When it comes to choosing range pistols, whether it is to shoot a league or simply improve your shooting ability on your own time, a lot of us reach for polymer guns. So, where is the love for metal-frame pistols? There are lots of brands out there and platforms to pick from, but all of our metal alloy friends get passed over more times than not. I am personally guilty of this. I heard the gospel of Gaston probably 5 years ago and have been guzzling that Kool-Aid ever since. Recently though I came across the CZ-USA Shadow 2 SA (Single-Action Only) 9mm. I dry-fired it once in my gun shop and I was hooked! So, in today’s TFB Review we are going to assess whether my dry-fire was foolish love at first sight or something that could become eternal love. Let’s dive in!
Specifications: CZ Shadow 2 SA (Single-Action Only) 9mm
The CZ-USA Shadow 2 SA (Single-Action Only) 9mm is a pistol that floated under my radar. Maybe it is because CZ firearms as a whole do not get as much press as American or polymer gun makers. Maybe it is my fault for overlooking them because I always believed they were beyond my price-point. In either case, we are going to shed some more light on them here today. All of the specifications for the CZ-USA Shadow 2 SA (Single-Action Only) 9mm can be read below:
- Chambering: 9mm Luger
- Magazine Capacity: 17+1
- Frame: Steel
- Trigger Mechanism: SAO (Single-Action Only)
- Sights: Fiber Optic Front, HAJO Rear
- Barrel: Cold Hammer Forged
- Barrel Length: 4.89 Inches
- Weight: 46.5 Ounces
- Overall Length: 8.53 Inches
- Safety: Ambidextrous Manual Safety
The current MSRP of the CZ-USA Shadow 2 SA (Single-Action Only) 9mm is benchmarked at $1,349. All CZ-USA firearms are warranted to be free from defects in material and workmanship for one (1) year on wooden parts and surface treatment, and five (5) years on other parts to the original purchaser.
With the CZ-USA Shadow 2 SA (Single-Action Only) 9mm you get a lot of the expected accouterments inside of the box. You receive an owner’s manual, patch puller, cleaning rod, secondary extended manual safety, additional recoil spring buffers, Allen wrenches, and 3 magazines. The only thing you are essentially missing is ammunition to make it start singing. CZ-USA has this quote on their website to further explain what the CZ-USA Shadow 2 SA (Single-Action Only) 9mm is all about.
For those target shooters who seek out the best triggers possible, this variant of the Shadow 2 has a single-action-only trigger. While not legal for Production Division like the standard version, the lighter, crisper SA trigger gives the target-shooting enthusiast the ability to punch paper with precision!
Outwardly nearly identical to the standard Shadow 2, the SA requires the hammer to be cocked in order for it to fire. Finished in black and with a set of blue aluminum grips and matching blue SA trigger, it’s a striking pistol that’s a joy to shoot.
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. A nitride finish coats the entire pistol, while the frame gets a layer of our hardy black polycoat. Thin 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).
First Look: CZ Shadow 2 SA (Single-Action only) 9mm
So, the reason why I encountered this Shadow 2 SA is because a Regional CZ Rep allowed me to handle and shoot a copy he had. My very first impression was that the curb appeal and handling of this gun are through the roof! It is as sexy as firearms come and all of the functions are easy to manipulate.
I had multiple friends dry-fire this gun testing the single-action trigger pull, and none of them were prepared for how nice it was. In their defense, neither was I. It is one of the nicest factory triggers I have ever had the pleasure to touch off. I measured the trigger pull weight multiple times and it crisply broke at exactly 2 ½ Lbs every time; no more, no less.
This pistol does have an accessory rail if someone were to convert it or dedicate it to home defense, but it only has one slot on the accessory rail to add a flashlight, laser, and/or combo. This could limit what accessories actually fit on it as well as make it even more difficult to find a holster to fit this gun once outfitted with an accessory.
Something subtle that many people may overlook is high on the trigger there is a trigger stop that has a threaded screw and is adjustable to the user’s preference. My mindset would be why to fix something that is not broken when the trigger is so appallingly nice already, but it is a nice touch for CZ to still allow the consumer to adjust that to their liking.
Range Time: CZ Shadow 2 SA (Single-Action only) 9mm
When it came to actually getting out and shooting this pistol there is a lot more that I noticed. I appreciated the metal magazine release being serrated because it is easier and more tactile to engage yet it will not accidentally be activated because a decent amount of pressure is needed to release the magazine from the magazine well.
The manual safety is easy to manipulate and it creates a good shelf for a “thumbs forward” hand grip while shooting. Simultaneously, it also is so large and easy to engage it slightly obstructs your ability to manipulate the slide stop with one hand.
This gun weighs a lot (46 ½ ounces), but in my years of shooting it is not the heaviest gun I have ever shot when you compare it to Hi-Point pistols or certain 1911 models. The heft, mass, and sheer size really help a target shooter mitigate recoil. This aids in being more accurate, staying on paper, and maintaining your sight picture.
The fiber optic front sight matched with the blacked out rear adjustable sight creates a good vibrant picture in both high- and low-light shooting scenarios. I began shooting this pistol at dawn with limited light available and that quickly changed into a sunny morning, and the pistol continuously had a great sight picture.
The trapezoidal slide shape is a nice aesthetic to the overall gun and the CZ Shadow 2 SA has good, crisply machined slide cuts. The sort of rounded off trapezoid shape makes it difficult to grab the slide and rack it whether you are grabbing from underneath the accessory rail or over the top.
As far as accuracy is concerned, this once again is one of the best pistols I have ever shot. I was able to get a 1.572″ group at 10 yards with a flyer in that group (I flinched). The group would have been roughly 3/4″ or smaller if I had not been surprised by the incredibly light 2 ½ Lbs trigger pull and flinched the very first shot. The next 16 rounds from that 17 round magazine were essentially one large tattered hole.
Another aspect I really liked were the grips. I am in the out crowd that loves crazy aggressive grip patterns on handguns (we are talking like 60-grit sandpaper type stuff). The CZ Shadow 2 SA has good texturing where I can grip firmly and feel confident in my dexterity. Also, it is not so aggressive that somebody with more mild tastes than mine would dislike it. It is honestly a great middle ground since it is a textured metal frame and textured metal grips.
final thoughts: CZ Shadow 2 SA (Single-Action only) 9mm
So, after a rather boisterous range session of launching some lead downrange, these are my final thoughts. I am not left-handed, but I appreciate CZ’s thoughtfulness in making the safety ambidextrous and the magazine release reversible for all the lefties out there. Also, it field strips for easy maintenance without the use of tools. I simply used the butt end of a magazine to push on the right-hand side of the slide stop to get it moving and pushed out of the frame from right to left.
The only two points that significantly hurt this gun is the price point (for us “poors” as the internet has come to affectionately call people who cannot afford expensive things), and that CZ doesn’t get the same limelight press that a lot of American companies do. Otherwise, it is difficult to dislike this pistol as a whole because it is truly amazing.
This pistol simply oozes curb appeal from the moment you flip open the lid on the box and it is astonishingly accurate. For anyone who can afford it at the MSRP of $1,349, I would definitely say that it is money well spent. Whether you want to go clean house on a league or train with intention to hone your shooting abilities, you will not be disappointed.
In closing, I want to say thank you to my Regional CZ Rep for allowing TFB and myself the opportunity to try out their CZ-USA Shadow 2 SA (Single-Action Only) 9mm. That is greatly appreciated. Also, we would like to know what all of you guys and gals think? Do you believe that the CZ-USA Shadow 2 SA (Single-Action Only) 9mm is something worth spending your money on? Would you carry it? Shoot a league with it? Let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.
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