A basic 4.5mm Tactical Trainer Part 2 Part 1 Part 3

By Dennis Adler

As CO2 models based on actual centerfire handguns go, the ASG CZ P-09 scores an impressive 95 percent accuracy. It overcomes the lack of a functioning slide release, an almost insufferable additional thumb release button on the left side safety, and a poor finish on several cast metal pieces, with a slide contour, fit and finish that is exceptional. The polymer frame with its 1913 Picatinny accessory rail is spot on, as is the trigger shape, slide release button, removable backstrap and military-style lanyard loop. 

There is no current means by which a pellet-firing semi-auto can provide the full handling experience possible with a blowback action BB model. A few have come close, others like the new Sig Sauer P320 have taken a different tack with a higher capacity pellet-firing stick magazine, but the underlying issues of no self-contained pellet and CO2 magazine remains the biggest problem. The only exceptions are the new Hatsan H-1911 and just previewed ASG Dan Wesson 1911 (but they don’t have blowback actions). Manufacturer’s take other technical shortcuts in building pellet-firing semi-autos by eliminating features that cannot work, like slide releases and slides with actual ejection ports, which become molded-in features, (again except for the new Hatsan and ASG Dan Wesson 1911s). The ASG CZ P-09 follows the same approach as the Sig Sauer, with a molded-in ejection port, which is the gun’s least attractive and most telling feature.

Whether a pellet firing airgun is a striker-fired DAO design, like the new Sig Sauer P320, (shown in Desert Tan), or hammer-fired model like the dual tone ASG CZ P-09, their internal mechanisms are still more like a revolver than a semi-auto. As such, the manufacturers have chosen to mold the ejection port and top of the barrel (which would actually be the top of the barrel on a blowback action BB-firing CO2 model), as one solid piece. This is the least attractive feature of either airgun.

I can question this logic because Umarex uses a slide with an actual ejection port on the PX4 Storm that exposes the barrel on recoil, even though it has no purpose other than to look correct when firing. The savings in production costs by not doing this, I must assume, are significant, considering that Sig Sauer and ASG have slides with molded-in ejection ports, but suggested retail prices hint otherwise. The PX4 Storm has the same MSRP as the Sig Sauer P320 and is only $15 more than the CZ. And branding is not an issue; Beretta is just as famous of a name as Sig Sauer or CZ. Thus, it is an interesting design choice. Sig explains it away as not putting money into a non-functional accessory and focusing on the overall gun’s design for training and handling. You could say the same for the CZ, but ASG has given the P-09 something that makes it more practical as a training gun; functioning ambidextrous thumb safeties and decocker.

An added advantage to the ASG CZ P-09 is the functional decocker, a great training aid for learning to carry a DA/SA semi-auto with a loaded chamber. The right side safety lever when pushed completely down not only sets the safety (just like the left side) but also safely de-cocks the hammer leaving the gun in a safe condition with a chambered round. This is a good practice aid as no one would re-holster a DA/SA pistol cocked without engaging the safety (cocked and locked), however, with a decocker you add yet another level of safety when carrying the gun (centerfire or CO2). On drawing, one has the option of firing the first shot double action or cocking the hammer for a single action shot.

I have long been a proponent of DA/SA semiautomatic pistols with de-cockers, all the way back to the Walther P99. Not everyone is of the same mind, but I’m not changing mine. I want a de-cocked gun with a loaded chamber and I want second strike capability. You can get that in either a hammer-fired or striker-fired design. More than 20 years ago, the Walther P99 was the first polymer framed, striker-fired semi-auto with a decocker and DA/SA trigger. I know this may be a little eccentric for an airgun discussion, but if you are training with one, it should work the same as its centerfire (or rimfire) counterpart.

ASG had done an excellent job of duplicating the P-09 then mucked it up with an added secondary safety on the left side that makes it difficult to operate one-handed.
With the fully-functioning ambidextrous safety set, the small round release button in the front half of the thumb safety activates and must be simultaneously pushed as the safety is raised to allow the pistol to fire. This is awkward at best to do one-handed, and if you have to use your support hand thumb to help release the safety there is no training value. This is similar to the same unnecessary dual safety used on the Sig Sauer Max Michel blowback action air pistol.

How this airgun works

Considering that the centerfire CZ P-09 is a polymer framed handgun, an injection molded frame for the CO2 model is exactly what you want. A metal slide, (alloy rather than stainless steel) is also correct for the CO2 model. The overall configuration of the airgun is identical to the centerfire model and it has blowback action, so you get some actual feedback when the trigger is pulled. The trigger on this ASG model, is another topic altogether.

There are an equal number of pluses for the ASG model including an excellent DA/SA trigger, a superb match of the polymer grip frame, texturing and maker’s logo (this is a fully licensed copy), the clever molded-in magazine base plate to preserve the proper lines of the gun despite its internal rotary stick magazine, a matching military-style lanyard loop, and removable backstrap (which actually has the magazine base plate attached to it).
On the actual 9mm model (shown) you can see that the lines have been perfectly duplicated. The only difference is when you remove the backstrap from the centerfire model, it is to change backstrap sizes; on the ASG it is to access the CO2 loading channel.

It has a typical (long) DA trigger pull with an average resistance of 10 pounds, 14 ounces. Take up is a lengthy 0.75 inches, but fired SA, which is what you have automatically after the first shot (if the gun was de-cocked), there is an effortless 0.625 inches of take up until you hit a short pull of 0.125 inches and a trigger press of 5 pounds, 12.5 ounces. As triggers go on DA/SA air pistols this one is pretty close to an actual DA/SA semi-auto. So far, I really like it.

Removing the backstrap panel also removes the magazine base pad below the grip. The backstrap covers the CO2 loading channel which has an excellent internal folding turnkey to seat the CO2.

With a long 6.68 inch sight radius, the excellent white dot sights are easy to place and hold on target. The magazine release works smoothly, dropping the 8+8 reversible stick magazine into your hand for a quick flip and reload.

You can practice racking the slide, though it serves no purpose with the rotary magazines, since the internal function is still more akin to a revolver. But this one handles and feels more like a semi-auto than many of its contemporaries. It also has a dedicated ASG marketed injection molded Strike Systems Tactical Gear Level 1 paddle holster that makes training with the P-09 an even more realistic airgun experience.

ASG doesn’t stop with an accurate gun they also offer an accurate tactical holster with a Level 1 triggerguard lock to provide solid retention and practice proper handling and drawing techniques with a safety retention system. More on this in Part 3.

In the concluding Part 3 we will run through drills with the CZ P-09 and Strike Force holster and send some lead (and alloy) downrange for a final velocity and accuracy test.

2 thoughts on “ASG CZ P-09 DT FDE”

  1. Seems like Sig slipped in something interesting at Shot Show. The next step forward in replica airguns. An X five pellet pistol using a 320 type mag, 20 rounds , hopefully functioning controls and adjustable sights. Will cost more than the CZ but a different niche market. Serious shooter versus plinker.

    • I saw the pictures of that X-Five pellet pistol. I rather like the two-tone model. My hope is that it will perform better than the previous Sig pellet pistols. The reviews of the P226, P250, and P320 suggested to me that the pistols weren’t all that accurate or reliable, mostly because of low point of impact.

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