When like-minded people get together, usually awesome things happen.
The new products from Shadow Systems in Plano, Texas are pretty awesome, we must admit. But then again, it’s formed by shooters, operators, grunts, and engineers; including Clint Emerson.
Their attention to detail and trigger time really lent itself to creating a fantastic parts to build out a Glock for concealed carry or competition. Or, if you like, you can have them make one for you from soup to nuts — complete with a stipple job and double undercut in the frame.
For this review, I just scooped up a factory Gen 3 Glock 19 lower, a Shadow Systems Flat Face trigger, and one of the Optic Ready G19 Slides with RMR cuts.
I also used some Ameriglo Suppressor Sights and Trijicon RMR-06 to top it off. If you prefer to go the traditional route, you can score their G19 Enhanced Carry slide, which is the same save for the optic cuts.
I finished off the slide with their billet extractor — much harder than standard Glock extractors which fail relatively often (even for a Glock, this is one part that goes), and standard glock parts, except for a 3.5 lb ghost connector in the trigger housing. All of this can be done with a GOT tool and some know-how.
First impressions: Floored. Fine machine work on the slide itself, with outstanding lightnight cuts that are both tasteful and functional.
They cool the barrel, and even show the Shadow Systems logo on the breech then you go to slide lock. Cool little touches like that are noticed, Shadow Systems.
The serrations on the front are angled forward, so as not to catch your clothing when you are presenting the weapon, but they give a purchase and traction to the hand when manipulating the slide or doing press checks, especially at high speed. The RMR cut is well machined and clean, and their included screws mount the RMR without any issues.
With a little bit of Locktite — it is seated and not going anywhere. The billet extractor gives it a unique look, but is also made from billet steel, and functions like a factory extractor as a loaded chamber indicator. The slide itself weights 1 ounce less than a Glock MOS with a similar optic mounted.
Replacing their flat face trigger in the place of the factory Glock trigger was also a huge upgrade.
The trigger travel is reduced significantly, and pressing it to the rear without moving the dot off target is significantly easier, like most flat faced trigger.
I am a fan of my Kineti-Tech drop in trigger in a G19 Gen 4, but this trigger is extremely crisp, and with the 3.5 lb connector, clocks in at just under 4 lbs. It has a crisp break, extremely short reset, and loud click when resetting.
Translation: you can shoot this gun fast. And accurately. Their barrels are match-grade, to boot.
With the suppressor height sights, you get an outstanding co-witness with the RMR mounted. The sight picture is great, and you pick up the dot easily. The crisp reset of the trigger, coupled with the stellar field of view make shooting this gun fast and accurate extremely easy.
You’d think with a lighter slide it’d be a bit snappier, but not at all.
They recommend a 200 round break in period, and I’d concur. I had a couple FTE in my first few magazines, but the slides and barrels are made to tight tolerances — great for accuracy and lockup, but it comes with a break in period.
At my first outing to the range to test this, my phone died, so no pictures, but believe me I had one jagged hole on every target. This thing is a tack driver.
Let’s break it down:
Looks: Sleek, aggressive, unique and sexy. This pistol definitely commands attention and turns heads. The optic cut and lightning cuts make it looks very fast and mean. And looks, in this case, are not deceiving.
Feel: After the 200 round break in, this thing was running like a sewing machine. The first couple magazines were tight, but there is no slop whatsoever in the barrel and slide fitment on these pistols. Also, the serrations are aggressive, and bite into your hands when you’re going tap-rack-bang at high speed. I can’t wait to shoot this in competition.
Trigger: Amazing. Right up there with an Overwatch Precision. A little take up, hits a slight wall with minimal creep, to a glass-like break. The reset is tactile and audible, as well as being short – roughly 4.5 mm. Yes, I measured. It’s crisp and the face lends itself to more accurate double taps than the stock curved trigger.
Value: For the amount of work, time, and thought that went into this, it’s well worth the money. Avid shooters, former operatives, and engineers put alot of time into this – and it shows.
Pros, what we like:
What’s not to like? An RMR ready slide with aggressive forward serrations (finally) as well as rear serrations, lightning cuts, match grade barrel, crisp trigger and thoughtful small parts, this thing is good to go.
Cons, what we don’t like:
Tight tolerances mean a break in period. Then again, I think we all got spoiled by Glocks being ready to go out of the box. Also, it only works with Gen 3 frames at this time.
I’ve got about 2000 rounds through this piece, and it’s only gotten better. Admittedly, the first 500 for so rounds the slide was a bit “sticky.” Racking it or clearing the chamber took a good pull on the aggressive serrations. That being said, Shadow Systems is 100% transparent and lets you know you need to break it in.
Due to the tight tolerances, read: accurate dispostion, tight lockup, and reliability, you need to wear the working parts in.
This thing runs like a sewing machine.
In fact, I’ve taken 3rd place overall and 1st place in my division using this pistol – AFTER a month of not shooting due to a busy schedule (I know, party foul, right?). Eventually I’m going to get the only thing that is stock on this – the frame – stippled and a grip reduction done so it points more naturally for me – but that’s on Glock, not shadow systems.
The standard barrel is accurate, and the lightning cuts make shooting this thing quickly very fun once you get used to how it tracks.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Castiglione lives in Atlanta, and is an avid outdoorsman and competitive shooter.
Where-abouts include getting after it in his garage gym, practicing martial arts, hitting the trails, or running CrossFit and Strongman competitions for his non-profit, Barbells for Bullies, which holds fundraiser fitness competitions dedicated to aiding Bully breed rescues, dog rescues, or other non-profits with similar missions.
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