CZ Shadow 2 Review [2021]: Is It Worth the Money?

by Joel Wise

April 25, 2021

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Today we’ll be reviewing the CZ Shadow 2. This handgun has become a favorite of USPSA top competitors over the past few years. And that’s because it’s a fast and accurate pistol with top precision.

It’s most famously being used by Maria Gushchina (of Russia) who is a 3-time world champion in IPSC and USPSA, and she’s just one of many. Let’s explore why.

A heavier extension of the CZ Shadow platform suited for USPSA competition.

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CZ Shadow 2 Specs

  • Name CZ Shadow 2 Black and Blue
  • Caliber 9mm Luger
  • Magazine 17+1
  • Action SA/DA
  • Frame Steel
  • Sights Fiber Optic (Front) HAJO (Rear)
  • Barrel Cold Hammer Forged
  • Barrel Length 4.89 inches
  • Weight 46.5 ounces
  • Safety Ambi Manual Safety

CZ Shadow 2 Background

The fact that there’s a number two in the name of this gun means there was an original that came first. Common sense has served me well. In this case, the CZ SP-01 is that gun. It was originally designed to meet the needs of military police and civilian law enforcement officers. Because of its accuracy and reliability, it was quickly adopted by various foreign security forces as well.

On the heals of that firearm’s success, CZ decided to customize a new shadow, and market it to the competition crowd. The CZ Shadow 2 was born, and quickly matured into a thing of beauty!

The model I’m reviewing here is my personal Shadow 2, and not the new optics ready version.

I sent my slide off to CH Precision Weapons to have the slide cut and the red dot installed. Besides being dang sexy, I have found this pistol to be smooth and accurate with a very manageable recoil impulse. It’s the first CZ pistol in my collection, but from my understanding, this company has a long history of creating solid, reliable firearms.

CZ Shadow 2 Features

1 High Beavertail

Allows the user’s hand to ride higher on the pistol. You want your hand as close to the bore axis as possibl to make the gun more controllable–and typically you feel less recoil.

2 Increased Weight

This is a heavy pistol weighing in at nearly three pounds. It has a steel frame of course, but much of the weight can be found centered and also forward near the rail. This helps control muzzle flip considerably.

3 Smooth Trigger

The double action pull weighs in at 8.5lbs, while the single action pull is approximately 3.5 pounds with a very short take-up. The trigger is crisp and has a nice feel.

4 Ambidextrous Magazine Release

The button location can be changed to accommodate lefties, and larger aftermarket buttons are available.

Models and Variations of the CZ Shadow 2

There are quite a few different variations of the CZ Shadow 2 apart from thre Black and Blue that I’m reviewing in this article. Here are 3 other variations you may want to consider.

CZ Shadow 2 –  Our Take

When reviewing the CZ Shadow 2 Black and Blue, I took four major areas into consideration: reliability, ergonomics, accuracy, and value.

Reliability

When reviewing the CZ Shadow 2 Black and Blue, I took four major areas into consideration: reliability, ergonomics, accuracy, and value.

At the time of writing this article, I have owned my Shadow 2 for about a year. I have put a mere 300 rounds through the gun, but during that time, experienced zero malfunctions using 115gr 9mm plinking rounds. This is not a gun I would choose to carry concealed, so it didn’t need to pass my initial torture test. (see my article on the HK VP9)

I was initially concerned that adding the weight of the red dot would mess with the overall lock time of the pistol. Remember, this is the standard Shadow 2, not the optics ready version. That being said, I have not noticed any issues or malfunctions that lead me to believe this added weight is a problem.

Ergonomics

With the high beavertail and the undercut trigger guard, the pistol just naturally points well. In addition to that, it has interchangeable grips. There are a lot of aftermarket options available, and I chose a set of “thin bogies” from LOK Grips. The stippling is more pronounced (sharp), and they have less palm swell than other options. As you can see from the photo, I went with a nice black and blue color, to stick with the overall creative intention of the firearm.

Another thing to note here is the position and size of the magazine release button. It can be switched to either side of the pistol as stated above, but it’s the size and placement of the button that I really like. I’m a big believer in gross motor movements when stress levels begin to rise. For some reason, as soon as a shooter hears a shot timer go off, their stress levels climb. It’s very difficult, without lots of training, to operate small buttons when you’re moving fast and your heart rate rises.

Back to the large mag button – this is a great feature on a competition pistol, and aids the shooter in more efficient mag changes.

Accuracy

A picture is worth 1000 words right? Here are several groups I shot with the Shadow 2 from seven, fifteen, and twenty five yards. These slow-fire shots were all taken standing and unsupported. Review the evidence and make your own case as to the accuracy potential of this factory stock pistol.

Value

MSRP $1359.00.

I know what you’re thinking and you’re probably not wrong. I would like to point out that the word value doesn’t only pertain to the number of dollars a thing costs. For the IPSC or USPSA competitor, who takes their game seriously, the cost of this pistol might seem like a small price to pay for moving up in the standings on a regular basis. The ability to customize a pistol with aftermarket grips, buttons, sights, etc. has some level of value. You will pay a touch more on the front end for those features, but that smile on your face after a day at the range doesn’t have a price tag.

Closing Thoughts

I’m going to break my form here and just gush for a minute. I’m kinda geeking out over this pistol right now. Obviously I bought one. Obviously I customized it with new grips. It’s more than that though, this pistol is just a joy to shoot. I have “work” guns, like my Glock 19, and EDC guns like my Sig P365, but this CZ Shadow 2 is just a “fun-gun.” I literally leave the range with a smile on my face thinking, why don’t I shoot this gun more often?

The Shadow 2 has got me thinking about getting back into the competition scene. Why? Because it builds confidence. I have an easier time hitting targets faster with this gun than I do with any other pistol I own. That speaks volumes to me.

It’s also dang sexy and feels great in the hand. I generally leave this gun sitting out on display just so I can play with it. I can’t resist turning that red dot on and practicing my draw stroke and presentation onto target…light fixture, corner of the window, rabbit in the yard, hole in the drywall. I absolutely did not accidentally shoot my wall! Kidding aside, I think you would love it as much as I do, so buy with confidence.

CZ Shadow 2 Pros and Cons 

  • Weight – typically seen as a bad thing, the three pounds of steel in this pistol help mitigate felt recoil. Bottom line, it keeps the muzzle down and on target.
  • SA Trigger – the single action pull (3.5lbs.) is less than many bolt action rifles. I’m impressed with that, and to me, that means it’s light and crisp. It’s what you want when accuracy matters.
  • Aesthetics – the Shadow 2 just looks great! If you like what you’re looking at, you’re more likely to want to shoot it. That can’t be a bad thing.
  • Red Dot Optic – the addition of a red dot generally translates into speed for most shooters, and take it from an old guy with failing eyes, it is simply more efficient.
  • MSRP – The price can be a bit restrictive for many people. I personally think this pistol could be, and probably should be under a thousand dollars.
  • DA Trigger – Honestly I don’t understand the point of a double action trigger. It’s heavy and annoying. I understand the mechanics of the thing, but I could do without it completely.
  • Safety – This is an ambidextrous safety with paddles on both sides of the pistol. Obviously. (I just mean they are permanently there, whereas the mag release button is on one side or the other) For me personally, the safety paddle on the right side of the frame, as a right handed shooter, gets in the way and impedes operation. My finger along the slide keeps me from being able to actuate the safety with my thumb on the left side of the frame.

Report Card

Reliability

I have experienced exactly zero malfunctions or issues of any kind so far. Currently 300 rounds down the barrel.

A+
Accuracy

For my purposes and expectations, the CZ performs well here. A more experienced pro might shoot it better and/or handloads might result in tighter groups, but it’s very good.

A
Ergonomics

The factory grips are fine, but a touch on the slippery side. Aftermarket grips are a considerable improvement, but can make the grip slightly larger than desired.

A
Value

A person’s budget is personal choice, but overall, I think this pistol should cost a little less than it does.

A-

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Joel Wise

Reader’s Grade

C

Based on 2 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

CZ Shadow 2 Starter Pack

If you’re serious about picking up one of these bad boys, there are a few extra things you’ll probably want to pick up–if you don’t have them of course.

  • Magazines: Having extra magazines is a must for any gun that you own–unless you like wasting time excess time reloading. Pick up some Mec-Gar mags over at Brownells
  • Gun Cleaning Kit: There’s no way you should pick up an expensive, champion-caliber handgun like this and not keep it well maintained. We’ve got a whole article dedicated to gun cleaning kits you’ll need to keep your pistol in tip top shape.  
  • Eye Protection: This should go without saying, but you need to invest in some quality shooting glasses. One errant piece of brass, and you’re in for a bad day. Check out our recommendations for the best shooting glasses!
  • Hearing Protection: If you’re picking up a CZ Shadow 2, this probably isn’t your first rodeo. But that doesn’t mean you can’t upgrade your shooting life and get some quality hearing protection. We’ve gathered all of our favorites to help you decide the best hearing protection for you.

CZ Shadow 2 Gun Deals

Let’s face it, there are much cheaper options than the CZ Shadow 2. However, quality like this is difficult to find. And even harder at a decent price. But that’s why we’ve done the legwork for you. Here are some of the best deals you’ll find when searching for your new CZ Shadow 2.

Upgrades and Accessories for the CZ Shadow 2

This gun is pretty close to perfect, but there are a few things that you should think about getting to customize your Shadow 2 and take it to the next level–such as a sweet red dot and some aftermarket grips. 

Best Accessories For The CZ Shadow 2

AccessoryDetailsCheck Price
Trijicon SRO
Trijicon SRO 1 MOA
  • 150 MOA Adjustment Range
  • 1 MOA Adjustments
  • 8 Brightness Levels
  • Very Clear Dot
Check Price
Thin Bogies for CZ Shadow 2
CZ Shadow Thin Bogies 
  • Includes Screws and O-rings
  • 40g weight
  • Made from Phenolic G10
Check Price

Best Ammo for Your CZ Shadow 2

Now, we recommend that that for every firearm you own to procure two different types of ammo–one for training and one for working. In the case of the CZ Shadow, you’ll want some ball ammo to go plinking with and some match ammunition to really make the most out of your purchase. 

Range Rounds

MagTech 9mm 115 GR FMJ

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $0.24
Brownells $0.23
Palmetto State Armory $0.34

Match Ammunition

Nosler 9mm 124 GR JHP

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Brownells $0.74 – $0.95
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $0.73

Other Competition Pistols of its Class to Check Out

The CZ Shadow 2 is a really solid choice for competition. But if you’re not sold on CZs, there are other options out there. And one of our absolute favorites has to be from Sig. 

#1 Sig Sauer P320 X-Five Legion

Check Latest Price

  • Reliability A+
  • Accuracy A+
  • Customization A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A+

Reviewed by Joel Wise

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 5 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

The Sig P320 X-5 Legion is one of our most favorite guns to pass through our hands here at Gun University. So much so, in fact, that it became Ryan Cleckner’s very own competition pistol.

How to Care for Your CZ Shadow 2

If you plan on making a heavy investment into a match pistol, you should at least learn how to care for it. And that starts with knowing just how to field strip and reassemble it. Fortunately, we’ve found this awesome video from Silvercore that elegantly shows you how to take down your Shadow 2.

Important Links and Manuals for Your CZ Shadow 2

Looking for some more information on the CZ Shadow 2? Check out the links below for the manufacturer’s website, operator’s manual, and other neat content.

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About Joel Wise

Joel Wise has a law enforcement background which later turned into security consultant for non-profit organizations. He spent the better part of a decade as a firearms instructor. Currently, he is a writer, videographer, and competitor in the precision rifle industry. He owns the Precision Rifle Network.

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