The CZ 75 Shadow 2: A Czech Pistol’s Rise to Popularity in Competitive Shooting Sports
by Tony Molina
Many people worldwide enjoy the CZ 75 Shadow 2 as a fine pistol from the Czech Republic for all sorts of recreational and competitive shooting sports. However, few know of its origins and the hurdles it faced before gaining popularity in the west. The parent model of the Shadow 2 was the CZ 75, a double stack “wonder nine” made in 1975 by CZUB in the former Czechoslovakia. Interestingly, the Czechoslovak armed forces cartridge at the time was the 7.62x25mm Tokarev, yet the CZ 75 was designed for the 9x19mm Parabellum (nowadays commonly referred to as 9mm Luger or 9mm NATO) for export purposes. However, the country’s existence behind the “iron curtain” meant that there would not be any sales to the western market for some time.
If you have ever wondered why there are so many clones and variants from other companies that blatantly copy the CZ 75, the answer lies in how the patients were classified. These patents were “secret patents’ ‘, meaning nobody could know of their existence, yet nobody could register the same designs in the country. This resulted in other companies out of the country using the design without worry.
The pistol was first sold in-country in 1985 and was quickly adopted by sports shooters and heavily used in competitions like IPSC. (Fun fact: the top 3 sports in the Czech Republic are football (soccer), ice hockey, and sport shooting!) With the popularity of sport shooting and the CZ 75 throughout the country, CZUB introduced a factory team in 1992 along with their first sports specific model, the CZ 75 Champion. The Champion featured a single action trigger, muzzle brake, and adjustable weights. The first 150 units made were available in 9x19mm, .40 S&W and 9x21mm. Afterwards, CZ decided to improve the design by creating a custom compensator and dropping the adjustable weights. The designs were excellent, save for one common complaint: limited capacity with the factory magazines.
Later models with improved capacity, ergonomics, features, and modularity included the Tactical Sports (TS), SP-01 Tactical, TS Czechmate, SP-01 Shadow, and the beloved Shadow 2. All of CZs pistols are accurate and comfortable to operate thanks to their all-steel design and ergonomic grip angles. These characteristics keep them on the field at USPSA, IPSC and many other competitive matches where top shooters use the finest modern handguns to have fun and prove their skills.
At the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience, we have four CZ pistols that you can test: the 9x19mm CZ 75B, SP-01 Tactical, the Shadow 2, and our .45ACP CZ 97B. If you haven’t already tried these handguns during our signature Multi-Gun Rifle & Pistol Experience, come on out and see why CZ has grown so popular!