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jripper

AO1 LD Review

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I got my A01 LD CZ two weeks ago, since being on back order from January.  I finally got around to shooting it yesterday. 


Before I shot it, here's my take on the gun:  It's freaking heavy!  At 51 ounces, I expected this.  However, it balances very well.  It doesn't feel like I"m fighting to keep the gun up on target.  It feels very stable.  The grip panels are VZ and feel perfect for me as is, with the new grip frame.  On a shadow two, I use a Lok Bogie with the palm swells, so I have fairly large hands.  I can reach the double action fine, but If you have any smaller hands than mine, a reach reduction kit may be in order.  It has a very nice beveled mag well.  I usually run a extended mag release, but I did not have a problem hitting the standard release on this gun, but there again I"ve got monkey thumbs.  The single action is the best I've seen on a CZ out of the box yet.  There is pretty much no hammer caming, and very crisp, breaking just an ounce or two over 3lbs.  This is no doubt due to the sear being pinned directly to the frame.  The double action was around 8lbs, and while I've seen much worse, it wasn't the best out of the box I've seen either.  Upon disassembly I found that there was no polishing of the trigger bar of sear/sear cage contact areas.  I felt that for the price point of this gun, it should have received some attention before shipping, but it is supposed to be a "Production" gun, so oh well. 

 

The front sight is a fiber optic, and in my opinion, too wide for the rear.  Most all that come on factory guns are, so nothing too surprising here. 

The rear sight is flat black, and the dovetail when compared to a Shadow 2 sight I had lying around, is larger front to back. 

 

The front sight is cross dovetailed, not the standard CZ length wise dovetail pinned sight.  The sear cage is not  standard, as it appears to be milled steel.  The hammer and sear pins are also different, being unidirectional, and with a recess in the frame for the larger end, and are firmly fit into the holes.  No retaining pin on the hammer as per the 75. 

 

Before shooting, I installed a 11 lb hammer spring, 11 pound recoil spring, extended firing pin,  and polished some of the contact areas.  When reinstalling the sear, I made a slave and assembled the sear cage out of the frame, which made the whole process of reinstallation pretty easy.  I did not remove  the hammer yet, but will be doing so later, as I plan to install a Cajun gunworks race hammer and sear in the future. 


The gun already has a short reset disconnector installed, and it appears the hammer strut is polished and needs no work. 

This work got my double action down to 5lbs 14 ounces or so, and single was 2lbs 14ounces, both give or take a ounce.  The double action was considerably smoother, although not yet as nice as I'd like. I'll be working on that.

 

I do want to point out how nicely this thing was made.  Man, it's nice.  I took it over to TK custom, and let Tom and Eli check it out.  They were both impressed.  And this says a lot coming from some of the top revolver smiths in the country.  Excellent machining with almost no tool marks.  A true thing of beauty. 

 

Yesterday, I got around to shooting it. 

First, I really like the mags.  The P09 series mag load easy, followers don't tilt, and I was able to load them into the gun fully loaded at 19 rounds without extra effort.  I was shooting my typical USPSA load of 3.2 grains of vv n320 behind a SNS 147 grain coated bullet, with federal primers.  This has been a accurate and reliable load for several years in all my other CZs.

 

I first benched the gun at 25 yards using a MTM plastic pistol rest.  Not the best rest, nor am I very good at bench shooting.  Most of the groups hovered around 2".  However, I would often have one flyer enlarging the group.  I shot one group close to 1 inch with 3 bullets in one hole.  I truly believe this gun is capable of doing this every time.  Just this shooter is not. 

 

My impressions are: Damn it's soft!  So mild to shoot.  My normally mild loads were extra mild.  I also shot 50 rounds of 115gr federal range/target through the gun.  Although they were louder, they were not much different in regards to recoil and flip.  This not the case in my S2.  Although it is not by anyway harsh recoil in the S2, the difference in loads is much more pronounced.   At the end of the day I shot 50 rounds of Federal Range and Target through my EDC P10 C.  The difference in the two guns made it feel like I was shooting a .357 mag.

 

The weight makes the gun very forgiving.  I do not have a holster yet, so I was not able to do any draws.  But I shot some accuracy drills and some speed drills.  I did a drill similar to what was shot at the SNS 400 recently.  4 head shots on a cardboard USPSA and 4 on a A zone only steel plate at 18 yards.  I bombed this stage at the SNS.  But the weight and stability of this gun really made it easy to land the head shots.

 

At 8 yards a double tap on the A zone plate was effortless.  Aim once, pull trigger twice, two hits.  I did some transition work.  I didn't time this but I didn't feel that the extra weight was a handicap in any way.  Plate rack at 25 yards was pretty easy to hit.  In fact, I started overrunning my self, going too fast on the trigger, as the gun just hung there on the plate. 


I put over 400 of my reloads through it, and 50 of the federal range and target with no issues what so ever.  I did notice the primers on my reloads seemed a little flatter than when fired from my S2.  Not exactly sure why.  There were no signs of primer flow.  I'll chronograph some ammo in the near future to see if there is much difference from the S2 to this barrel. 

 

Is it worth the money?  Well.  It's with out a doubt the finest 9mm pistol I've ever owned.  I love my S2s and are pretty much flawless and feel they are very well made pistols.  However, the A01 LD is better made.  Considerably better. 

 

I don't really know how much better of a pistol you can buy.  I think it will be a great USPSA production gun, bullseye gun, or just a damn nice target gun.  When the trend is for 50 ounce steel griped ST/SV frame limited guns, a 50 ounce production gun makes sense.  I need a holster, and some actual match time to determine if it really works better for me than the S2, but so far, it looks promising.
 
 I don't regret the purchase, and once I have worked out the double action, I'll be perfectly content with it, and it'll in my collection whether it becomes a match gun, or just a damn nice piece to own and shoot. 

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Thanks for the review. I had been wondering about one of these but I already had a TSO and after purchasing and Atlas Titan, I think I will pass on the A01.

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Thanks for the review.  A couple questions;

 

I'm thinking about dumping my Shadow 2 for an A01.  I also own a TSO for reference.

 

That said, the Shadow 2 just isn't close enough to the feel of a CZ-75 frame for me.  I have always loved the feel of the CZ-75 frame the best, but a lack of real checkering was the deal-breaker.  And no, the cast checkering on the SP01 frame doesn't cut it.  I'm intrigued by the AO1's design based on the description that it was "the way Angus would have done it".  I'm hoping what that means is that Angus wasn't completely happy with the CZ-75 frame (like me) and decided to do something about it.  Something the Shadow 2 has failed to rectify, at least for me.

 

Since you are lucky enough to hold an A01 and an S2 side-by-side, can you elaborate further?  I'm curious to know if the A01 feels "significantly" different than the Shadow 2 in terms of girth and height under the bore, and whether or not it is closer to the feel of a CZ-75 frame, or the TSO frame.

 

Thanks for your time. Much appreciated.

Edited by glock24

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15 hours ago, glock24 said:

Thanks for the review.  A couple questions;

 

I'm thinking about dumping my Shadow 2 for an A01.  I also own a TSO for reference.

 

That said, the Shadow 2 just isn't close enough to the feel of a CZ-75 frame for me.  I have always loved the feel of the CZ-75 frame the best, but a lack of real checkering was the deal-breaker.  And no, the cast checkering on the SP01 frame doesn't cut it.  I'm intrigued by the AO1's design based on the description that it was "the way Angus would have done it".  I'm hoping what that means is that Angus wasn't completely happy with the CZ-75 frame (like me) and decided to do something about it.  Something the Shadow 2 has failed to rectify, at least for me.

 

Since you are lucky enough to hold an A01 and an S2 side-by-side, can you elaborate further?  I'm curious to know if the A01 feels "significantly" different than the Shadow 2 in terms of girth and height under the bore, and whether or not it is closer to the feel of a CZ-75 frame, or the TSO frame.

 

Thanks for your time. Much appreciated.

It does feel different.  It's more rounded for one thing.  I don't have a TSO to compare it to, but on all my 75 series guns I put Lok Palm Swell grips on them.  I don't need to change the grips on this gun.  If just "feels" right.  The checkering is definitely better.  This gun won't move from your hand.  I would say there is more girth than a Shadow 2, although I'm not sure bout height under the bore.  It seems similar or slightly less. 

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I handled one and it felt great.  But I wondered about the magazine choice.  They chose to use a 19 round P09 mag for the capacity instead of Shadow or Shadow 2 mags, which most CZ shooters already own.  There's no plate for mounting a red dot for Carry Optics, and it's the wrong caliber for Limited.  I see it as a Production gun, where you can only load 10 rounds anyway.  Did they miss the boat on the magazine selection?  I saw that as a big negative, that I'd have to go out and buy a new set of mags.  I like to have several mags for my competition guns, and that's a significant expense.  For those of you who own one, what class were you planning on shooting with it?

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13 hours ago, Almo said:

I handled one and it felt great.  But I wondered about the magazine choice.  They chose to use a 19 round P09 mag for the capacity instead of Shadow or Shadow 2 mags, which most CZ shooters already own.  There's no plate for mounting a red dot for Carry Optics, and it's the wrong caliber for Limited.  I see it as a Production gun, where you can only load 10 rounds anyway.  Did they miss the boat on the magazine selection?  I saw that as a big negative, that I'd have to go out and buy a new set of mags.  I like to have several mags for my competition guns, and that's a significant expense.  For those of you who own one, what class were you planning on shooting with it?

The A01LD is available in an optic ready version if that’s what you would like.  The gun will never make weight for Carry Optics but is fine for Production Optics which is the division I will shoot in.

 

No no problem with P09 mags as they’re easily found and relatively cheap. They also have a slicker finish than the standard MecGar CZ75 mags and, along with the integral magwell, the slightly larger opening helps with faster mag changes.

 

The A01LD is at a premium price point vis-a-vis the S2. The people making the decision to buy one will not likely be deterred by having to purchase another set of mags - especially after they’ve shot the gun. It is a very specialized production division gun.

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The P09 mags cost about 35.00 US plus you will need this: CZC A01-LD Magazine Base Pad For use on CZ P09 Magazine when used in the CZC A01-LD. Does not add capacity for 29.50 plus shipping.

 

 

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Thanks for the info.  I typically have about 10 magazines with base pads for guns I use in competition.  If you figure 8 additional magazines and basepads. that adds about $520 to an already very expensive gun.  And, it only takes me from 18 rounds in my Shadow mags to 19 rounds, and I can still only load 10 for Production.  I guess, although I'm willing to spend a significant amount of money on a gun, I'm still basically cheap.

 

I assume Production Optics is only an IPSC division and not a USPSA division.  Unfortunately, our local matches are USPSA.  It would be nice if they eliminated the weight restriction on Carry Optics.  It seems like many of the threads in this forum are about how to get a gun and optic combination to make weight.

 

Anyway, thanks again.  I guess I'll have to decide if I want to bite the bullet for the whole package.

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I run 6 mags x 2 for my competition guns - a practice set and a match set.  This is the same for whether for my PO guns or my open guns.  

 

When I had an open Glock, my mags were less than $35 each complete with base pads.  I puckered up big time when I bought my first 2011 open gun. Lol.

 

 

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Has anyone checked to see if the A01 with the base pads on the mags fits in the Production box?

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9 minutes ago, Almo said:

Has anyone checked to see if the A01 with the base pads on the mags fits in the Production box?

it fits the USPSA box pretty easily

 

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1 hour ago, Hooked said:

CZ 75 mags run flawlessly in the A01-LD. 

We found some mags will work. 

There are grips in design to work with the smaller dimension magazines.

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Any chance there may be more aggressive grips in the works too?

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I've got over 1000 rounds through the A01 so far.  I'm really loving this gun.  I've done some accuracy work, along with transitions drills, el pres, etc.  The mag well has a big bevel,  and my reloads are probably .25 to .5 faster than with my S2.  The weight doesn't seem to bother me in transitions or draws.  The weight really helps on strong and weak hand shooting.  It's very stable, and my hits were better, and easier than with my S2.   I shot a team competition with it at a tactical training center, and my team came in second.  Bot first and second place teams were shooting CZs, btw.  I've ordered a Cajun hammer/sear set, and am going to see if the hammer will smooth out the double action just a bit as I've polished everything I know to polish, and it still has a little hitch in it.    I'll also switch to the 8.5lb hammer spring, as I only use federal primers anyway.  My wish list for this gun: wider safeties and an extended mag release, the later I know is in the works.  Know I'm just waiting for it to be USPSA production legal.  Awesome gun at any price. 

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17 hours ago, jripper said:

I've got over 1000 rounds through the A01 so far.  I'm really loving this gun.  I've done some accuracy work, along with transitions drills, el pres, etc.  The mag well has a big bevel,  and my reloads are probably .25 to .5 faster than with my S2.  The weight doesn't seem to bother me in transitions or draws.  The weight really helps on strong and weak hand shooting.  It's very stable, and my hits were better, and easier than with my S2.   I shot a team competition with it at a tactical training center, and my team came in second.  Bot first and second place teams were shooting CZs, btw.  I've ordered a Cajun hammer/sear set, and am going to see if the hammer will smooth out the double action just a bit as I've polished everything I know to polish, and it still has a little hitch in it.    I'll also switch to the 8.5lb hammer spring, as I only use federal primers anyway.  My wish list for this gun: wider safeties and an extended mag release, the later I know is in the works.  Know I'm just waiting for it to be USPSA production legal.  Awesome gun at any price. 

A S2 mag release is reported to work in the A01LD. 

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5 hours ago, Hooked said:

A S2 mag release is reported to work in the A01LD.  Really?  Does it have to be modified? 

 

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I don't know as I haven't personally tried it (yet), but I'll take Angus' word for it. 

 

 

Screenshot_20190807-124806~2.png

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Angus's A01 LD and A01 SD. set up with mag catches and Ghost Competitiion hammers.

 

1237967996_A01LDSDANGUS.jpg.67cf545dd58d353aadf45120cc228dec.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by eerw

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7 hours ago, eerw said:

 

Angus's A01 LD and A01 SD. set up with mag catches and Ghost Competitiion hammers.

 

1237967996_A01LDSDANGUS.jpg.67cf545dd58d353aadf45120cc228dec.jpg

 

 

 

 

I have the Ghost Fat hammer but haven’t installed it yet.  How do you get the safety out?  I assume you lift up the leg of the sear spring, but what else do you need to do?

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On 8/7/2019 at 6:22 AM, jripper said:

 

The S2 mag release fits in the frame no problem and will work fine with regular C75 mags. However,  for it to work with the P09 mags, the catch has to be opened up to accept the wider mag bodies. The grip panel has to be relieved a bit too to accommodate the mag button. 

 

 

IMG_20190814_2324158-1998x1332.jpg

Edited by Hooked

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Great!  It looks like there is a small disc of something covering the screw. Does that just come out ?

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12 minutes ago, jripper said:

Great!  It looks like there is a small disc of something covering the screw. Does that just come out ?

The A01-LD doesn't have a screw. If you look at the parts diagram in the manual, you'll see that the mag release spring is kept in place with a plunger and spring. The washer that you see fits into a slot in the frame and captures the plunger and keeps everything in place - including the trigger return spring. 

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