CZ P-10 S Pistol Review: Small in Stature, Big on Controllability
The CZ P-10 S is the sub-compact variant of CZ’s enormously popular polymer-framed, striker-fired P-10 lineup. The P-10 C is CZ’s compact version, while the P-10 F is the full size. Despite being small and having a chopped-down grip for concealed carry, it’s surprisingly controllable and shoots like a bigger gun.
I’ve been a big CZ fan ever since I shot my first CZ 75. CZ’s have a reputation of being a shooter’s gun company. They have always designed very shootable guns and the P-10 S is no exception.
What do I mean by, "It shots like a bigger gun?” Well, I mean that the recoil impulse is so soft that it feels like I’m shooting a heavier gun with a bigger grip. The soft recoil impulse allows me to track the sights better during recoil and lets me get faster follow-up shots. Typically, smaller guns are snappier and have more muzzle rise. This makes them easier to carry because of their size but more difficult to shoot well. On the P-10 S, however, I’m able to almost shoot as fast as when I’m shooting some of my competition-specific guns.
If you want a great shooting experience with a small gun you want can also conceal, this is the gun for you. I’m actually not sure how they were able to achieve such a good shooting experience in such a small gun. I believe it is a combination of grip geometry, slide mechanics, and the trigger. Let’s dive into each of these individually.
In general, the grips on the entire P-10 line are slim and suitable of smaller hands with the small interchangeable backstrap. Without an extended magazine, my pinky hangs off the bottom, but smaller hands should have no problem with the short grip. The grip is about 0.5 inches shorter than the standard P-10 C. Despite this, the gun is very controllable even with the flush-fitting mag. It must be because you can grip the gun very high on the grip since the trigger-guard undercut and the beavertail cuts are pronounced. The closer your hand is to the bore line, the less movement there will be at the muzzle.
There is also good texture to keep the gun locked in your hand during recoil. The side panel texture is not too aggressive, so it won’t abrade the skin when the gun is carried. However, the front and rear panels have very grippy texture, and that’s really where you get control of the pistol. There are interchangeable back straps to further customize your grip.
The P-10 S uses the same Browning titling-barrel design as most striker-fired pistols. However, on the P-10 guns, the barrel also sits closer to the bore axis like most CZ pistols. This reduces the perceived muzzle flip experienced by the shooter.
Another action difference with the S model is that it uses a dual recoil-spring assembly. The C model uses a single recoil spring. The dual recoil spring is probably used to tame the extra recoil because this gun does not have the extra heft of its big brothers that have larger barrels and slides.
Much has been said about P-10 triggers. Some go so far as to say they are one of the best duty-gun striker-fired triggers on the market. I would have to agree with this statement. While not a match trigger, it’s probably one of the best factory triggers. The trigger pull starts with a light spongy take-up, followed by a solid wall with some creep, a crisp break, no over travel, and a short rest. This trigger is superb for this price range. The great trigger is definitely an important component of the great shooting experience.
Early P-10s had stiff magazine releases. To address this problem, CZ changed the magazine-release system from an ambidextrous magazine release with the catch on the front of the magazine to a swappable magazine release that catches on the front corners. This solution did fix the problem, but it made older magazine non-compatible with the newer release system. This happened around 2019. After that, all new magazines were backwards compatible with all release systems. The magazines on my test gun used the newer design and ejected very well.
The flush-fit magazine holds 12 rounds. The test gun also came with aftermarket Hyve mag extensions, which increase the round count to 15 and increase the length of the handle so I can get a full firing grip. The P-10 S can also take full-sized 15-round P-10 C or 19-round P-10 F magazines.
Accuracy & Reliability
The P-10 S had good accuracy for a subcompact gun. I got great groups at 20 yards for a gun with a 3.5-inch barrel. Also, I had no reliability problems with the 500 mixed rounds I tested.
The closest popular, comparable firearm is the SIG P365 XL. The SIG has about the same dimensions and is only a few ounces lighter. The P365 XL is one of my daily carry guns. I love it. It also shoots like a larger gun. The shooting experience of the P365 XL is very similar to the P-10 S, but the CZ is maybe a little softer.
Also of note, the P-10 S has a standard Picatinny rail for accessories. Not all subcompacts offer this feature. Even the P365 XL only has a SIG proprietary rail instead of the industry standard.
Pros & Cons
As mentioned, there’s a lot to like about this pistol, but it’s not all rosy. I have three criticisms of the gun. First, I don’t like the slide serrations. They look aggressive, but I found slide manipulations difficult. I don’t think there is enough serrations, especially at the front of the gun.
Second, I didn’t love the sights. There is not enough light coming through the sight picture. The thickness of the front sight fills almost the entire space of the rear sight notch. This slows down acquisition and makes for poorer precision in my humble opinion. The sights are still usable, and the front orange hi-viz paint combined with the tritium are easy to see. I just think they could be better.
Lastly, I found the administrative controls difficult to manage. This probably has to do with the stiff recoil spring. Small guns need strong recoil springs to make them reliable. However, this results in more difficult manipulations. Racking the slide, releasing the slide stop, and even the takedown levers are stiff. I didn’t have any problems, but I can see someone with weaker hands running into issues.
I’m now a big fan of the P-10 S. For $594 new, and even less used, you can’t really go wrong. The size and shootabilty make for a great carry piece. It’s nice to be able to use the flush-fit mag for deep concealment or switch to the extended mag for a better grip. I need to try all the P-10 pistols now.