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Shadow Systems CR920X: Microcompact Perfected?



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Shadow Systems is pretty well known at this point and offer a wide range of great pistols. But missing from that lineup has been a microcompact pistol to mirror the size of the Glock G43X.

Finally, the wait is over. The CR920X is here!

Shadow Systems was kind enough to send this out before the release at NRAAM 2024. While I normally try to put a gun through more abuse than what this got, time was of the essence. 

Still, after a couple of range trips and a lot of mags, I’m impressed by this little shooter.

SPECS

  • WEIGHT: 19.1 Ounces
  • LENGTH: 6.5 Inches
  • HEIGHT: 5.18 Inches
  • WIDTH: 1.09 Inches
  • TRIGGER: 4.5-5 lb pull
  • FINISH: Nitride
  • CAPACITY: 15+1
  • Comes with TWO 15-round Shadow Systems Magazines + Range Bag
  • Fits Glock 43X Holsters
  • MSRP: $940

ON THE RANGE

In a nutshell, the CR920X is exactly what you should expect it would be. Snappy, since it’s a small 9mm, but with better capacity and more grip than smaller guns. 

What helps Shadow Systems stand out isn’t the dimension of the gun or the capacity of the magazine, it’s the extra Shadow System features that they have become known for. The grip, grip texture, patented deep-sitting optic cut, and fantastic striker-fired trigger make the CR920X not your average microcompact. 

The CR920X performed well with zero malfs, but there was only enough time to put about 250 rounds through this little guy.

The optic cut is awesome and very deep with big screws. All other manufacturers could really learn something by taking a look at what it means to use screws that actually work and have a lot of engagement. 

While no striker-fired trigger can really compare to 1911 or 2011 guns, the trigger on the CR920X is pretty outstanding for what it is. While there may be some room for improvement with an aftermarket trigger, there isn’t much. This is crisp, short reset, and feels great.

My only bump in the road for the CR920X was a little bit of slide bite during the first couple of mags. This was mostly the fault of my hand placement and the fact that I’m not used to this grip. Once I adjusted myself slightly, I had zero problems.

ROUNDS ON TARGET

Running drills with the CR920X was surprisingly easy. The gun just points and shoots very well. Even with its small size and the added snap of defensive ammo, hitting fist-sized groups of rapid fire at 10 yards wasn’t a burden. Backing up to 15 and 20 yards, the small gun was still accurate enough to put precision hits in the head box of targets.

While some microcompact-sized guns can struggle, Shadow Systems’ improved trigger and well made barrel are able to go the distance.

For this review, I went with a Vortex Defender-CCW red dot. It’s not my favorite dot, and you can read more about why here, but it’s a trustworthy dot that I would feel good using on a defensive pistol. 

Mounting it with the included spacer from Shadow Systems gave a very tight-fitting lockup in the optics cut.

SIZE MATTERS

This is basically as big as a microcompact can get without becoming something else. SIG has the XMACRO P365, Glock has the 43X, and Springfield has the Hellcat PRO. Give or take some fractions of an inch, these are all basically the same size.

The big difference between these guns are the features they offer and just how they feel to each shooter. I don’t think there is any right or wrong answer between them and it comes down to personal choice. 

Something that the CR920X really has in its favor is the optic mounting system. I’ve broken a lot of optic screws in the last couple of years and it’s a stupid problem to have. Shadow Systems solves this with their huge screws and by making their optic cut deeper. Better bore offset, stronger system. In a EDC gun, these are some major gains.

Plus, the Shadow Systems’ optic cut gives you multiple footprints to choose from making it easy to find the perfect dot for you.

Along with this gun comes the announcement that the CR920XP will be coming soon. This is a compensated version of the CR920X and personally the gun I’m more excited for. I’m a big fan of putting a comp or ported barrel on small guns to really help tame the snap.

LOOSE ROUNDS

The CR920X is both what you might expect but also a pleasant surprise. While Glock claims “Perfection”, for my money I have to say this Shadow Systems gun is better in every way.

If you’re looking for a microcompact polymer gun that performs well and has a ton of features that will please any shooter, I give the CR920X high marks.

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1 Comment

  • Tim says:

    New to SS platform with my first purchase a few months ago of the XR920P. Very happy with it as a replacement for my G45 with Ramjet. On the wait list for the CR920XP as soon as it arrives.

    Good review, with seams to parallel others, of this micro compact. While true about the optic screws being longer, the sacrifice is you have to remove the optic should you wish to clean out the ejector area. Still, worth it then having optics fly off, which I have seen three of my buddies lose optics in the past two weeks of nightly COF’s!

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  • New to SS platform with my first purchase a few months ago of the XR920P. Very happy with it as a replacement for my G45 with Ramjet. On the wait list for the CR920XP as soon as it arrives.

    Good review, with seams to parallel others, of this micro compact. While true about the optic screws being longer, the sacrifice is you have to remove the optic should you wish to clean out the ejector area. Still, worth it then having optics fly off, which I have seen three of my buddies lose optics in the past two weeks of nightly COF's!

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