The range report is the stalwart of handgun evaluations. A pistol may look good, carry well, and feel great in the hand but if you can’t reliably pepper the proverbial pie plate at about seven yards’ distance, something’s amiss. So, while “How does it shoot?” is a common but vague question, it is still the question.
You don’t need to be a SWAT sniper or combat veteran to properly evaluate how a handgun shoots. You just need some ammo, a target, and a safe place to shoot. I like to add Harrison, my 16-year old son, and no additional prep such as cleaning or lubricating the handgun or reading the instruction manual. While an initial clean and lube is always a good idea, every now and then we like to fire guns that are literally out of the box.
Today, our out-of-the-box gun is CZ’s P-07, a polymer-framed pistol that carries 15 rounds of 9mm. Harrison accurately observes that it’s about the same size as a Glock 19, that it looks “cool,” and “feels good.”
This CZ is DA/SA and comes with a visible hammer that can be de-cocked via a lever on the frame. Or, you can switch the lever to be a manual safety, allowing you to carry the P-07 1911-style. At the range, I carefully removed the CZ from its case and checked its functionality, making sure it was unloaded. With both of us donning eye and ear protection, I loaded one magazine with American Eagle 9mm target rounds, pushed the magazine home, racked the slide, and took aim.
Down range, about seven yards away, were several Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C targets, including the eight-inch Bullseye version. These targets produce a vivid chartreuse mark around each bullet hole.
The hammer was back on the CZ so I pushed the decocker, dropping the hammer and relocating the trigger toward the front of the triggerguard. The first trigger stroke was long, heavy, but smooth. The remaining trigger strokes were shorter, with a lot of takeup, but still smooth. Fired rounds hit the target and empty cases reliably ejected. Recoil pushed but hardly could be called snappy. The simple three-dot sights seemed to get back on target quickly. Most of my shots hit within a softball-sized group.
“How does it shoot, son?”
Technically, my question to Harrison is more about how he felt shooting it, as in, is shooting the P-07 closer to easy and confidence-inspiring or unnecessarily involved and miserable?
“It’s awesome, dad.”
With that technical answer, we’re off to clean the P-07 and get it ready for another range session. And I need to find a concealed carry holster for it and see if it’s carry-ability matches its shoot-ability. For now, the P-07 has passed its out-of-the-box range session — awesomely.