All of the popular service pistols have been cloned. Some are made cheaper, some are improved over the original. The S&W SIGMA served a purpose I suppose for those unhappy with the High Point and was among the first Glock competitors. Today we have many striker fired clones of the HK and Walther with a mix of features present. Then there is the Glock. In their fifty generation Glock now offers a retro Glock reissue of the original. This means the Glock is now an official icon among shooters! Aftermarket parts were first offered in the form of sights, then trigger groups, barrels, modified frames and new production slides. I am leery of most. I don’t wish to affect the Glock’s hallmark of reliability. Human engineering or ergonomics could stand improvement but reliability is not an issue.
Pistols with a steel slide and polymer frame are sometimes slide heavy. Everyone doesn’t like the factory grip design and feel the balance of abrasion and adhesion is far from ideal. Sometimes we add an aftermarket barrel. And sights- and so on. One maker has put all of this together in a high quality handgun that makes the best of the Glock system. The Shadow Systems MR920 is the same size as a Glock 19 and resembles the Glock handgun. Shadow Systems, like Wilson Combat as an example, began their manufacturing with Glock upgrade parts. They eventually began manufacturing the MR918 as a complete handgun, later upgrading to the MR920. The pistol comes standard with tritium front sight and other upgrades such as a highly modified frame and slide design. This isn’t a modified Glock, but they manufacture their own components- the design is modified. The Shadow Systems pistol features changeable grip inserts that differ considerably from the Glock including one that mimics the 1911 grip. With the addition of an elongated grip frame formed into a beavertail type grip this is easily the best handling Glock frame. Both inexpensive and custom holsters fit well as the dimension remain Glock. The trigger guard is undercut toward the rear a trick used by 1911 makes to lower the bore axis of the 1911 handgun. It works well with the Shadow Systems frame. The grip frame finish offers excellent abrasion and adhesion. The slide is a nitride finished steel unit with custom cuts and flats. An improvement to most of us is that the barrel isnt a polygonal type but features a standard rifled bore. This allows the use of hard cast lead bullets. I am against the addition of an aftermarket trigger to a pistol destined for personal defense. The Shadow systems trigger is superior to the Glock. Since this is a factory handgun the trigger is standard issue and there is no concern the pistol has been tampered with. It is superior to the Glock trigger action but not terribly different and certainly not too light for personal defense duty. The pistol features a standard Glock type rail for mounting optics. The Shadow Systems pistol features a steel guide rod. As you add the features up it would be difficult to modify a Glock to this standard at anywhere near the price of the MR920. There is another feature as well- the rear sight is a well designed ledge type combat sight. The front sight is a green Tritium night sight. The action seems to use the Glock Generation Three Glock trigger bar. The connector is from Taran Tactical. The aluminum trigger shoe is a good step. The trigger face is flatter than the Glock. A safety lever in the trigger face prevents the pistol from firing by lateral discharge. The trigger action breaks at 4.9 pounds in my example. Pre travel is slightly shorter than the Glock pistol.
This isn’t a modified Glock but an Americanized Glocks. They are manufactured to tighter tolerances than the Glock. Take down is accomplished by the usual Glock take down lever. With the pistol field stripped you will see a pistol that resembles the Glock in every detail. Anyone who has worked the Glock will be able to work the Shadow Systems pistol. The pistol features a flared magazine well that offers real speed in reloading. Since the pistol uses magazines with a slight base pad this magazine well doesn’t add to the footprint when the piece is concealed. There is a nicely designed detachable magazine well. Since the grip design differ from the Glock other makers of aftermarket magazine wells will not adapt to the Shadow Systems pistol.
There is no issue of parts interchangeability from the sights to the barrel and all internal parts. I wish Shadow Systems well but just the same if they close the doors you will not be left with a pistol without a supply of spare parts and magazines. The factory states the MR920 demands a two hundred round break in. The pistol also demands greater lubrication than the Glock which needs only a drop of lubricant on the trigger connector. Shadow Systems recommends lubricating the slide rails and barrel. In the case of my test pistol the pistol came out of the box running and has never failed to feed, chamber or eject with standard pressure or +P ammunition. I have experience with a half dozen Shadow System pistols- and no break is was needed. Just the same it could happen. And I use good quality ammunition for break in!
The pistol was delivered with a gun rug, gun lock, cleaning rod, and several back straps. The pistol features grip inserts Shadow Systems refers to as the NPOA or Natural Point of Aim. The H backstrap is for those preferring a muzzle high attitude. This is most similar to the Glock. The second insert is the neutral or mid range insert, marked N. For small hands and those that prefer the 1911 feel the L or Low marked backstrap is preferred. I find these backstraps superior to the Glock inserts especially when the extended tang is taken into consideration. The backstrap is changed by pressing a pin out, either right or left, and pressing the back strap down, then replacing a backstrap and re-inserting the pin.
The optics mounting system accommodates a number of popular red dots without resorting to plates. The optics cut features holes and a several wedges that conform to the individual sight chosen. I chose the relatively new The Holosun HS407CO X2. I had the Holosun mounted easily. The battery tray is side mounted.
Holosun 407CO Features & Specs
- 8 MOA circle
- 50,000 hours battery life!
- Uses a CR1632 battery
- Solar cell backup power
- 50 MOA of available elevation and windage adjustment
- 1 MOA clicks
- Waterproof, fogproof, etc.
- Comes with a picatinny rail mount plate RMR foot print
I loaded a good supply of Winchester FMJ including a flat point 147 grain load I have not tried previously. Loading the supplied Magpul magazines I also laid in a number of Glock magazines. The shake awake red dot came on when I wanted it to and proved easy to adjust to the point of aim. The solar power option works even with no battery installed, a neat trick. I began firing at 7 yards then 10 yards. The pistol is easily controlled and gets on target quickly. Combat accuracy is excellent partly due to the red dot, the trigger, and long experience with the Glock type trigger. I have fired more than three hundred cartridges in the pistol over the past two weeks. No problems of any type have surfaced. Most of the shooting has been at typical combat ranges. I also benchest tested the pistol using a credible carry load the Winchester 124 grain +P Defender. At 1199 fps- almost 1200 fps!- this is a hard hitting loading. The pistol consistently puts five shots into two inches at 25 yards. With burner grade FMJ loads the results were not quite as good at 2.5 inch, and 2.2 inch for the Winchester 115 grain Silvertip. This is a very nice handgun, a reliable handgun, and one that will serve well in service or personal defense.