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.

The angle adjustable oversized magazine release is another Shadow 2 feature, along with reshaped triggerguard, that makes it an easier pistol to handle, shoot quickly and accurately.

Like the SP-01 Shadow the superbly-built Shadow 2 is a 1:1 copy of its centerfire counterpart and also like the SP-01 Shadow, the Shadow 2 can be partially field stripped, meaning that the slide can be removed from the frame following the same procedure as the 9mm Shadow 2. After that, there is no need or easy way to remove the recoil spring, guide rod and barrel without some further disassembly not required on the centerfire model. Actually there isn’t even a real reason other than basic field stripping practice to even remove the slide, except on the Shadow 2 CO2 model because the air pistol is fitted with a hop-up device designed for the BB pistol.

Field stripping the Shadow 2 is part of the air pistol’s design by removing the magazine, aligning the two registration marks on the frame and slide as you pull the slide back. Then press the slide release pin from the right side of the frame until you can pull it out of the frame from the left, and pull the slide forward off the frame.
This is far as you need to go in field stripping the Shadow 2 (or SP-01 Shadow) without getting into disassembly and reassembly issues. The large screw is the Hop-up adjustment described in the instruction booklet.

Hop-up adjustments were designed to increase accuracy and distance with Airsoft guns shooting featherweight 6mm synthetic BBs (spitballs as some BB and pellet pistol fans call Airsoft ammo), but this CO2 powered BB gun has a Hop-up that will adjust the trajectory of the steel BBs for more accurate shooting at varying distances. All of the original tests with this gun were shot with the Hop-up left as set by ASG. I decided to check it out for the final Replica Air Pistol of the Year evaluation and here is what I have discovered.

The instructions suggest turning the screw slightly from left to right to adjust the trajectory of the BB. This is supposed to have an affect on velocity and accuracy. As far as I could tell it did, it made both worse. I reversed the process and it was no better. Putting the screw back on center put velocity back in the 300 plus fps range and accuracy back to where the sights had been adjusted. I found no advantage to adjusting the Hop-up. As it came from ASG it was right where it needed to be for best performance.

The instruction booklet shows how to fieldstrip the Shadow 2 so you can access the Hop-up adjustment screw. It indicates to turn it gradually from left to right, reassemble the gun and test fire to see if the BBs are flying straighter; excessive Hop-up will cause shots to hit high, too little to hit low. Interestingly, while the booklet spends two pages on field stripping and Hop-up adjustment, there is no mention of how to adjust the rear sight for elevation and windage. I did, however, write about it in detail in my original review in Airgun Experience.

The big plus to the Shadow 2 over the SP-01 Shadow is the change from a fixed combat rear sight to one that is generously adjustable for elevation and windage. The elevation screw is large but does lack any indication as to which way is up.

I am going to make a slight adjustment to the Hop-up, with a recommend one eighth turn to the right, and then run velocity and accuracy tests with the rear sight as previously adjusted. Velocity clocked an average of 298 fps, a considerable drop and shots all hit low but grouped tight with 10 hits at 1.5 inches and a best five at 0.937 inches. The question is now, do I turn further right or go back to center and make a one eight turn to the left? I decided to go left and see what happens. Velocity stayed just below 300 fps average and shots hit a little more sporadically, mostly low and few a bit high. No advantage to that adjustment at all. Back to dead center. Velocity rose to 312 fps average and the gun was back on target pretty close to the same POA as earlier tests. The Hop-up really doesn’t seem to be of any advantage here, at least from my tests. So, back to the original settings and test targets for accuracy with the Shadow 2.

The hex head wrench is included for loosening the two set screws to adjust the windage in the dovetailed mount. I used a leather mallet to tap the sight and make small adjustments. It is tight in the dovetail so you can’t really move it too far with a single light tap, and it doesn’t take much to make a slight windage adjustment for 21 feet.

Again I am shooting a 10 round target with this gun for all the marbles at 21 feet. As you recall, the Shadow 2 has an excellent, SA trigger pull and the sights can be pretty well adjusted to POA/POI accuracy (not pinpoint but far better than with open sights on a semi-auto). It’s a big plus over the SP-01 Shadow, which I still like a little better because of the capability of upgrades (for as long as you can still find them!)

Sending steel BBs downrange at just under 320 fps, the gun grouped well. My sights were off a little after the Hop-up messaround, but still shooting close 10-shot groups from 21 feet.

My first new 10-shot group hit a little low and right of the bullseye with one shot cutting the edge and a spread of 1.25 inches with a best five-shots all overlapping at 0.53 inches just under the bullseye.

Hitting a little low in the 10, but if I had been satisfied to have all low and tight this would have been a sub 1-inch group under the bullseye, but no I had to try and make it better and ended up putting three high over the bull. Even so, that’s seven of 10 in very close proximity and five shots at a hair over 0.5 inches.

I went back and shot another target with a fresh CO2, the first was already exhausted at three mags, and this time I punched 10 rounds into, ah! Seven overlapping just under the bullseye, with a spread of 0.875 inches including five overlapping hits at 0.57 inches, and then three high, just over the bullseye, to open up my 10-shot group to 1.5 inches. I have to give the points to the gun because it was absolutely me trying to tie the first group under the bullseye with a last three at the bottom of the bull for a sub 1-inch total, and instead hitting a little high. Even adjustable sights can’t fix a bad decision, but the Shadow 2 did deliver a really impressive seven out of ten.

How accurate does a CO2 model have to be to earn 10 points for authenticity? The Shadow 2 CO2 model (right) is good for the whole count.

The gun can shoot well, the Hop-up is no help, the velocity only average against new guns with superior downrange speeds, but it is a solid looker with 1:1 dimensions, fit and finish; once again, ASG at its best with a CZ 75 CO2 model. While the Shadow 2 is currently on back-order, this is one you might want to sign up for in 2021!

ASG CZ 75 Shadow 2

Authenticity 1 to 10                           10 (1:1 match to centerfire model)

Ingenuity of the design 1 to 10            9 (evolved from SP-01 Shadow)

Ease of use 1 to 10                               9 (heavy follower and spring no lock for loading)

Performance 1 to 10                             9 (average velocity, very light SA trigger pull)

Accuracy 1 to 10                                  10 (adj. sights, light trigger, 5-shots 0.53 inches)

Field stripping capability bonus 1      1 (dicey, only takes down to slide and frame)

Adjustable Sights bonus 1                  1

Total points 49

3 thoughts on “Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 5

  1. Probably one of the most accurate smooth bores with adjustable sights. The only real competition is the adjustable sight Sig 226. This is an area really lacking in replica airguns. There are some real possibilities, some just modifications of existing designs and others that would be more bold and daring. The obvious would be a Colt Gold Cup. Others would be a Sig 210, and a S&W model 52. Umarex will probably not offer anything. They are in my opinion , lazy. Several variations of existing pistols have been neglected and will probably never happen. Artillery and Navy P08 pistols. Nope. Expansion of Colt Peacemaker offerings. Nope. More S&W revolver replicas. Nope. More classic semiauto pistols like the S&W 39, Beretta 1934. Nope who dares wins. Right now ASG is , at least in semiautos


    • I agree to all these statements.
      Umarex behaves like a sleeping giant. Just think that even the low cost “Italian” airgun maker Bruni offers a copy of the Sig P210!!!
      Imagine the endless possibilities using the belt fed magazine.
      Dennis do you have inside information why they stopped offering the 7.5 inches version of the Peacemaker?



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