ASG CZ 75 SP-01 Update Part 2

ASG CZ 75 SP-01 Update Part 2 Part 1 Part 3

Shadow Blue in the field

By Dennis Adler

The right combination of gun, holster and magazine pouch at the range (even if the range is in your own backyard) makes for a great airgun experience. Here the new ASG CZ 75 SP-01, equipped with the ASG CZ blue aluminum grips and flared magwell (magazine funnel), are matched up with an ASG Strike Systems holster and a Safariland adjustable magazine pouch. I chose this pouch because it can fit single or double stack magazine designs yet holds either type firmly in place until needed. This is a modestly priced outfit for target shooting and practice.

Can grips and a mag funnel make a gun better? Grips, absolutely, the mag funnel depends on the level of stress you’re experiencing during a reload. For target shooting that’s not much, in competition shooting it’s a lot, in a firefight you definitely need any advantage the gun can provide, even being able to funnel in a fresh magazine without hitting the edge of the magazine well.

For Part 2 of the SP-01 Shadow review I am going to run a full drawing, shooting, reloading drill and see how smoothly the Shadow Blue handles. Granted, the standard black SP-01 Shadow runs smoothly, so the advantages of the narrower aluminum grips and magazine funnel are going to be incremental, but different. The greater emphasis with custom grips and accessories is usually aesthetics with practical functions. For competitive shooting, the functions part really weighs more heavily. The upgraded CZ scores high in that category.

The ASG Strike Systems injection molded CZ 75 holster is a Level 1 design with a triggerguard lock that holds the gun in the holster until the paddle on the outside is depressed by the trigger finger on the draw. Here I am showing my hand position as I ready to engage the grips and drop my index finger on the release paddle…
…the trigger finger naturally comes off the release paddle in position to fall along the side of the slide as the gun is drawn. This is a very good practice regimen to ensure that you do not engage the trigger (finger going inside the triggerguard) as you draw. The trigger finger should remain in this position as you move through the presentation of the pistol on target.

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Running the Shadow

This is going to be everything right up to the velocity test and accuracy. For target shooting with the CO2 model SP-01 as equipped, the differences in handling are just enough to make the $80 upgrades worthwhile if you are serious about getting the most out of this ASG CZ model. First we’ll start with the support gear, the ASG Strike Force Tactical Gear paddle holster, which I have paired with a Safariland rubberized single mag pouch with a belt mount that can be angled to position the magazine exactly where you want it for a quick reload. The pouch is accordion-like and can fit either a single or double stack magazine; it expands to accommodate the wide mags and is ideal for CO2 magazines. This is a competition belt mount for the Safariland, which is great for standing and quickly withdrawing the magazine, a little less practical for EDC. The combination makes for quick handling with the CZ model.

The aluminum grips have an aggressive checkering pattern that your fingers can solidly grasp. The checkering on the frontstrap and backstrap complete the tactile surface area of the CZ’s grip frame. Notice, too, that the little finger rests firmly on the shelf created by the flared magwell (magazine funnel).

I have talked about the advantages of the Level 1 design of the Strike Systems injection molded paddle holster and it holds the CZ model firmly in place. When drawing the gun from the holster this type of Level 1 design reinforces good handling practices as it forces you to have your trigger finger aligned with the side of the holster (and this is in relation to the frame of the gun in the holster). Pressing in on the release paddle and drawing the gun lets your trigger finger fall exactly where it should (which is to say, not insider the triggerguard) until you are ready to engage the target. The magazine pouch is positioned for an off hand pull of the loaded magazine which is held in the pouch with the ammo (BBs) facing forward. When you pull the magazine with your offside hand you rotate it up and the magazine is facing the correct way for a direct feed into the magazine funnel (flared magwell) so you can slap it in and drop the slide. It is a very quick movement which I have tried to break down in the second photo sequence into four steps.

Even choking up on the grips to get the most out of the undercut triggerguard, the magwell still provides added support for the little finger. The surface of the aluminum grips still give the shooting hand thumb support, though not to the extent that the raised thumb rest offers on the hard rubber grips.

On to the aluminum grips, which make a slight difference in how you grasp the CZ, and this works in unison with the flared magwell. As shown in one of the photos, the average size medium-large hand (mine falls into that category) will get a full wrap around the grip frame. The checkered aluminum grip panels, combined with the checkering on the front and backstrap work to keep the gun firmly locked in your shooting hand. How this differs from the black rubberized grips that come standard on the SP-01 is in the “tackiness” of the hard rubber in the hand and there is also a slight give to it as you firm up your grasp. The aluminum grips feel a bit more solid in the hand and there is no raised thumb rest. We can debate the advantages of the thumb rest another day. But there is a little more to it than just the wraparound of the hand on the grips and grip frame. The flared magwell (magazine funnel) creates a shelf for the little finger to rest against. This is more stable than being just against the bottom of the grip frame at the height of the magazine base pad. There is no dispute about this. It is just a fact. Even if you have larger hands, this is going to offer more support for your little finger.

As I have noted, the side of the flared magwell provides solid support for the base of the support hand using a two-handed hold. You won’t get this kind of hard support with standard grip designs.

There is yet another advantage for target shooting with this grip and magwell combination, which is shown in the rear view photo. The side of the support hand gets an assist from the flared magwell which provides an angled rest when using a two-handed hold. This makes the pistol as solid in the hands as possible.

Drawing, firing, and reloading

If I had to rate the SP-01 CO2 model against any other competition-style model on the market, I would have to say, in terms of how it feels in the hand, balances, shoots and reloads, that it is very close to the Tanfoglio Gold Custom. Of course, the Gold Custom is designed for use with optics (and the Limited Custom is not currently available), so the CZ really falls nicely into the niche the Tanfoglio models have established. And that makes perfect sense; the Tanfoglio is a CZ 75 platform.

For this series of images I am moving forward as I draw and present the gun rather than remaining stationary. For my training exercise I fired 17 rounds from the SP-01 (the 9x19mm model carries 17+1) and then went into a quick reload drill.
Once again the CO2 model delivers duplicate operation to the centerfire pistol. As the slide locks back I bring the gun up and drop the empty magazine while drawing the fresh mag from the angled Safariland pouch. The magazine is positioned with the rounds facing out, so that as I rotate my hand up, the magazine is facing the right direction. The wide magazine funnel makes reloading faster by guiding the magazine into the grip well.

As the two blocks of photos illustrate the SP-01 handles and reloads quickly, and up to this point has delivered on everything a CZ 75 centerfire design promises. Saturday we will find out if it delivers on velocity and accuracy as well.

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