By: Fifty Shades of FDE
Photos by: Muzzle Flash Media
I hope you are all doing well during the Covid 19 Pandemic. Fortunately for me and my family, I am still employed and have work. I know many out there are hurting and we do our best to help our friends and neighbors. I have been working on this review since last November and have finally got enough experience to publish it!
Shadow Systems Corp is a relatively new company out of Plano, Texas and has been around since 2016. The company consists of people who are passionate about shooting with professional backgrounds in the military, law enforcement or competitive shooting. Their MR918 pistol has been out for just over a year and they sent me one to take a close look at. *Note the MR918 is no longer in production as of 2020 with the newer MR920 (more on that later)
When I first saw their pistol, the MR918, I thought it was a customized Glock 19. Although it looks like a Glock on the outward appearance, it is anything but a Glock. Before Shadow Systems Corp produced the MR918 they did custom work on Glocks until they decided that they could design and manufacture a fully custom pistol in house. So what does MR918 stand for? MR stands for Multi Role as it is designed for duty and concealed carry as well as for training or competition. The 918 designates that it is a 9mm and that it was created in the year 2018.
What you get with the MR918 is a production pistol that is custom built based off the Glock 19 profile with a redesigned frame with improved ergonomics, a crisp trigger that is also reliable with an optional cut for a RMR. The great thing about it is that it’ll fit in holsters for the Glock 19 platform, there’s no headache in waiting for holster makers to create one off a new design and if you’re waiting for a duty holster from Safariland, stand by to stand by as there needs to be a demand for a new design before they start the R&D process for a new platform.
I personally am not a custom gun guy when it comes to pistols. Since they’re meant to be used for duty or personal defense, I keep them stock with the exception of adding night sights and a WML. Even though I have never ever heard of an actual court case in which a custom trigger or aftermarket part was blamed or used against the person who used a firearm in a shooting; it’s something that isn’t worth the trouble and is a firm policy in many agencies. That’s where the MR918 comes in as a suitable duty weapon that could be accepted by departments requiring a full factory made pistol.
I got the MR918 Combat model with the optics cut for a RMR and FDE frame. It comes in a black nylon carry case with two backstraps, a tool, optional magwell, instruction manual and two Magpul pmags. The attention to detail on the MR918 is absolutely excellent. The slide fit to frame is smooth and tight. The angled serrations look and feel great as well as the stippling pattern on the frame. The stippling is the right amount of aggressiveness for me; it’s very grippy and doesn’t tear your skin off at the same time. It also is applied to the area commonly referred to the gas pedal, which helps with a forward thumb grip. The frame is of their own design and therefore a custom part in of it’s own, allowing for some better ergonomic features when compared to the largely unchanged Glock frame design. The cutout for the web of your hand in slightly higher, giving you even less bore axis. The optional magwell goes on easily with the tool provided and is streamlined with the frame. It has a flat, all metal trigger that breaks cleanly at around 4.5 lbs with a positive reset.
The slide comes with front angled serrations and my version has a optics cut for the RMR. It is very low and recessed in the slide that the iron sights co-witness the optic. The sights are Ameriglo with a bright yellow front sight and black serrated rear sight. The barrel is spiral fluted which reduces the weight and looks very cool. The overall appearance of the MR918 is absolutely a good looking gun on the outside and inside. Always remember that looks shouldn’t be on top of your priorities when it comes to deciding on what pistol you’re getting but it’s nice to have a great looking piece that is fully functional and reliable.
The instruction manual is very detailed and informative. Most manuals I get with most products especially pistols aren’t of much use after going through the layout and operation of the firearm. Shadow Systems Corp goes above and beyond that to give an simple set of instructions to help a new shooter on how to manipulate and handle the MR918 in a safe manner. It also provides tips on using a Red Dot Sight. Although I am not new to firearms, I appreciate the fact that they thought about their customers and there may be those who could use that information. My favorite part was their policy on self defense.If you use the MR918 in a legal self defense incident and your pistol has been taken as evidence, they will send you another one until you get yours returned to you. That’s very thoughtful and generous of them.
From the manual, there is a breaking period of 200 rounds since the MR918 is in fact a fully custom pistol with much tighter tolerances than your standard mass produced pistol. I took a box of 200 rounds with me to the range and shot it all with a friend rather quickly with several different mags. In those 200 rounds my friend experienced 3 failures to feed and I had no malfunctions. That’s all part of the breaking in process and minor malfunctions will occur for all of the parts to get in tuned with one another. We shot the breaking in period with just the iron sights which work great with a bright dot up front and a blacked out rear sight.
After the breaking in period was over, I got my first micro red dot sight or MRDS, the proven Trijicon RMR. To be specific the RM06 HRS model which has the 3.25 MOA dot. Installation was simple, remove the existing plate and seat the RMR in and use the screws included with the MR918. The RMR sits very low in the slide, which is nice to minimize the height over as well as giving a lower profile overall.
Shooting with the RMR is a new skill for me. My friend Richard Mo from Raving Wing LLC gave me some tips and told me to focus on the target and bring the dot to it. I did a lot of dryfire practice prior to getting in some range time and it was very helpful advice. When I got to the range, I zeroed in the RM06 and went at it with a few hundred more rounds. I am a decent shooter with pistols but I am nowhere near the best I can be with them. Shooting the MR918 with the RMR allowed me to have greater success in my groupings than with iron sights. Being able to focus on the target and projecting a red dot onto it, makes shooting with both eyes open an easier task to get a sight picture and as long as you do your part with the fundamentals, you’ll get your hits.
In all the range sessions I have had with the MR918 after the breaking in period and before Corona Virus Pandemic, I was able to go through hundreds of more rounds without a single hitch. I would’ve liked to shoot it even more but I’ll take that.
During SHOT Show 2020 I met up with the team behind Shadow Systems Corp at both the Industry Range Day and at their booth, I was introduced to their brand new and improved MR920. It was designed with end user feedback from their customers and will replace the MR918. Don’t worry, if you have a MR918 or if you buy one off the shelves right now, you’re covered and will receive support if you need it from them. I was able to shoot the new MR920 at the range day and I was having a rusty day with pistols all day. Iain Harrison aka the Recoil Boss was on the other table shooting a MR920 putting everyone to shame ringing steel at a high rate of fire. I would expect nothing less from him.
Here is the press release on the MR920 from Shadow Systems Corp:
Plano, TX (January, 2020) – American-based pistol manufacturer Shadow Systems will release a new compact-sized production pistol, the MR920, at this year’s SHOT Show.
Following the overwhelming success of the MR918, launched in January 2019, Shadow Systems has decided to iterate faster than the competition and launch new improvements now. Like the previous product line, the MR920 is a multi-role, compact-sized 9mm polymer pistol, which is designed to be used for daily carry, duty carry, home defense, competitive shooting, and everything in between.
Shadow’s MR918 has been referred to in the press as “the flattest shooting pistol on the market.” The MR920 frame builds upon that reputation with further improved ergonomics and unprecedented recoil control. The MR920 is designed to sit ultra-low in the hand, with a slide-bite-eliminating beavertail and innovative ergonomic contouring. A recoil control ledge has been added to the side of the frame giving the support thumb a greater role in controlling muzzle flip. The MR920 frame also features Shadow System’s interchangeable NPOA (Natural Point of Aim) backstrap system, which allows shooters to adjust the way the muzzle points. This allows the MR920 to mimic a 1911, a customized Glock, or something in between. Building on the MR918’s reputation for holster compatibility, the MR920’s trigger guard allows widespread holster fit with nearly every brand of holster designed for the G19.
The biggest news in this release is Shadow’s new patent pending optic cut. By redesigning internal slide components, Shadow effectively relocated portions of the operating system allowing three key attributes:
The strongest, deepest screw placement in the industry
Direct mounting of several brands without intervening adapter plates
Extremely low optic placement permitting most optics to cowitness with typical iron sights
No past designs have combined all three of these game-changing attributes. Shadow’s design accommodates Trijicon RMR and SRO, Holosun 507c and 508t, Leupold Deltapoint Pro, Vortex Viper, and TruGlo Tru-Tec. Shadow Systems’ new optic cut will likely accommodate additional brands and optics; testing for optic compatibility is still ongoing. The new system provides versatility without compromise and even exceeds the strength of past Shadow Systems mounts that had a dedicated Trijicon RMR footprint machined into the slide.
Coming from various duty backgrounds in law enforcement and military service, the team at Shadow Systems is serious about creating bet-your-life-reliable firearms designed for difficult, imperfect circumstances. With this in mind, the slide stop lever and protective curtain have been redesigned to further prevent inadvertent engagement with an extremely high firing grip. The magazine release button now features a higher traction surface. The trigger for the MR920 has been redesigned with a smoother and slightly lighter trigger pull while keeping all safeties intact.
As with the previous product line, the MR920 will be released in two different models: the Combat and the Elite. These two models are differentiated by their slide designs. The Combat is Shadow Systems’ entry level model featuring directional slide serrations on the front and rear. The Elite model features additional slide machining that adds directional serrations to the top of the slide and a weight-optimizing window cut which reduces slide mass supporting rapid shot-to-shot recovery. Both Combat and Elite slides have been reprofiled at the muzzle to be thinner in key grasping areas. This also helps safely re-holster in a slightly-collapsed IWB holster. Shadow re-contoured the rear of the slide to alleviate the complaint that the back corners are “digging in” during IWB carry. Both models are available with dovetail sights or with Shadow’s new Patent Pending Optic Cut optic cut. The front sight features a high visibility green ring and green tritium lamp to draw your focus both day and night. Sight heights are optimized to co-witness properly with the majority of red dot sights.
“A lot of big companies make you wait 5 or 10 years before they incorporate customer feedback and improve designs. The MR918 is a great pistol that almost everyone loves, but there were a few scattered voices in the market asking for some tweaks. So, we decided to listen instead of push back and ignore it. Now we have a gun that truly answers all the questions and works well for basically everyone—even those with a different optic, a higher firing grip, massive hands, or an odd brand holster.” – Trevor Roe, CEO
The MR920 will be released to the public at SHOT Show, on January 20th, 2020. Combat and Elite models will be immediately available for pre-order and the first MR920 pistols will begin shipping in February 2020. Pricing for the MR920 will begin at $799.”
The new MR920 is already shipping as I am writing this and looks even cooler than the MR918 and packs in a ton of new features. Best of all, it is available in full FDE, including the slide. I will try to get my hands on one in the future for an in depth review.
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