Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 5

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 5

The Shadow 2 Knows

By Dennis Adler

If nothing else, most of 2020’s new CO2 models have a lot of eye appeal. The ASG CZ 75 Shadow 2 certainly being among the best. It is shown here with its predecessor the CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow (still available). The changes between the two guns are mostly cosmetic but also functional like the revised backstrap contours, new thin blue anodized aluminum grips, and improved (changed) shape of the classic CZ 75 trigger, among other alterations to the slide and frame. This is all authentic to the changes made to the centerfire models, a big plus for earning points.

If you’re wondering how this year’s top gun competition is going to play out, I am too. The choices are few, but every one has been a gem of a gun in one way or another, whether a brand new design, like the Chiappa Rhino, or one of multiple updates to earlier guns like the Barra Schofield Wells Fargo, or the subject of this article, the improved ASG CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow, updated to match the centerfire Shadow 2 target model. Is it a better gun than the SP-01 Shadow? That was what seemed to be the case in the initial Airgun Experience review with the Shadow 2’s adjustable rear sight being the single most important advantage over the earlier model. The rest is aesthetics, important, but not a groundbreaking improvement over its stylish SP-01 Shadow predecessor. read more


CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 5

CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 5

CZ vs. CZ – Looking for the top gun

By Dennis Adler

ASG has three different CZ models but they are the same guns inside with the same magazines and CO2 systems. What separates them is aesthetics of design and minor differences in handling. Will better sights and a slightly different trigger for the Shadow 2 contribute to the better performance?

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.

Three different triggerguard shapes, three different hammers and two different trigger designs are noteworthy changes between models along with slide profiles; the general handling of each is similar, and the most effort thus far has gone into the Shadow 2. It is one big step up in design from the SP-01.

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


CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 4

CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 4

Looking into the fine details

By Dennis Adler

After initial tests of the Shadow 2 there is very little not to like about his new ASG CZ model. It has more desirable features than any new CO2 blowback action model this year, and I know that’s not saying a lot, but had this pistol come out in 2019 it would have been a top contender for Replica Air Pistol of the Year. And certainly will be this year.

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


CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 3

CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 3

A better pistol that honors the brand

By Dennis Adler

The Shadow 2 adds all the various features that are considered improvements over the previous CO2 models, the most important being the windage and elevation adjustable rear sight. The new air pistol offers many more features but given the limitations of blowback action CO2 models, this is the one feature that can make the greatest difference.

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


CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 2

CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 2

A unique design that translates well to a CO2 pistol

By Dennis Adler

In about a 5-year span we have gone from the first ASG CZ 75 Model based on the early CZ 75 design and a couple of updates to the design, to the SP-01 Shadow in 2018 and the newer Shadow 2 version in 2020 (which is actually a late 2020, early 2021 model. The SP-01 pictured is upgraded with the Shadow Blue accessories.

Aside from Česká zbrojovka, the original Czechoslovakian manufacturer, the CZ-75 design has been duplicated by over 20 armsmakers worldwide, some with very familiar names. Regardless of whether it is called a Baby Desert Eagle II, a Jericho, or a Tanfoglio, they are all based on the Model CZ 75, including the European American Armory (EAA) Witness series, seven different models from TriStar Arms, nine from Eagle Imports, the Turkish-built Canik TP 9V2 and the handcrafted Swiss-built Sphinx SDP series. They all begin with the basics of the Česká zbrojovka (chess-ka za-brav-ka, design. Today the initials CZ are sufficient, just like Sig, which is the acronym for Shweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft. read more


CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 1

CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 1

A welcome surprise from ASG

By Dennis Adler

This is a story that begins in 2018 with the introduction of the ASG CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow CO2 model. As a design successor (but not replacement) for the venerated CZ 75, the Shadow was offered in a series of centerfire models and as a single variation in CO2. But, it was also a gun that could be modified with alloy accessories. This opened the door for what I built as the Shadow Blue later in 2018.

For CZ fans, of which I am one, Christmas has come early with the SP-01 Shadow 2 and its availability next month. This is the next step up from the SP-01 Shadow and customized Shadow Blue (which is still a somewhat difficult gun to put together since parts to configure it in Blue, Red, or Orange, come from different retailers). The Shadow 2 comes with blue aluminum (Duralumin) grips, but it’s more than the grips, the Shadow 2, introduced by CZ as a centerfire pistol in 2018, is quite different from the SP-01 Shadow series introduced about 10 years ago as well as the ASG SP-01 Shadow CO2 model we first tested in early 2018. read more


Why manufacturers upgrade guns

Why manufacturers upgrade guns

Change is always questioned

By Dennis Adler

Change is inevitable in gun making. Manufacturers come up with improvements, some suggested by consumers, other created by factory designers. In CO2 pistols the best example of this is the Umarex Walther PPS and PPS M2, the same fundamental gun and firing system (blowback action, CO2 in the grip frame and stick magazine with a full size base pad), but otherwise an almost entirely new gun with improved sights, different triggerguard, slide and frame contours, grip design, and magazine release mechanism (the old PPS used the P99 based ambidextrous release from the P99, the M2 uses the frame mounted release, which is not ambidextrous, from the PPQ M2. The same has transpired with the 9mm centerfire guns with Umarex following suit, which makes sense since Umarex and Walther are the same company. Despite the use of a stick magazine, the PPS and now PPS M2 remains one of the very best blowback CO2 action pistols for shooting fun and fundamental CCW training. Change can be good.

“Why did they do that?” How many times have you said it in your life? And it’s not just firearms, it’s Oreos, it’s Coke, it’s your favorite brand of shoes, and it’s Colt, or Smith & Wesson, and the list goes on ad infinitum, just choose what item you want to debate. Change is always questioned and sometimes the answers are just not acceptable. Other times the answers are understandable, even if you don’t agree, and when it comes to firearms you need to have an open mind because change is inevitable. It is usually the result of improvements, something gunmakers have been doing since the beginning of gun making. Other times, change is to meet the demands of consumers, but that generally only satisfies a portion of customers, the other portion would have preferred things left as they were. (My personal one is Walther doing away with the ambidextrous triggerguard magazine release on the P99 in favor of a typical magazine release button on the frame. Why did they do that?) read more