Gun Review: Shadow Systems MR920 9mm Pistol

By David Blanton

It’s the same story whenever anyone posts a picture of a new GLOCK on the internet. There’s always a race in the comments to suggest getting new sights, an extended slide stop, sticking on decal grips or getting a stipple job, and adding some whiz-bang trigger parts to make the trigger useable.

The OG GLOCKs are a lot more serviceable than they are often given credit for. Maybe that’s why they sell so many millions of them every year. But there’s not much question in my mind that Shadow Systems has elevated the form of the humble polymer service pistol to a level that most aftermarket builds have a hard time reaching.

Introduced at SHOT Show 2020, the Shadow Systems MR920 is the second from-the-ground-up pistol from the Plano, Texas-based gun maker. The MR920’s older brother, the MR918, was released in 2018. Shadow Systems took the feedback they got on their earlier model and have come back with something new.

MR stands for “multi-role” and these pistols are intended for everyday use. The MR920 is aimed at the same use case as the venerated GLOCK 19 with appointments that will make most pistol snobs happy, all while still being compatible with most Gen3 and Gen4 GLOCK parts. That includes holsters.

 

The most notable feature of the MR920 is the frame.

The backstrap system is not a scabbed-on afterthought, but rather it’s built in intentionally. As a result you can change the point of aim on the gun based on which of the three included backstraps you choose to use.

They offer a standard GLOCK-style backstrap replicating the grip angle of a stock GLOCK pistol. Another backstrap offers a more neutral grip angle like an M&P, and the third backstrap actually comes close to mimicking (almost) the 1911 grip angle.

Let that sink in — one of the most widespread complaints of the GLOCK style pistol is the grip angle and for the most part you can make this pistol suit your preference. The small/1911 backstrap provides pretty good access to smallest handed users, while the neutral and GLOCK-style backstraps should be acceptable to all but yeti-pawed shooters.

Included with the backstraps is a polymer magazine well system that hooks onto the backstrap which makes the gun amazingly simple to reload rapidly. While the magwell makes the pistol easier to load, it also tends to print more, but it attaches and detaches easily.

There is a corner on the front of the magwell that is a bit sharp and if you don’t wear an undershirt when carrying appendix style, it will likely initially cause some irritation while you get used to it.

The rest of the frame is pretty squared away as well, from the fine grippy texture all over the areas where your hand interacts with the frame, to the double undercut under the trigger guard, to the ledge built into the frame to allow those who use their support hand thumbs to fight recoil. It’s clear that plenty of thought went into the design of the frame.

The frame has an elongated grip tang or “beaver tail” that keeps your flesh out of the moving bits of the gun – but also helps to help keep the muzzle down on recoil.

And the muzzle does stay down. Shadow Systems boasts of the gun being the “Industry’s flattest shooting pistol.” While I haven’t shot all of the pistols to know definitively, I have shot most of the popular ones. I also have a Mantis X10 Elite which has a recoil meter and using the most exacting form of Bro Science, I can confirm that the MR920 does have less muzzle climb than my GLOCK 34 competition gun. And the MR920 is pretty fun to shoot fast which has a lot to do with the 1200 rounds I’ve put through it before sitting down and writing the review.

The slide features some pretty snazzy work. This is probably a good point to talk about the two trim models of the MR920. The MR920 comes in a more conservative trim — the “Combat” model — which does not have quite as many slide cuts and no optic mount.

Shadow Systems MR920 Combat

Shadow Systems MR920 Combat model (courtesy Shadow Systems)

My MR920 is the Elite version with the slide cuts additional serrations and Shadow Systems’ “universal optic mount cut.”

The trigger system is a GLOCK Safe Action based on a Gen3 trigger bar, but uses the popular Taran Tactical connector and an aluminum trigger shoe that has a mostly flat face. The result is a very nice trigger with reduced pre-travel compared to a stock GLOCK trigger.

Out of the box the trigger pull was closer to 5 pounds, but it has settled in over time at about 4-4.5 pounds at the tip with the “soft wall” break typical to GLOCK triggers set up with 3 or 3.5 pound connectors. The trigger doesn’t get in the way if you’re trying to shoot fast or eke out as much precision as you can.

Precision is easy to get from the MR920 as it features the Shadow Systems spiral fluted Match grade barrel. Despite the rumors on the internet, the Gen5 GLOCKs are notably accurate for a service pistol. My example of the MR920 Elite grouped tighter at 25 yards from the rest than did my G19 Gen5. At closer distances off-hand clover leaf groups are a regular occurrence.

The barrels are available in three colors – Bronze TiN, Gold TiN and black nitride. The flutes, while looking cool, also seem to do a good job collecting fouling so that slide velocity stays high. For those of us who don’t like cleaning guns every time we go to the range, this is a nice feature.

With respect to reliability, the RM920 Elite runs about like you’d expect a GLOCK to. The manual suggests a 200-round break-in period and I did have an issue where if I rode the slide home on chambering a round, the gun would hang up out of battery just a bit. A tap on the rear of the slide would send it home.

The issue never presented itself when firing the gun or using the slide stop to put the gun into battery. Sure enough, the issue went away at around the 200-round mark. Of the 1200 rounds shot, I’ve had zero issues with feeding, ejection, or ignition. The RM920 just works. It doesn’t seem to care whether it’s a JHP defensive round, light loaded target round or anything in between.

A common dig against polymer wonder nines is their propensity to use polymer guide rods – the MR920 comes with a single spring captured guide rod. So that’s yet another item on the list that doesn’t need to be changed out.

The sights that come standard on the gun are Ameriglo night sights featuring a serrated black rear, and a high vis front with a single tritium lamp.

The sights are tall enough to provide lower 1/3rd cowitness with Holosun or the RMR optics and the slope of the rear sight makes the rear sight practically invisible.

The “universal” optic cut boasts of being able to accommodate basically any optic you can screw down onto the slide and you’ve got pretty much all of the features of a Gucci GLOCK straight from the factory. The RM920 optic cut bucks the prevailing wisdom on mounting dots. Rather than using recoil bosses, it has a pretty deep cut and it comes with three spacers of varying widths.

The spacers wedge the optic into the optic cut and you use a pair of some of the longest heaviest screws to secure the optic down. Included with the gun are three pairs of screws of varying lengths and in the manual suggested pairings with different optics. Long term viability remains to be seen, but initially there has been no loss of zero or functionality with about 90% of the rounds fired with an optic mounted on the gun.

One of the biggest “pros” of a GLOCK-based platform is the aftermarket that’s already there. The MR920 fits GLOCK 19 holsters. Most of your favorite go-fast GLOCK parts will likely already fit in or on this gun. The gun is so well set up from the factory I imagine we’re talking about holsters predominantly, but if you felt the need to swap out any parts, you certainly could.

Take down is accomplished via the takedown tabs, exactly the same as a GLOCK. Unlike actual GLOCK brand GLOCKs, you only need to move the slide just barely out of battery to get them to work. If you pull the slide out of battery like a GLOCK,  the tabs won’t work and you’ll have to keep pulling until the trigger resets. If you just barely move the slide out of battery it comes apart just fine.

The RM920 comes in a Shadow Systems gun rug which can accommodate five magazines. The MR920 comes with two 15-round Magpul GL-9 magazines. Also in the box is a punch to swap out the backstraps and magwell, some Lucas Extreme Duty Gun Oil, and even Blue Loctite to mount the optic.

Shadow Systems includes basically everything you need to take the gun right out and hit the range. I wish all manufacturers would get on board with the gun rug program instead of the black gun Caboodles that just take up closet space.

All in all, the Shadow Systems MR920 is pretty easy to shoot well and is very well thought-out. If you’re the kind of person who likes to buy a new GLOCK, and add new sights, and a grip package, and have slide work done and… and… and.. .then the MR920 is a very strong value. Both MR920 models offer most if not all of the features shooters want at a pretty reasonable price.

Specifications: Shadow Systems Corp MR920

Caliber: 9×19
Capacity: Two 15 round magazines (PMag GL-9 15)
Weight: 20.5 ounces
Barrel Length: 4” (unthreaded) 4.5” (Threaded)
Overall Length: 7.13”
Height: 4.75″
Maximum Width: 1.25”
Trigger: 4 lbs
Sights: High Vis. Tritium Front (yellow) / serrated Black Rear
Controls: Swappable magazine release
MSRP: $799 to $1049 depending on options

Reliability * * * * 1/2
No issues beyond hanging slightly out of battery when riding the slide during the break-in period.

Accuracy * * * * *
As far as polymer guns go, this is the most accurate I’ve ever tried.

Ergonomics * * * * 1/2
As good as you can make a GLOCK pattern pistol without dramatically altering the profile of the grip. The beavertail and undercut are winners.

Customize This * * * * *
GLOCK 19 Gen4 accessories fit this gun. The world is yours.

On The Range * * * * *
Very easy and enjoyable to shoot.

Overall * * * *
The Shadow Systems MR920 represents a killer value if you appreciate the features that it offers. Due to price, it sits midway up the diminishing return curve. The enhanced frame really shines when run rapidly. If you can’t shoot fast, the frame won’t be as much of a value to you. But the MR920 is unquestionably an easier, more enjoyable gun to shoot out of the box than a plain-Jane GLOCK 19.

 

comments

  1. avatar PTM says:

    A Glock is perfectly “usable” right out of the box and will do precisely what it was designed to do, trigger and all. When people suggest otherwise they are simply making clear they have no idea what they are talking about.

    Yes, of course, you can easily make all kinds of changes to the Glock. Must you? No. Can you? Yes.

    1. avatar D.T.O.M. says:

      No surprise Paul that you are a minion of the glock boi’s.

      The Glock design has been surpassed by a number of different platforms, yet Glock will not truly update the design. But why should they, when they are selling a $350 dollar pistol for $550 because fan boi’s and first time buyers will purchase it based on a reputation that is 40 years old?

      If Glock was serious about keeping the platform updated and competitive at its price range, the above pistol would have been made by them and not Shadow Systems. Glock, through years of neglect, left a monster hole… that Shadow Systems filled.

      If Glock had ‘only’ addressed the pistols number one complaint, the unnatural grip angle, 20 years ago with Shadow System’s unique 3 angle design, they would hold an even larger market share today. Remember Gaston Glock had no experience with firearms design or manufacture when the Glock 17 was introduced in 1982, and that is showing today.

      At $300 – $350 the Glock is a competitive sidearm, at over $500 it is time to look else where. Unless of course you are contributing to 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑮𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒏 𝑮𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌 𝑷𝒐𝒏𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑴𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝑭𝒖𝒏𝒅, in which case, have at it.

      1. avatar Watching says:

        Tell us where the bad Glock touched you. LOL

        1. avatar Ironhead says:

          It all started when I was a child… he was 19 with a 17″ glock.

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        I can’t disagree with most of what you said- except for the grip angle which I subjectively find comfortable- the poster you were replying to was also right.

        Glock’s do what they are supposed to and do. They are simple, reliable service weapons. Anyone who thinks they are something else has made that mistake themselves or bought into the mythology that military and police guns are somehow ‘better.’ The only major advantage I see to glocks is that they are so common that their parts, accessories and maintenance are widely available.

        I have a number of handguns, none of them a Glock. But if someone came to me and wanted one handgun, particularly for home defense, I’d probably recommend a 9mm Glock-brand glock if not a 4in revolver.

        1. avatar Montana Actual says:

          Same here. I enjoy the grip angle and TBH, never found any extreme differences between the couple different handguns I own. That said, Glocks are overpriced and they do refuse to change their design. Gen 5 was a joke. I started with Glocks and currently own 3 of them. I do like them because at this point, they are universal with countless aftermarket parts. I still wouldn’t buy another one if you paid me too though. With all that SIG has to offer in comparison, why would you? I got my P365XL-RZ and now I want a P320 RXP XCompact. Been contemplating selling my Glocks for a while now. I love the Romeo Zero and Glock has fuck all to offer for that out of the box, same with round count. You have to buy aftermarket mags to keep up with SIG’s crush on the game. /rant about why you should already own at least 2 SIGS.

        2. avatar Kendahl says:

          Since I detest the Glock trigger, my recommended guns would be S&W M&P, Sig P320 and Walther PPQ.

  2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    This sounds like a very nice semi-auto pistol.

    Now, if only someone would apply the same level of detail and produce a “hot rod” revolver — complete with an excellent trigger that is smooth and does not stack to increase rate of fire and accuracy.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      Vic has one, the Korth?

      1. avatar Porridgeweasel says:

        Ya but a Korth costs so damn much that most folks would say “No.” to it.

        I agree with uncommon_sense. I’d like to see some souped up revolvers in a “reasonable” price range available on the regular market.

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          What’s reasonable to you?

          The pistol reviewed has a higher MSRP than many quite good revolvers. Take, for instance, the new Colt King Cobra, which has a great trigger. It’s higher than most of the Performance Center S&W revolvers, and much higher than most of the Ruger double action guns.

        2. avatar Hannibal says:

          Yeah, it’s too bad that revolvers internal complexity (timing) and relative small market (compared to how many semi-autos are sold) make it tough to keep prices down.

          The good news is one can find instructions relatively easily to do a good trigger job on some revolvers (like Rugers) to make them pretty darn good.

  3. avatar Skip wilson says:

    Still a Glock w/o a manual safety. An opps pistol….sorry about that ND!

    1. avatar Montana Actual says:

      Keyword: negligent.

      It’s not the gun. It doesn’t shoot on its own.

      TBH, I am a little surprised that Glock and other manufacturers like them have not introduced manual safety versions. To please the ones scared of a self-pulling trigger.

      1. avatar FirstBubba says:

        My S&W “M&P” has no safety. Pull it out and pull the trigger.
        Keeps me out of an “OODA Loop” situation.

        Long ago and far away, I learned not to trust gun safety’s and circular saw blade guards.
        I have seen what happens when people trust a blade guard! Some don’t have 10 full length fingers. They ALL have nasty scars!

        ANY time I touch my EDC, the first thing on my mind is, “No safety!”. Even when I tap my holster to check for it’s presence, I think, “No safety!”.

        “No safety!” isn’t for everyone.

        1. avatar Montana Actual says:

          Same with cutting gloves.

  4. avatar C.S. says:

    I have this pistol, it’s really good. It’s not exactly a Glock clone in that some of the small parts are not interchangeable. I attached a Griffen micro comp to it and it shoots very flat and still fits nicely in a 17 holster.

    As for not having manual safeties… imo, if you’re military and keeping pistols in molle cordura holsters and subjecting them to all sorts of violent forces, such as explosions, probably need a manual safety or a da/decocker. Police/pistol operators that use duty holsters with solid and redundant retention don’t need safeties, because the holster is one (and not the trigger finger ).

    1. avatar C.S. says:

      I should clarify that with the comp attached it is slightly longer than a 17… so some modification may be in order.

      1. avatar Montana Actual says:

        Anyone regularly using a pistol in the military nowadays, is not using a nylon holster. That’s old school. Early Iraq days.

  5. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Yawn! I needed a nap anyway.

    1. avatar Montana Actual says:

      Yea sounds about right. You get cranky without one.

  6. avatar LifeSavor says:

    Hay mucho dinero!
    Was interested until I saw the price.

    Have been thinking of another pistol for EDC; larger than my G43, smaller than my G17, but not a Glock. Something different. Looking at Ruger because of their reliability and price points.

  7. avatar FirstBubba says:

    David Blanton? ….of RealTree fame?
    What the fuzzy hell does he know about handguns anyway? LOL!
    Just kidding?

    Got no problem with Glock — as long as it isn’t in my holster! LOL!
    Don’t like them.
    Never liked them.
    Won’t buy one.

    That don’t mean they aren’t good guns!
    I didn’t write the review! I just don’t like them.

    I get enough rolling eyeballs 🙄 when folks see my S&W “M&P”, too.
    I like it.
    It fits my hand.
    I can shoot the hell out of it … VERY accurately … out to about 35 yards!
    Between my crippled up hands, shoulders and elbow, if I can ever get it out, I’ll shoot your “arse”! LOL!

    P.S.

    I want to take a minute here.
    First, let me apologize for my irrelevant post. This is about Glock, not me and me S&W.

    Secondly, I want to give TTAG a big old Texas, “Thank Yew!”

    It’s really nice to come to a website and not have to enter your life history just to leave the occasional statement!

    1. avatar Cool story bro says:

      LOL!

  8. avatar Jimmy Beam says:

    Oh boy. Another 9mm striker-fired semi-automatic pistol.

    YYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

    1. avatar Yep says:

      What are you looking for? An 11mm, electrically fired, single shot pistol?

      1. avatar Montana Actual says:

        Attention. A reason for existing.

  9. avatar GS650G says:

    I like my Walther PPQ Pistols. Great trigger, accurate, and I really like the convertabilty of the SC from 10 to 15 rounds with a longer grip. I’m considering a steel frame PPQ because it takes a great shooting gun to the next level.
    These innovations Glock doesn’t seem necessary. Reliability isn’t the private domain of Glock any longer. Glock knows best it seems. The best thing pistol manufacturers can do is make guns that accept Glock mags so people can move on.

  10. avatar David says:

    I’ve owned a Glock 27 and a Gen 5 Glock 19. Then I built my first Polymer 80 Glock 17 clone and now I’ll never buy another factory Glock. I could tolerate the grip angle until the Polymer 80 showed me I didn’t have to.

  11. avatar possum says:

    A thousand dollar plastic handgunm. I knew that stimulus check wouldn’t work

  12. avatar jakee308 says:

    You shouldn’t have to “get used to it”. If a firearm does not fit how you want/need to carry it, then it’s not a good fit and you shouldn’t buy it or “get used to it”.

    I don’t understand that type of thinking.

    1. A lot of people who cry about glock grip angle can’t shoot whatever their preference is either. A proper modern grip with a pistol lines the sights up basically automatically.

  13. avatar Steve B says:

    I know the post is old, so it may be too late to provide this, but I have their first variation on the G19, the MR918. I think it is a better choice, because the upper takes all Glock parts or aftermarket parts. I agree that staying away from proprietary components is probably the best course of action.

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