Sunday, April 19, 2015

Joining The Dark Side: An Introduction to the CZ P-09

Feeling a bit let down by my M&P 9 Pro, I bought a CZ P-09 Duty a few weeks ago. I've since put about 650 rounds through it, mostly my own 125gr LCN hand loads. I very recently added the Cajun Gun Works short reset kit, oversize DA roller, and reduced power hammer spring. I put 300 rounds through it with this kit installed, the rest being fired before I made any modifications at all.

Well, I like this gun very much, and would emphatically recommend it for anyone looking to either get started in any sort of competition, or anyone looking for a full-sized 9x19mm service pistol or bedside gun. It's just very good. You can stop reading here if you're pressed for time, because what follows is just expounding on these statements.

Right out of the box, the Omega trigger has a very good double action pull, and the single action is long and light with a sharp break at the very end of the pull. There was a tiny bit of overtravel, but not enough to be really concerned about. The reset is quite long, and that is a little worrying if you're shooting against the clock. Otherwise, it's not a deal breaker. The CGW parts make the double action really quite good, and sets the single action pull a little closer to the break, and erases any overtravel. The short reset kit cuts the reset down to less than half of the factory trigger. I would recommend getting the parts I listed, but only if you're seriously into competing. If you're just getting started, you can skip it and spend the money on magazines, a good belt, holster, and pouches.

I've also found the P-09 to be very accurate, and easy to shoot well. The main thing I didn't like about my M&P was that I seemed to always be mind-wrestling it to stay in control. Not so with the P-09, but that's more down to my personal preferences. That being said, I much prefer the P-09 and find it easier to make better hits at longer ranges. I can now clean off James's plate rack from 25 yards as long as I look at my sights. This was an exercise in frustration with the M&P.

My own feelings aside, the P-09 seems to be very accurate, and has unique recoil characteristics that make it pretty ideal as a race gun. It has almost no muzzle flip, and not much in the way of felt recoil. It's just very nice to shoot. Just for fun, James and I did some slow motion video of the P-09 with the factory guide rod and spring, and a tungsten unit meant for a Glock. I also shot James's G34 with said tungsten unit. The results are below:

Aside from the accuracy, negligible muzzle flip, and good trigger, the P-09's frame has some nice design features. There's a little stippled pad midway down the frame on both sides. These are great places to park your reaction side thumb and trigger finger. The magazines are very long, and have nice bumper pads. It's as easy, if not easier to reload than the M&P. It's also very easy to install those CGW parts. The P-09 is probably the least complicated DA/SA pistol I've ever taken apart. Check this video if you're thinking of getting a P-09 and installing the kit yourself.

The P-09's only real problem is the CZ SP-01 Shadow. I've shot a "Cajunized" Shadow, and it was brilliant. Probably the best handgun I've ever shot. But it is, before any modifications, over $1000. The P-09 is less than $500, and the CGW kit I bought was about $135 shipped. So for about half the money, you can get about 90% of the capability of the Shadow. For someone like me, coming from a long line of farmers, the price difference is not easy to overlook. If you have the money, and you already compete or you have a taste for expensive guns, get the Shadow. For everyone else, the P-09 is way more gun than you pay for.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I Felt Threatened

"I felt threatened" has become the tag line that is driving a very solid wedge between police and the communities they serve. I don't want this to be a political blog, but I saw a video this morning that motivated me to write something in hopes the police community might one day see it.

There's video of a South Carolina officer who shoots an old man as he lightly jogged away, then a second officer plants an object near where the victim fell. This is pretty clear, and thankfully, the officer involved has been charged with murder. The excuse for the shooting was "I felt threatened".

Closer to home, a woman in Burlington, Iowa was accidentally shot and killed by an officer who "felt threatened" by the woman's dog. The officer slipped and fired twice as he fell. He claims the dog took him down, but the P.D. was unable to show medical records, photographs, or even a torn uniform in support of the dog attack claim.

Ladies and gentlemen of the police community, we have a problem. Or rather, two problems.

First and foremost, stop feeling threatened by EVERYTHING. I understand that police work is dangerous. I was a police officer for several miserable months. I was also an infantryman, and did two tours in a particularly bad neighborhood of Afghanistan. I'm no stranger to hazardous work, nor being on the wrong end of a gun. You officers of the law need to learn a new catch phrase. One that I think might do nicely belongs to Travis Haley: "Thinkers before shooters."

Think before you pull the trigger. That's all I'm asking. Do a quick mental risk assessment. Is the risk of using your gun greater than the risk of not using it? In the Burlington case, the officer was allegedly trying to avoid getting bitten by the dog. I get that a dog, especially a big dog, can do serious and even life-threatening damage. But what about pulling the trigger? Where will that bullet actually stop (rule 4: Identify your target, and what is beyond it)?

That leads me to the second problem. The police community refuses to punish officers who act recklessly. The officer in Burlington will face no disciplinary action whatsoever. None. He killed an innocent person and will face no punitive action. Other cops need to step up and denounce this guy (and others like him) and his poor judgement. Police need to shun officers who put the public at risk, and make it known that there will be no "Blue Wall of Silence" for officers who betray the public trust.

Start speaking out before public trust is totally gone (and it's nearly there now). I have friends who are still officers and I want them to be seen as defenders of their communities. Acts like those outlined above make the police as a whole seem reckless, if not bloodthirsty. I know that's not the case. So from now on, all you policemen who read this, think before you shoot. And if a colleague is acting a fool, correct them before they end up as the next headline.