War Poet Pistol, Is It Worth It? In-Depth Review

The original War Poet Pistol is a 9mm handgun created by Shadow Systems for the Warrior Poet Society. It is based on the MR920 from Shadow Systems, built like a Glock 19. You can think of this as a Glock on steroids, or as some like to call it, a Gucci Glock. The newest addition to the War Poet family is the CR920 Subcompact. More on that is below.

It’s important to note Shadow System does not use any parts from Glock in this weapon, just the rough dimensions to fit common Glock 19 accessories. This is a major selling point for this weapon because you get some major upgrades to a standard Glock 19 while still being able to use the thousands of Glock accessories and holsters that exist.

War Poet Pistol with threaded barrel, Holosun 507C, and StreamLight TLR-7a

I purchased the MR920 version of the War Poet pistol about three years ago, and now that I’ve had significant time to shoot and carry it, I wanted to create an in-depth look at it and explain the pros and cons for anyone on the fence about purchasing it. I also wanted to break down all the upgrades and show their individual cost to see how much this gun would cost if you made the upgrades yourself to a standard Glock 19. Does it provide enough value for the money?

Lastly, I will cover the newest War Poet Pistol by Shadow Systems, the CR920 Subcompact. With any luck, I might be able to do a hands-on review of the CR920 soon as well (hint-hint, Shadow Systems 😉)

War Poet Pistol Vs. Upgraded Glock 19

War Poet MR920 Vs. Upgraded Glock 19War Poet PistolGlock 19
Base Pistol Cost$1,200$499
Iron Sights$129
Optic Cut$125
Red Dot Sight$309
Upgraded Barrel$234
Upgraded Trigger$151
Upgraded Slide Work$215
Upgraded Mag Well$89
Upgraded Stippling$100
TOTAL COST$1,200$1,851
Customized Glock 19 price compared to the Shadow Systems War Poet Pistol Build On The MR920 Platform
Shadow Systems MR920 War Poet Pistol

What is the War Poet Pistol?

The War Poet pistol made its debut in January 2020 through a collaborative effort between Shadow Systems and the Warrior Poet Society. Originally introduced on the Shadow Systems MR918 platform, it quickly underwent enhancements based on valuable customer feedback, resulting in the upgraded MR920 platform. This iteration of the pistol incorporated numerous improvements, further refining its overall performance and features.

How is the War Poet Pistol different from a Glock 19?

The War Poet Pistol distinguishes itself as a unique platform, distinct from the Glock 19, rather than a modified version of it. It stands as an independent creation, manufactured completely separate from Glock. Although it does not derive its foundation from the Glock 19, it has been meticulously designed to ensure compatibility with Glock 19 holsters, magazines, and accessories. This thoughtful approach allows users to seamlessly utilize their existing Glock 19 gear and accessories with the War Poet Pistol, augmenting its versatility and convenience.

Iron Sights – $129

The iron sights included on the pistol are a big upgrade from the standard Glock 19 iron sights. These metal sights feature a solid black rear sight and a high-visibility green outline tritium front sight.

War Poet Pistol Front Iron Sight with green tritium

The vivid green tritium front sight truly stands out in various lighting conditions, particularly in low-light environments. Its prominent visibility greatly facilitates the swift acquisition of the front sight during weapon presentation. Moreover, one notable advantage is the absence of color on the rear sight, which eliminates any potential distractions that might hinder the focus on picking up the front sight. This design choice further enhances the overall clarity and precision when aiming the weapon.

War Poet Pistol Read Iron Sight Black

The War Poet Pistol comes equipped with standard iron sights that are positioned at an optimal height, enabling them to be visible as backup sights through the Holosun 507C optic. Thanks to the integrated optic cut on the pistol itself, there is no need for additional adapters. The placement of red dot sights on the handgun is lower, ensuring improved visibility of the fixed sights. This design consideration enhances the overall sight picture and allows for effective utilization of both the red dot sight and the iron sights as necessary.

Optic Cut – $125

The optic cut featured on the War Poet Pistol, identical to that found in the MR920, stands out as one of the platform’s most distinctive attributes. Through an innovative redesign of the slide’s internal structure, Shadow Systems achieved a remarkable depth for the cut, allowing it to accommodate a wide range of red dot sights seamlessly, without the need for supplementary plates or adapters. This plug and play system simplifies the process of adding and utilizing various red dot sights, enhancing the overall versatility and convenience of the platform.

War Poet Internal Slide Components Rearranged for Universal Red Dot Sight Compatibility

Red Dot Sight – $309

The stock War Poet Pistol has two option, one with a red dot sight, and another model that is optic ready. The red dot sight that comes standard on the War Poet Pistol is the Holosun 507C X2. This optic has been my favorite for a variety of reasons.

First being the battery life. This red dot boasts a 50k hour battery life which is an insane claim. I haven’t been able to verify if its true since I’m no where near 50k hours and won’t be for many years. I can say the battery hasn’t had any issues to date and I don’t foresee it having issues anytime soon. In addition, the optic features a backup solar failsafe to ensure you have a functioning optic in nearly any situation.

Holosun 507C On Shadow Systems MR920

With the Holosun programmable “Shake Awake” feature, you can set a delay for the optic to go into sleep mode and it will only light back up when there is motion. This can extend the battery life up to 100k hours.

One of the major upgrades to this version of the Holosun 507c is a battery tray on the side of the unit. This allows you to change the battery (if you ever need to), without removing the optic from the handgun like was required with previous models. This red dot uses CR1632 style batteries which are available on Amazon for only $6 for two batteries.

War Poet Pistol Holosun 507C Red Dot Sight Picture

Crafted from lightweight yet highly durable aluminum, the unit possesses a robust construction that exudes both a sense of durability and functionality. Boasting 12 brightness settings, the reticle can be effortlessly adjusted to suit your preferences, whether for indoor or outdoor use. Additionally, it offers dim settings specially designed for compatibility with night vision devices. Furthermore, users have the option to choose from three distinct reticle styles, with the added convenience of not needing to re-zero the sight when switching between them. This flexibility in customization enhances the overall versatility and user experience of the optic.

Upgraded Match-grade Barrel – $234

The pistol comes standard with an upgraded Match-grade, threaded barrel which comes from machined 416R stainless steel. Using a tighter lug and barrel hood fitment there is an increased accuracy with this barrel without sacrificing any reliability.

Shadow Systems War Poet Barrel

If you plan on running a suppressor or any barrel accessories, this barrel is threaded with 1/2X28.

War Poet Pistol 1/2×28 Threaded Barrel

Upgraded Trigger – $151

The trigger included with the War Poet Pistol is flat-faced and designed with accuracy and daily carry in mind. While the take-up has been reduced compared to a stock Glock 19 trigger, there is still a 4-4.5 trigger pull weight. This give an easy and smoother trigger pull (providing higher accuracy) while still remaining safe enough for daily carry.

War Poet MR920 Trigger

This is a drop-safe trigger that has been tested by Shadow Systems for falls up to 22 feet. There is also a high degree of reliability and durability with this trigger. Shadow Systems has put 15,000+ rounds on this trigger in testing without any issue.

Customizable Grip – $N/A – No Aftermarket Equivalent

The grip on this pistol is a custom design by Shadow Systems and completely changes the standard grip angle to meet the shooters point of aim. The technical name for this grip style is the Shadow Systems NPOA backstrap system. The gun comes with three interchangeable backstraps to even further customize the grip angle to your liking.

Upgraded Slide Work – $215

Aesthetically captivating, the mill work on the slide of the War Poet Pistol adds to its visual appeal. However, the purpose of this intricate mill work extends beyond mere aesthetics, although it undeniably enhances the pistol’s overall appearance. The deeper cuts on the front and rear of the slide serve a functional role by significantly improving the grip for activities such as racking the gun or performing press-checks. These thoughtful design elements not only contribute to the pistol’s striking aesthetics but also enhance its practicality and ease of use during various firearm handling tasks.

War Poet Pistol Slide Work

The small windows placed on either side of the magazine help with barrel cooling and ejection of debris.

Upgraded Mag Well – $89

A flared magazine well is standard on this pistol and provides extremely easy reloading even if you don’t have the magazine perfectly aligned. The flared edges guide the magazine into the firearm in a smoother fashion with no hang-ups. Not an extremely expensive after-market upgrade, but it is nice to see it come standard on the War Poet Pistol.

War Poet Pistol Magwell

Upgraded Stippling – $100

Stippling is a very common upgrade for added grip. Stippling can help you hold the handgun with increased grip allowing for more consistent and accurate shots. Stippling on the grip is the most common location, except the War Poet pistol takes it further. As you can see in the image below, there is stippling for your thumb when using a thumb forward grip. This little pad with stippling is amazing. I never knew how much I needed it until I was able to shoot with it. Not only does it provide extra grip, it also is confirmation of proper hand placement. When I grip the pistol and feel my thumb align with the pad I know my hand is in a consistent placement.

While you can pay to have stippling added to a standard Glock 19, you wont have the ability for the added thumb pad which is a downside in my opinion.

Thumb Stippling War Poet Shadow Systems MR920 Pistol

How Does The War Poet Pistol Shoot?

During my initial range session with the War Poet Pistol, I anticipated a learning curve since it was my first experience with a red dot sight on a handgun. Prior accounts had emphasized the importance of achieving near-perfect firearm presentation to ensure optimal visibility of the reticle. Even a slight misalignment could result in the reticle being completely obscured.

To my pleasant surprise, the transition felt remarkably natural once I started shooting. In fact, I found it even more preferable compared to using iron sights, as it allowed me to maintain focus on the target while only requiring a single focal point on the gun. Remarkably, my first five shots at a distance of 7 yards formed a tight cluster dead center on the target. I had anticipated the need for sight zeroing, but to my delight, the sight was perfectly calibrated right out of the box. This discovery left me exceedingly satisfied.

The trigger itself proved to be a delight, offering a crisp break with a clearly defined wall and reset, facilitating quick follow-up shots. Additionally, I found the additional stippling located in front of the trigger under the slide to be a thoughtful feature, providing enhanced grip and control for my left thumb.

Is The War Poet Pistol Good For Concealed Carry?

I was extremely hesitant about the size of the War Poet Pistol for every day concealed carry at first. I was carrying a smaller 9mm before and at times it seemed too big. Not in weight though, just in the amount of printing that could be seen.

War Poet Pistol with red dot and StreamLight TLR-7A in Tier One Concealed Axis Slim Holster Carbon/Red

I liked the idea of having the higher capacity of the War Poet along with an extra mag. So I purchased the Axis Slim holster by Tier One Concealed. After waiting about a month and a half, the holster finally came and I was awestruck at how well the holster concealed the gun on my body.

I’m not even sure how, but I can comfortably conceal the War Poet Pistol with the red dot and TLR-7A light along with a second magazine easier than I could with a much smaller 9mm by itself. This really showed me the importance of purchasing a quality IWB holster.

I am 6 foot, 175 pounds, and I normally wear fitted t-shirts. Even with fitted t-shirts the gun conceals perfectly. I found myself much more comfortable carrying in public since I was as worried about printing like I was before.

War Poet Pistol Disassembly and Breakdown

The War Poet Pistol breaks down just like the standard Shadow Systems MR920, with is very similar to the process for the Glock 19. There are a few subtle differences though that might make you hang up. Here’s the way Shadow Systems recommends you break down the MR920″

War Poet Pistol Shadow Systems MR920 Breakdown and Disassembly
  • First, ensure all ammunition is removed from the firearm. Drop the magazine and then lock the slide back to inspect the chamber. If your gun is clear, release the slide to the closed position.
  • Next, point the gun in a safe direction, and then pull the trigger. You should hear the click of the firing pin.
  • Hold the gun in either hand so that your fingers grasp the top of the slide.
  • You then want to pull and hold the slide back approximately 1/16 of an inch. Just barely move the slide back to release the pressure from the slide locks.
  • Simultaneously, pull down and hold both sides of the slide lock using the thumb and index finger of your free hand.
  • Push the slide forward until it is fully separated from the receiver.

What Holsters Fit The War Poet?

Shadow Systems has built the MR920 Platform so that it can be used with all Glock 19 holsters and accessories. So, any Glock 19 specific holster can work. There are, however, a few holster manufacturers that make holsters specific to the MR920.

Tier One Concealed Holster War Poet Shadow Systems Pistol

I purchased one of these holsters from Tier One Concealed called the Axis Slim and had it made with sight cut out and and to be compatible with a TLR-7a light. I highly recommend this holster for anyone with the War Poet Pistol or the Shadow Systems MR920. It is made with quality materials, looks great, feels great, and conceals great.

A few other holster manufacturers that make holsters specific to the MR920 are:

Red Dot Sights Compatible With War Poet Pistol

Shadow Systems has a unique proprietary optic mounting cut, which fits most major brands of RDS optics directly mounted to the slide. There is no need for additional plates or adapters to make these red dot sights work.

Holosun 507c on War Poet Shadow Systems MR920 Pistol

Holosun: 407c, 507c, 508-T

The HS507C X2 is an open reflex optical sight designed for pistol applications. The X2 Series of pistol optics feature two improvements: Lock Mode, which locks the buttons preventing inadvertent setting changes; and a redesigned button layout that decreases interference with the lock mode’s operation by placing them lower on the optic body to avoid accidental activation while carrying or manipulating your firearm during use. Additional features include Holosun’s Super LED with up to 50k hours battery life, Solar Failsafe (which allows you to maintain full visibility even in low-light environments), Multi-Reticle System, and Shake Awake™ technology (a motion sensor designed so it will only activate when shaken)

HOLOSUN - HS507C-X2 Classic Multi Reticle Red Dot Sight (Black)

Leupold: DeltaPoint Pro

If you are looking for a sight that is versatile and robust, the DeltaPoint Pro will not disappoint. This small yet powerful sight has an easy-access battery compartment so your zero doesn’t shift when changing batteries as well 8 different brightness settings ensuring maximum visibility in any scenario with this handy little gadget!

Shield: RMSc

The RMS sight by Leupold delivers a distinct advantage with its clear and uncluttered optic, accompanied by exceptional durability. Setting itself apart from many competitors, this sight eliminates the red filter, ensuring minimal visual signature for covert operations. Its aerospace-grade aluminum construction, finished with a matte black anodized coating, not only grants resilience against scratches but also maintains a pristine appearance across diverse environments. Furthermore, the sight incorporates variable intensity drive circuits on the top, intelligently detecting varying levels of ambient light. This feature enables the sight to instantly present a bright dot upon sighting targets during low-light or nighttime conditions, catering to the demands of both daytime and nighttime shooting scenarios.

SIG: Romeo 1 Pro

The Romeo 1Pro is a new, durable miniature open-reflex red dot sight that has 12 brightness settings. The aircraft grade aluminum housing ensures corrosion resistance and durability in the harshest of environments while also providing increased brightness with its upgraded point-source emitter; which means it can be used day or night conditions without distortion to give you fast target acquisition for accuracy. The glass aspheric lens offers superior light transmittance so you’ll have clear vision when shooting targets from afar, all backed by high performance coatings for better visibility and bright illumination on your small scope screen at any time
1)The Romeo 1pro features an ultra lightweight design (under 5 oz.), making assembly easy no matter what type of firearm it’s attached to 2

Swampfox: Liberty, Justice, Kingslayer

Do you want to take your shooting skills up a notch? Check out the new Liberty and Justice second generation Swampfox Optics open reflex sights. They’re perfect for everyday concealed carry and law enforcement duty use, featuring tough 7075 aluminum construction with Shake ‘N Wake Illumination to give you the best clarity possible in any conditions! Plus these optics have improved battery life so they’ll be ready day after day – no matter what Mother Nature throws at them!

Trijicon: RMR, SRO

The Trijicon RMR sight stands as the pinnacle of ruggedness among miniature red dot sights. Its patented shape is specifically designed to absorb impacts and deflect stresses away from the lens, resulting in unparalleled durability. In the upgraded Type 2 model, advanced electronics have undergone rigorous testing to ensure reliable performance when mounted on slide ride pistols or other small arms. This versatility renders it an ideal choice for firearm enthusiasts of all kinds, providing a reliable and resilient optic solution.

Trijicon RM06-C-700672 RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Sight, 3.25 MOA Red Dot Reticle, Black

TruGlo: Trutec

Whether riding the slide of an optic-ready handgun or outfitting a rifle or shotgun with ultra-lightweight accessories, the new TRU-TEC MICRO is here to help. The MICRO incorporates favorite features of the TRU-TEC line in an ultra-lightweight and versatile profile, including digital push-button brightness control and an idle auto-off system to save battery life.

TRUGLO TRU-TEC Micro Red Dot Sight Open Reflex Optic for Rifles, Shotguns and Pistols, Red Dot, RMR Mount

Vortex: Vip

The Viper Red Dot is the perfect solution for handguns with cutout slides. The super-low mounting height makes it simple and fast to use, while co-witnessing with suppressor height iron sights. With a 6 MOA dot diameter that gets shooters on target quickly, there’s no sacrifice involved in choosing this sight over traditional ones!

Vortex Optics Viper Red Dot Sight - 6 MOA Dot

So, is the War Poet Pistol Worth It?

Is the War Poet Pistol worth it? In my honest opinion, absolutely! I must admit, this purchase has exceeded my expectations, and I have developed a strong affinity for the entire setup. While I had initially heard positive remarks about Shadow Systems and was familiar with the Warrior Poet Society, I wasn’t entirely convinced that the upgrades offered in comparison to enhancing a standard Glock 19 would be worth the investment. However, after using it extensively, I can confidently assert that the War Poet Pistol feels like a complete and reliable package.

One notable drawback of assembling various parts from different sources to upgrade a standard Glock 19 is the potential for encountering quality issues, reliability concerns, and an array of other potential problems. In contrast, the War Poet Pistol comes equipped with all the desired upgrades right from the factory, eliminating the need for aftermarket accessories.

It’s worth highlighting that Shadow Systems has conducted thorough testing on this specific firearm, including its exact specifications, ensuring its unwavering reliability. Such confidence cannot be easily extended to an upgraded Glock 19 with an assortment of aftermarket accessories.

Presently, the War Poet Pistol serves as my daily carry firearm, and I have no intentions of switching to an alternative option in the foreseeable future. Its performance and reliability have solidified its position as my trusted companion, providing me with the utmost confidence in its abilities.

Common War Poet Pistol Q&As

Is The War Poet Pistol a Glock?

No, the War Poet Pistol is not a Glock. It is made by Shadow Systems and can accept most holsters and accessories from a Glock 19.

Does Shadow Systems Make Quality Handguns?

The overwhelming number of reviews for Shadow Systems are positive. Searching Google and YouTube, you will find very few negative comments about the gun manufacturer.

When you see negative reviews, it usually has to do with the gun failing to go into battery. This is something Shadow Systems outlines in their manual as the “break-in” period. You should expect to fire 500 rounds through the War Poet Pistol to get it past the break-in period, where jams can occur.

Shadow Systems is also well known for taking customer feedback and implementing changes when updated pistols are released.

What is the Warrior Poet Society?

John Lovell created the Warrior Poet Society to help train and equip others to use their minds and bodies to protect others to make our communities and our world a safer place. The society’s YouTube channel has a wide variety of training videos, and their WPSN network has even more training videos.

I highly recommend the Pistol 1 and 2 training series that can be found on the Warrior Poet Society Network. I am currently a subscriber myself.

What’s Included in the War Poet Pistol Box?

When you purchase a War Poet Pistol, it will come in a cardboard box with a soft case inside. The soft case is nothing special, but it features the Shadow Systems logo and will hold the gun/accessories.

The gun comes with two 15-round magazines, three interchangeable backstraps, a gun lock, and a few spacing adjusters to fill up the gap behind some red dot sights when attached to the gun. war poet pistol with two magazines


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Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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