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Shadow Systems Foundation Series Pistols

The new Shadow Systems Foundation Series pistols share the company's design philosophy with the same frame ergonomics, optic cuts, and accuracy as its premium pistols, but they come with substantially reduced price tags.

Shadow Systems Foundation Series Pistols

(Michael Anschuetz photo)

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Most readers should be aware of Shadow Systems because the Texas-based company has been producing Glock-like semiautomatic pistols since 2017. When the company first got off the ground, the technicians were making exciting and effective improvements to Glock pistols. Since then, the company has evolved to the point of making everything except the magazines in-house (including molding the frames, machining the slides, and making the barrels) and turning out premium-grade, premium-performing pistols that sell for premium prices. Shooting Times is pleased to announce that the newest pistols from Shadow Systems (called the Foundation Series) are top-performing guns but are priced substantially less than their premium-priced stablemates.

Currently, there are three Foundation Series models: the XR920FS, the MR920FS, and the DR920FS. All three models are chambered for 9mm Luger.

We received one each of the new handguns, and we put them through our usual thorough range test. But before I get to those details, here’s a look at their features.

Fantastic Features

Shadow Systems’s previous pistols are known for their great ergonomics, well-designed optic-ready slides (more about that in a moment), and excellent accuracy. The new Foundation Series pistols have all that as well. So you’re probably asking how Shadow Systems can offer them for just $799 MSRP when the other models go for as much as $1,299. I wondered that, too, and the company spokesman told me they have made some changes to the trigger, the sights, the machine work, and the “extras” that come in the boxes in order to offer these guns for less money. We’ll look at those features, but first let’s talk about the optic-ready slides.

Shadow Systems Foundation Series Pistol optic-mounting setup
One notable feature of the Shadow Systems Foundation Series pistols is the patented optic-mounting setup. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

One thing that makes the Shadow Systems optic-ready pistols a little different from other optic-ready pistols on the market from other gunmakers is Shadow Systems guns don’t need a mounting plate between the optic and the slide. The optic screws directly to the slide. The slide is set up to accept multiple popular red-dot optics from Holosun, Leupold, Shield, SIG, Swampfox, Trijicon, TRUGLO, and Vortex.

Another unique aspect of Shadow Systems’s optic-ready slides is that they are cut low enough that standard-height sights can co-witness with the optic. Most readers probably know that many optic-ready pistols need higher-than-standard sights in order to co-witness with the optic. Be advised that due to its high body, the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro will not co-witness with the pistol’s standard-height sights.

Shadow Systems Foundation Series Model XR920FS Pistol
The XR920FS shown here has a full-size grip frame, a compact slide, and a 4.0-inch barrel. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

Speaking of sights, the sights on all three of our sample Foundation Series pistols are steel. The rear sights are all black with a 0.148-inch-wide square notch and fine horizontal striations. The front sights all have a single white dot, and the front sight posts are 0.140 inch thick.

The Foundation Series triggers are polymer with safety levers built into them. To my trigger finger, they feel less “spongy” and slightly lighter than a typical striker-fired trigger. Our samples had trigger pulls that averaged 5 pounds, 7 ounces, 5 pounds, 12 ounces, and 6 pounds, 2 ounces respectively. Those are for five measurements with an RCBS trigger pull scale for each trigger. They had the expected amount of take-up, but let-offs were crisp and quite clean.




Shadow System Foundation Series Pistols safety lever triggers
The 9mm Foundation Series pistols come with safety lever triggers, three interchangeable backstraps, and two Magpul PMAG magazines. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The machine work on the slides is noticeably plainer than Shadow Systems’s premium pistols. The Foundation Series slides have wide, angled grasping grooves up front and at the rear on both sides, and the company logo and the model designation are marked on the left side. The top edges are beveled, and the front portions where the grasping grooves start are tapered. That’s about it for the machining. Slide fit and the black Nitride slide finish are excellent, but like I said, they are plain. That doesn’t bother me one bit because I like plain-Jane pistols, especially for self-defense.

Shadow Systems Foundation Series Pistols Specifications for full-size models XR920, MR920 and DR920

As for the “extras” that come with each Foundation Series pistol, there is an operator’s manual, two extra interchangeable backstraps (making a total of three), the tool for pushing out the retaining pin, a small packet of gun oil, several optic-mounting screws and compression spacers that go in front of and behind the optic (recommended but not mandatory), a tube of Loctite, a decal with the company logo, a padlock-style gun lock, and an extra magazine.

Shadow System Foundation Series Model MR920 Pistol
Each Foundation pistol comes with several screws, compression spacers, and Loctite for installing a red-dot optic directly to the slide. The MR920FS shown here has a compact grip frame, a compact slide, and a 4.0-inch barrel. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

And speaking of magazines, they are polymer and made by Magpul. They have removable polymer baseplates and polymer followers. The XR920FS pistol has a magazine capacity of 17 rounds. The MR920FS pistol has a magazine capacity of 15 rounds. And the DR920FS pistol has a magazine capacity of 17 rounds. For customers who live in areas where magazine capacity is limited, 10-round versions are also available.

Recommended


Oh, and I should mention that the XR920FS has a full-size grip frame paired with a compact slide and a 4.0-inch-long barrel; the MR920FS has a compact grip frame paired with a compact slide and a 4.0-inch-long barrel; and the DR920FS has a full-size grip frame with a full-size slide and a 4.5-inch-long barrel. All barrels are finished with black Nitride.

Shadow Systems Foundation Series Pistols Accuracy and Velocity Results Chart

Premium Performance

After putting all three sample Foundations pistols through our standard shooting evaluation, I can say that they are comfortable to shoot, and they are accurate—no doubt due to their good trigger pulls and top-quality craftmanship.

The results of shooting the same five 9mm factory loads through each pistol are listed in the accompanying chart. As you can see, each gun preferred a different load, but all three pistols averaged less than 4.5 inches for all five loads at 25 yards from a bench-rest. That’s for three, five-shot groups with each load, using the iron sights and not an optic.

Shadow Systems Foundation Series Pistol barrel showing less machine work
The Foundation Series pistols have noticeably less machine work than the company’s premium pistols, but they perform just as well. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The XR920FS preferred the Remington Golden Saber Black Belt 124-grain JHP +P ammo, turning in an average of 3.00 inches. The MR920FS preferred the Federal Personal Defense Micro 150-grain HST ammo, achieving an average of 3.25 inches. And the DR920FS preferred the Hornady Critical Duty 135-grain FexLock ammo, with an average of 2.85 inches.

I must point out that every single five-shot group I fired with each pistol had at least three shots clustered measuring between 1 inch and 2 inches, and quite a few strings had two shots touching. Obviously, my not-so-good eyesight and mediocre shooting skills opened up the groups.

Shadow Systems Foundation Series DR920FS Pistol
Each Foundation Series pistol also comes with a padlock-style gun lock, a small packet of gun oil, an operator’s manual, and a decal with the company’s logo. The DR920FS shown here has a full-size grip frame, a full-size slide, and a 4.5-inch barrel. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

I also fired each pistol offhand with some miscellaneous 9mm ammo, and I had zero malfunctions. All rounds fed, fired, and ejected cleanly from each pistol.

I can confidently say these Foundation Series guns are good guns. They are designed with economy in mind, but they perform like premium pistols.

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