This afternoon i got my itchy hands on a brand new CZ SP-01 Shadow. The Shadow is the latest incarnation of the legendary CZ-75 series which has seen success both in the battlefield as well as international shooting competitions. CZ has built its reputation on rock-solid reliability and no-nonsense design. The Shadow is a worthy posterboy for this criteria. I am by no means a gun expert. I have gone through my share of pistols (more than 20 in the past 3 years) but my opinion may be just as noteworthy as the next guy. For this reason, I have chosen to base my review on a variable (my skill being the constant) that I think will give you a good measure of the CZ's performance. I shot it side by side with my Glock 34. Before we go into the range report, let me start off with my initial impression of the CZ. The first thing that struck me was the heft. It weighs around 2.5 pounds with same balance characteristics of a 1911. This CZ handles very differently from your run-of-the-mill CZ-75 probably because of the added weight of the beefy accessory rail up front and the extra (18round) capacity magazines. Grip angle is spot-on and the fiber-optic front sight drops down between the rear sight blades almost automatically when you raise the gun to eye-level. Slide-frame-barrel fit seems to be bank-vault tight and comparable to many smith tuned guns. It is equipped with the standard DA/SA trigger system which brings me to the first hiccup in my almost perfect assessment of the this pistol. To de-cock the pistol (round chambered, hammer at half-cock) you must manually take control of the hammer and actually squeeze the trigger to get the weapon into half-cock. Now, I can only imagine how many AD's have happened because of this system of decocking. A decocking lever would be much appreciated to safely get the gun into DA mode. If SIG and HK can do it, I'm pretty sure CZ can too. For 1911 shooters, the Shadow offers a manual thumb safety so you can safely carry in condition 1 with the hammer in full-cock position similar to 1911 type pistols. Remember though that the thumb safety is all that stands between you and the 2-3 pound SA trigger pull. There is no grip safety available. This is irrelevant to me, though, because I've never carried a 1911 and have never been a fan of external safeties anyway. I would carry this gun with one in the pipe, decocked. The double action first shot weighs in at a very smooth 6-8 pounds while SA is around 2 pounds. Another advantage of the double action system , I just realized, is the 2nd strike capability. If ever you get a misfire, all you have to do is pull the trigger again to give the round in the chamber another chance before you TRB (tap-rack-bang.) Ok. Off to the range. I took a few boxes of Magtech 124gr. FMJ's to test the CZ. The same ammo was used in my Glock34. I chose this ammo because: 1. I had a lot of it and 2. It closely simulates the recoil of my carry load. First thing I noticed was how light the felt recoil was and how easy the front sight returned to my point of aim after every shot. My instructor, Bien, attributes this to the relatively light slide mass of the CZ. The slide does look small compared to a Glock or 1911 slide. This means there's less momentum going back and the slide is much quicker to return to battery after every shot. My double tap splits were much faster on the CZ than on my Glock. Firing from single action on this pistol is dangerously addicting and i had to tape up my target every 5 shots because my heads were going into 1 ragged hole at 10m. Now, it's not in my system to test new guns just by standing straight and firing into paper. I ran some short IDPA drills with both the CZ and Glock after which my initial predictions were confirmed. I shot just a bit better with the CZ than the Glock. I want to say "a lot better" but my tests were a bit too confined to be 100% conclusive. Please note that this is my first time shooting the CZ and I've been shooting Glocks for 3 years. Anyway, see for yourselves: Double taps/ Glock34 / 7m. / from ready position Double taps/ Shadow / 7m. / from ready position All in all, the CZ SP-01 Shadow is an excellent firearm both for defense and especially for competition. It's a bit on the large and heavy side for concealed carry but nothing that a good holster can solve. It is priced along side a lot of imported 1911's and well above the price range of the more common production pistols. I'm not writing this off as a bad point though because I believe that CZ has given us a gun well worth its suggested retail price. You get custom features and performance without the trips to the gunsmith.