Technical Tuesday: Smooth-bore Barrel Kaboom Test

It’s Technical Tuesday, and today we’re going to do something stupid and dangerous! At Shadow, we’ve been doing our own barrels for a long while and we’ve always used a conventional cut rifling. Most of the Glock and other European barrels use that polygonal rifling, which back in the 70s was sold to us as being more accurate and having longer barrel life. Well, at Shadow, we use a conventional rifled barrel—the same kind of rifling you would find in match-grade 1911 barrels and other match-grade options. We think they are more accurate and our guns’ performance proves it.

Recently, we were talking in the shop though, and we thought, what would happen if a barrel had NO rifling. So, we actually ran a barrel that has no rifling at all. I want to see what happens. Some members of our team think we will actually hit the target, but I personally think the gun is going to blow up. I just don’t think it’s going to work.

So, I’m going to step behind a shield here and let’s see what happens when we shoot a smooth-bore barrel….

Check it out to see what happens.

Technical Tuesday: Low Bore Axis

This week, we are looking at the bore axis of different polymer frames as it compares to the MR918 frame. One of the main pieces of feedback we are hearing from customers who have purchased the MR918 is how flat it shoots–what that means is there is not a lot of muzzle flip during firing.

One of the main differences as you start to compare polymer frames is the height of the bore as it relates to the hand. If you look at a Walther P99 or a Sig Sauer P320, it has a relatively high bore axis, in that you see there is a lot of slide and a lot of beavertail between the hand and the sights. If you then compare that to the MR918, you will see there really is not a lot of slide or beavertail between the hand and the sights. The location of the bore relative to the hand on the MR918 is very low–that is the principle of low bore axis. When the gun is firing, it doesn’t get the same amount of leverage in your hand. The principle of low bore axis means that you will get less muzzle flip.

What did we do to achieve a low bore axis when designing the MR918? A lot of the things we learned before designing this frame came from our time in the custom world, doing customization packages on Glock pistols. Through the process of that, we really learned what works well. If you look at how the bottom of the trigger guard is shaped, how high and relatively flat the beavertail is, how we have narrowed the frame and recontoured it to allow it to sit really low in your hand. We have also removed material from the trigger well, so if you have short fingers, maybe a young shooter or a female shooter, you will have an easier time of reaching the trigger on the MR918 than on other polymer framed pistols out there.

Our goal from the very beginning in designing this pistol was to control recoil, to bring the very best out of the custom world, and put it into a production gun.

So, go get your hands on one and we are confident you will feel the difference and you’ll be aware of that low bore axis on the MR918.

As always, we love to hear from you with questions and feedback–give us a call at 469.458.6808.

Technical Tuesday: Common Customer Service Questions about the MR918

This week, we’re going to answer the top three customer service questions we’ve received so far about the MR918.

The first is Assembly and Disassembly:
1. People seem to have a tendency to pull the slide back a bit too far when they are disassembling the MR918. Because the platform is somewhat similar to the Glock platform, it may be that folks familiar with Glocks aren’t used to our aggressive serrations on the MR918 and that allows for the slide to go back a bit further than you need during disassembly. When disassembling, your start point should be gun empty, no magazine, trigger to the rear. You only need to pull the slide back 1/16 of an inch, a really tiny amount, then pull down on the slide lock to release the slide from the frame.

2. Because of the way we’ve engineered our barrel to locking block and slide to slide rail fit, our top end is just a bit tighter of a fit than a Glock pistol, for example. Therefore, some folks have found, especially on a new gun, that the lugs will hang up a bit on the slide lock as you reassemble. If you get this issue, just give the slide lock the tiniest nudge downward and the slide will ease back onto the frame.

The second question we’ve seen a bit is “how do I get the backstraps off?” They do fit nice and tight on the dovetail, so let’s take a look at how to do that. First, be sure you’re using the tool that comes with your pistol. You will push on the pin from either side and slide it out. Once you remove the pin, you really do need to use the palm of your hand or thumbs to push it off the dovetail. It does take a bit of a push to get started, but once it gets started it comes off quite easily.

Lastly, the magazine well. We’ve had one customer break a magazine well plug when they installed it; we think maybe the plug was in upside down. When you put the plug in, you want to be sure it sits nice and flat into its recess. If it isn’t seated flat, you may break it off. So, once the plug is set, the magazine well hooks on from the front first, then it will snap into place int he back. At that point, you can reinstall your pins. The longer pin, that was already in the gun, goes into the backstrap side and the shorter pin from your kit goes into the bottom. Just a side note, as we’ve been asked this a bit, our magwell system is a proprietary system that is specific to our MR918 and will not fit any other after market magwells in the market.

Those are the top questions we’ve heard from customers so far, but if you have a different question we haven’t answered here, drop it in the comments or drop us a line at 469.458.6808.


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Technical Tuesday: New Shooter Introduction

Ok, so you bought your first gun…now what? This week’s Technical Tuesday is for the new shooters out there with some recommendations of what you should do and what to focus on to get started in shooting sports with your new pistol.

Start out by reading our manual–we know, this sounds like a given, but we did put some extra practical information into our manual, such as an introduction to pistol marksmanship and additional, real-world safety practices. For those of you who are new shooters who didn’t buy an MR918, we will be publishing this information in the coming days on our blog. Check back here for links.

Understand the safety rules, and then don’t ever lose respect for those safety rules.

There is no replacement for good instruction. Go to your local range and ask them if they have an instructor on staff or if they work with an instructor that they recommend. The NRA also has a nation-wide training program, which could be a great resource for you. Get someone who knows what they’re doing to teach you.

Once you’ve had some instruction and you’ve learned your techniques and you want to get better, here’s the secret. You actually don’t need ammunition to get better with your shooting techniques. Most competitive shooters will tell you that they actually got better and got faster with dry firing. Work at home with your unloaded pistol to run through your techniques and drills until you feel really comfortable with them. Use dry fire as a very inexpensive way to get better at shooting.

You still need to go and shoot live at the range to solidify those techniques. If you are trying to choose to spend your money on the next cool gadget or buying $200 in ammunition to go practice at the range, buy the ammo. Practice will do much more good for you than the next new gadget.

As always, if you have any other questions or just want to talk shooting with our team, give us a call at 469.458.6808.

Jade Struck and Taran Butler Checking out the Shadow Systems Booth at NRA Annual Meeting 2019

Taran Butler and Jade Struck visit with the Shadow Systems team and take a look at the MR918, Shadow Systems Barrels, and the new Trijicon SRO optic.

Technical Tuesday: Why we machine our firing pins out of solid stainless steel

This week’s Technical Tuesday takes a deeper look into the materials we select for our Firing Pins. The Shadow Systems Firing Pins are different from others you’ll see in the market, because they are machined from solid 17-4 stainless steel.

17-4 stainless steel is considered to be the premium stainless steel in the gun industry, with a nice ability to take heat treat, long-wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and resistance to catastrophic failure.

For a part like a firing pin, the strength of solid stainless steel can prevent breakage and malfunction versus a firing pin that is MIM (metal injection molding), like the Glock factory firing pins. This is not a rant against MIM in general, as we believe there are many applications for which MIM works well for parts, and some of our parts are in fact MIM, however, for a part like a firing pin, we believe the additional strength of billet steel makes for a stronger, longer lasting addition to your pistol.

Today, we are testing the Glock factory MIM Firing Pin against two Shadow Systems 17-4 Stainless Steel Billet Firing Pin to see which is more resistant to failure over time and use.

As always, drop a question in the comments or give us a call at 469.458.6808.

Technical Tuesday: Common Reassembly Issues

This week, we’re taking a look at some common issues that can happen during reassembly. Assembling a Glock is usually very easy, but sometimes there can be simple little issues that can cause reassembly to be a pain.

When your slide is hanging up, the first trick to try is to pull down on the slide lock a little bit, to allow the assembly to slide back on.

The other common issue folks can have is if the recoil assembly is not aligned properly, it can cause the top end to hang up. This is more common with the Glock stamped recoil spring assembly. Make sure the recoil spring is seated properly against the barrel.

Those two tricks can help with any hangups you may run into during reassembly.
Give us a call if you need any help 469.458.6808.

Technical Tuesday: How To Load A Magazine


Today’s Technical Tuesday is focused on something that may sound boring and mundane but is very practical! Let’s talk about how to load magazines. Today, we will be sharing firearm basics for making it easier to load mags, how to load magazines for maximum reliability, and how to maintain your magazines for longterm reliability. Since magazines can be one of the most common failure points in a firearm, we feel like this discussion could be helpful to everyone.

Firearm Basics

We’re using brand new Magpul magazines, which some folks think can be a bit difficult to load, especially as you’re loading higher round counts into the mag. We like Magpul magazines for two specific reasons: 1. Magpul magazines are easy to disassemble and clean. 2. They have a really nice gripping surface for emergency magazine removal.

First tip, how to easily load a magazine. Once you get about 10 rounds loaded, you will find that the magazine will start to feel a bit stiffer. Take your thumb and push down on the top round in the magazine, then hit the bottom of the magazine against the palm of your other hand. Doing this will cause the 10 rounds you’ve already loaded to act as a giant hammer, compressing the spring all the way to the bottom of the magazine, allowing the next rounds to go into the mag much more easily. It’s such a simple trick that can make loading higher round counts much easier.

The second tip when you’re loading a magazine, after you load a magazine, take it and tap the back of the magazine against the palm of your hand. What this does is to seat all of the round to the very back of the magazine, so that the rounds are all positioned in the same way as they are engaged by the slide and pushed into the chamber. This can help with reliability.

How to take care of your magazine

Finally, let’s talk about how to take care of your magazines to ensure they’re going to run when you need them. Maintenance is so important for mags–if you have to choose whether to clean your gun or clean your mag, always choose to clean your mag. The guns will normally run fine if they’re a bit dirty, it’s the magazine that is going to be the weak link. The reason cleaning your mags is so important is because, as the spring compresses, the spring gets twisted into a tight little ball, so dirt or mud inside of the magazine can really cause a problem. Again, why we like the Magpul mags is how easy they are to take apart to clean–depress the detent, and out comes the spring and follower. Get yourself a cloth (Microfiber is great; some guys in the competition world will choose to use a rod and reel cloth that does have a bit of silicon on it). Use a pencil to push the cloth into the magazine and pull it through. This will quickly take out any dirt or debris that has gotten inside your mag. Then take the cloth and wipe along the entire length of the spring, getting every coil. Finally, ensure the follower and detent are seated properly on the spring and reassemble.

Hopefully, you find this helpful! If you have any more questions on how to load a magazine into your gun, give us a call at (469) 458-6808. And please leave a comment with any other firearm basics you’d like us to cover on a future Technical Tuesday!


Technical Tuesday: Optic Cuts


It’s Technical Tuesday here at Shadow Systems. This week, we are talking about Optic Cuts for our slides. We cut our slides to fit a Trijicon RMR or a Holosun 507c. We’ll talk about why we chose these, how we designed our optic cut to allow the optic to sit lower than anyone else on the market, and how to install your optic on your slide.


Drop a comment with anything you’d like to see us cover in a future Technical Tuesday.

Give us a call at (469) 458-6808 with any questions!

Shop Optic Ready Slides with RMR Cut.

Technical Tuesday: MR918 Interchangeable Backstraps and Optional Magwell


This week, we are talking about the MR918 interchangeable backstrap system and the optional magazine well.

When we designed the frame, we included an interchangeable backstrap system that we call the NPOA system for Natural Point of Aim. The reason we designed it this way is that we feel some of the other designs out there now, small/medium/large, doesn’t really solve the problem–the problem being that I want a gun that points naturally for me. Our system is all about adjusting the gun so that it points naturally for you.

The gun comes with three backstraps, neutral, high, and low. We include a tool with a hardened steel pin in it to help you take the backstraps on and off. The gun has a single pin on the back of the backstrap. Using the tool, there is a little tiny chamfer on the tool that nicely fits into the top of the coil pin and that pin just pushes right out. Then the backstrap will just slide right off. You’ll see the dovetail along the back of the frame when you pull off the backstrap; that dovetail is what tensions the backstrap to the frame when it’s in place, making it feel and function as one solid piece. Each backstrap has a corresponding dovetail as well.

What you’re trying to do is to select the backstrap that feels natural to you, and what we mean by that is what makes the gunpoint as true to your natural aim as possible.

We will walk you through how to change out the backstrap and how to determine your natural point of aim to find the correct backstrap for you.

The gun ships with the “neutral” backstrap, which is somewhere between the Glock “hump” and the flat 1911; it’s very similar to what we do to our custom Glock framework when we flatten out the backstrap some. That’s a good starting place for most. You’ll also receive a “high” and a “low” backstrap. The “high” is most similar to the way a stock Glock fits in your hand, so if you’re a Glock guy, this may be the place to start for you. The “low” is the flattest of the three backstraps and feels most similar to the way a 1911 fits in your hand. So select the backstrap that works best for you and then lock it in place with the pin.

Once you’ve installed your backstrap, you’ll see there is a little tiny hole that a plug fits in. If you just want to run the gun flat, without a magwell, take the little plug and put that into the hole–this will keep debris out of that hole and finish the gun in a flat configuration.

If you’d prefer to run a magazine well to assist with faster reloads, you can choose to utilize the included magwell often used by Glock. Our magwell is a polymer piece that is lightweight and durable and comes standard with your gun. If you’d like to add the magwell, take the plug back out and add the pistol magwell plug in its place then pin that in place. Then the magwell snaps tightly into place and is pinned in place with the second pin. Then the magwell will be locked nice and rigid to the frame. We really like this magwell not just for faster reloads, but also because that bottom edge helps to lock the pistol even tighter into your grip. One additional note on our magwell, it has been designed so that if in the rare instance you do break your magwell, let’s say you fall on some rocks and break the magwell, it is designed to break at the plug so it will protect your frame. That way if you ever need to, you can replace the plug for $1 without doing any damage to your frame.

Hope this was a helpful introduction to our backstrap system and our optional magazine well. It is our goal to meet that need of every shooter to have a gun that points naturally, especially under stress. Can’t wait to hear your feedback as more of these MR918s start getting into the market.

Drop a comment with anything you’d like to see us cover in a future Technical Tuesday.

Give us a call at (469) 458-6808 with any questions!

Learn more about the MR918.

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