In the ever-expanding world of Glock-inspired pistols, one company that is quickly rising to the top and distinguishing itself in new ways from countless polymer cousins is Texas-based Shadow Systems. The company takes pride in its full manufacture and assembly of all parts for each model, and the results are impressive. Regrettably these guns are new to me, however they are not new to some other NRA Publications editors. They’ve been around since 2016, but I was only introduced to them at SHOT Show 2023, and am now intrigued enough to become more acquainted.
Here's the thing. When you’re talking about black polymer pistols these days, it’s all about what separates them from the pack. I know, because there are three basic, undecorated Glocks (a 43, 48 and a 19) among a collection of other 9 mms in my home gun safe. They are all obviously related and utilitarian at best. I don’t own them for any reason beyond that they perform reliably, and are simple to clean and operate. I don't plan to upgrade them with aftermarket accessories. But I’ve decided that if I choose to add another 9 to the family, I want it to be adorned with a few quality extras right out of the box, at a palatable price. Shadow Systems’ catalog of 9 mms—currently the sole caliber for this manufacturer—seems to fit that bill.
When I arrived a few minutes ahead of time for a meeting with my colleagues at the Shadow Systems booth during SHOT Show, I asserted myself into the mix of other media folks and probably some gun store dealers who were eagerly reaching in to grasp the various samples of the pistols, some with eye-catching spiral-fluted bronze barrels and Holosun optics, all with standout slide serrations. (As a side note—and as a 20+ year veteran of SHOT Shows—company representatives were as attentive to me as they were my male counterparts when outlining new products; no pretending I wasn’t there; no condescending explanations of features. It was clear to me that this company sincerely understands that women have the potential to be a serious share of its customer base.)
As I was absorbing the inventory and comparing models, I soon learned that many were there to take a closer look at the company’s new-for-2023 offering—the CR920P, a 9 mm subcompact pistol with an integrated compensator. Here’s why: The built-in patent-pending compensator does not make use of a threaded barrel, which makes it compliant in jurisdictions that have threaded-barrel bans. Instead, it uses a self-locking, self-indexing novel method of attachment.
Ultimately a compensator should help you have better control of muzzle flip and recoil, making your shots more accurate. Comps on threaded-barrel pistols are nothing new, and there are always the "pro and con" lists that help you decide whether one is right for you (extra weight and length being a "con," especially for a pistol you intend to conceal). Here's where the CR920P differs. Shadow Systems says the goal of the CR920P design is to create the most effective use of space in the attachment of the compensator, allowing the CR920P to fit into a G48 holster. This design eliminates the use of a conventional threaded barrel. Instead, the gun maker has developed a proprietary 3-lug muzzle that works in combination with a centrally located locking lever in the body of the comp. This allows a self-indexing and self-locking attachment method within a very confined use of space, thus creating a compensated subcompact with 13+1 capacity that fits within a G48 holster. Shadow Systems says the applications of the engineering of this attachment method may give potential for similar attachment of other muzzle devices, such as suppressors, with a compact design and strength that is unmatched in other quick detach methods
There is a lot more to learn about this compensated pistol, as well as other unique features of the Shadow Systems collection. What I do know is that they have already elevated the ubiquitous little black pistol into a class of its own, without the unjustified attitude of some predecessors. Until we complete our full test and evaluation of this pistol and others from Shadow Systems during our next Ladies Pistol Project handgun survey, you can read about it at shadowsystemscorp.com/shot-show-23.
—Ann Y. Smith, Editor in Chief