Test: Kadet conversion kit in .22 Long Rifle for CZ Shadow 2 pistols – Save ammo costs and train efficiently

With so high prices in the centerfire ammo range, what sport shooter doesn't sometimes wish for a more affordable training alternative? There is one – in the form of .22 Long Rifle conversion kits. For many large-caliber pistols, regardless of whether they have a polymer or metal frame, there are now so-called adapters. which are usually made to fire to the small and inexpensive .22LR. rimfire cartridge. 

Innovative: Kadet .22 conversion kit for CZ Shadow models

CZ Griffstück mit Wechselsystem
The Shadow  conversion kit comes with adjustable three-dot sights, replacement springs and a 10-round magazine.

CZ currently offers four interchangeable kits: two one-piece slide conversions for the P-07 and P-09 polymer pistols, one kit for the SP-01 Shadow, and the new Kadet hybrid kit, consisting of a plastic guide block and an aluminum slide, intended for second-generation Shadow pistols. Apart from the old two-piece steel conversion kits for the CZ 75, the manufacturer CZ has been very much limited to adapters for their polymer models in recent years. So it's all the nicer that the Czechs are now giving shooters the option of firing rimfire ammunition in the Shadow 2 line.

The first and second generation Shadow pistols have been competing very successfully in the dynamic shooting disciplines of IPSC for just over 15 years and have accompanied numerous top shooters to continental and even world championships there – their image among fans is correspondingly good. It's true that IPSC training with a rimfire conversion kit doesn't necessarily make as much sense for shooters in the IPSC Production Class, for which the Shadow 1 and 2 are built. Nevertheless, the owner of a Shadow 2 or 1 can also compete in other (also static) disciplines. And just for this, the Kadet rimfire adapter offers a quite useful training alternative.

Attention: there are different kits for the CZ SP-01 Shadow and CZ Shadow 2 (see both links for online purchase). Please check the compatibility of the kit with your gun before purchasing, minor adjustments may be necessary from time to time.

Wechselsystem, demontiert in Einzelteilen
The Kadet  conversion kit for the CZ Shadow 2 version along with the three different strength (and color-coded) springs: From top: slide, bushing, springs and guide rod, plastic block with pin and the barrel.

The design of the conversion kit for the Shadow 2 differs in one significant respect from that of the current Kadet line for the P-07/-09. While the latter uses a complete, one-piece aluminum slide, CZ engineers designed a two-piece hybrid system for the Shadow 2 conversion kit, consisting of a short front polymer block and the light alloy slide behind it. The front polymer block holds the barrel, is fixed with a small metal pin, and closes the recoil spring housing to the front. In addition, it also carries a slide rail on both sides to fit into the guide grooves on the Shadow 2 frame. Apart from this hybrid design, it can be fitted and removed like a centerfire-style slide. The conversion kit also includes a 120-mm barrel, three recoil springs with a plastic guide rod, a dedicated slide release, and a 10-round polymer magazine. With its  polymer front, the aluminum slide has roughly identical dimensions compared to the steel slide of the original. It features front and rear serrations with a good grip and features the height-adjustable rear sight of the centerfire version. In a departure from the series, a high stepped target front sight is used here. With barrel and spring, the Kadet slide weighs only 294 grams. This makes it well over 7 oz/200 g lighter than the same component of the 9mm pistol (18.44 oz/523 grams). Overall, the converted Shadow 2 test gun now weighs 37.35 oz/1059 grams with an empty rimfire synthetic magazine – rather a heavy weight for a rimfire pistol.

Operation and trigger are as in the centerfire counterpart. A short single-action mode with a crisp reset and a determined trigger pull weight of 60 oz(1700 g on average meets a typically long double-action mode, which also does not turn out to be too heavy, with a release value of 158.7 oz/4500 g. 

The CZ Kadet conversion kit for the Shadow 2 in the test fire

On the shooting range with a Shadow 2 fitted with the conversion kit, on the 25-meter shooting line: the accuracy test and measurement of bullet velocities were performed by shooting the pistol from a Heyman-Guntester rest. The tightest grouping was fired with the Eley Pistol cartridges at the test target. From the rest, there were isolated malfunctions with the lower-performance loads because cartridges were not fed or ejected correctly. It is all the more pleasing that the Shadow 2 was able to work absolutely trouble-free with all cartridge types in the standing position. With the factory-fitted black recoil spring, the gun correctly cycles in a wide range of shooting positions, depending on the ammunition used. If the shooter uses ammunition in the tested power range, it is therefore not absolutely necessary to mount the included blue or red spring. According to CZ, the blue spring is designed for use with subsonic ammunition and the red one is designed for use with high velocity cartridges. While upgrading to a weaker or stronger spring may not always be necessary for most ammunition types, the swap can still make sense. After all, a spring that is matched to your own ammunition type, or at least one that is more suitable, can noticeably improve the gun's firing behavior. If the slide cycles a little softer, the gun may well feel more pleasant to your handle. The rest of the controls including the trigger worked absolutely exemplary and like a centerfire Shadow 2.

CZ Shadow 2 Kadet conversion kit specs and price

CZ Shadow 2 Kadet conversion kit
649.99 euro
Magazine Capacity:
10 rounds
Dimensions (L x W x H):
227 x 32 x 146 mm¹
Barrel Length:
4.72”/120 mm
Sight Radius:
6.92”/176 mm
Trigger Pull Weight:
Double Action – 4500 g¹; Single Action – 1700 g¹
10.37 oz/294 g
Rimfire conversion kit for CZ Shadow 2 semi-automatic pistol, aluminum slide,
adjustable three-dot sights, replacement springs, one 10-round magazine.
¹ Referring to the fully assembled gun with conversion kit.

For whom is the purchase of the CZ Kadet conversion kit worthwhile?

Our conclusion: the Shadow 2 Kadet conversion kit makes sense for shooters primarily if they are looking for a less expensive training option. The conversion kit is neatly manufactured and worked with a fairly wide range of rimfire ammunition types in the test. The conversion and also the spring change are very easy and quick. Only time will tell how durable the front plastic block of the kit is. After all, it rests directly against the steel frame and the aluminum slide hits it when fired. It made a solid impression in the test. The CZ conversion kit comes with a 10-round magazine, two additional recoil springs (blue/red), a dedicated slide release, and instructions. The price is okay from our point of view.

 What we liked:

 What we found less good:

Finally, a .22 conversion kit for the CZ Shadow 2
Plastic block must absorb the slide impacts (durability in the long run?)
Perfectly fitted, two-piece hybrid kit

Safe function

Three springs for ammunition adjustment included

Complete kit

You can find the manufacturer information about the Kadet conversion kit on the CZ website.

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