Shadow Systems XR920 And MR920L Review 

Shadow Systems XR920 And MR920L Review 

The author takes a closer look at the XR920 and MR902L, two crossover-size 9mm pistols from Shadow Systems.

As I’ve said in some of my other Shadow Systems reviews, Plastic Fantastics” are everywhere now. We’re almost 40 years into the “trend”, but if it’s been persisting that long, I think it’s more than a mere fad at this point. It’s a theme, a motif, a movement. Of late, we’ve seen “crossovers” in this space; that is to say, pistols that have a compact slide and full-size frame à la the Glock 19X or Glock 45. But we don’t really see the inverse that often. 

This piece is an overview of two different crossover pistols from Shadow Systems—the XR920 and the MR920L. 


Grip Frames And Ergonomics

The grip frames and ergs are definitely different between these two pistols. The XR920 has the DR920/Glock 17-size grip frame but with much better ergs than the Glock 17 in this writer’s humble opinion. You can read more of my thoughts on this frame in my full DR920 review.

Both the XR920 and the MR920L also have the same Shadow Systems features and accouterments that the company includes with its standard full-size and compact pistol lines. That means these guns have medium stippling all around their grips, thumb ledges above the trigger guards so you can hit the gas and still stay on target, OEM magwells that are in the Goldilocks zone (not too big, not too small) and no finger grooves on the grip (Glock Gen 4 haters, rejoice!). They also both ship with interchangeable NPOA (natural point of aim) backstraps.

The pistols both pointed well in my hand, but my personal geometry pushes my preferences toward the MR920L and similar compact-frame guns like the Glock 19.


The slides of the XR920 and MR920L have more serrations than a bread knife, both featuring forward and rear cocking serrations. These come in handy whether you’re running an optic or not, and I find that I use the forward serrations for press checks even if I typically use the optic to chamber a round.

Sporting the same attention to detail that we’ve come to expect from Shadow Systems, the machining on the slides is both elegant and aggressive. The tops of the slides feature serrations as well, in addition to lightning cuts to shed some weight.

Further, both the XR920 and MR920L feature Shadow Systems’ patented optic system that allows users to mount virtually any optic directly to the slide. No plates, no weak points. I’ve racked the pistols using their attached optics off tables and other hard surfaces, and they stayed zeroed every time.

As you can see, the MR920L has more serrations on top and front due to the longer slide, but the rear of the slide is identical (6 serrations if you’re counting). 


The barrels are both match-grade, but I opted for slightly different configurations. The XR920 sports a 4-inch spiral-fluted black nitride barrel with conventional rifling. 

The MR920L instead has Shadow Systems’ 5-inch bronze TiNi threaded (1/2×28) barrel with spiral fluting, and it gives the package a bit more visual flair. With the longer barrel, I picked up an average of 33 fps in velocity with the same ammo (average of 890 fps with 147-grain factory loads in the MR920L vs. 857 fps for the XR920). With 115-grain reloads, I picked up 53 fps on average with the long slide (1,093 fps for the MR920L vs. 1,040 fps with the XR920). 


When it comes to my personal Shadow Systems guns, such as my oft-carried MR920 with an RMR, I tend to prefer non-threaded barrels. Sure, I have spare Shadow Systems barrels with threads lying around if I want to twist on a whisper pickle, but for the day-to-day, they’re not necessary. The pistols remain plenty accurate in either configuration.  


Boringly predictable. That’s not to say that they’re not fun to shoot, as they certainly are, but as someone with a lot of trigger time behind Shadow Systems pistols, they performed as expected.

As you’d imagine with the XR920, given that it has a Glock 19-length top with an approximately 4-inch barrel, it’s very similar to the MR920 in its sight picture and handling. The slide length makes it faster out of the holster while maintaining a full-size frame and capacity, something that Shadow Systems touts on their website. For whatever reason, I feel like I can shoot short-slide guns slightly faster than long slides. Plus, if you have meaty mitts, the larger grip offers more real estate (I don't, I have medium hands).


The MR920L, by contrast, has a slightly more diminutive grip with a long side and extended sight radius. I prefer this grip size because unlike with the larger XR, the magwell serves as a useful pinky ledge for me on the MR. It points well too, especially when I used the medium backstrap, and I got my splits down to about as low as they can go with Glock-style handguns—around .17 seconds—with great accuracy. 

The MR920L also seems to soak up a bit more recoil than the XR, likely due to its mass being slightly higher with roughly an extra inch of slide. It also is more front-heavy for this reason, making tracking the sight under recoil a bit easier. I feel like the MR920L is a bit more elegant, easier to drive on target, and more balanced overall, but this is all subjective. 

Both guns ran fast and functioned very well out of the box, and it took no time to get used to the feel. It’s vaguely familiar and oddly welcome, like when you run into an ex-girlfriend when you’re both newly single. 

As far as trigger pull, the XR920 averaged 3 pounds, 8 ounces, and the MR920L averaged 3 pounds, 11 ounces, each measured over ten trigger presses on my Wheeler digital gauge. Both figures are well under the advertised weights of 4.5-5 pounds. 


The target pictured above, as you can see, is mostly A zone hits with a Charlie here and there. These are all double and triple taps, from the holster, out to 30 yards. The guns are plenty accurate. 


As with most pistols, both the XR920 and MR920L are far, far more mechanically accurate than I could be. I opted to not equip an optic on either this time, as I’ve been trying to get “back to basics” in competition lately by getting reacquainted with iron sights. Regardless, the tritium front and blacked-out rear sights found on these guns proved to be more than adequate.


As one would expect, the match-grade barrels on both perform plenty fine for practical accuracy and I can make good hits out to 35 yards with predictable results. Also, as you’d expect, the MR920L’s longer sight radius and 5-inch barrel do make the longer shots seem easier and more precise.  


What would a review be without a critique? As always, I tend to ding Shadow Systems for being slightly “over-engineered,” but that’s not a bad thing. It comes good-to-go out of the box, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything you want to upgrade. The guns come with Shadow Systems’ direct-to-slide optic mounting system, magwells, three different interchangeable backstraps, night sights, stainless steel guide rods and pre-stippled grips. 

I have heard, however, that aftermarket triggers are hit or miss, and Shadow Systems themselves don’t recommend using an aftermarket Glock trigger. This is because, despite first glance, these pistols are not Glocks. The company has a pretty interesting “Technical Tuesday” series on its YouTube channel that touches on this, where CEO Trevor Roe gets into the weeds on various topics.

However, BOTH of these models still fit in open-ended Glock holsters, and the XR920 is cross-compatible with most Glock 19 holsters while the MR920L will fit most Glock 17 and 34-length holsters (be advised, you may need an open-ended holster, I typically run these guns in a T-Rex Arms Ragnarok).

Also, unlike other Shadow Systems pistols that needed a break-in period (it’s still recommended by the manufacturer), these both ran smoothly right out of the box with no FTEs or malfunctions of any sort. 

Parting Shot

While the Shadow Systems XR920 and MR920L are technically “crossover” pistols, they each are viable options for the discerning shooter who wants a “little extra” in the form of either a larger grip or a longer barrel and sight picture. While I prefer to carry something a bit more compact, the XR920 could certainly fill the role. Also, when it comes to competition, I typically shoot Shadow Systems guns in Carry Optics, but the MR920L just might make an appearance on the days I feel like kicking it old school in Production/SSP divisions. 

If you’re looking to check multiple boxes with a single pistol, check out the XR920 or MR920L. 


Shadow Systems XR920 

  • Caliber: 9×19
  • Action: Striker-fire
  • Weight: 23 Ounces (Combat); 22.4 Ounces (Elite)
  • Frame: Textured polymer
  • Length: 7.25 inches (unthreaded)
  • Height: 5.25 inches
  • Slide Material: 17-4 Stainless Steel
  • Trigger pull: 4.5-5.0 Pounds
  • Capacity: 17+1
  • Front sight: Green Outline, Tritium Dot
  • Rear sight: Black Serrated
  • MSRP: $1,046 (Combat); $1,164 (Elite)

Shadow Systems MR920L 

  • Caliber: 9×19
  • Action: Striker-fire
  • Weight: 22 Ounces
  • Frame: Textured polymer
  • Length: 7.56 Inches (unthreaded)
  • Height: 4.75 Inches
  • Slide Material: 17-4 Stainless Steel
  • Trigger pull: 4.5-5.0 Pounds
  • Capacity: 15+1
  • Front sight: Green Outline, Tritium Dot
  • Rear sight: Black Serrated
  • MSRP: $1,175

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