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  • Writer's pictureMichael Chiarappa

What's New? Oh just this Shadow Systems DR920L!

Updated: Jan 23, 2023


Throughout history, manufacturers have attempted to perfect another’s design or improve upon them and many have failed. Shadow Systems has excelled in improving on the tired, boring, factory Glock pistol. They make everything in house and more importantly, are made in America. Their whole pistol line didn’t cover every aspect of duty, home defense, concealed carry or competition pistol, it lacked a very important size and model design. A design and feature set which has always had popularity amongst competition shooters in particular, the long slide striker fired pistol.

This is where Shadow Systems enters with the all new DR920L! The DR920L fills a void and helps Shadow Systems cover all roles an end user may need their pistol for. In particular, it fills a void where competition shooters felt they needed to buy a G34 and dump a pile of money into it for competition. For competition, duty use, home defense or range gun, the DR920L shoots so well, it shoots better than any G34 I have ever shot! This new pistol would hands down beat the brakes off a highly modified G34 I used for 2-Gun or 3-Gun matches years ago.

The Why:

Where does the need for a DR920L lie? Well, if you like stock pistols with mediocre triggers, cheap plastic sights, bad grip texture, and poor optics mounting options, no Shadow Systems pistols are for you. Yes, Shadow Systems Elite and Combat models are on the more expensive side, but I can tell you they are worth it. The newest offering, the DR920L, will only come in an Elite model at $1175. This is a lot of money for some folks and it may be unobtainable. For others, it is a steal. If I was to price out how much it cost me in 2015 to modify my G34 for competition, it would cost more than the MSRP for a new DR920L. What Shadow Systems accomplishes at their price point is truly impressive.

The Most Notable Features:

Most notable? That's easy, the DR920L is a large pistol with a 5.3” conventionally rifled and spiral fluted barrel, it's a long one. Although a larger pistol in length, it's not clunky or heavy. The lightening cuts and deep slide serrations help out with the overall weight of the pistol. The long barrel and longer sight radius assist in both accuracy and recoil. These are a considerable difference to the 4.5” DR920, which was my favorite Shadow Systems pistol before the DR920L landed. With a DR920L, the recoil impulse is so smooth and forgiving, shooting fast shouldn't be an issue for experienced shooters. The recoil of the DR920L accomplishes the reduced recoil of a compensated pistol without the compensator. The recoil cycle and balance of a long slide pistol has always been part of the reason competition shooters or some law enforcement officers select longer pistols. A long sight radius is important for accuracy when shooting iron sights. Although, if a shooter wants to use a red dot on the DR920L, the sight radius is not a talking point. With that being said, chances are the majority of shooters will mount their favorite red dot.

Mounting a red dot on the DR920L is a breeze with the multi-optics footprint. No plates are needed and it can mount nearly every popular red dot on the market, right out of the box. Shadow Systems optics footprint and mounting solution is somewhat unique but very refreshing in that someone doesn't need to buy plates or screws. Every Shadow Systems pistol comes with detailed instructions for mounting red dots and if you follow the instructions, even the most novice gun owner could complete it. To date, I have mounted Trijicon SRO, Trijicon RMR, Leupold DeltaPoint Pro, Holosun 508t and Holosun 507C red dots, with no issue on my MR920 and DR920 pistols.

Some very important additional features on the DR920L are the trigger and frame design. The trigger is a 4.5-5 lb aluminum trigger which is flat faced. The trigger on the DR920L will break clean and crisp, especially after the pistol is broken in. If you aren’t familiar with Glock style triggers, nearly all of them get better with time and trigger pulls. Remember how it feels at your first trigger pull and then check back after 200 pulls. I can guarantee you, it will be better. The trigger reset is tactile and short for fast follow-up shots. What Shadow Systems did with the frame on the DR920L and all their pistols, is double undercut the trigger guard and apply an aggressive grip texture. Additional back straps are included which can be changed to adjust for a specific shooter's point of aim. With all elite series Shadow Systems pistols, they come with a polymer magwell and it aids in faster reloads.

One of the most overlooked frame features on Shadow Systems pistols is the beavertail. I personally appreciate the beavertail on the DR920L because I dislike slide bite. At this point in my pistol shooting experience, it’s actually a miracle I don't have scarring in the web of my right hand from how much slide bite I have received from Glock design and 1911 style pistols. To this date, I have never received a slide bite from any Shadow Systems pistol. With the exception of negating slide bite, the beavertail can help with a shooter’s recoil control as well.

Final Thoughts:

At this point, some may be thinking, I'm a shill for Shadow Systems and the DR920L. If that makes me wrong, I don't want to be right. Before we ever started getting any pistols from Shadow Systems for review, I had bought three elite series pistols from them. If they never sent us a pistol ever again for review, I would continue to buy more of them. When I carry an MR920 Foundation series as an EDC off-duty, I trust my life and my family's life with that pistol. The DR920L is an awesome pistol. It has everything someone would want in a long slide G34 size pistol. It needs nothing and is ready to rip out of the box! The pistol shoots flat, accurate, fast and forgiving to any shooter. I really enjoy shooting the DR920L and hope you try one out. If you love it, we are glad. If you hate it, there are tons of other options out there as well to fit your needs.

Check out our full video review here!

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