Discover the CZ P-09: the incredible 9 mm gun transmitted by the American army
The XM17 was a big deal for any gunmaker to mark. CZ has done well with its CZ P-09 model. So why did this gun fail? The Czech-made CZ P-09 withdrew as an official competitor to the XM17 Modular Handgun System to replace the Beretta M9. It’s unclear why, as the CZ P-09 would likely have been considered a solid choice. Was it a fatal mistake since CZ might have been a finalist in the contest?
The decision to leave the contest may have been due to the P-09’s original double-action trigger and lack of a modular frame. The Czech gunsmith may have thought he would be eliminated from the start. But let’s dig deeper into its merits.
The XM17 competition
In 2015, the US military was ready to transition from the Beretta M9 service pistol and its variants. It launched a request for proposals known as the XM17 Modular Handgun System competition. This program had to go through wrangling in Congress, but it was eventually funded and the overall contract was going to be worth $580 million.
CZ was ready to go
It seemed at first that CZ (Ceska Zbrojovka) was going to jump through all the hoops. He made a compact model, which the military demanded. The P-09 features a polymer frame with steel slides. To better accommodate different hand sizes, three different backstraps (small, medium and large) are available. It is available in 19-round 9mm and .40 S&W ammunition or 21-round magazines with aluminum baseplates. Reloading is easier due to the unique shape of the magazine muzzle.
The standard handgun length is 8.1 inches and the barrel is 4.54 inches. It weighs 31 ounces unloaded. It’s on the large size compared to some competitors.
CZ P-09: Safety, controls and rail system
The CZ P-09 also has a right-handed and left-handed decocking safety. The CZ P-09 comes standard with three-dot tritium night sights. The Picatinny rail is ready for accessories such as lights and different optics. A suppressor can also be added. The controls are large and simple to use (slide release, safety, magazine release, trigger).
Double action only or double action/single action?
At first, the full-size model and the compact model had double-action-only triggers instead of the normal double-action and single-action mechanisms. Thus, the trigger cocks and releases the hammer. What is mysterious about the CZ P-09 is that it seems that the manufacturer later came up with a different “Omega” trigger that comes in single action to double action. Maybe if CZ had had the DA/SA from the start, he could have stayed in the competition. It is unknown when CZ made this change to the trigger.
The P-09 also did not have a modular frame. Dual-action-only functionality was not in the tender requirements, but modularity was needed.
As you might expect, the CZ P-09 and its compact P-07 are used by law enforcement in Central Europe – both with the Czechs and the Hungarians. This should have given CZ confidence that his favorable police record would help him in the competition.
What could have been
Perhaps CZ sees the XM17 trials as something they weren’t quite ready for. It did not make an official entry into the competition and the SIG Sauer M17/M18 eventually won the auction. The CZ P-09 should overall be considered an underrated handgun. It’s not in the hands of the US military, but it has won its good faith with the national police in the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Now as 1945 Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. EastwoodPhD, is the author of Humans, Machines and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an emerging threat expert and former US Army infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.