster-compatibility issues is you have a mounted light. The new internals mean you’ll have to relearn some disassembly points and many aftermarket parts are incompatible with the Gen 5.

So for rating the Glock 19…

Shootability (****)
This is an eminently shootable pistol. Controlling the recoil during shooting strings is quite easy. It is neither too big nor too small for precision manipulations and keeping rounds on target. The trigger is “fair,” but good for a Glock trigger.

Ergonomics (***)
The Glock 19 is not the most ergonomically designed pistol, but with modification it has the potential to be quite nice. The lack of finger grooves will allow this version to better fit some folks’ hands.

Accuracy (****)
This is as good a shooter as most pistols, but the looser tolerances in the design mean that slight variations can creep into the results at longer distances. The new barrel rifling profile seems to more than make up for this beneficial flaw.

Reliability (*****)
There is no more historically reliable a pistol in the world. My only caveat here is that the Gen 5 is new and we have yet to learn of any inherent flaws or wear issues.

Customization (****)
The Glock 19 has been the most customizable pistol in existence. However, the Gen 5 presents us with some incompatibilities and new mechanisms that will require time for the aftermarket to catch up. Four stars instead of five here.

In Summary

The Glock 19 Gen 5 is in most ways, just another Glock 19, but there are some interesting and perhaps useful changes here. I can’t say that the Gen 5 changes are reason enough to replace your previous version, but if you don’t have a Glock 19, the Gen 5 model is well worth picking up.

I like both my Gen 4 and Gen 5 Glock 19s and I look forward to seeing what the aftermarket manufacturers come up with in the way of augmentations and accessories. If you’re interested, but not sure if the Gen 5 if for you, rent one and put a few rounds through it. See what you think.

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About The Author
Andy Rutledge is a design professional, competitive shooter and avid road cyclist. He trains at Eagle Gun Range and elsewhere a few days a week to hone his shooting and defensive skills.
Shooting Review: The CZ P-10 C

Shooting Review: The CZ P-10 C

 

For years, companies have worked to challenge Glock’s position in the market, fueled mightily by the success of the sweet-spot Glock 19. The CZ P-10 C is the first one to make so direct a challenge; going so far as to supposedly “fit most Glock 19 holsters.” In some ways, CZ has produced what some might call a more attractive G19, but is looks all there is there?

CZ is a company known for making high-quality pistols for both defense and competition. I’m sure I was not alone in being a bit surprised when they announced this stylistic and functional departure from just about anything they’ve ever done. From appearances, it would seem to be a worthy challenger to Glock’s model 19, but the proof is in the shooting. I recently got to spend some quality time shooting the P-10 C and here follow my first impressions.

Why Consider the CZ P-10 C?

The P-10 C is a direct challenge to the Glock 19. Like the G19, the P-10 C is a large-ish compact, striker-fired pistol made for everyday carry and duty.

This new CZ pistol could be considered for several reasons. Chief among them are if you want a good value on a quality pistol that asks for little or no modification. You might also consider the P-10 C if your primary concern is trigger-action quality. You might also consider it if you like the Glock 19’s features, but prefer a better grip contour and a more attractive design.

Now, because CZ has deliberately created the P-10 C as a direct competitor to the Glock 19, I will be making some direct comparisons along those lines throughout this review. Those comparisons cannot help but be colored by the fact that I shoot 40k to 45k rounds through a Glock 19 every year. One could say I’m quite used to that platform. Let us see if this P-10 C is actually a Glock killer.

CZ P-10 C 9mm Specs, as compared to the Glock 19:

Model CZ P-10 C Glock 19
Chambering: 9x19mm 9x19mm
Length: 7.3″ 7.28″
Height: 5.2″ 4.99″
Width: 1.26″ 1.18″
Barrel: 4.02″ cold hammer forged 4.02″
Trigger: ~4.5 lb. ~5.5-6 lb.
Sights: Aluminum glow-in-the-dark 3-dot Polymer w/U-marked rear
Weight: 26 oz. 23.65 oz.
Slide: Black nitride Black Melonite +nDLC
Capacity: 15+1 15+1
MSRP: $499 $599
 

CZ P-10 C on the bench

 

Shooting the P-10 C

The first thing I noticed when I brought the CZ P-10 C up onto target is that the grip angle, while similar to the G19, is slightly less acute. This means that if you’re used to shooting a Glock pistol you’ll have to bring the front sight of the P-10 C up a bit when you press out to the target. As very few pistols have a Glock-like grip angle, this is to be expected. However, the P-10 C’s grip angle is not so vertical as most Sig or 1911 pistols.

Once I got the hang of the proper grip angle for press-out, I found the P-10 C easy to shoot accurately. The 3-dot sights are easy to pick up and the round goes where it’s supposed to go. Surely part of this easy accuracy comes from the much-celebrated trigger on this pistol.

Yes, the trigger is very good. It has a smooth takeup, a crisp break, and a veeerry short reset for a striker-fired gun. It breaks at around 4.5 pounds. This trigger is superior to anything you’re likely to create in a Glock with polishing and/or aftermarket components. While running a friend’s model on the practical range, I found Bill drills and other fast-shooting to come easy with the P-10 C. CZ is deserving of praise for this trigger.

I find that I like how that a firm magazine seating into the pistol with a locked-open slide will send the slide home. Apparently, this is a deliberate feature of the action. Good on ‘em. This is something that is possible with some Glocks, but is not predictably repeatable.

The one negative thing I immediately notice is that the P-10 C seems to have a bit stronger recoil impulse than I find on a Glock 19. It’s not tremendous, but it is noticeable. I chalk this one up to the fact that 1) the grip is a bit narrower than on a G19, so the recoil is directed to a smaller area, and 2) the bore axis, while low, is very slightly higher on the P-10 C. Moreover, since the CZ has no frame flare in the area one would rest one’s support thumb to help mitigate muzzle flip, that tool is removed or diminished for control.

Comfort, Controllability, & Capacity
This P-10 C has a far-more plush hand fit than is found on the G19. The grip contours are a bit spartan as compared to other CZs, but still quite nice. I almost got the impression that I was putting my hand into the gun rather than gripping the outside; a feeling due in part to the pronounced beavertail-like upper rear frame.

The other noticeable aspect of gripping the P-10 C is the fact that the undercut rear of the trigger guard is both comfortable and helps facilitate a slightly higher grip. This is a feature fail on the Glock 19, which has a most uncomfortable configuration at that location (and must be modified after purchase!). My medium-sized hands had a good reach to the trigger and I found the grip size to be just right with the small backstrap

As I mentioned earlier, I found it slightly less controllable than a Glock 19, owing to a slightly more pronounced recoil impulse and an inability to rest my support-hand thumb on the forward frame. CZ textured that thumb location on the frame, but it is pancake flat and offers little in the way of purchase for control. The difference in controllability is just slight, though, and not a compelling issue.

Though the P-10 C is roughly a half-inch taller than the Glock 19, it has the same 15+1 capacity. This is not terrible, but one would hope that it would mean one or two more rounds. Mildly disappointing.

Components and Features
The P-10 C’s frame is made from fiber-reinforced polymer and touts an aggressive texture similar to yet more pronounced than that of a Gen 4 Glock. A few of the folks I’ve spoken to who have purchased the new CZ say they’ve sanded down this texture slightly. I can’t imagine why one would do this, as the texture is still not rough enough to be called “grippy.” It’s a good texture, but I’d prefer if it were sharper. I still say this frame requires stippling.

The glow-in-the-dark 3-dot sights are made from aluminum. This is not optimal, but it sure beats plastic sights. I expect a serious devotee would want to replace these with irons, perhaps with Tritium dots.

As has been reported elsewhere, the magazine release (available on both sides!) is quite stiff and requires a strong, straight press to release. The control is rather small and I’m not a fan. I prefer the larger, flatter control found on the Glock 19. I’m told that the release will loosen up in time and have no reason to doubt this claim.

The frame and the slide are attractively contoured, but free of useless frills. I applaud CZ’s choice to make the pistol completely ambidextrous rather than side-swappable. The barrel is quite robust, especially the barrel lug. Not sure why they felt this was necessary, but I believe it’s a nice feature.

Conclusions

Pros
The P-10 C is an accurate, simple, attractive, comfortable pistol with a fantastic trigger. The grip contour is much more comfortable than that of a G19 and the sights are metal rather than plastic. Getting all of this at roughly $100 less than you’d pay for a Glock 19 makes this pistol hard to ignore.

Cons
The P-10 C is slightly larger and heavier than a Glock 19 and replacement magazines are more expensive than the Glock’s. While it fits into some G19 holsters, it won’t fit into G-Code Incog holsters (which are by far the best holsters for concealed carry). The magazine release control is a bit fussy and small. Felt recoil is slightly more with the P-10 C than with a Glock 19 and the frame is not conducive to physical management of muzzle flip.

So for rating the CZ P-10 C…

Ergonomics (*****)
The P-10 C fits like a glove and I see nothing wrong with the ergonomics of its design (short of a forward thumb rest).

Shootability (****)
There’s very little wrong with the shootability of this pistol. I’m giving it 4 stars instead of 5 as a comparison to the Glock 19, which I find to be pretty flawless in its shootability.

Accuracy (*****)
I find nothing to complain about here and found it easy to be accurate with this pistol.

Value (*****)
I think the CZ P-10 C is something close to the very definition of a good value. Yes, there are some small shortcomings, but for the price you’re not likely to find anything close to this quality and these features.

In Summary

While I reserve judgment on its reliability and longevity, the CZ P-10 C is simply a superior value to the G19…out of the box. There are particulars related to everyday carry that prevent me from wanting to replace my Glock 19 with a P-10 C, but it’s hard to find anything truly wrong with CZ’s new pistol. One could not compare this newcomer to the long and storied history of excellence and reliability of the Glock, but time will tell many things.

I’ll be interested to see how the market for components and holsters responds to the advent of this pistol. If it is truly to be the Glock killer it was conceived to be, that response will have to be pretty darned robust. In the mean time, the CZ P-10 C is an excellent effort and worth anyone’s consideration.

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About The Author
Andy Rutledge is a design professional, competitive shooter and avid road cyclist. He trains at Eagle Gun Range and elsewhere a few days a week to hone his shooting and defensive skills.
Some Concealed-Carry Advice

Some Concealed-Carry Advice

 

If you carry concealed, you’ve doubtless read lots of advice for dos and don’ts. Here are a few that you might not have read about or considered. I hope you find them helpful!

By Andy Rutledge

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Keep as much kit as possible on your belt (to free up pockets).

Since, as a concealed carrier, you went to the trouble to get a good-quality stiff belt it makes perfect sense to exploit the benefits of that belt to make it easier to carry your EDC (everyday carry) kit. Advisable kit in addition to your carry pistol includes at least one spare magazine (two is better), a pocket and/or fixed-blade knife, a tourniquet, a flashlight, a phone, and maybe even a multi-tool and IFAK (individual first-aid kit). That’s a lot of stuff in addition to your wallet and keys. Unless you’re wearing 5.11s every day it’ll be difficult to keep it all just in pockets!

Since most of these EDC items are weighty for their size, they can greatly encumber your trouser pockets and will damage them over time. It’s best to use your belt to carry as much of it as you can manage. There are good belt/holster options for phones, knives, tourniquets, and especially pistol magazines. These items do not create much of a printing (revealing) hazard and they travel far better on your belt than in your pockets. Give it a try!

Carry at home all the time.

If you’re going to carry concealed, it is best to carry every waking moment. When you’re at home, you’re often doing any number of things outside your home from time to time, like doing yard work, taking out the trash, relaxing in the back yard, fetching something from the car, etc… Instead of putting on your pistol every time you decide to perform a quick errand, be smart and just keep it on. People are attacked inside their homes and in their yards and driveways all the time. You do not want to be unarmed when that happens.

Home invasions happen every day and at every time of day and night. Even if you have staged weapons in your home, you cannot pick your location when three or four armed thugs kick down your front or back door. When you’re unarmed, you live at the whim of criminals who will take your life or the lives of your family. I believe it is irresponsible to leave your life and your family’s life to chance like that. So stay armed every waking moment. If you’re going to carry, carry. Or are there moments of your day when it’s okay for someone to take everything from you?

If you’re fit, consider appendix position for carrying your pistol.

Carrying concealed in the 3 to 5 o’clock positions can be quite comfortable, but those positions present some obstacles to defense, retention, and concealment. Carrying AIWB (appendix inside the waistband) is superior for addressing all of those issues.

The appendix position offers a far easier and more natural location for getting your weapon into the fight, and is faster to do so from that position. It’s also far easier to defend against someone trying to get to your weapon. Moreover, the appendix position conceals far better than any other waistline position…if you have the frame for it.

Appendix position is not best suited to those who have a larger gut and it can be more problematic for those who wear their shirts tucked. Mostly, however, AIWB is a bad choice for someone who does not train regularly. If you’re going to carry in the appendix position, it is imperative that you train regularly from concealment with dry-fire and live-fire drills every week. You want to forge incorruptibly safe habits because a mistake of negligence while drawing or re-holstering in the appendix position could prove fatal. If you’ve got these bases covered, however, AIWB is a far superior carry position in most cases.

When training at the range, always practice reloads from your spare-magazine carry position (pocket or mag pouch) as a matter of routine.

This one is easy. Whether you’re at a strict indoor range or at a tactical-style outdoor range, all of your precision and practical pistol drills should include reloading from your normal spare-magazine position.

If you’re going to shoot, say, strings of 5 for precision, have one magazine in your pistol and one magazine in your normal carry position and when you’re done with the first magazine, perform a speed reload and continue. This is an easy routine to work into your normal training. It helps to forge solid habits and exposes problems with your technique and carry method.

Know the laws & keep up with changes.

Laws change and if you’re going to be a law-abiding citizen you’re responsible for keeping up with them. The fact that you carry a firearm on a daily basis means you’re held to a higher standard and you’re generally subject to more liability.

Stay informed by frequenting industry and gun-law weblogs. Also, each state has an online reference for its gun laws. Make a habit of checking up on a periodical basis.

Wear patterned, and/or dark shirts.

No matter where or how you carry your pistol on your belt line, your shirt will move and settle from time to time in a way that indicates something is under it. Since revealing that you’re carrying a handgun is in poor taste, often illegal (depending where you live), and always defeats the purpose of carrying concealed, you’ll want to mitigate these events. Dark colors and especially patterns help to conceal the outline of a pistol grip in cases where a light-colored, un-patterned shirt will make it obvious.

Dressing around the gun is an important conceit and needn’t be overly constraining. Being relegated to darker colors and patterned shirts is a small price to pay for peace of mind and better concealment.

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About The Author
Andy Rutledge is a design professional, competitive shooter and avid road cyclist. He trains at Eagle Gun Range and elsewhere a few days a week to hone his shooting and defensive skills.