With revolvers making up a part of the new guns for 2020 I have decided to make a few changes to the comparisons and points system from previous years beginning with last year’s single extra point for field stripping, since revolvers can’t be field stripped like a semi-auto. Secondly, since two guns in this year’s comparisons have adjustable rear sights, in order for the comparison’s to be more equal, adjustable sights will also be an extra point, so if any guns end up in a tie, one may get an extra point or two to decide the winner.read more
Back in 2017 I made a favorite pick of new airguns and started what would become the Replica Air Pistolof the Year competition. The air pistols that have won top honors over the past three years are all still being manufactured and are just as worthy of the top gun honors today, in fact, none of them have been surpassed thus far. Building a new CO2 model that can meet or beat the design, handling, performance and accuracy of earlier airguns that earned the Replica Air Pistol of the Year title is never easy, and each successive winner since 2017 has raised the bar. The competition in 2017, 2018, and 2019 was pretty tough because there were a lot of exciting new models, some based on earlier designs (2015 models), that were improved upon and a few that made the jump from BB guns to pellet guns and further expanding the competition for one model to rise to the top. read more
There are only a few CO2 pistol lines that explore a series of original models, the Umarex Glock series, for example with the Glock 19, Glock 17 Third Gen, Gen4 and G19X (Gen5-based), and now the ASG CZ 75 line with the CZ 75, SP-01 Shadow and Shadow 2, which like the Glocks, delineate a progression in model improvements. More commonly a new gun replaces its predecessor, but with the ASG CZ line we have the opportunity to compare three generations of design first hand.
Triggers and triggerguards
Looking at all three ASG CZ 75 models the changes in designs over the years are sweeping from the original shape of the frame and slide to the changes in triggerguard shape and addition of serrations, to the final evolution of the Shadow 2 trigger which is less curved than its predecessors; the bold crescent-shaped trigger was a design trait of all CZ models, so this is noteworthy, too, as is the bold change in the backstrap and beavertail designs between the SP-01 Shadow and Shadow 2. The current evolution of the CZ design both as a centerfire pistol and a CO2 model is a better handling pistol that is more closely associated with target pistols than duty pistols. To that end, CZ still sells an updated version of the CZ 75 B and the SP-01 Shadow, now designated as the Shadow 1 series, as well as the full competition CZ 75 TS Czechmate, (similar to the Tanfoglio Gold Custom). The next gun I would like to see duplicated by ASG would obviously be the CZ 75 TS Czechmate with the optics bridge and muzzle break, as used in IPSC Open Division competition.read more
Small changes in a handgun’s design can make a world of difference especially with guns designed for competition shooting. That was the intent of CZ when they updated the SP-01 Shadow to the Shadow 2, which since 2018 has become a very popular competition pistol in the USPSA circuit Production division. When as many of those design changes as possible are incorporated into a CO2 version it not only becomes a higher end air pistol, it also becomes a training substitute for low-cost hand’s on practice. This brings us to some of the unexpected features of the Shadow 2 CO2 model beginning with the adjustable magazine release button. Most all of us who shoot centerfire guns are familiar with either ambidextrous magazine releases or reversible releases designed to accommodate left-handed shooters. But an angle adjustable magazine release is less common and unheard of for a blowback action CO2 air pistol. First, why have one?read more
There have been times when a second or third version of an established design isn’t necessarily a better gun and there are several that come to mind. While there are differing opinions on this, I have always believed the original Walther P99 is a better design than all the subsequent versions. It is the same for the Walther PPS, though the PPQ design is more visually appealing. I could site other examples but the point here is that the CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 is a better gun than any of its predecessors. As a CO2 pistol this is also true because the first version was not a great shooter with its fixed combat sights. The Shadow 2, before you even touch the windage and elevation adjustments, is already a more accurate gun as a CO2 model. The grip is a better fit to the hand and the entire pistol feels more grasped when you wrap your hand around it. The even lower bore axis makes aiming even better and the airgun delivers a medium-loud report and robust recoil for a blowback action CO2 pistol. To this point in my evaluation it has been a better handing gun than the SP-01 Shadow right out of the box.read more