Story and photos by Russell Purcell
Like many Canadian shooting sports enthusiasts I am a fan of the products produced by Česká Zbrojovka, the Czech firearm manufacturer that is most noted for its CZ 75 lineup of handguns.
The CZ75 SP-01 Shadow is one of the most popular pistols in use today by competition and target shooters due to its outstanding reliability and superb handling dynamics. I own two variants of this pistol and find that they get selected most often when I pack up to go to the range. I like the balance and feel of the gun, and the weight of the full-size steel frame seems to suit my shooting style. DVC has always got a Shadow or two rotating through the range fleet if you are looking to handle one or put some holes in paper, and they have proven to be one of the most requested firearms in the inventory with rentals.
Enter the CZ Shadow 2, the newest member of the CZ75 family, a gun that was designed to perform even more effectively in competition, with the primary focus being improvements to both speed and accuracy. In effect, CZ hopes that this evolutionary design will offer big money performance in a standard production gun.
The design of this all-new model represents the continued evolution of the platform, and seems to incorporate the best features from the original model but melded with the tweaks and improvements the company had developed in higher performance variants like the Shadow Mate.
Controls are shaved down and lightweight, and both the magazine release and slide stop are ambidextrous. The magazine release is textured, adjustable and oversized, to allow for quick and intuitive access while maintaining your grip. Slim-line aluminum grip panels are checkered and feel comfortable in all but the smallest hands, and are similar in design to those used on the Shadow Mate. The bright blue colour of the grips adds some flash and style to the firearm, which has a corrosion resistant Arcor finish.
The Shadow2 is a full-size steel framed pistol which has features a novel new slide design that is narrower at the top than at the bottom. This, along with the revised shape of the frame and extended barrel helps to transfer more weight up front, improving balance and reducing recoil. The frame’s design also allows the grip to ride higher, towards the axis of the barrel, giving the firearm a real balanced feeling in the hand.
The trigger guard is noticeably larger, but slim in profile, and the enlarged opening facilitates operation using tactical gloves if that is your preference. Operation of the Double-Action / Single-Action trigger is smooth and the reset is short and crisp.
The rear sight is adjustable side-to-side, and for height, while the front unit is a high visibility fibre optic.
The pistol still features a pronounced beaver tail and an accessory rail for tactical goodies like lights and lasers. The latter however, has been redesigned and is similar in shape to that used by Glock on their handguns.
With improved ergonomics, superior build quality, and competition ready handling dynamics, the Shadow 2 is one special pistol.