The Shadow 2 Compact As A Carry Gun Pt.2

CZ Shadow 2 Compact As A Carry Gun

The Shadow 2 Compact’s Positives As A Carry Gun

Because of its overall size and length, the CZ Shadow 2 Compact’s numbers are very similar to that of the Glock 19, which I consider the poster child for a modern compact handgun. Well, a double-stack carry gun, at least. It’s also similar to the Glock 19 in that the CZ Shadow 2 Compact accepts standard capacity CZ-75 magazines the same way the Glock 19 accepts Glock 17 magazines. Naturally, the Shadow 2 Compact will also share magazines with other 15-round compact-framed CZ pistols, like the [also] aluminum-framed 9mm P01.

A Joy to Shoot

Honestly, one of the first things I did when I received this CZ at my local gun shop was to lay a Glock 19 immediately over it. Informally, I wanted to compare them externally. It’s one thing to read specifications on a website or brochure, but it’s another to visually and physically compare a gun.

From a form-factor perspective, the Shadow 2 Compact is definitely on the money, especially as a carry gun. It uses a 15-round magazine which is also par for the course for a modern compact 9mm double-stack gun. I give the gun “full points” on this aspect.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t praise the gun’s pure “shootability” and accuracy. With the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro I’m reviewing, the Shadow 2 Compact is a joy to shoot, especially with its single-action trigger pull—even from the factory. Upon taking it home, one of the first things I did was to gauge both the single-action and double-action trigger pulls with a digital trigger pull weight scale.

In double action, the trigger breaks around 10.5 pounds, while the single-action break comes in at just shy of 4 pounds. It’s fantastic! The double-action trigger pull feels like a decent revolver trigger to me.

During shooting and from a recoil management perspective, don’t expect the Shadow 2 Compact to handle exactly like the one-pound-heavier original Shadow 2. It’s clearly more lively. But with that Leupold reflex sight and the single-action trigger pull, it really was extremely satisfying to shoot—and quite fun.

The Shadow 2 Compact’s Drawbacks As A Carry Gun

Casting aside the discussion about the gun being drop-safe, some detractors about the gun in the context of carrying are its ultra-low-profile safety levers and the fact that it does not have a decocker. The lack of the decocker isn’t the end of the world, as no one criticizes 1911s for the same. One just has to be very careful and deliberate when lowering the hammer on a chambered round.

The safety levers, in theory, are designed to stay out of the way, but they might do that a little too well and can be easy to miss, even with the meaty part of the thumb.

All Shadow 2 Compacts are optics-ready, but installing an optic means completely sacrificing the rear-sight plate. So, carrying with an optic means sacrificing the backup iron sight. This may be an issue for some carriers who prefer the extra assurance a backup sight system provides.

Because the gun is modeled after its sports-oriented bigger brother, the Shadow 2 Compact also includes an extended competition-style magazine catch. It’s not as large and doesn’t protrude as much as the unit on the original gun, but I thought that for a carry piece, that catch could also stand to have a slightly lower profile.

CZ Shadow 2 Compact Hammer Half Cock Notch
The CZ Shadow 2 Compact’s hammer in its ‘half-cock’ position. Like a standard 1911 hammer, the Shadow’s hammer also has a half-cock notch.

CZ Shadow 2 Compact Best Practices For Carry

It’s my opinion that the safest way to carry the Shadow 2 Compact would be by cocking the hammer slightly back so that it rests on the “safety” or “half-cock” notch and shooting the first shot with the full double-action trigger pull, like any other TDA pistol.

In the half-cock notch, the hammer is prevented from being fully down, and the gun can be carried off-safe, relying on the weight and length of the first double-action trigger pull to break the first shot. If I had no choice but to carry this gun tomorrow, this is precisely what I’d do.  

The Takeaway 

Different shooters carry different handguns for different reasons. Personally, I lean towards carrying fifth-generation unmodified Glocks for purely practical reasons. They’re not too expensive, especially used, and I sweat a lot. I avoid metal guns because the grip screws or other things inevitably rust from my sweat.

The CZ Shadow 2 Compact wouldn’t be my first choice for this reason, not to mention the fact that they cost double what a 9mm Glock costs. Cost notwithstanding, I don’t think I’d recommend the Shadow 2 Compact as a carry gun for any casual or newer shooters, and objectively, I’d consider them to be an advanced shooter’s gun in this context. This has nothing to do with their lack of a firing pin block either, which I’ve already touched on in Part 1 of this article. Any TDA pistol is already less friendly to a beginner, let alone one that doesn’t have a decocker.

Part 1 of this article is a discussion about whether this pistol makes for a safe carry gun given that it lacks a firing pin block. Originally, I’d tell you but I think the issue isn’t as black-and-white as I initially thought it to be.

P.E. Fitch
I am a shooter first, and a writer second. IG & Twitter: @pfitch45