Perhaps one of the most popular brands of pistols being used for competition today is CZ. All-steel models like the Shadow 2 and the TS 2 are dominating the competition landscape. So, it’s safe to say the folks at CZ know how to put a race gun together. However, the company recently flipped the script on how a competition pistol should look and feel. CZ changed the game with the P-10 F CR (Competition-Ready) pistol.
Seeing the CZ P-10 F CR For the First Time
It turned a lot of heads at the 2021 Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous in Idaho. CZ focused on the P-10 F platform and modified a few key aspects. As a result, is a competition pistol that looks and feels different from its standard offerings. However, it is also available at a more accessible price point for those just getting into the game.
Polymer Launch Pad
The standard P-10 F is CZ’s full-size variant in the P-10 line of polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols. The 9mm P-10 F is a fairly large, double-stack pistol that natively accepts 19-round magazines. It has an overall length of 8 inches and a width of 1.26 inches.
Within the nitride-finished slide resides a 4.5-inch, cold hammer-forged barrel. Despite having a rather large footprint, the P-10 F has a slender and ergonomic grip, and the pistol only weighs 28.2 ounces.
With the P-10 F as the launch pad for its newest competition pistol, the folks at CZ augmented a few features and threw in a little bling as well. The first thing that catches the user’s eye is all of the ornate gold accents that adorn the body. Likewise, the factory barrel is treated with a gold, titanium-nitride finish. In addition, the chamber has been re-designed to reliably work with a wider variety of ammunition.
The aluminum Apex Tactical slide cover plate and Henning Group magazine base plates are gold anodized. Finally, the HB Industries Theta trigger is also aluminum and is gold anodized as well.
Another change from the standard P-10 F is the inclusion of a fiber-optic front sight rather than a dot-style front post. The P-10 F Competition-Ready features a blacked-out and serrated rear sight as well.
Another difference up top is what I call the “double-cut” slide serrations near the front. The front serrations on a standard P-10 F are a simple set along the side of the slide. On the Competition-Ready model, there’s another set directly atop the first set that is machined into the tri-top-style angle sloping to the crest of the slide. These are similar to the rear serrations that can be currently found on standard P-10 F pistols.
The Finer Details of the P-10 F Competition Ready
As mentioned earlier, the P-10 F Competition-Ready showcases an aluminum HB Industries, flat-face trigger unit. When comparing it to the trigger on my personal P-10 F, I noticed very little difference in the weight or crispness of the break. This is a compliment to the P-10 F’s factory trigger.
However, the trigger on my P-10 F has a pretty good amount of pre-travel. The HB Industries trigger on the competition P-10 F almost completely eliminates that pre-travel, with only a couple of millimeters of movement before the wall.
Competition-oriented features also include an extended, reversible magazine release as well as an ambidextrous and elongated slide stop/release. To get the user started quickly, CZ includes three 19-round magazines in the case. CZ’s current plans are to sell the gold Henning Group base plates as stand-alone items at the company’s web store. The company also sells the complete magazines.
Aside from the competition features, the P-10 F Competition-Ready retains some of the more tactical aspects as well. These include the oversized triggerguard for gloved fingers and a Picatinny rail for accessories like lights or lasers.
The competition version also features the same semi-aggressive grip texturing for excellent traction and control. And, to accommodate different hand sizes, the P-10 F Competition-Ready ships with two extra backstraps to tailor the fit to the individual user.
The last, and one of the most important, features is the optics-ready slide cut. Whether you’re using the P-10 F Competition-Ready for sport or defense, a quality red-dot unit can make all the difference in your speed and accuracy. The pistol does not ship with any adapter plates for red-dot units. However, CZ sells those plates for various optics at its online store.
In keeping with the high-speed, low-drag competition context, I took the opportunity during my time with the P-10 F Competition-Ready to also try out Axil’s GS3 Custom earbuds. I was looking for ear protection that was lightweight, and that also stayed in place during more rigorous activity. This setup fits the bill perfectly.
Axil offers a line of earbuds at various price points, and the GS3 Custom is its top-tier offering. Rather than using foam or rubber fittings, the GS3 Custom is shaped to fit a specific shooter’s ears using ear molds supplied by the customer.
The GS3 Custom I received was a well-built set that fit snugly in my ears with a portion seated in my ear canal. With their hard acrylic casing, I had to insert the buds gently. But once they were in place, I almost forgot they were there.
The GS3 Custom offers 29 decibels of automatic noise reduction by blocking out any noise above an 85-decibel ceiling. This allows the user to carry on with normal conversations while the buds are in place.
Since I spend a lot of time at the range by myself testing guns for articles, one thing I grew to appreciate about the GS3 Custom was the Bluetooth functionality. It’s a simple process to power on the Bluetooth radio and pair it with a smartphone. This allows you to take calls or stream audio.
While I was doing more tedious tasks like shooting groups, I was able to listen to music, podcasts, and even a book from one of my current favorite authors, Jack Carr.
Operating the Axil GS3 Custom Ear Pro
Once the connection was made with my phone, some of the controls, like the volume setting, could be made from the GS3 unit itself. At first, I couldn’t help but think this was a bit of a gimmick. But once I tried it, I was hooked.
It struck me that this would also be a great way to help pass the time while out on a hunt as well. And, aside from letting you stream your favorite audio to while away the time in the woods, the GS3 Custom offers 6x hearing enhancement as well. So, if you’re not getting down to some favorite disco beats, you’ll have that extra edge against your quarry.
The unit comes with a lithium-ion battery that provides 12 hours of service before needing to be charged via the micro-USB port. This worked well for me since I have a good-sized Anker power brick that I use to charge a couple of other pieces of gear while on the go, and it worked perfectly with the GS3 Custom.
All in all, it’s a slick piece of gear with an MSRP of $699. That may sound like a lot to some, but if you’re serious about shooting or hunting and enjoy the benefits of the latest technologies, it’s well worth adding the GS3 Custom to your kit.
With Savage Son playing in the background with my GS3 Custom earbuds and having mounted a Trijicon SRO on the P-10 F CR, I settled in for some quality time at the range.
Since I own a regular P-10 F, I’ll just say up front that there’s very little difference between shooting it and the P-10 F CR. In fact, there’s almost no difference at all. Both are very flat-shooting pistols due to the ergos and the low bore axis, and both are very accurate shooters.
I ran a variety of range loads through the P-10 F Comp including stuff from Federal, Remington, and Sig Sauer, and had no issues at all. So far, I’ve put over 1,300 rounds through the P-10 F Comp without a single hang-up of any kind. Of course, I didn’t expect any. Every single P-10 pistol I’ve shot has been absolutely reliable without fail.
The accuracy testing included premium loads from Sig Sauer and Hornady. And those all functioned just as reliably as the FMJ loads. At 25 yards, the single best five-shot group was with Hornady’s 115-grain Critical Defense load. That group measured 1.31 inches. However, the best average, multiple-group size of 1.77 inches was shot with Sig Sauer’s 124-grain Elite V-Crown load.
The few differences that exist with the competition version of the P-10 F relate mainly to handling. The elongated slide stop was definitely quicker and easier to engage, but only slightly so. The taller magazine release was more accessible for rapid action, but again, we’re talking a difference of milliseconds. But that’s what the P-10 F CR is all about, squeezing out every degree of performance possible.
While the refinements are very slight, in a competition setting, any advantage—no matter how slight—gives the shooter more of an edge to secure the win.
A Solid Performance
For me, the most meaningful upgrade was the aluminum HB Industries trigger. Aside from virtually eliminating pre-travel, it offered a better response as well. Its metal construction didn’t have the give and slight flex of the factory polymer trigger.
Comparing the break weights between the two pistols, the competition model’s trigger broke at an average of exactly 4.5 pounds. That was only slightly better than my standard pistol’s average of 4.7 pounds. But the competition trigger just felt better. Even so, the factory trigger has a crisp release and is still pretty damn good.
As for the Axil GS3 Custom earbuds, they performed very well. I’ve had them at the range three times so far and only just now recharging them for the first time. To make sure, I keep them in the range bag where I need them. I also keep a USB cable in the SUV and charge them with a vehicle USB port. It’s a fairly quick and simple process before I tuck them away in the bag.
Once I had the earbuds in place, they were very comfortable to wear for extended periods and stayed right in place the entire time. They did a great job compressing and blocking out the reports of the pistol shots.
But when I shot a .308 rifle, the noise reduction ability was borderline. Especially when I was shooting from a shelter where the sound was bouncing off the ceiling and the cement floor. In this kind of case, I’d opt for a bit more protection.
Like the standard P-10 F before it, the new Competition-Ready model is an excellent pistol. The only negative I can point to is that it’s fairly easy to accidentally engage the extended magazine release. You’ll need to be aware of it and form your grip around it to realize the benefit of the easier reach.
If you plan on carrying the CZ P-10 F Competition-Ready for defensive use, it might be worth reverting to a standard mag release since bumps and knocks could cause an inadvertent ejection.
At $999, the CZ P-10 F Competition model runs right around $350 more than the standard P-10 F Optics-Ready. For that price bump, you get the aluminum baseplates, gold accents, re-designed chamber, upgraded trigger, and enlarged controls.
With that price and the accompanying features, you’re not making great leaps in capability. They’re small, incremental improvements that only a small number of very skilled folks will be able to appreciate and exploit.
That said, you could be someone like me who loves the P-10 platform and really digs what CZ has done to improve the “F” model. That’s always been a good enough reason for me to buy a pistol.
No matter your reasons, whether you’re a race-day range god or a pistolero in training, if you decide to pony up for CZ’s latest P-10 F offering, I think you’re going to be one very happy customer.
For more information, please visit CZ-USA.com.
CZ P-10 F CR (Competition Ready) Specs
Barrel: 5 inches
Overall Length: 7.56 inches
Weight: 30 ounces (empty)
Sights: Fiber-optic front, serrated rear
Finish: Nitride, gold accents
This article was originally published in the Combat Handguns March/April 2022 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.