CZ 75 SP01 Shadow; Review and Range Report

Discussion in 'Other Handguns' started by coolbox, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. coolbox

    coolbox New Member

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    OVER SHADOWED: REVIEW & RANGE REPORT – CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow



    Česká Zbrojovka claims that the CZ-75 (and variants) are in service with "more Governments, Militaries, Police and Security agencies than any other pistol in the world."

    The CZ-75 has a mystique all its own. The late Jeff Cooper loved the way the pistol, with its distinctive humpbacked grip, felt in the hand and styled the grip of his legendary Bren Ten after it. A long-time advocate of the Colt M1911, hailed it as the best-designed double-action autoloader available. It has become one of the most popular pistols of its class.


    THE SHADOW: A BLAST

    [​IMG]

    CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow is a vatiant of the CZ 75 SP-01, which is the first full size handgun (4.72” bbl) from CZ to feature the improved manufacturing technology and ergonomics of the NATO approved CZ 75 Compact P-01 model. Featuring an integral 1913 accessory rail on the dust cover, rubber grip panels, and CZ’s corrosion resistant black polycoat finish, the SP-01 is the newest model to join the family of pistols based on the CZ 75 (SA/DA) platform. Borrowing from the improved grip geometry of the CZ 75 Compact P-01, the SP-01 utilizes an extended beavertail to protect shooter’s strong hand as well as allowing for a deeper and more secure grip. The new grip geometry with checkering in key areas on the front and back straps combined with the redistribution of mass provided by the accessory rail noticeably decreases the perceived recoil from previous models and allows for more rapid target acquisition and transitions.
    [Courtesy: czusa.com; czub.ch]

    While the SP-01 was designed as a military and law enforcement duty sidearm, the new generation CZ 75 SP-01 pistol is especially adapted according to suggestions as proposed by users from Law Enforcement, Military and Police communities worldwide, with an additional input from the Team CZ world premier shooters Angus Hobdell and Adam Tyc.

    Typical features:

    - The CZ 75 SP-01 SHADOW features no firing pin block, which consequently helps to slightly reduce trigger pull weight, reduces distance of trigger reset, and improves trigger travel properties.

    - 85 Combat Style trigger with over travel adjustment helps to remove excess rear ward trigger movement.
    Shadow is fitted with a newly redesigned hammer originating from the CZ 75 Champion. This hammer is slightly wider and has modified sear engagement for smoother release and more positive ignition.

    - Pistol frame which comes from a new mould incorporates alterations such as recess beneath the trigger guard and beavertail to enable a higher grip of this handgun.

    - Slightly “weaker” recoil spring originating from standard production CZ 75/85 pistols facilitates loading and enhances the shooting comfort.

    - Sights consisting of fiber optics front sight and tactical “Novak style” rear sight to promote much easier, faster and more accurate target acquisition.

    - Round off edges of magazine well, substantially improve reloading. This new generation of CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow pistol is appropriate for service use, self-defense and sport alike.

    - Higher cuts beneath the trigger guard and beaver tail enable a higher grip on the gun, which helps to reduce felt recoil and muzzle flip.

    - Lighter recoil and main springs originating from original CZ 75 Specifications help to create a smoother more consistent action.


    BASIC SPECS

    Model: CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow
    Manufacturer: Česká Zbrojovka, Czech Republic
    Caliber: 9x19 mm Parabellum
    Dimensions: L=210 mm, H=147mm, W=37mm
    Barrel: 114 mm
    Weight(unloaded): 1170 grams
    Capacity: 18 rounds, 19 FMJs easily loaded, JHPs limited to 18 (& half!)
    Slide: Steel
    Frame: Steel
    Trigger: SA/DA, CZ85 Combat style, adjustable pre and over travel.
    Safety: Manual Safety, hammer safety notch. (No firing Pin Block).
    Front Sights: High Viz Fiber Optic, Red - Dovetailed.
    Rear Sights: Novak tactical, dovetailed secured by a screw, adjustable for windage.
    Grips: Soft rubber, Full checkered.
    Finish: Dull Polycoat.
     
    Syntax360 likes this.
  2. coolbox

    coolbox New Member

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    REVIEW


    Packing:
    The Shadow comes in a decent, small plastic case, with two magazines, a pull through and a nylon brush. Included is a target chart which indicates result of 5 shot fired at 25 mtrs during manufacturers testing of the specific weapon. Mentioned on this chart is Shooters code, group size, POI with relevance to POA.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Finish, Looks and Manufacturing Quality:
    Shadow comes in Black Polycoat, as well as Dual Tone finish. The Dual Tone is, however, a rarity in the west, and a dream down here. Exterior finish is very good quality. Fully checkered rubber grips are standard. Wooden CocoBolo grips (full as well as half checkered), Hogue (combat) gribs or Aluminium competition grips (thin as well as thick) can be ordered from the web.

    Field stripping reveals high quality machining, as expected from any CZ 75. The internals are precision machined with no sharp edges and hardly any tooling marks.



    [​IMG]




    Slide, Frame and Grip:
    The slide and frame are both steel, providing the weight enough to kill a BG even when out of rounds! The weight however helps in reducing felt recoil. And of course, the balance is excellent. The weight itself is a license to kill.

    The grips in standard model are black rubber, checkered. The shape and thickness of the Shadow grip lives up to the legendary ergonomics of CZ75. The grip may be thick for people with small hands. I have medium (or maybe medium to large!) sized hands, and the grips are just fine for me. Being checkered as well as rubber, the grips give a sure firm feel even when perspiring.




    [​IMG]


    Action and Barrel:
    CZ-75 is a short recoil operated, locked breech pistol. It uses a fairy standard Browning locking system, with cam-shaped cut below the barrel, which lowers the barrel on recoil stroke. Barrel locks into slide with two locking lugs, located just ahead of the ejection port. The slide rides on the internal rails, machined on inside of the frame. This system, originated by the Swiss SIG P210 pistol, provides more smooth cycle and better tolerances, resulting in greater accuracy. In basic models, the double action trigger system with exposed hammer has a frame mounted manual safety, which allows for "cocked and locked" carry. An enclosed cam track integral with the barrel is actuated by the slide release lever's transverse pin. After the first few millimetres of the recoil stroke, the barrel is cammed downwards at the rear, enabling the slide to continue the recoil stroke and eject the spent cartridge.

    Shadow has a 4.7 inch non-chromelined barrel. It is very well constructed, and bleeds robustness. Comparative pictures with CZ999’s barrel tell all (CZ999’s barrel has thicker walls compared to even Viking!). The gun is generically very accurate, and as mentioned above, is used by many as competition pistol, factory stock without modification. This should tell of the accuracy. I am myself a novice shooter, and this was infact just the third time I have shot at targets! The factory accuracy test group for my gun was 89mm, a shade over 3.5inches at 25mtrs!

    Chamber is strongly constructed and is capable of taking high pressure rounds without any problem (the SP-01 series is ideally suited to the 124-147 grain ammo, and most competition shooters train and use within this particular range). The feed feed ramp is well made and ensures reliable feeding.
    Notice the feed ramp

    [​IMG]


    Very well constructed barrel of the Shadow. Solid, isn’t it?
    [​IMG]


    Trigger Mechanism:
    Shadow has a wonderful trigger, very nice and crisp which breaks uniformly without any crappy movements. The trigger out of the box is better than one could get in other guns after a proper trigger job! Of course this is supported by the fact that there is no firing pin block, a specially incorporated design feature due to reasons specified in the introduction above. There is slight lack of smootheness in the pre-play region (a part and parcel of DA/SA triggers) but a novice shoter would not even notice and requires a good ‘eye’ for triggers to actually realize this. I have fired 198 rounds to date (yes I am counting!), and the trigger is already smoothened out. Trigger over travel is adjustable, but the screw is hardly of any use as there is practically no over travel in the trigger of my gun. The trigger reset is also about 1.25-1.5mm (actually as less as it could be), making it clearer to my mind as to why is this weapon such suitable for rapid fire/speed shooting.

    The only trigger that could beat this in shooting pleasure is an SA only, of the likes of a CZ75 TS (or other very high competition specific end guns, too).

    Trigger pull measures around 3.5 lbs generally, my particular piece must has one of 2.5 lbs.

    Front and rear view or Trigger over travel adjustment screw. The trigger is the same shape (almost) as CZ-85 Combat.

    [​IMG]



    Recoil
    Shadow has a very manageable recoil (what do you expect from a 2.5 lbs gun!). the gun has an extended beavertail to protect shooter’s strong hand as well as allowing for a deeper and more secure grip. The new grip geometry with checkering in key areas on the front and back straps combined with the redistribution of mass provided by the accessory rail noticeably decreases the perceived recoil from previous models and allows for more rapid target acquisition and transitions. The recoil spring is of fairly good quality and the recoil rod is polymer (there is plenty of steel in the gun, no more need of weight here please). No doubt 11 of 15 top shooters in IPSC prefer the Shadow in production division.
    The recoil spring is ‘weaker’ by default, for easier cycling particularly in case of shooting at speed and timing it (clock timing!) is considered. What I have read so far over the internet does not mention any problem with recoil springs after thousands of rounds, however, I plan to order one spare ($7.00 only!) as I could not get any instructions on the life of this item for the CZ75 Shadow.


    Sights:
    Shadow has Novak tactical rear sights (blacked out). The front sight is fixed high visibility fiber optic (red color by default, green and blue can be ordered as spare). The rear sight is dovetailed in the slide and can be adjusted for windage with the help of a hammer / sight mover. Front sight is fixed with a single use pin. The sights come zeroed pretty well from the factory. The high visibility front/blacked out rear sights are a treat to shoot with, and aid in quick target acquisition.

    Doesn’t take long to notice the high visibility front sight.

    [​IMG]



    Magazine:
    Shadow uses the same quality magazines as the rest of CZ75 (full frame) family, which needless to mention, are of excellent quality. The body is made of steel while the follower is made of plastic (black colored). Follower spring and base plate (polymer) are of good quality. Standard magazine is 18 rounds (which add about half an inch of mag length below the mag well), however, 20 round magazines/magazine extensions are also available. The 18 round magazine can hold 19 rounds! Standard 15 round CZ-75 magazines can also be ordered.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012

  3. coolbox

    coolbox New Member

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    Safety Mechanism:
    Shadow has a very reliable and positive feeling external trigger safety for cocked and locked carry, as well as hammer drop notch safety system. The safety latch, located on the frame, is redesigned from other CZ75/SP-01 models for ease of access, and it is practically noticeable. De-cocking has to be done manually, and there is no lever for this purpose. CZ75 design team has never been inclined towards de-cocking systems. The reason is simple, first shot accuracy in DA for DA/SA pistols is very hard to achieve even for the pros, while releasing the safety hardly requires any time in this particular time. However, if one feels the need of a de-cocker is not to be lived without, SP-01 Tactical is the answer.

    Firing pin block is intentionally excluded from the design of this weapon, sacrificed to aid a better trigger performance and trigger reset distance reduction.


    Safety ‘on’ with hammer in half cock position. It must be noted that safety can only be activated once the hammer is cocked, either full or partial, as shown below, and a good view below of the nicely large safety latch.

    [​IMG]


    Accuracy:
    CZ75 family of guns are as accurate as guns get to be! In most cases, they would prove more accurate than the firer (remember we are talking here of a gun used by IPSC champions!). The 4.7 inch barrel in the Shadow is not chrome-lined, but one of the most accurate in its class. The slide to frame fitting is very tight. The barrel bushing and crown are also specifically modified by design for tighter fitting to achieve higher accuracy. I was reading somewhere that the slide is further tightened in the frame by a modification specific to the Shadow, but cannot get the link I would also have to see another SP-01 (basic/tactical) to determine if there is any detectable difference.




    Handgun - CZ75 SP01 Shadow
    Ammo - Norinco Chinese Red box 9mm
    Distance - 25 m
    Technique - Deliberate fire, standing, shooting with both hands, unsupported
    Target - 25m Precision Shooting
    Score - 177/200 (88.5%)


    [​IMG]

    You can clearly see what this gun is capable of. I am sure an expert and consistent shooter can get 190+ score with this weapon. I have shot sub 3" 5 shot groups more than a couple of times, standing, shooting with both hands, unsupported. Factory ammunition, and I mostly use cheap chinese stuff, I am sure more consisteny can be obtained with Sellior&Bellot or hand loads.



    100 METERS HANDGUN TESTING

    Handgun: CZ Shadow
    Ammo: 9mm - Barnaul 115 gr FMJ (Russian)
    Technique: Standing, both hands, without support, Deliberate Fire.
    Shooter: coolbox aka Saif


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    RESULTS:

    8 out of 15 shots were on paper. 6 out of last 10 shots were on paper.


    200 METERS HANDGUN TESTING

    Handgun: CZ Shadow
    Ammo: 9mm - Barnaul 115 gr FMJ (Russian)
    Technique: Standing, both hands, without support, Deliberate Fire.
    Shooter: coolbox aka Saif


    Same Target used, as above. The 200M hits are marked with TRIANGLES.

    [​IMG]

    RESULTS:

    Again!!! 8 out of 15 shots were on paper. Learning curve effect, I suppose.



    NOTE: BOTH DISTANCES WERE MEASURED AND NOT ESTIMATED.


    Reliability:
    I have shot around 1500 rounds of various standard and +P ammos with Shadow, including FMJs such as Tula, Bernaul (both Russian), POF 2Z & 1Z, Chinese red box, S&B 124 grains, and JHPs such as Prvi and Armscor and the gun fires everything. I did have problems with IMPROPERLY RELOADED POF 2Z rounds. The cases were not resized, and caused slide to fail to return to battery. I had identical problem with this ammo in Canik Shark compact, CZ999 Scorpion (yes, the eat all SIG clone from Serbia, Zastava CZ999 scorpion too!) On the internet, I have heard of problems in CZ75 SP-01 (basic, phantom and tactical), particularly double feed and ejection problems, during the break in period (about 300-500 rounds). The Shadow has a slightly modified design, which removes those problems by default. The underside of the slide, just behind the breach face, is polished to avoid double feed (the shiny ramp type rectangular part of the slide in the pictures of slide from inside). The corner of this surface is beveled/chamfered to ease ejection of fired round, and aid in speed shooting, as well as overcome SP-01 break in period problems.

    To sum it up on reliability, please read the first paragraph of this review!


    [​IMG]


    Maintenance:
    CZ 75 Shadow is an easy handgun to maintain. Stripping is as not as easy as in CZ999 scorpion, or a Taurus/Beretta 92, but it is the same old CZ 75 style, one can do it easily still, and can be done in few seconds. Cleaning is easy and there are hardly any areas which can not be reached with a normal cleaning brush.

    Assembling is again easy, much simpler than disassembly.

    The legendary tight frame to slide fitting along the entire length of the weapon requires proper lubrication for smooth operation, unlike weapons having 3 or 6 contact points in polymer frames ( the locks that have a G before them) or just half frame length of contact with slide (accurate wanna-bes).

    Suitability for the Purpose:
    CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow is a large size gun and suitable for SD/HD and target shooting. Due to its size, its not a suitable gun for carrying on person by civilian users, though this is a non-issue for personal from LEAs. A large framed person can however conceal this weapon, as it has a slim profile, although the weight might be an issue. I have no problems in conceal carrying this on a belly band under Shalwar Kurta, but the same may not hold true for all. There is hardly any handgun in sub-100k range which can beat Shadow in target shooting from 25M and beyond. If range shooting is a requirement, CZ-75 Shadow is the gun that one may like to have. In suitability of purpose, I rate Shadow at 8.5/10




    (Please note that gradings in the above review have been based on the range evaluation as well as personal opinion of the writer and have no relationship with the market price or reputation of a company, some information and data is courtesy of Gunpedia and CZ websites.)




    To conclude, I would say that in any price range, hardly any gun comes close to the Shadow in accuracy, reliability, long range performance and SD/HD. If size is not an issue, this is the most recommended gun for any gun enthusiasts. In fact, if size and/or weight is an issue, one must get used to it!


    [​IMG]


    [This review was originally posted at www.thegunforum.net (TGF), by myself under the nick 'Saif', over a year ago. It is reposted here for knowledge sharing reasons. This is not a property of TGF, hence I do not see any reason for any worries..]
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  4. ETH77

    ETH77 Premium Member

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    Excellent review! As a delighted owner of a cz75B modified for SA operation, I can only concur on your evaluation. I might add that the take down is accomplished by aligning two marks on the left-hand side of the slide and frame, and then using the butt of the magazine to push the slide lock lever out to the left. The extended capacity magazines from CZ or Megar both have polymer bases and won't scratch the finish in case of a self-inflicted case of the clumbsies.

    I shoot .40 and the recoil is very similar to that of the Steyr M-series. However, without the extended beavertail of the SP-01, I was forced to install ;-) a competition hammer. The installation and subsequent polishing (with removed firing pin block) has led to a 2.5 - 3# trigger. It breaks like a glass rod!
     
  5. blueorison

    blueorison New Member

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    Big CZ proponent, here. :)

    Thanks for the writeup.
     
  6. ETH77

    ETH77 Premium Member

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    I forgot to mention, I changed from the stock grips to the thin Al grips and the difference in my accuracy is amazing! I can now shoot 3.5 - 4.5" groups at 25 yards at a reasonable rate. I'll post pics the next time I get to the range.

    I sinned today, rather than my USPSA match (1.5 hours each way) I'm watching the NFL Division Championship games. Don't taze me Ben...
     
  7. Narsil

    Narsil Premium Member

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    Great review; thanks!
     
  8. Okie67

    Okie67 New Member

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    Very nice review! I am a CZ fan as well, owning both the CZ SP-01 Phantom and CZ75B Cold War Comm.
     
  9. Syntax360

    Syntax360 Moderator

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    Very nice review!
     
  10. coolbox

    coolbox New Member

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    Well guys, I am surprised at such a high CZ following on a Steyr forum; these weapons are worlds apart! Thank you for appreciating.

    @ETH77, thanks for adding that. Having used CZs since I began shooting, the take down is second nature now! I do need any mag base or tool for my Shadow, Tactical Sport or P07 Duty. I had a cz75 P01, which required use of mag base or any polymer tool, fingers alone were not enough for that weapon. I did change to thin aluminum in the TS, and the feel is significantly improved. Don't want to let go once I hold it! Although the smaller frame of Shadow makes it an extension of my arm. It is as close to a perfect handgun for rapid fire as it gets.

    Since I am mostly CZ in my arsenal, my hands on knowledge of Steyrs and Glocks and Caracals is very limited. The SP01 Shadow is a very addictive weapon in the CZ line itself. If only it came with night sights! Anyways, I plan to get one more in the near future! One for SD/HD with night sights installed later, and the other for range use.
     
  11. AK47

    AK47 New Member

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    Great review Coolbox bro, the "shadow" of your "monster" rules here as well, lolz!

    Excellently reviewed, all covering.

    I agree with you, Shadow is the thing to have, I'm myself a bit itched up these days, let's see, though exactly the missing default night sights option is my issue.

    Bro, excuse my ignorance, but can it be carried cocked& locked, hammer pulled?


    Great input, and I've to say, CZ and Caracal both taking their earned portion here on this forum. They're great handguns.



    Regards.
     
  12. ETH77

    ETH77 Premium Member

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    Ooooh, a TS - certifiable lust object if ever there were one. I decided that I probably wouldn't get invited to shoot Super Senior in the World Shoot, so I saved some money.

    With regard to your comment about them being worlds apart, a quality firearm is a quality firearm.

    It had never occurred to me prior to your post that the Czech's had looked at the P210 for inspiration. To me it looks like it's more likely that at least part of the design is due to the FN factory which existed in CZ prior to WW II. Although it manufactured rifles, the Browning High Power (M1935) was one of their designs. Pollination of ideas is a wonderful thing...

    The Swiss were certainly looking at the BHP, but they tend to "fix" manufacturing quality issues, even though they have no impact on the product quality, plus, the Swiss try to buy internally if at all possible. This is less true today, but a procurement by the Swiss Army is just about as convoluted as that of the US, more's the pity.
     
  13. coolbox

    coolbox New Member

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    Thank you AK47.

    @ETH77, I think I will let the pictures do the talking now!


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The TS was made more lustful after below mods:
    1. Reduced power recoil and main springs (13 lbs each)
    2. Thin aluminum grips with grip tape
    3. CZ combat (competition) hammer (changed the hammer myself!)
    4. Extended firing pin
    5. reduced power firing pin spring
    6. SS guide rod.
    7. Adjustable rear sight (not in the pic, was done later)
     
  14. ETH77

    ETH77 Premium Member

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    Moan... Well I'm there on my gun with 1-6, no adjustable rear sight though. Changing the hammer on my 75B was a great way to learn about the weapon, and about Browning actioned guns in general. I had to drop the firing pin block on the 75B, you weren't faced with that on the TS.
     
  15. coolbox

    coolbox New Member

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    Well, I do not prefer adjustable sights, but realized that the CZ factory sight picture was not to my liking. It gets much simple if there is no firing pin block, such as the TS or the Shadow. While the TS was comparatively easier, the P01 (decocker model) was 'fun' doing the hammer swap, 4 full hours of 'fun', actually!
     
  16. triplepete

    triplepete New Member

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    Excellent review, thanks. Had I read this before buying an M9A1... (today). I might have got the CZ Shadow instead. The Shadow was the first gun I had intended to get until I heard about and researched the Steyr MA1.

    I think eventually I will also buy the Shadow too.
     
  17. coolbox

    coolbox New Member

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    @triplepete
    I would still want a 'lighter' gun, and Steyr was in my mind, until I came across Caracal. It is on the wish list now! I did shoot an M9A1, and didn't particularly like the trigger, having had been spoilt by the Shadow already!
     
  18. triplepete

    triplepete New Member

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    @coolbox

    This is the first I heard of Caracal, looks very cool and same designer as the MA1, so I would imagine its a similar platform. Unfortunately for me, I live in Canada and I dont think that gun is either approved nor imported for consumers in the north. Wikipedia says the Caracal is under study for 5.7x28mm... that would be sweet.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caracal_pistol

    I have yet to shoot my M9A1, so I dunno if I'll even like it. If I dont, then I will go get a Shadow or the SW M&P in 9mm. Their Range kit is a smoking deal.
     
  19. coolbox

    coolbox New Member

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    Have been away for a while, why not pay back with some candy, eye candy to be precise:

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    The Shadow converted to SAO only. trigger breaks at a freaking crisp 2 lb 10 oz. Polished the internals too! Guys, I would love to carry a Caracal or a Steyr, but this Shadow just does not allow me to do that. I now have the funds, but my heart goes for another Shadow!
     
  20. ETH77

    ETH77 Premium Member

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    Moan... Talk about gunp0rn - the TS is a definite lust object for someone dreaming they could shoot like Angus.

    I'm sitting here with my 75B in my new Mitch Rosen OWB holster. Great piece of leather, but it'll take some breaking in. It holds the 75B like a bear trap right now. Definitely not going to accidentally drop out.