CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 4
Looking into the fine details
By Dennis Adler
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?
In competition shooting, reloading must be absolutely flawless or precious fractions of a second can be lost and even a match. With an angle adjustable magazine release, you can find a position that works best, which can speed up the reloading process. This is done by loosening the Torx head screw and moving the release into one of three preset positions, center as it comes, angled down or angled up by about a 1/8th of an inch. I found that moving the release upward allowed me to hit the release lever with my shooting hand thumb a little faster.
There are other subtle differences in the SP-01 and Shadow 2 designs such as the forward position of the Shadow 2 triggerguard and additional serrations. Some competition shooters will use this surface to place their support hand index finger to ensure a better hold. It is a personal preference among shooters that the Shadow 2 (and SP-01) design accommodates. There is also the angle of the trigger on the Shadow 2 which is straighter than the crescent-shaped SP-01 and CZ 75 trigger. The over travel set screw (which is also on the SP-01) is easily adjusted but I left it as it came from the factory since the trigger pull and reset on the Shadow 2 is about as good as it gets with a CO2 pistol.
The most interesting change between the SP-01 Shadow and Shadow 2, in both centerfire and CO2 models, is the re-contoured slide, not just the serrations but the angled/beveled sides of the Shadow 2 slide which angle all the way down to the frame. This not only shaves off some weight from the slide’s mass but makes it even narrower than the SP-01’s. The new deep, angled slide serrations help to get a grasp on the steeply angled sides when chambering the first round, which is much more important with the centerfire model than the air pistol.
The forward slide serrations are for doing a press check of a loaded centerfire gun, not necessary with the air pistol but they look great on the CO2 model just the same. Another difference is the standard “carry” ambidextrous thumb safeties on the Shadow 2 which are closer to the frame than the extended SP-01 safeties. On centerfire guns these are interchangeable.
Overall, the Shadow 2 handles and feels different than any of its ASG CZ predecessors. The accuracy of the design carried into the CO2 model provides 1:1 measurements for sharing holsters and facilitating training use with the air pistol.
As a CO2 model, the Shadow 2 provides a new airgun for collectors and, as we will find out in Saturday’s conclusion, perhaps a better shooting experience than the SP-01 or standard CZ 75 CO2 models.