I took my first handgun training class in June 2019, at which point in pew pew history one might observe that the predominant and mainstream pistol type had long been the polymer-framed, striker-fired firearm. Aside from the obligatory slide or two in the lecture presentation, I’d glossed over the the other major types - double action/single action (DA/SA), single action only (SAO) - and started looking into them only recently.
Playing Catch Up on the Double (Action)
The PSTC armory has a number of non-striker-fired handguns that eligible customers can rent and try. I’d taken the venerable CZ 75 (the one of the far left) out for a spin, but that was when I was even more clueless about the differences in action types, so aside from making a fistful of holes in paper, not much insight was had.
Incidentally, I found this article on Pew Pew Tactical to be a fantastic primer (pun intended?) on the differences among those major firearm categories. The CZ 75 has a fascinating origin story and inspired so many clones as to be a primogenitor design (some would vociferously argue of lower stature than the antediluvian 1911 and its slightly less legendary descendant the Browning Hi-Power).
Czech This Out Yo!
The CZ P-09 is a recent reimagining by the Czech Republic’s Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod (CZUB or just plain CZ-USA here) of its 75 as a polymer-framed, full-size duty gun that naturally fits the home defense role. It features a DA/SA trigger system that can switched between a decocker and a manual safety.
One Massive Ice Storm Later
Between the time I picked up the P-09 and its deflowering at the range, there was an extended extreme winter weather event (i.e., a yuuuuge freakin' cold wave) that froze up roads, brought down power lines, and caused all sorts of disruption, but at least this time the local stores didn’t sell out of kale.
During that period of in-place sheltering (and for some, gleeful kale-munching) I did a fair amount of dry fire practice with the P-09 to find my way around its two trigger modes: a long, heavy double action and a short, crisp single action.
The P-09 in One of Its Natural Habitats
I made my way to the PSTC public gun range and got set up to send some inaugural lead through paper. As you can see, other folks had the same idea that morning with regards to perforating targets.
I began with courses of fire at a variety of distances to get a feel for the pistol using live ammo. Here’s 60 holes punched at 7 (yellow), 10 (green), and 15 (blue) yards. The loose 7 yard shot was from the literal first bullet out of the P-09 fired in double action mode, so I chalk that up to the “Egads, so that’s how it shoots!” surprise.
The wider 10 yard group was shot entirely in double action mode, while the remaining 10 and all 15 yard groups were single action. It’ll be a while before I can own the heavier double action trigger pull and make it a smooth and straight press, but in the meantime the single action trigger is definitely lighter than the striker-fired pistols I’ve used.
Back to Twenty-Five
I spent the remaining 40 rounds engaging the 20" bullseye at 25 yards. Single action shots, because why make things harder?… Anyway, I found the iron sights to require more “guesswork” in establishing a sight picture than with a red dot optic. I think this is a good beginning for longer-distance shooting with the P-09, and I definitely look forward to practicing more in the future.
Double (Action) or Nothing?
After this first outing with the P-09 I’ve been pondering whether to keep the factory default decocker or to swap it out with the manual safety. Both will require a good deal of neurological re-wiring to safely and fluidly operate a heavier trigger (with its attendant decocker operation immediately after loading or disengaging a target) or a much lighter pull (that requires the safety to be toggled between use).
I likely need to first answer the question of what the P-09 will be used for - carry, home defense, target shooting, competition, or some combination of these. I don’t anticipate trying to carry, let alone conceal, this pistol in public, and I’d likely use a compact frame handgun for future IDPA matches. For now I’m in no hurry to make a decision, and I’m perfectly content working on the DA trigger and going SA for the 25 yard targets.