CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 2 Part 4

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?

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.
Yes it is this good, because here we have the real 9mm model from CZ. The one quick tell and it is a little detail that seems to be the most confusing of any. It’s the shape of the red fiber optic front sight.
They had it right on the SP-01 (right) and changed it on the Shadow 2. I’m sure there is a great manufacturing explanation for it, but it is one little thing that is not accurate on the new model.

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.

Here is something ASG got so right it is hard to believe they would even bother for an air pistol; the magazine release has three angle settings. Here it is shown in the center position.
You will need to have a correct-size Torx head screw driver to loosen the set screw enough to lift the release button up and move it into one of the other two locking positions, angled down about 1/8th inch or up 1/8th inch. I chose the latter.
Here you can see the magazine release in the upward angle. I found it easier to activate the release with my shooting hand thumb. In the center position I inadvertently hit the large release with the side of my support hand thumb while shooting and dropped the magazine. It only happened once but with it angled up, it is unlikely to happen and it proved easier to work with the strong hand thumb on the reload. This is a great feature, especially for an air pistol.

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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 more you compare the SP-01 with the Shadow 2 the more differences you find. Start by looking at the shape of the slides. There’s more going on than different slide serrations.

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.

From the rear it is easier to see that the Shadow 2 has an angled and beveled slide that further narrows its dimensions and lowers the weight. Here you can also see how much narrower the grips are compared to the rubber grips on the SP-01 and how far out the magazine release is on the Shadow 2.
Keeping almost everything accurate to the centerfire model, the forward slide serrations look good on the CO2 model. You can also clearly see the over travel set screw in the trigger.

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.

Another difference is the shape of the rear sight which sits lower on the slide, is taller and has a slightly narrower notch than the SP-01. And of course, it is windage and elevation adjustable. Also notice that the Shadow 2 hammer is taller. Another big difference is the size of the ambidextrous thumb safeties which are smaller and closer to the frame on the Shadow 2.

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.

So here is the field for Saturday’s roundup, the original ASG CZ 75 model far left, the SP-01 Shadow and new Shadow 2. This also represents the evolution of the centerfire gun designs over 45 years and makes the ASG CZ 75 models one of the most accurate and complete sets possible for airgun enthusiasts.

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.

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