The Power of Motion


CZ 1012

Inertia-operated guns are less complex than gas-or long-recoiloperated guns and can digest everything from light trap loads to the heaviest waterfowl ammo.

  • Type
  • Gauge
  • Capacity
  • Chokes
  • Barrel Length
  • Overall Length
  • Sights
  • Length of Pull
  • Drop at Comb
  • Drop at Heel
  • Weight
  • Stock
  • Finish
  • MSRP
  • Inertia-operated semiautomatic
  • 12, 3-in.
  • 4+1 rds.
  • Cylinder, Improved Cylinder, Modified, Improved Modified, Full
  • 28 in.
  • 49 in.
  • White front bead
  • 14.5 in.
  • 1.6 in.
  • 2.5 in.
  • 6.7 lbs.
  • Turkish walnut (tested)
  • Bronze receiver; gloss-black barrel (tested)
  • $659

In 2019 CZ added to its already extensive lineup of shotguns by offering it’s first gasless inertia-operated semiauto — the CZ 1012. The action is based on the Bruno Civolani-designed inertia system that utilizes just three primary parts: The bolt body, inertia spring and rotating bolt head. The CZ 1012 operates with a wide range of loads and requires very little maintenance.

The triangular safety button is at the front of the triggerguard rather than the usual location at the rear. The bottom edge of the shell drop-lever is canted 90 degrees to make it easier to find and protected by the guard.

When fired, recoil pushes the gun rearward. Inertia causes the bolt body to remain stationary, compressing the internal inertia spring. As the recoil force dissipates, the spring thrusts the bolt body rearward, unlocking the bolt head.

The bolt assembly is free to slide rearward,and the spent shell is extracted and ejected. A metal tail at the rear of the bolt compresses the recoil spring in the buttstock, and that stored energy returns the bolt back into the forward position, picking up the next shell from the magazine and sliding it into the chamber. It’s an extraordinarily simple system that has been perfected over more than 50 years. It’s easy to clean and maintain, since gases and debris exit the barrel instead of being channeled through ports in the gun.

The CZ 1012 is manufactured in Turkey by Huglu and is currently available in ten different configurations: Three Turkish walnut stock models with black, bronze or gray receivers and a synthetic version available in black, full dip camo, Bottomland synthetic camo, All terrain cerakoted in OD green, and new for 2021 two camo synthetic (Bottomlands & Blades) plus a standard black with walnut stock all with 26″ Barrels. 

The version that I tested featured a walnut stock and with a bronze finish on the aluminum alloy receiver. Currently all 1012 models come in 12 gauge with 3-inch chambers, 28-inch barrels with 8mm flat ribs, a single white bead and five extended choke tubes (Cylinder, Improved Cylinder, Modified, Improved Modified and Full). They weigh in at roughly 6.5 pounds depending on the density of the walnut stock.

The control layout is similar to other inertia guns on the market and features a bolt release button on the right side of the receiver, a shell drop lever alongside the right front portion of the triggerguard and a crossbolt safety.

The 1012’s controls offer some intelligent design upgrades compared with other guns in this class. Most noticeable is the hourglass-shaped vented bolt handle. Unlike traditional inertia guns with a C-shaped bolt handle, the CZ’s design is easy to grasp and control from any angle and is easier to pull free from the bolt during disassembly.

The bottom portion of the shell drop-lever is angled 90 degrees, which is easier to operate than competing models with a flat profile-lever, and the triangular crossbolt safety is positioned on the front of the triggerguard instead of the more traditional position behind the trigger.

The inertia operating system for shotguns has no moving parts forward of the receiver. This means no piston, seals or operating rods. This allows for a very trim forend and lets the gun remain clean through thousands of rounds of firing.

Choke tubes are knurled on the outside for easy installation and removal and are clearly marked. You won’t need to count notches.

The CZ 1012 has distinctive receiver lines with a semi-humpback look that makes it stand out from the many other contenders in the inertia market. The triggerguard also offers a different look that you’ll notice.

The author liked the 1012’s oblong bolt release. Its front end is pressed down and forward to operate. He says he finds the motion more natural than what is required with the more traditional round button.

The hourglass-shaped operating handle is easier to grab from any angle. The author found it easier to remove during disassembly than the usual C-shaped handle. This is a style that has migrated from tactical shotguns.

In place of a standard rounded bolt release button, the CZ utilizes an oblong button that widens toward the muzzle. When the bolt is locked open, the front (wider) portion of the bolt release elevates from the side of the receiver, allowing the shooter to push forward to close the bolt (a more natural action when shooting) rather than depressing a traditional button.

A wide-loading port makes it easy to load the magazine without pinching your fingers, and the CZ’s tubular magazine holds four 2 3/4 inch shells and comes with a plug that limits capacity to two rounds.

The 1012’s bronze receiver finish is durable and looks good with the gloss-black chrome finish on the barrel and the Turkish walnut stock. The stock itself offers a semi-gloss finish and good figure for a gun with an MSRP under $700.

Length of pull is 14.5-inches with a 1.6-inch drop at the comb and a 2.5-inch drop at the heel, ideal for a wide range of shooters and target presentations. There’s ample checkering on the forearm and pistol grip, and a finger groove runs almost the entire length of the forearm and offers a comfortable and secure grip.

The wrist of the pistol grip is rather straight for a semiauto gun, but provides plenty of control, and there are angled cuts on the forearm and stock that add a touch of modern styling without looking gaudy.


With a balance point at the front of the receiver, the CZ 1012 is neither nose-heavy nor whippy. Five shims are included for adjusting cast and drop. The CZ 1012 does come with a functional hard-plastic case with a separate choke tube case inside for easy transport and storage. Inertia guns tend to be lighter than their gas gun counterparts by design, and at 6.75 pounds (tested), the CZ 1012 is a gun that is light enough to carry all day.

I’m a fan of the bolt handle design, and I also came to appreciate the L-shaped shell release-lever and the rocker-type bolt release. The crossbolt safety’s position in front of the triggerguard seems more intuitive to me than the more traditional behind-the-trigger safety position of other inertia guns.

Shooters will also appreciate CZ’s extended choke tubes. The constriction of each choke is printed on the exterior of the tube, eliminating the need to count notches, and the knurled extension allows you to swap tubes without a wrench.

I believe the CZ 1012’s blend of modern and traditional styling will appeal to most shooters.

The bronze color on the slide is a tasteful addition, and there are even two cutouts machined into the top of the receiver for mounting an optic. The rounded belly of the forearm and the corresponding finger groove allow a natural grip with the nonshooting hand. An angled cut on the right side of the bolt body gives it a rakish modern look and shaves a few ounces of weight. The semi-humpback receiver profile is a styling plus.

The 1012’s comb profile and natural point-of-impact(POI) (this gun shoots very flat as you’ll see in the pattern test results) makes it ideal for sporting clays, skeet and uplandhunting. On the skeet field, I found that the 1012 came naturally to the shoulder, and the between-the-hands balance made it easy to track and break targets.

The flat rib and 50/50 POI were particularly valuable for shooting incoming birds (think station 8 on skeet or a hard-flying dove on a low approach) because you simply press the trigger as the bead meets the target. The trigger itself has a nicely rounded face and an acceptable amount of takeup for a field shotgun trigger. It broke at 7.5 pounds.

Light inertia guns are easy to carry in the field, but the equal-and-opposite aspect of lighter weight is more felt recoil than gas guns. The 1012’s recoil is manageable with light loads, and even with 3-inch Magnums it isn’t abusive thanks in part to a soft, dense recoil pad. The pad features a radiused heel which prevents it from hanging on clothing when firing from a low gun position on targets or in the field.

Some inertia guns won’t cycle very light loads, but the CZ had no problems with 11⁄8-ounce AA Winchester target shells. In fact, there were no issues cycling any of the rounds fired. CZ claims that they tested the 1012 to 5,000 rounds without cleaning, and while I didn’t reach that number, I fired several hundred rounds of ammo without cleaning and never had any issues.

Breakdown of the 1012 is simple. With the gun unloaded and the bolt retracted, remove the knurled magazine cap, then the barrel and forearm; pull the bolt handle free, slide the bolt assembly forward and you’ve stripped the gun for basic field care. A wipe down of the parts and a light coat of lubricating oil on the interior parts keeps the gun running.

The 1012 is a remarkable value, and the design and ergonomics are very good. Any shooter looking for a versatile field gun that will also double as a clay crusher should take a hard look at the 1012. If this initial inertia-operated offering is any indication, CZ might become a major player in this market.