I have run CZ SP-01 Shadows in USPSA Production division for a year and a half now and here are my thoughts and a comparison to other firearms.
If you have been following my blog you may already know that my primary match gun is a CZ Custom SP-01 Accu-shadow with blue Shooting Sports Innovation Scale grips that I have nicknamed “Blue”, and my dryfire/practice/backup gun is a standard CZ SP-01 Shadow that I did the work to and it has the same SSI Scale grips in red, nicknamed “Red”.
The only changes that I have done to Blue to improve on upon what CZ Custom has done is some additional polishing to the trigger components, but the trigger work from CZ Custom was really good. I switched out the sights to a Dawson front sight and removed the HAJO rear and put in a factory Shadow sight. I also replaced the thumb safeties and slide stop with the RAMI style thin safties and stop as I don’t use the safety in Production division and my thumb sits much higher and doesn’t rest on the safety. I put in a heavier recoil spring, as I noticed some battering to the recoil guide rod with the 11 pound that came with the gun, so it currently runs a 12 pound. Blue currently runs an 11.5 pound mainspring from Cajun Gun Works which is another reason for upping the recoil spring weight. Current double action weight is 5.5 pounds and the single action weight is 2.0 pounds.
Red started as a factory CZ SP-01 Shadow, and weight of the trigger was substantially heavier than the CZ Custom trigger. I pulled the gun apart and polished up the internals, replaced the disconnector with a Cajun Gun Works T2 to reduce the reset. I stuck with the factory hammer for almost a year, but the single action with the factory hammer was pretty creepy and had a hitch in the middle of it creating a two stage feel. Recently the hammer was replaced with a CZ Custom Competition hammer to improve the single action as the hammer hooks were shorter than the Shadow factory hammer. This allows me to get the trigger almost identical to “Blue”. I did replace the sear with Cajun Gun Works adjustable sear to set the safety engagement without having to file the sear or safety. Sights are set up to be identical to “Blue” with Dawson front sight and I left the factory rear sight on the gun. I don’t have the Competition rear which a lot of people seem to like, but I find it is to large.
Both have extended firing pin and lighter firing pin springs to allow for the lighter mainsprings.
I have also recently silicon carbided the SSI grips to get the gun to lock into my hand just a bit better. Really happy I did it, as Nationals was hot and muggy and with the standard grips my hands would slide a bit, with the SiC the gun didn’t go anywhere.
Issues with the Shadows –
Both Blue and Red have typical short throats, so I reamed both chambers to allow me to load longer. I did this only because I had a 5 gallon pail of ammo already loaded that would not fit in the barrel, once I reamed the barrel it fit the ammo which worked in all my other guns. $40 for the reamer, I already had the tap handle and cutting fluid, and it only took a few minutes per barrel. Accuracy was not effected. Even with cutting the throat longer I still had the occasional issue with the load being slightly too long and the gun not going into battery, but after shooting up the 5 gallon pail I had of ammo, I started reducing my OAL slightly and the problem has gone away. I probably could have reamed the chambers a bit more.
Front sights have been interesting. I have broken one front sight on Red which was my fault, I removed it a couple times for various reasons and I screwed up the dovetail on the sight the final time. It didn’t sit tight in the slide, so recoil made it move and it cracked in half. Blue doesn’t use a pin to hold the sight in the dovetail as the Accu bushing threads would get messed up, so it is held in place by the bushing. The Dawson’s are too short to be held in properly via the bushing, so green Loctite sleeve retainer was used. Eventually that failed and the sight started to move slightly again. This time I used JB Weld. JB Weld will hold it well but if I have to remove it I just have to use my butane torch and after heating it to 700 degrees the JB Weld will give up and allow me to remove it.
The few issues I have had with light strikes were not because of the gun, they were due to loading ammo with my 550b and not seating the primers deep enough. With the Dillon 1050 and Mark 7 this has gone away as the 1050 allows me to seat the primers deeper as it has adjustable primer seating.
Accuracy with both guns has been interesting. The Accu will shoot a 1.2 inch group at 25 yards off hand for me, but I had some issues with the Shadow. The new hammer helped as the single action trigger wasn’t great and now it is easier to shoot. I also found that Red didn’t like the 135 grain bullet that much, once I switched to 124 grain bullets the accuracy improved substantially. I also have installed a Cajun Gun Works bushing in the gun which tighted the lock up slightly and tightened up the accuracy a bit more, and Troy McManus the DRNOI has declared it legal for Production Division. I figured it wouldn’t hurt.
I currently have approximately 15 thousand rounds through Red with an unknown amount of dryfire trigger presses. I finally broke a trigger return spring on it a month or two ago and it was easy to replace. The Accu has not broken a part yet, but I tend to replace springs in it more often as it is my match gun and I don’t want something to break in a match.
Comparisions to other guns –
Tanfoglio Stock 2 or Limited Pro, the triggers are similar and you can tune a Tanfo to have a great trigger even with the firing pin safety. There is a new disconnector/interrupter from Patriot Defense that makes the reset crazy short. That combined with the 10 pound mainspring they have developed will get weights as low as less than 5 pounds double action and less than 2 pounds single action. I really like the grip of the Tanfo and as it slightly larger than the grip on the CZ with a better trigger reach. The beavertail is also longer and wider than the CZ, it also has a slightly larger magwell. For me it is a toss up between the two guns as they are both great, but when I bought the CZ the Tanfo was still a unicorn and the prices were ridiculous. When I finally got to play with a Stock 2 I was impressed, but not enough to switch. With the SSI Scale grips I have on the CZ’s they fit my hand really well.
Glock. I shot Glocks before the CZ, and I do like them a lot, but the CZ just fit me better and it doesn’t cause me to have the hotspot that causes a large callus on my strong had middle finger. If they allowed me to radius my trigger guard in Production division I might not have changed. The trigger in a Glock isn’t a big deal to me, as I never chased crazy light triggers in the Glock as relability was far more important. They also don’t have forward slide serrations which I prefer.
M&P. I carry one on duty, and I really don’t like this gun. Accuracy was crap, and the trigger is horrible even with aftermarket modifications. Magwell sucks. Only thing that was good on the gun was how it feels in the hand. No front slide serrations.
Sig P320. This is a great new gun. I really like it. Feels great in the hand and the factory trigger is decent. With a trigger from Gray Guns it is amazing. I recently bought one with the Sig Romeo 1 red dot mounted to play in Carry Optics on occasion. Only downside is the cost of magazines. With the replacable frame modules I have one that is silicon carbided and another that is still factory. Accurate and has forward slide serrations.
CZ P-09. If you like CZ’s this is a gun to look at if you don’t want a metal frame. Easy trigger to work on with the Omega trigger, but the single action is a bit mushy as the design cams the hammer back slightly while firing on single action therefore it is not as crisp as possible with a standard CZ trigger system. With a lightened mainspring and extended firing pin I have my carry P-07 at a 7 pound double action and 3.3 pound single action. Very accurate gun and fun to shoot.
Beretta. I love Beretta’s, they fit my hand better than any other gun on the market. If they made a steel framed model with a larger magwell and aggressive checkering, a Brigader style slide with the G model decocker, forward slide serrations and replaceable front and rear sights, I would be would be shooting Beretta.
There are other guns out there such as the Sig classic series, Beretta PX4 Storm, Grand Power, etc. I don’t have much time with them other than the Sig P226 and while they are good guns they just dont work as well for me as the CZ.