TriStar Arms is expanding on their handgun offerings with the new P-120, available with a blue or chrome finish. These full-size 9mm pistols are modeled on the well-proven CZ-75 design, specifically, the SP-01.
These pistols are made for TriStar by Canik 55, which is quickly developing a reputation for manufacturing CZ- and Walther-pattern pistols that are on-par with the originals in terms of fit and quality. Canik is a NATO-certified small arms manufacturer and these guns must pass a 50,000-round torture test.
“All of our pistols have been tested in every stage of production to ensure quality and reliability,” said Gus Bader, the owner of TriStar Arms. “We want the consumer to feel comfortable knowing they can trust the product that’s in their hands when in a threatening situation or at a competitive event.”
They are built on steel frames and sport black checkered polymer grips and have a generous 4.7-inch barrel. Weighing in at 2.6 pounds, the P-120 is also a very soft shooter, although it probably isn’t ideal for concealed-carry.
These guns were introduced at SHOT Show earlier this year and we got in a little range time with them there. They are hand-fit and very tight and and share some parts with CZ pistols, including the hammer, trigger, grip panels and sights. CZ-75 magazines should work with them as well, although TriStar accepts direct orders for additional factory mags.
Each P-120 comes with two 19-round magazines. The mags are made by Mec-Gar, so no worries about reliability or durability there. Mec-Gar is an OEM manufacturer of magazines for many companies and is considered one of the best magazine manufacturers in the industry.
Still, these pistols are not direct copies of CZ pistols and feature a number of changes, both cosmetic and functional. One of the big differences is the finish. TriStar’s guns feature a quality Cerakote finish over traditional blue or Polycoat finishes found on most CZs.
And while the P-120 has a full-length railed dust cover, the rails are spaced out along the entire length of the frame.
The lines on the P-120 are a significant departure from the SP-01 with sharp edges and matching front and rear slide serrations, with a profile more like the P-09 than the SP-01. Additionally, the internals of the P-120 have been polished for a smooth, light trigger break right out of the factory.
While the gun is more than adequate for self-defense with it’s 19+1 capacity, even with our limited range time with the P-120 it’s clear that it can easily serve as a target pistol or race gun for competition shooters on a budget.
Which brings us to one of the biggest selling points of the P-120, the price. TriStar has set the MSRP for the P-120 at a paltry $489 with the blue finish and $509 with the chrome finish. Real-world prices are going to be a lot closer to the $400 point, which is extremely competitive, especially consider the high degree of fit and finish.
This is one gun we were very impressed with, and we suspect we’re not alone.
If you’re interested in the P-120 head over to the TriStar website for more information. If you’re looking for something lighter and smaller the company offers a solid selection of compact and alloy-framed handguns as well. Also, as of 2014 all their pistols will feature a Cerakote finish.