The Custom CZ A01-SD OR Provides the Competitive Edge

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Built from scratch at the CZ Custom shop is the A01-SD OR pistol. Its features put this gun in the category for competition, but also for those who appreciate a well-built handgun. The A01 evolved from the Shadow series of handguns made by CZ. Attention to detail and functionality make this pistol a total knockout for competitive shooting, gun enthusiasts, home defense, and more.

CZ Custom Shop A01-SD OR Double Action/Single Action

Like many CZ competition handguns, the A01-SD has a double-action and single-action (DA/SA) trigger mechanism. The double-action pull weight is 8-8.5 pounds, while the single-action weight is 3-3.5 pounds. Both the hammer and the sear are directly pinned in the frame to solidify trigger pull consistency.

Knowing your trigger inside and out is extremely important if you shoot often. Especially if you are interested in this pistol for competition use. The consistency in the trigger pull makes it easy to know what to expect every time you pull it.

(Photo by CZ USA)

If you aren’t as familiar with DA/SA, this semi-automatic handgun is outfitted with an external hammer and can be fired in both configurations. This hammer can be manually cocked to fire in single-action mode, or you can set the hammer to double-action mode.

To fire the gun in double-action, first load the gun by inserting a loaded magazine. Then, pull the slide to the rear and release it to chamber a round. This will set the external hammer rearward, which indicates single action mode.

Next, physically hold the external hammer with your support hand thumb, and trigger finger on either side. With the gun pointed in a safe direction, maintain a strong grip on the hammer and carefully pull the trigger to allow the hammer to move forward. Do not let the hammer simply fall forward, or the gun will fire.

This process of lowering the hammer can take some getting used to. So, before doing this at the range with live ammunition, try performing this sequence at home with the pistol unloaded. Make sure to double-check—both visually and physically—that it is unloaded before practicing this.

Significance of the Short Dustcover

A unique feature of the A01 is the short dustcover, where the “SD” comes from in the gun’s name. The biggest difference between short and long dust covers is the balance and overall weight of the gun.

The author shooting the CZ A01-SD OR.

The dust cover of the A01 offers excellent balance but still adds weight to reduce recoil and muzzle rise. Correspondingly, the functionality of the short dust cover is what improves quick target transitions when running the gun fast.

Installing an Optic

The A01-SD pistol is optics-ready with CZ Custom Shop optics plates. This is the one system I have seen that is unlike any other mounting system on the market. With that said, the mounting plates are specific to the optic model. So, be sure to order the right plate for your optic of choice.

The A01-SD pistol is optics-ready with CZ Custom Shop optics plates.
(Photo by CZ Custom Shop)

First, you will need to field strip your pistol to isolate the slide, removing the barrel, guide rod, and spring. Next, using a punch, depress the firing pin to relieve tension on the firing pin retaining plate and slide it off. Then, remove the firing pin and spring from the slide.

On the internal side of the slide, using a punch, remove the extractor pin and pull out the extractor and spring. Finally, unscrew the top two set screws that screw into the slide. The optic plate is then set to slide out to the left, opposite the direction of the arrow pictured on the plate.

Simply reverse the process to mount a new optic plate. This is a little heavy for newer gun owners. However, it is a solid mounting system that ensures your RDS plate doesn’t shift or loosen over time.

The A01-SD OR In Hand

Many details of this pistol’s frame are worth pointing out and discussing. The frame is hammer-forged, CNC machined, and then blued. The front strap and back straps are both texturized towards the mag well to create a good grip purchase on the gun without over-texturizing it. Similarly, the grips have 25 LPI (lines per inch) checkering. This makes for a good purchase on the gun without overdoing it and creating too aggressive of a texture.

The magazine release has a slightly added texture and a more oval shape for easier release when depressing the button. This release is more beneficial to the competition shooter looking to speed up the reloading process.

The frame also features a deep beavertail for better grip ergonomics. Likewise, it’s paired with an undercut trigger guard to give the shooter the highest grip possible on the A01-SD.

The external manual thumb safety is ambidextrous, so both left and right-handed shooters can easily activate and deactivate it. I am accustomed to shooting 1911 and 2011 platform pistols. So, the most comfortable grip I can achieve on the A01-SD is riding the thumb safety with my dominant shooting hand thumb. This also prevents me from activating the safety without meaning to if I were resting my thumb under the safety.

The pistol is built by the CZ Custom Shop, with a keen eye for detail and performance to make this gun a competition workhorse.

The CZ A01-SD OR on the Range

I’ve been a competitive shooter for almost the last decade of my life. In that time, I’ve probably fired a few hundred pistol models. Likewise, I’ve been fortunate to demo and even own mass-produced polymer-framed striker-fired handguns, custom-made single-action-only handguns, and everything in between.

I’m always happy when a handgun surprises me with its functionality, performance, and reliability. CZ is a popular brand in the shooting sports world. The Shadow series pistols are used by many competitive shooters, specifically by National and World title holders.

The EOTECH EFLX provides rugged accuracy.

Likewise, the CZ Custom Shop makes some of the best handguns—and this gun blew me away. This specific A01-SD model just happens to be fit and designed for competition shooting, which is right up my alley.

The pistol’s weight surprised me the most when I first picked it up. A firearm’s weight signals that it will have less felt recoil and be easier to fire follow-up shots. This isn’t always the case, but generally, the heavier the gun, the easier it is to manage recoil.

For example, the A01-SD pistol tracks well. This means that as the bullet leaves the barrel, the slide quickly chambers a new round and is back on your target. Probably before your eyes even register, it’s ready to fire again.

The A01-SD reliably fed hollow points, full metal jackets, and even coated bullets without any hiccups. Additionally, the functionality of the external thumb safety, slide serrations, and grip comfort/texture make this an all-around great competition gun.

The sweet spot of ammunition for the pistol I found to be 124 grain 9mm. The Super Vel 124gr full metal jacket load is my go-to for both practice and competition.

Likewise, there’s comfort in knowing my red dot optic would most likely never shift zero because of how the optic plate is mounted. This creates a peace of mind that I can hardly explain.

Learning the Trigger Pull for Competition

In most shooting sports, DA/SA handguns must be fired in double-action mode for the first shot out of the holster. For me, this was a big learning curve after shooting striker-fired handguns and single-action-only handguns for so long. Specifically, learning how to perform a continuous trigger pull from start to finish on the double-action pull.

My trigger pull is usually between the tip of my finger and the first knuckle. Whereas when pulling double action, I use my first knuckle to have enough weight to pull the trigger rearward. I then find myself readjusting for the following shots by shifting my trigger finger.

Once you’ve mastered the art of the trigger pull and have spent some time getting used to what it feels like, it’s as easy as shooting any other gun.

Feeding the A01-SD OR

If you carry a gun daily or keep loaded firearms at home for self-defense, you should live-fire practice with the defensive ammunition you plan to use. Many people test fire their guns with full metal jackets and practice often with this type of ammunition. However, they leave the range with a magazine full of defensive ammo without testing if the gun will fire it.

Hornady and Federal sent me a couple of different types of defensive ammunition to test with this handgun. The weirdest coincidence occurred when the Federal Personal Defense 124 grain 9mm JHP and Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain 9mm FTX both averaged 1163 feet per second.

The author ran various different ammo types and brands through the CZ A01-SD OR.

These ammo types all grouped similarly in tight groups at 15 yards. And all the different types of bullets fed and ejected properly from the gun. I was surprised because custom guns are usually picky about what ammunition they like—especially with the gun’s tight tolerances.

Final Thoughts

The CZ A01-SD OR is in the class of custom-built competition pistols. It is a performance race pistol built for speed, accuracy, and reliability. Not to mention, the 19+1 capacity allows it to keep up with higher-capacity handguns as well.

The CZ Custom Shop provided a lot of support for modifying the handgun. This includes adding a mag well, changing sights or optic plates, and extending base pads.

Beyond the CZ Custom Shop, there is also a lot of aftermarket support. Specifically in the way of holsters, magazine pouches, and gear made for CZ guns. This makes it easy to customize your gun how you want it and find the gear needed to compete with. Likewise, you know there is support if anything ever needs replacing on the A01-SD.

The author running the CZ A01-SD OR.

This pistol was a blast to shoot, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a solid competition gun.

For more information, please visit CZCustom.com or CZ-USA.com.

EOTECH EFLX Mini Red Dot Sight

The EFLX mini red dot sight is one of the most rugged and durable optics on the market today. Correspondingly, it is available in both 3 and 6 MOA reticles. Just recently, EOTECH released a tan version of the EFLX for all those FDE fanboys.

The mini red dot sight is designed with a large rectangular window, allowing easier target acquisition through the optic window. In addition, it has a top-loading CR2032 battery. So, there’s no need to remove the optic to add a new battery, resulting in no zero shift.

The author ran the pistol with the EOTECH EFLX.

What’s unique about the EFLX is it features a clear, high-tech front glass, unlike competitors with colored or tinted glass. In addition, the windage and elevation adjustments are on the top and side of the optic.

Finally, the ease of brightness adjustments couldn’t be any simpler. There are two giant up-and-down arrows on the side of the optic. The base is configured to the Leupold Delta Point Pro footprint. So, any DPP optic plate or slide cut will also fit the EFLX.

For more information, please visit EOTECHInc.com.

CZ A01-SD RDS Optic Cut Specs

Caliber 9mm
Magazine Capacity 19+1
Trigger Mechanism Double Action (8-8.5 pounds)/Single Action (3-3.5 pounds)
Sights Fiber Optic Front, Fixed Rear, Optics Ready (with mounting plates)
Barrel Length 5 inches
Weight 47 ounces
Overall Length 8.6 inches
Safety Manual Thumb Safety
MSRP $2707.82

Performance

Ammunition Velocity (The average of five rounds chronographed using a LabRadar Chrono) Accuracy­ (Best five-shot groups at 15 yards in inches)
Hornady Black 124 grain 9mm XTP 1191 FPS 0.80 inches
Federal Personal Defense 124 grain 9mm JHP 1163 FPS 0.75 inches
Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain 9mm FTX 1163 FPS 0.60 inches
Federal Syntech Defense 138 grain 9mm SJHP 1090 FPS 0.80 inches

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