CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 1

CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 1

A welcome surprise from ASG

By Dennis Adler

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.

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.
The Shadow Blue I built is simply a dressed up SP-01 but the alterations to the gun, alloy grips and flared magwell made it a better shooting pistol. CZ designers started looking for other ways to improve the Shadow and in 2018 developed the Shadow 2 which made sweeping changes to the CZ 75 design.

Shedding light on the Shadow

Find a Hawke Scope

When I began building my Shadow Blue CO2 model in May of 2018 I sourced some of the parts from ASG and the rest from retailer Stampede Airsoft, since the alloy parts are interchangeable with the CO2 models. This is still the optimum way to build a Shadow Blue, Shadow Red, or Shadow Orange, the actual colors in which the centerfire SP-01 guns could be configured. I opted for the bright blue aluminum upgrades to the grips, magwell, base pads, and optional rail-mounted optics bridge back in 2018. The Shadow Blue CO2 model turned into one of the most accurate blowback action CO2 pistols I have ever shot, and just about the equal for handling to the CZ 75-based Tanfoglio Gold Custom CO2 model. This was another gun authentically copied from a centerfire handgun.

As a CO2 model it began with the ASG CZ 75 model introduced in 2015 offering a mix of the original style CZ 75 with rounded triggerguard, long spur hammer, and single thumb safety paired with the later CZ 75 SP-01 extended capacity magazine with deeper base plate. The blowback action model with self-contained 17-round CO2 BB magazine was an instant winner with CO2 semi-auto enthusiasts.

Here is a quick recap of the SP-01 Shadow Blue from my later reviews of the gun after the Tanfoglio Gold Custom was discontinued. In October of 2018 I wrote that, “If I had to compare the SP-01 Shadow Blue CO2 model against any other competition-style blowback action air pistol on the market in terms of how it feels in the hand, balances, shoots, and reloads, it is very close to the Tanfoglio Gold Custom. Of course, the Gold Custom is designed for use with optics, so when you add the optional Shadow Blue optics rail and either a reflex sight or red dot scope, you have elevated the CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow to the level of the Tanfoglio Gold Custom. And this is really comparing apples to apples, since the Tanfoglio is just another version of the CZ 75 platform.” I concluded by explaining why the SP-01 Shadow could be a better option than the Tanfoglio Gold Custom (this was before it was discontinued in the U.S. market). “Depending upon your budget you can get fairly well invested in the SP-01 Shadow Blue, or orange or red as all three competition colors are offered for the anodized alloy Shadow accessories. If you add up the money, the fully equipped Shadow Blue will set you back about $279 plus tax and shipping for everything you see here except the optics. That is more than the Tanfoglio, which serves only one purpose as a dedicated target pistol requiring optics; the SP-01 Shadow has many capabilities from a basic hands-on CZ 75 training gun to customized, optics-equipped Shadow Blue target pistol.”

With all the options offered by ASG for the CO2 pistol (actually the Airsoft models) the SP-01 Shadow could fully equipped with the grips, flared magwell, color matching magazine base pads and an optics bridge (there is also a SAO blue, red or orange trigger that requires installation). Combining parts that were also briefly offered by Pyramyd Air (grips and magwell) with parts from Stampede Airsoft, I was able to build an exceptionally accurate target version of the Shadow. Remember that as this was taking place in 2018 as a CO2 model, CZ was introducing the centerfire Shadow 2, which I had shown in the 2018 article for comparison with the Shadow Blue.

What makes the Shadow 2 a better pistol than the SP-01 Shadow, or upgraded Shadow Blue? If you look at the SP-01 as an improved design over the original CZ 75 developed way back in 1975, and the basis for a wide variety of centerfire handguns produced around the world, (the Italian Tanfoglio being one of the most noteworthy), the Shadow 2 became the next step up from there as a further refined CZ 75 model. The same applies to the exceptional redesign for the new ASG CZ Shadow 2 model. It is more than a variation of the SP-01; it is essentially a new gun.

This is a photo of the centerfire gun I wrote about in that 2018 article. I never expected ASG would follow the SP-01 Shadow two years later with a Shadow 2 air pistol. A surprise that adds an even better CZ model to their air pistol line and makes the CZ one of the most up to date designs based on a centerfire pistol.

The same but different

As a centerfire model introduced by CZ in 2018, the Shadow 2 was described as follows.

“In recent years, the SP-01 Shadow has taken the competition circuit by storm. In USPSA Production Division, CZ pistols are now used by twice as many top-level competitors than any other maker. Given that popularity, it was high time to up the ante. Starting from scratch, CZUB engineers took the best features of the original Shadow and improved upon them. More than two years later, the Shadow 2 emerged, bearing the fruits of their efforts.

“With a higher beavertail and undercut triggerguard, the shooter’s hand is able to be as close to the bore axis as possible. With a contoured slide, the majority of the reciprocating mass is contained below the bore, equating to less muzzle flip. Increased weight at the dust cover/rail also helps keep the muzzle down. The Shadow 2’s swappable mag release has an adjustable, extended button with three settings to allow shooters to set it in the spot most comfortable for them. Also included in the box is an extended ambidextrous safety set and a number of buffers for use with lighter springs and/or hotter rounds. Best of all, new trigger components give smooth DA and crisp, clean SA while drastically reducing trigger reset. Thin blue aluminum grips have healthy checkering to match the fine front and backstrap checkering of the pistol itself. Sitting atop the slide are a set of target sights — fiber optic on front and a serrated, black HAJO rear (click adjustable for elevation, drift adjustable for windage).”

Comparing my SP-01 Shadow Blue with the new ASG Shadow 2 the changes in the design speak for themselves, the guns are similar but the Shadow 2 is an advanced design. The Shadow 2 can be pre-ordered by following the link in the photo and caption.

How much of this translates to the new Shadow 2 CO2 model you ask? In styling and external operating features, everything; even the adjustable 3-position magazine release and elevation and drift adjustable rear sight. The Shadow 2 has even more accurate features to offer as a CO2 pistol which I will begin to explore in Part 2.

ASG and CZ teamed up to make certain the CO2 model reflected all of the significant design features of the centerfire gun (left).

Since today is Thanksgiving, think of the Shadow 2 as food for thought. This new CZ model could well be the best blowback action CO2 BB pistol you purchase this year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 thought on “CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 1”

  1. Nice pistol . Barring a Browning High Power or Colt Gold Cup, this looks like about the best traditional pistol replica. Hope it has decent velocity. Pyramid has it listed as max velocity of 285, which would make it the most anemic full sized pistol, and that would be a shame.Is the magazine cap removable? Took it off on my Sig 226 . Never cared for the bulk and extra length. Take it easy today. Happy Thanksgiving

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