I have shot Glock pistols for many years, and my carry gun is a G19 Gen 4. I made it to A class with a Glock 34 Gen 4, and really didn’t have many complaints about them but there are a few. The bottom of the trigger guard contacts my strong hand middle finger directly on the proximal joint and has caused a nasty callous that would dry out and break open. On a defensive gun I would radius the trigger guard but that is not legal in USPSA Production division. The accuracy is decent and more than acceptable for the sport, although I had some issues with that particular gun they were fixed with a different bullet, a KKM barrel and a new locking block.
In April of 2015 I was at a local gun shop and they had a CZ SP-01 in stock. I had been thinking of trying out a CZ SP-01 Shadow for some time, but was unable to handle one up to that point. CZ’s are currently the number one gun used in USPSA Production division Nationals, and I had been seeing a trend shifting that way across the country. I had been reading out them online for about a year, and was lusting over an CZ Custom Accu-Shadow.
I asked the salesman if I could look at the SP-01, and he handed it to me. This gun was not a Shadow, it had the firing pin block, a different shaped trigger and standard dovetail sights. This means a longer trigger reset than a Shadow due to the firing pin block and in theory not capable of getting as low of trigger pull weights as the Shadow models. Regardless, the gun felt amazing in my hands, and the trigger reminded me of the Beretta 92 and Sig P226 models that have shot occasionally throughout the years and was never bothered by the double action/single action trigger system. I debated for several hours while my wife and I ran errands if I wanted to go back and buy it, but my wife convinced me that I would regret not getting the Shadow.
About a month later on my 35th birthday, my wife gave me one heck of a surprise. She handed me a birthday card that said good for one CZ Accu-Shadow. To order directly from CZ Custom there was a 6+ week backorder. Luckily I discovered that Shooters Connection had a small quantity in stock and got one ordered immediately. Two days later it was in my greedy hands.
First Impressions after picking up from my dealer:
The weight is significant compared to a Glock 34. The gun balances well even with an empty magazine. I do not care for the Shadow safeties, the thumb pad is too low and interferes with the grip of my support hand. The safety detent spring is far too soft and there is no tactile click in either position, and with the competition hammer installed by CZ Custom the safety could be activated while in the DA mode which is not good for the gun if you pull the trigger. The thin grips on the gun are far too narrow for my hands and not aggressive enough. All simple fixes, and no gun is perfect for every person straight from the factory.
The rear sight is a Height AdJustable Only sight, or HAJO sight. Serrated black with a decent width notch and good depth. The front sight is a CZ Custom fiber optic, and it works but is not serrated and when replacing the fiber tube the tunnel is still a bit rough and can scrape the protective clear coating on the fiber rod itself. The HAJO has had some breakage problems reported, so if mine does I will just replace it with a fixed CZ Competition rear and the front with a Dawson fiber.
Trigger is smooth and excellent. The double action is just over 7lbs with the 13lb mainspring, and the single action is 3.25lbs with a slight rolling break. With a lighter mainspring the weight can be dropped, but I don’t see a reason to do so. The short reset trigger which CZ Custom accomplishes by installing their Short Reset Trigger System which is excellent. You can accomplish almost the same thing with a disconnector from Cajun Gun Works, or use a pre-B disconnector.
With the Accu bushing the barrel is fit nice and tight, and the test target showed a little tiny group of less than an inch.
A month later:
I have approximately 2500 rounds through the gun. Factory ammo, and my reloads. It shoots them all accurately and flawlessly. The only issues I had was when I tried an 11.5lbs mainspring, and with some CCI primers that I didn’t seat deep enough. I have the 13lb mainspring back in the gun.
I replaced the thumb safety before my first match with the thin Rami style safeties and I also put in Perman extra power detent springs. Now I will not be able to activate the safeties without a concentrated effort. This is a good thing for me as I never use the safeties in Production division as I have to lower the hammer manually during the load and make ready.
I shot the first match with factory CZ Custom thin grips. I had to put a bunch more grip tape on the grips, they were just too small and I had difficulty getting my support hand fully on the gun.
The grips have now been replaced with Shooting Sports Innovations “Scale” grips in blue. These things are great! The bottom of the grip is approximately the same width as a 2011 grip, but the top is nice and thin allowing me good trigger reach and access to the magazine release button. They are grippy without being too aggressive. After a long morning of shooting 1000 rounds in practice, my hands were still in great shape.
I will be buying a second Shadow in the next couple months as a backup gun, but this time I will not be going with the Accu-Shadow to see what the accuracy differences between the two are and if it matters in a match. I will be doing the trigger work and it will be setup identical to the Accu except for the sights will be fixed.
LATEST UPDATE: 9 months later