Can you get an upgraded gun without breaking the bank?
Buying a Glock for roughly $500-$600 and then dumping hundreds of dollars into after-market modifications used to be the standard. Many after-market modifications have flooded the market – everything from sights and triggers to stippling and barrels.
Why Upgrade Your gun?
Shouldn’t a stock firearm be enough? Upgrading firearms isn’t an absolute necessity, but if you’ve decided to buy a firearm for self-defense reasons, for competition, or maybe just for fun, aftermarket parts can make your firearm easier and more efficient for you to use. If you’re nervous and under pressure, it’s helpful to have an extra aggressive grip texture to maximize your grip on the firearm when you have sweaty hands. Upgraded sights or a red dot optic can be extremely beneficial for making precise shots from a distance. Extra grip points on your slide can help you quickly and efficiently clear malfunctions.
With so many modification options to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Where do you start? There are several companies that have started manufacturing firearms with all this in mind, removing the guesswork for consumers. Shadow Systems is one of those companies.
SHADOW SYSTEMS: MR920 – THE MOST CONTROLLABLE COMPACT PISTOL ON THE MARKET?
Shadow Systems manufactures its own brand of polymer-framed, striker-fire pistols. At first glance, these pistols appear to be Glocks. Even though they look similar, every part is manufactured by Shadow Systems, and there are a few key differences.
Grip: Adjustable Angle & Aggressive Texture
For starters, Shadow System’s flagship handguns from the MR920 line have a slightly different grip angle to ensure better ergonomics, recoil management, and a more natural point of aim. The grip texture itself is also significantly more aggressive than that of a Glock. The MR920 handguns also have an aggressive undercut and index pads to allow for a tighter grip and better recoil management.
Many people send their Glock frames to third-party companies to have these modifications done. These modifications can be costly – the price can be up upwards of a few hundred dollars. Going that route also comes with the inconvenience of having your fame shipped between FFL dealers and the time spent with an incomplete firearm. Another alternative would be to purchase grip tapes to add extra texture. This option is less expensive but isn’t permanent. The grip tape will need to be replaced periodically and it’s generally not as aesthetically pleasing.
Slide: Serrated for Easy Manipulation Under Stress
Now, let’s talk about the slide. The Shadow Systems 920 slide comes with both front and rear slide serrations to allow more gripping options while clearing malfunctions. Only a few select models of Glocks currently come with both. The MR920 Elite models come with slide porting also, which reduces the weight of the slide and aids in recoil management. Sending your slide off to have it milled for front serrations can be an expensive hassle and a big inconvenience to be without a complete firearm for a few weeks, depending on where you send it. If you get your slide milled, you may as well add an optic cut.
It’s no secret that red dot sights (RDS) on handguns are the future, it’s becoming more and more prevalent. It almost doesn’t make sense to purchase a firearm that isn’t optic-ready. The only problem with red dot optics is there are many different brands and they do not have a universal fit.
Now, there is the tough choice: choose the brand of RDS you want to be stuck with or invest in different plates for your optic cut. Shadow Systems has figured out a solution with their patent-pending slide cut that accommodates most major brands, including, but not limited to Holosun, Trijicon, Vortex, Leupold, and Sig. This feature is big deal because it now opens a world of options instead of being married to one particular brand.
It’s great having an optic-ready firearm, but if you choose to go with a red dot, it’s still a good idea to have some backup suppressor-height sights in case the optic fails. Fortunately, Shadow Systems handguns come equipped with Trijicon Tritium front and blacked-out rear suppressor height sights. Even if you’re not planning on a red dot, it’s still a nice touch to have upgraded sights as opposed to the blocky plastic sights that come stock on many firearms.
*Cue the Billy Mays “But wait, there’s more!” meme.
Some other “nice to have” but not “need to have” upgrades are an extended magazine release button, extended slide stop lever, and match-grade fluted barrels. The fluted barrels also have the option of coming threaded, so your firearm is suppressor-ready. A drop-safe, a flat-faced trigger is also included in these handguns, which is a considerable upgrade from something like the standard, curved, mushy Glock trigger.
Try Before you Buy
Test out the Shadow Systems MR920 Elite with a Trijicon RMR
If you want to try before you buy, 88 Tactical has one of the Shadow Systems MR920 Elite pistols available for rent ($15). We mounted a Trijicon RMR, one of several compatible optic options.
Here is the best part, if you were to do all these modifications to a standard Glock 19, you could expect to pay somewhere around $1,200 on top of the cost of the initial gun, but the price of a Shadow Systems MR920 Elite (higher-end model) comes in at a very reasonable $1099.99 for our non-members and a rock-bottom $838.46 for our Select & Senior Executive Members with Cost+. The MR920 Combat model is $899.99 for non-members and $736.91 for Cost+ members, making these guns both valuable and affordable. Contact us with any questions.