This Shadow Systems CR920 Review covers Shadow Systems purpose built concealed carry people.
Shadow Systems started making Gen 3 Glock clones and they’ve now expanded into other sizes. Many confuse their clones with Gen 4 because the one Gen 4 part they use is the magazine release but the guns are in fact Gen 3 clones.
Their goal was to offer a gun out of the box that had all the popular modifications people were adding to their Glocks. Including better sights, slide cuts, red dot mounts, coated barrels, flat trigger shoes as well as frame modifications.
By building these guns from scratch they are able to offer all these features cheaper than a custom “Gucci Glock” would cost from a shop like Agency Arms.
With the introduction of the Sig P365 Glock lost market share with their glock 43 but the Glock 48 and 43x are doing quite well. Especially with the aftermarket metal magazines from Shield Arms and PSA that bring the capacity from 10 rounds to 15 rounds.
Shadow Systems decided to combine features from the original Glock 43 and the Glock 43x to create the CR920.
In this Shadow Systems CR920 Review we’re not only reviewing the CR920 but also the Shadow Systems CR920P.
The CR920P is a CR920 with a compensator. The only difference between the two guns is the compensator and barrel setup which we’ll cover later in our Shadow Systems CR920P Review in the shooting section.
The only other difference between the guns besides shooting is carry and it’ll be covered in the section below.
What Is The Gun Used For?
The CR920 series is built for concealed carry. It’s more similar in grip length to the Glock 43 when you’re using the flush fit 10 round magazines.
It ships with both 10 round flush fit and 13 round extended magazines. When using the extended magazine it’s similar in size to the Glock 43x.
So when carrying the gun you can make the gun more or less concealable based on your situation.
The larger magazine gives most people a full grip making the gun easy to shoot. The shorter flush fit magazine makes the gun more concealable.
So how well does the CR920 actually conceal?
It conceals really well with the right holster. The MR920 series was advertised as fitting most Glock 19/17 holsters but in reality they worked but not well.
The CR920 and CR920P work better in all the Glock 43x and 48 holsters I’ve tried. They still aren’t ideal though. They have more of a friction fit.
We’re working on holsters specifically for these guns for our Infiltrator and Shorty lines of holsters.
The CR920 is a little short for Appendix carry in my opinion. The CR920P holsters are suggested as they’ll distribute the weight better.
Most of the gun’s weight is sitting over the beltline and gravity pulls it towards the gun. This will tip the muzzle into your groin creating a pressure point. That will cause discomfort. The longer holster helps spread out that pressure. Adding a Wedge will also help.
I hope that Shadow Systems will introduce a long slide version for those that don’t want a comped gun. It should be a little softer shooting than the CR920 and give you a little more velocity with your ammo.
With the right holster choice this gun can work very well. It’s thin enough that it’ll conceal really well with most body types.
Is the Gun Unique
The size of this gun isn’t unique. It’s very similar to the Sig P365, Springfield Armory Hellcat, Smith and Wesson Shield Plus and other Micro 9mm pistols.
One thing that is unique is the magazines it uses. From a small manufacturer this is something to be aware of.
The magazines are the most vital part of a reliable handgun design. If they aren’t perfect the gun likely won’t be 100% reliable. They don’t have years of testing and feedback so we can’t be sure how well they work.
Are The Ergonomics Good?
Ergonomics are always a very personal thing. Our Shadow Systems CR920 review will take into account differences in hand size that might affect this.
For reference I wear large gloves and they fit a little snug.
The ergonomics of this gun is very similar to the Glock 43 series as you’d expect. There are some differences but they are very subtle.
A lot of people don’t care for Glock ergonomics but even most of those people tend to like the way the Glock 43x and 48 feel in the hand. They don’t feel blocky like the larger pistols.
I assume this is why Shadow Systems didn’t change the ergonomics as much as they did on the MR920 and DR920 series guns. Those are their full size Glock clones that mimic the 17 and 19 series.
A noticeable difference in our CR920 review is the beavertail. It’s large enough to keep people with larger hands from getting a slide bite but still small enough.
Often the beavertail is too large and sharp. They’re great when shooting the gun but they’ll still get into you when carrying. This beavertail is small enough and well rounded that it won’t cause most people discomfort even if you have a gut and are carrying at appendix.
I don’t want this to seem like a Glock 43x vs CR920 comparison but to do a good CR920 review we need to provide a point of reference.
The Glock 43x and 48 guns feel somewhat slick.
In my opinion texturing on the CR920 is very good. It’s almost a lava style stippling.
It’s aggressive enough to give you good grip on the gun but not so aggressive it’ll be uncomfortable when carrying.
If you find it uncomfortable you can alway wrap the grip with goon tape.
Overall the ergonomics and texturing of the CR920 are great. It’s an improved Glock clone in that aspect just like the MR920 series.
The front of the frame does have ledges and texturing but they’re too small to be effective. When I try to get pressure on them it just ends by pushing the gun to one side.
They do look cool!
Is the gun easy to load and unload?
Manipulating a firearm can be the most dangerous part if you don’t know what you’re doing. Small guns can be especially hard to manipulate the slide.
For a gun that isn’t designed to be specifically easy to rack the CR920 is very easy to manipulate. The gun uses a standard Glock 43 recoil spring so parts are easy to find.
One of the reasons the Shadow Systems CR920 is so easy to rack is the serrations are really good. They’re deep enough to get good hold on the slide but not sharp in the slightest.
Some slide have serrations so sharp you can cut yourself. This isn’t the case with the CR920.
The front and rear serrations both work equally well.
Are the Controls Good?
As we mentioned earlier, manipulating the gun well is very important. You want to make sure you can reach all the controls and they’re easy to use.
If they aren’t and can affect your ability to control and safely use the Shadow System CR920. Our Shadow Systems CR920 Review will cover these controls below.
The magazine release on the CR920 is easy for me to reach and if you have medium to larger hands you’ll be able to reach it without breaking your grip.
Because the grip is so short you’ll most likely have to break your grip so the magazine will drop free. The magazine catches on the edge of my palm so I have to break my grip to get it to fall free.
I suspect this will be an issue for everyone. Even those with very small hands.
If you have extra large or small hands you’ll most likely have to break your grip to disengage the magazine release.
If reversible so if you’re a left handed user you can move the magazine release to the right side. It’s not have this option which is pretty much standard with Micro 9mm pistols.
The slide stop is mounted on the left side of the gun so it’s only set up for right-handed users.
I wish they had made this ambi.
Not a single micro 9mm currently on the market has an ambi slide stop.
I suspect the reason they don’t is so they can advertise how thin the gun is. The reality is that for carry adding the slight extra width in one small area for a slide stop doesn’t affect concealment.
The width of the grip, slide and optic are much more important for concealment.
An ambi slide stop wouldn’t change that. I just wanted to be sure to mention that in the Shadow Systems CR920 Review since companies don’t seem to get that.
The slide stop is easy for me to manipulate using my right thumb. If it were mounted any further back it would not but. It’ll be great for people with small to large hands but if you have extra large hands you might have to break your grip.
It should be a little bit larger. If I have to nitpick something the slide stop is a little sharp and small.
That said, I wouldn’t go through the effort of replacing it.
There is a slight bevel on the magazine well but it’s not necessary. With a grip this short your hand will act as a mag well.
It’s really easy to get a fresh magazine back into the gun.
Are The Overall Ergonomics Good?
In my opinion the ergonomics are great on the CR920. They’re easy to reach for most hand sizes.
Shadow Systems did a lot right when designing this gun.
Does it have a good Trigger?
The trigger shoe on the original MR and DR guns was metal but the trigger shoe on the CR920 series is plastic. It doesn’t feel cheap though.
Metal is nice when you’re showing the gun to your buddies but the metal triggers also heat up really quick. Especially on small guns.
My Glock 48 daily carry has a metal trigger and during longer range sessions I have to let it cool depending on how quickly I’m shooting. After a couple magazines back to back they get hot.
I personally love the quality of a metal trigger but plastic is a more practical option.
It’s got a slight curve which is nice as it’s somewhere between a stock flat trigger and a flat trigger.
Flat triggers seem to be one of those things people love or hate. Going with this option should make everyone happy.
Even though it’s plastic the CR920 trigger shoe is executed very well.
The trigger break itself is better than the Glock 43x unless the gun your comparing it to is very well broken in.
The trigger has light takeup from the trigger safety and then a heavier mushy feel as you feel it pushing back the trigger bar. The weight of the trigger increases as you pull the trigger back further.
You then reach a noticeable wall with a little creep before the trigger breaks.
The reset is present but not forceful. It resets a little in front of the wall so you’re going to have some mush to pull through before you reach the wall.
This trigger is more of a rolling trigger than a trigger with a hard well. Like most of the Micro 9mms on the market it combines a bit of both.
Are The Sights Any Good?
Sights are one of the most important parts of a handgun. We want to pay special attention to them in this Shadow Systems CR920 Review.
The iron sights that the CR920 come with are absolutely awesome. If you don’t like them the gun uses a standard Glock 43 sights so you have a lot of replacement options.
They have a front night sight with a yellow plastic ring that is very bright. So they work well in low light conditions as well as full sunlight.
Night fission makes the front sight so it’s high quality.
The rear sight is a clean blacked out square notch. The sight picture is easy to see and just very clean. I do have one complaint though. The rear sight is press fit in and does not have a set screw.
Over the years I’ve had multiple press fit rear sights come loose so I want a set screw on the rear sight. If you shoot a gun a lot this is likely to happen. Especially if it’s a high round count carry gun exposed to the corrosive salts from your sweat.
Corrosion and recoil impulse isn’t good for press fit sights without a set screw. It’s a fairly easy and cheap part to replace.
The best feature of these sights is that they aren’t obnoxiously tall but still co witness with most red dots.
Red dot options
You can get the CR920 with and without a red dot cut. Shadow Systems have done an excellent job with their red dot cut.
I’d definitely recommend getting a gun with the dot cut just so you have the option.
The CR920 optic cut isn’t as impressive as the MR920 optic cut solely because there aren’t as many optic options for the smaller guns.
But it’s still the same style of system. It just doesn’t accept as many optics due to the narrower slide.
They have drilled and tapped the slide to accept multiple dot patterns with plastic spacers that create forward and backwards pressure on the optic.
When the slide is reciprocating these spacers keep the optic right where it needs to be. Without the spaces the slide would rely only on the screws to hold the optic in place.
The CR920 optics mounting system accepts pretty much any RMSc style optic. These include the Holosun 507/407k, Holosun EPS/EPS Carry, Shield RMSc as well as the Swampfox Sentinel.
There are easy directions on their website and in the manual that make installing the red dot very easy. The gun comes with 2 spacers and 2 sets of screws. They tell you which to use depending on your optic choice. I’ve got 3 shadow systems guns and ⅔ have dots on them.
It was by far the easiest and most secure multi optic system I’ve used to date.
It’s much simpler and easier to use than system like the FN MRD and Glock MOS. The lack of plates means the optics co witness with the factory iron sights.
The factory iron sights also aren’t ridiculously tall like most factory co witness options.
How Does It Look?
If you’re reading this Shadow Systems CR920 review there is a good chance that you were drawn to the gun by its looks.
For the price point the gun looks fantastic. All of my guns are the Elite versions which come with Copper Tin coated barrels which in my opinion look awesome. You can also get the Gold Tin.
If these options are too flashy for you they do offer plain black and FDE.
Overall I think these guns are well done and look proportional but that’s all opinion.
A couple of years ago I got a MR920L Elite. My one gripe with the finish was the machine marks on the serrations.
Both the CR920 and CR920 P lack any of these machine marks. The machining on these guns is clean.
I think they may have had some teething issues but that’s also something you can check out in person if your gun store has the guns in stock.
Does it Shoot Well?
Here we’re going to need to break it down into two separate shooting reviews. While the CR920 and CR920P are almost Identical they are dramatically different when it comes to shooting. So we’re going to do two separate Shadow Systems CR920 Reviews.
Shadow Systems CR920 Shooting Review
This gun is small so it’s not the most pleasant gun to shoot. In fact it’s very similar to the Glock 43x. It uses the same recoil spring assembly and has very similar proportions. It’s a very shootable gun but it’s still a handful.
Small guns just aren’t that easy or exceptionally fun to shoot.
Shooting the CR920 with the flush fit magazine has more perceived recoil than when you’re using the extended magazine. The increased leverage from the larger magazine just helps control the gun more.
The gun shoots well but nothing special compared to other micro 9mm pistols on the market. Personally, the sights make it a nice experience for me but the recoil impulse and trigger are nothing special.
Shadow Systems CR920P Review Shooting
When I first got to the range I loaded the gun with CCI 115 gr bulk ammo. My first shot didn’t even eject the brass. I’m pretty sure the slide didn’t move at all.
I’ve got multiple comped guns and not liking 115 grain is pretty normal. But they tend to run unreliable but they still cycle, maybe just not all the way.
I was afraid I was about to learn how good Shadow System’s Warranty department is at their job.
The 2nd shot didn’t fully cycle the slide and I had one failure to eject while the other round was trying to feed.
This pattern continued for the next couple of rounds till I decided to unload the gun and magazine.
You could feel the gun loosening up a little. I dove into my ammo box and pulled out a box of 147 Lawmen and PPU 124gr NATO(always good to bring a variety of ammo to the range). I loaded the mag full of 124gr NATO and started shooting.
The gun ran fine.
I loaded the 147 gr Lawmen and it also ran well. I switched back to the 115gr ball and the gun was running with 1 to 2 malfunctions in a mag. So a drastic improvement.
The hotter ammo had loosened the gun up a bit. I shot the rest of the box of NATO ammo before switching back to the 115 grain ball. Over 150 rounds of 115 gr ball I did have a couple failure’s to feed.
Some of these were when loading a fresh magazine. So I’m not sure if this is a magazine issue or a gun issue. But it only happened with the 115gr ammo.
The Regular CR920 ran fine.
Anytime a gun has a new magazine design that’s always a concern.
CR920P Review How Effective Is The Compensator?
So once you get this gun running it shoots incredibly well. The compensator is very effective. This slimline micro gun shoots like a full size non comped gun.
You run the risk of this gun being picky with lower power ammo but with full loads it will be reliable if you don’t have magazine issues.
I’ll update this article once I have more rounds through the gun and can update y’all with more info.
Is there a Good Aftermarket?
Currently there aren’t a ton of holster options but you can use Glock 48 and 43x holsters. Besides that the gun use glock parts so there are near unlimited aftermarket options.
How Easy Is The Gun To Maintain?
The guns takedown like a glock so they’re so easy to clean and maintain. The consumable parts all have multiple aftermarket options so you get all the advantages of owning a Glock when you own a Shadow Systems gun.
Is the Gun A Good Value?
I paid $980 for the CR920P and $780 for the CR920. Are the guns worth the price?
That depends on what your goals are.
If you’re looking for 100% function and your definition of value doesn’t include looks just got with a Glock and add a set of sights to it. You can purchase Shield mags and still come out ahead.
If you’re a utilitarian guy who likes to tinker this gun probably isn’t for you.
But if you’re looking for a semi affordable alternative to buying a Glock and having it sent to a custom shop for milling or building a custom glock from a frame the Shadow systems is a great value.
If you want an out of the box gun you don’t have to modify then you’re going to be hard pressed to beat what Shadow Systems had to offer.
- Red Dot Cut
- Slide Serrations
- Rear Sight with Set Screw
- Proprietary magazines.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our CR920 Review please let us know what you think about the CR920 and CR920P in the comments.