Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 4

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 4

What it takes to become 2018’s Top Gun

By Dennis Adler

The mettle of their metal, the alloy construction of both the new Sig Sauer WE THE PEOPLE 1911 (left) and ASG CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow makes them a little lighter than their centerfire counterparts, but the accuracy of design, fit and finish (particularly with the unique weathered finish on the Sig Sauer), and authentic short-recoil, locked-breech designs make them two of the most authentic CO2 blowback action models on the market.

This has been an impressive year for new blowback action models and this is where the toughest competition for Replica Air Pistol of the Year emerges with guns like the Sig Sauer WE THE PEOPLE 1911 and ASG’s CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow; air pistols that not only visually correspond to their centerfire counterparts but match handling, operation and ability to be field stripped. These are two examples (but not the only two this year) where manufacturers went the distance to get everything as accurate as possible. Why do this for a CO2 BB pistol? Like the highly regarded Umarex S&W M&P40, the new Shadow SP-01 and Sig Sauer 1911 are more than great air pistols, they are so well matched to their centerfire counterparts that they are perfect training guns that allow total familiarization with the firearm right up to pulling the trigger. And there, all that is lacking is heavy recoil from the velocity of a centerfire cartridge, the high dB rating of a live round vs. the low dB rating of a CO2 pistol, and accuracy beyond the optimal 21 to 25 foot range of a .177 caliber steel BB. Thus the CZ Shadow (and competition-style Shadow Blue) and Sig’s custom 1911 WE THE PEOPLE are the first to square off against each other. read more


Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 1

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 1

What it takes to become 2018’s Top Gun

By Dennis Adler

Each year since I began writing the Airgun Experience I have selected one new model as my Air Pistol of the Year. For 2018, given the variety of new air pistols and satisfying, though not overwhelming number of models introduced, the focus has specifically turned to CO2 air pistols that are based on actual centerfire handgun models, whether new (like the Sig Sauer M17) or older (like the HK USP) so long as the air pistol is new. I am also establishing an updated point system based on five comparative categories with values from 1 to 10 points for each. This is going to separate out a number of guns simply because of their various features, or lack thereof. The gun chosen as Replica Air Pistol of the Year will be based solely on total points earned. read more


ASG CZ SP-01 Shadow Blue part 5

ASG CZ SP-01 Shadow Blue Part 5 Part 4 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

A battle of equals

By Dennis Adler

Railing against the establishment, or at least the number one optics rail competition CO2 pistol, the Tanfoglio Gold Custom, the fully outfitted Shadow Blue looks like a solid contender.

A battle among equals is the best comparison and no two blowback action CO2 pistols are better matched than the CZ75-based Tanfoglio Gold Custom and the fully equipped CZ75 SP-01 Shadow Blue. There is one obvious advantage to the Tanfoglio; it comes this way right out of the box. The disadvantage is that it has to stay this way! The Shadow begins as a traditional blowback action DA/SA semi-auto that embodies almost every desirable feature one could ask for in a CO2 pistol. What it lacks is a windage and elevation adjustable rear sight that would make it an ideal target pistol instead of a straightforward counterpart to a 9mm duty pistol. read more


ASG CZ SP-01 Shadow Blue part 4

ASG CZ SP-01 Shadow Blue part 4 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

Getting bluer and better

By Dennis Adler

It is easy to see the difference in the design of the CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow’s black hard rubber grips and the contour of the Shadow Blue alloy grips and mag funnel combination. The alloy panels allow a tighter wrap around the grip frame and let the pistol set further into the palmswell. The flair of the mag funnel also gives the base of the hand more support.

The ASG CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow is one of the few blowback action CO2 pistols that can be accessorized the same as its 9mm competition counterpart. Back in May, when I began showing the CZ Shadow Blue accessories for the SP-01 Shadow, they were limited to the alloy grips and mag funnel, which are now available through Pyramyd Air. These accessories make the CO2 model look more like the original 9mm Shadow competition version, Shadow 2, CZ 75 Tactical Sport and Czechmate models. There are, of course, other competition parts for the 9mm Shadow that can be added to the CO2 version, and this includes a matching blue alloy base pad for the self-contained CO2 BB magazines in place of the standard black base pad. (These are also offered in CZ Orange with matching grips as used on the CZ 75 Tactical). The alloy base pad doesn’t do anything for the handling of the gun; it is just an aesthetic alteration to give the CZ a better look. And competition guns can get pretty wild looking. The Shadow is actually quite tame compared to some. read more


Compartmentalizing Airguns Part 1

Compartmentalizing Airguns Part 1

Best in class options

By Dennis Adler

When it comes to blowback action CO2 models with self-contained CO2 BB magazines, excellent triggers and combat sights, there are several choices including the first of the blowback action models, the Umarex Colt (Colt licensed) Commander which is a contemporary 1911A1 version, and the more modern Swiss Arms SA 1911 TRS which updates the design to match current .45 Colt Rail Gun (CQBP) models with ambidextrous thumb safeties, forward slide serrations, and a long, integrated Picatinny rail for lights and laser sighting systems. These CO2 models offer superb handling and accuracy (at 21 feet) for around $110.

Not everyone has the ability to buy every airgun they want (and neither do I), so you have to make some informed decisions on what to buy. With so many excellent choices today, in just the single category of air pistols, how do you decide? Sure, I get to test them all, but I only keep certain ones, the rest go back, and I make those choices through a process I call Compartmentalizing Airguns. This is simply breaking down specific interests into categories, or compartments. I have four. Since this is my article I’m going to use my interests, and since you are reading this, it’s pretty likely we have shared interests. So, what makes one air pistol more desirable than another? And price isn’t always the answer; in fact, to do this right price has to be a secondary consideration. read more


ASG CZ 75 SP-01 Update Part 3

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

Velocity and Accuracy at 21 feet

By Dennis Adler

The ASG CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow is a hand-filling 38 ounces with an overall length of 8.15 inches and a long sight radius of 6.5 inches for the airgun’s 4.5 inch steel barrel. Although a smoothbore, this is a superbly crafted barrel that delivers consistent accuracy at the optimum 21 foot range.

The SP-01 is a fairly hefty pistol, a full-sized 9x19mm design suitable for law enforcement (the CZ 75 is carried by police and military in various corners of the globe), as well as a personal defense handgun and a competition pistol; the CZ 75 is a many faceted semi-auto. The new ASG CO2 model, brings all of CZ’s best features into one blowback action CO2 model that can be fully upgraded with the aluminum grips and magwell (magazine funnel) shown, as well as a matching aluminum magazine base pad and dustcover rail-mounted optics bridge (which we will address in a later Airgun Experience article). In its basic form, the SP-01 Shadow borders on a being a .177 caliber CO2 target pistol equivalent to the Tanfoglio Limited Custom (currently not available) with the exception of an adjustable rear sight. That is where the optics bridge will come in at some point in a future article. As for today’s conclusion of the ASG CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow update, here is how this second test gun has performed. read more


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. read more