Range Report: CZ Shadow 2

Having been a CZ fan for 10+ years, buying the CZ Shadow 2 was an easy decision. Of course, even with a discount, it hurt my wallet a bit. But it was totally worth it. Because out of the box, the Shadow 2 is competition-ready, and ideal for the USPSA Production  Division. If you’re looking to compete, or just want a really nice shooting pistol, this is a great choice.

Overview:

CZ started with everything we loved about the original Shadow, and made it better. Bringing your hand closer to the bore axis is the high beavertail and undercut trigger guard. While 9mm is hardly known for recoil, the angled cut slide keeps the moving mass close to the bore. Extra weight at the dust cover also helps to tame what little recoil there was. Together, these features keep the Shadow 2 on target from shot to shot.

Sporting the lightest trigger I have ever used in a handgun, the Shadow 2 also has the shortest reset. Double taps are lightning fast. More than a few times the first week, I knocked out a second round by accident as I got used to the trigger. The rear sight is a serrated black HAJO that’s click adjustable for elevation. You’ll have to drift adjust it for windage. Up front is a fiber optic. I haven’t adjusted either, as 5 rounds usually leave one ragged hole when shooting at the indoor range when I do my part. Even rapid fire still leaves me with groups smaller than a fist.

CZ Shadow 2

CZ Shadow 2

When it comes to the color scheme, CZ’s Urban Grey* seems to be a “love it or hate it” proposition for many. Because the Shadow 2 shows up at dealers somewhat infrequently, I grabbed the Urban Grey model the day it came in. It’s growing on me, but I would have been happy with all black. Unlike every other CZ I have bought, the Shadow 2 comes with three (17 round) mags, instead of the usual two. Other features, besides the tight tolerances and super smooth slide action, are less noticeable. How about an adjustable mag release? Or a stainless guide rod with buffer?

Since CZ included an extended safety, I went ahead and installed it, which gave me a nice rest for my thumb. Spend 20 minutes watching the ten minute Youtube video twice, and it will be easy enough to swap. Other than that the only thing I have done with my Shadow 2 was shoot it. A lot. As in, 1,250 rounds the week I got it. With zero issues. No failures to feed, fire, or eject. And trust me, I was not shooting any premium ammo. Magtech, Blazer, Federal, and Sellier & Bellot – all the cheap sale stuff. I would just dump some on the bench, mix it up, and load my mags. Weights varied from 115 grain, to 124, and even 147. At 10 to 25 yards, I couldn’t see any noticeable difference. Your results may vary.

CZ Shadow 2 with accessories

CZ Shadow 2 with accessories

When I bought the Shadow 2, it was with the intention of getting started in competition. I have yet to enter into any formal contests, but I can say that I shoot a lot better with it than any other handgun I’ve owned. It’s just too easy to stay on target, and the trigger is so smooth and crisp, I feel a bit spoiled. While I wasn’t terrible before, now I feel a lot more confident about the idea of competing.

Observations:

Note that the Shadow 2 has a substantial grip, which may be a problem for some shooters. It took me a while to adjust to it. Unlike pistols that ship with multiple backstraps, what you see is what you get with the Shadow 2. Slimmer grips should be available, but expect your wallet to take another beating. If you’re thinking about getting a Shadow 2, I’d tell you to spend some time trying out that grip before you fork over your money. But if you’re paying over $1,000 for a firearm, chances are you’re going to handle it a bit first.

Conclusion:

CZ states that their pistols are used by twice as many top-level competitors than any other maker in the USPSA Production Division. I can see why. This is a solid, high-quality firearm made to shoot well. It feels great in hand, and when I do my part, small groups or hits from long distances are done with ease. It’s truly made me look like a better shooter, while I know it’s more accurate than I will ever be.

Specs, per the CZ website:

Product Name Shadow 2 Urban Grey
SKU91255
MSRP $1,299.00
Chambering 9mm Luger
Magazine Capacity17+1
Frame Steel
Trigger Mech SA/DA
Sights Fiber Optic front, HAJO rear
Barrel Cold Hammer Forged
Barrel Length4.89 in
Weight 46.5 oz
Overall Length 8.53 in
Safety Ambidextrous Manual Safety

About this review:

I’m just a guy that likes to shoot for recreation. I don’t have a chronograph, a range in my backyard, or unlimited ammo. I pay for my own ammo, and shoot at local indoor and outdoor ranges with friends. It’s that simple. So if you want factory specs, pricing, and fun-factor, I’ve got that down. For anyone wanting highly technical reviews written by military, LEO, or “operator” types, keep Googling.

*Even on the CZ forums, members can’t decide if Urban Grey is grey or tan. And depending on the lighting, it can be either one. So I’ve included one official CZ photo, and one shot in my garage under daylight-balanced LED lights. So is it grey, or tan?