Competition Firearms Handguns Reviews

Cajunized CZ Shadow 2 Optics-Ready and Trijicon SRO 2000 Rounds Later

It didn’t take very long for the round count on the CZ Shadow 2 to go from 1,000 to 2,000 rounds. Nevertheless, that 2,000 round mark indicates it’s time for a follow up review and there are a few things to mention.

It took almost exactly two months to put another thousand rounds down range with the CZ Shadow 2 (Shadow 2 or S2 for short) which was about a quarter of the time it took me to send the first thousand down range. This tracks because I was reviewing several different guns and working on goals during the first thousand. However, my focus these past two months was on the USPSA Area 4 Championship and, as such, the Shadow 2 was getting most of the trigger time since it is the pistol I planned to use and used for the match. I had expected the second thousand rounds to be uneventful and that the 2000 round review would be a very short post. For the most part it was uneventful – the gun continues to shoot flat and the action is still buttery smooth. Nevertheless, the S2 had two stoppages that are worth mentioning and there is an upcoming maintenance milestone that I want to talk about.

Before getting into the stoppages, I want to briefly touch on the Trijicon SRO. The SRO that is mounted to the S2 is the very same optic from the first round fired to the 2000th round fired on this pistol. It is still running on the first battery which was installed about 10 months ago. It’s had zero issues. I don’t plan to change the battery before the first week of November which is when I do my annual battery replacement routine . I expect that the battery life will continue to be sufficient until then especially since I usually turn the optic off between matches and practice sessions. For the most part, the optic has run flawlessly. However, it was involved with the first stoppage that the S2 experienced. I don’t know that the optic bears the burden of blame, but it’s worth noting nevertheless.

I categorize the first stoppage as a failure to eject (FTE). This type of failure happens when the case of the round just fired is extracted from the chamber but is not fully ejected from the firearm. These failures are often referred to as stove pipes because the case ends up looking like a stove pipe sticking up and out of the ejection port. The malfunction clearing procedure for this is a tap-rack-bang (or a tap-rack-assess which is the more modern term used in defensive pistol training because there may not be a reason to continue shooting after the malfunction has been cleared). The failure occurred while I was shooting stage 4A at the 2023 Area 4 USPSA Championship where I fumbled the malfunction clearing procedure, my makeshift procedure which involved tapping and racking did not clear the malfunction twice. The ejected case managed to position itself between the SRO housing that hangs slightly over the ejection port and the ejection port itself. While to the best of my knowledge this is a rare thing that can happen, it is a thing that happens frequently enough that it is a known potential problem with the SRO that should be taken into consideration when selecting a pistol mounted optic. In fact, I mentioned the SRO’s housing could interfere with reliable ejection of spent brass depending on how much the housing hangs over the ejection port and barrel hood when I compared the RMR against the SRO a year ago. To complicate this stoppage further, the sharp opening of the spent case embedded itself into the Kydex material of the Stonebridge Gunworks TFT (the cover on the SRO) as the slide closed and made it so the case remained in place and embedding itself further everytime I racked the slide in an attempt to clear the malfunction.

There are several issues that can result in failures to eject. Based on what I remember, what I observed while reviewing match footage, and after inspecting the firearm closely, I think there are two possible explanations for this specific stoppage. The first explanation is user error in the form of not gripping the firearm firmly enough and allowing it to move too much which resulted in catching the spent case as it was ejected. This is possible because this stage took place towards the end of the day, which was hot and humid, and fatigue was setting in. However, the S2 doesn’t move much even with a loose grip and the video footage didn’t capture any noticeably different movement of the S2 during recoil when the round that caused the malfunction was fired. However, I can’t rule out user error entirely. The other possible explanation is a slightly underpowered cartridge that ejected softly. I suppose it could have been a combination of the two explanations or just simply dumb luck. Whatever the case, it was an unfortunate stoppage that happened at a really bad time. Murphy and his law can go pound sand.

The second stoppage happened a day before I began writing this two thousand round review at a local club level Steel Challenge match. This failure was a failure to feed (FTF) which happens when a cartridge fed from an ammunition loading device does not fully enter the chamber and the firearm fails to go into battery. Like many other firearm malfunctions, there are several things that can cause an FTF. This particular failure was ammo related. A squad mate picked up the culprit cartridge that was ejected during the malfunction clearing procedure and the jacket on the projectile had a few burs. Those burs were large enough to keep the cartridge from fully entering the chamber. I’m not sure how the projectile was damaged. Maybe it was a bad projectile in the batch of ammo. Maybe it was something that I did while rushing to reload magazines between stages. Maybe that projectile was fed in at an odd angle and the burs came from how that projectile met with the feed ramp. Again I’m not really sure. However, I will pay more attention to the ammunition before I load it (a bit more carefully) into the magazine for the foreseeable future.

In terms of wear, everything with the exception of the slide stop has virtually no notable wear. The slide stop pin is awfully shiny, but this is one of those components that is known to eventually fail on the S2. Another component that is known to eventually fail is the trigger return spring. However, that one is a little more difficult to inspect, but from what I can see and feel everything is normal. I expect the round count on this S2 to continue increasing at a brisk pace. Especially since I will be using it in another major USPSA match before the year is out. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the round count on it exceeds 5,000 before the end of the year. As such, I’m going to order a few spare slide stops and trigger return springs just in case something breaks and with the intent of replacing those parts proactively every 5,000 rounds or so. They might go longer than that and I may change my plan depending on how the parts look at 5,000 rounds, but I’d rather not have one of these parts fail during a match when they are inexpensive and relatively easy to replace.

The last thing I will add is that the liquid chalk I use at matches is a real pain in the rear end to clean off the checkering on the frame, the mag release button, and brass grips. There is probably an easy solution to this, but I haven’t bothered to look into it. I’ve been far too busy shooting it and it’s just going to get dirty again. I’ll get around to making it pretty at some point.

Overall, I’m still very happy with the way the gun is running and I’m going to keep running it. Two stoppages out of 2,000 rounds isn’t enough to give me pause for a competition gun, but I will continue to keep an eye on it. The next time I write about this gun will be when it reaches 5,000 or it suffers a notable failure. I suspect the former to be far more likely than the latter.


  1. I have a CZ 75 SAO model. No optic. My slide release broke during a match and I was forced to withdraw. A spare is a good idea. One company sells one called a nitro fin. It’s an extended slide stop that doubles as a thumb rest.

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