A Look at the Finest Competition Pistols for Serious Shooters

Competition shooting is a sport that demands precision, speed, and reliability from both the shooter and their equipment. Over the years, the market has evolved to offer a wide range of pistols designed specifically for the competitive shooter. These firearms are engineered to provide the utmost accuracy, minimal recoil, and rapid follow-up shots. Here we discuss some of the finest competition pistols that cater to the needs of serious shooters, focusing on their design, performance, and unique features that set them apart in the competitive shooting world.

  1. CZ Shadow 2

The CZ Shadow 2 represents a significant upgrade from its predecessor, the CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow. Designed with input from CZ’s professional shooting team, the Shadow 2 offers a higher beavertail, undercut trigger guard, increased weight at the front, and a longer barrel to enhance stability and accuracy. The pistol’s double-action/single-action (DA/SA) mechanism, combined with a finely tuned trigger, provides a smooth pull and crisp break. Its adjustable sights and extended magazine capacity make it a top choice for IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) Standard Division shooters.

  1. Sig Sauer P320 X-Five Legion

The Sig Sauer P320 X-Five Legion blends the modular design of the P320 series with competition-specific features. It boasts a tungsten-infused polymer frame that increases the weight for reduced recoil and improved balance. The Legion comes equipped with a flat trigger for a more consistent finger placement and pull, a feature that competitive shooters highly value. Its five-inch bull barrel and adjustable Dawson Precision sights aid in achieving superior accuracy. The pistol also features a removable magazine well for quick reloads, making it suitable for USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association) and IPSC competitions.

  1. Glock 34 Gen5 MOS

The Glock 34 Gen5 MOS (Modular Optic System) is a favorite among sport shooting enthusiasts for its reliability and performance. The long slide version of the Glock 17, the G34, offers a longer sight radius for improved accuracy. The Gen5 improvements include a smoother trigger pull, a flared mag-well for easier reloading, and an ambidextrous slide stop lever. The MOS configuration allows shooters to easily mount a wide variety of reflex sights without the need for custom machining of the slide, a significant advantage in fast-paced competition settings.

  1. Walther Q5 Match SF (Steel Frame)

The Walther Q5 Match SF is a heavyweight in the competition pistol category, thanks to its all-steel frame. This design choice significantly reduces recoil and muzzle flip, allowing for faster follow-up shots. The Q5 Match SF features Walther’s renowned ergonomics and a blue quick-defense trigger that provides a light pull weight and short reset. It comes with fully adjustable rear sights and fiber optic front sights, enhancing visibility and accuracy. The pistol is equipped with a Picatinny rail for additional accessories, making it a versatile choice for various shooting disciplines.

  1. Tanfoglio Limited Custom

The Tanfoglio Limited Custom is a finely crafted competition pistol popular in IPSC and USPSA. It features a full-sized, all-steel frame and slide for reduced recoil and improved shot-to-shot stability. The pistol is known for its crisp, single-action trigger, which offers a short reset for quick follow-up shots. Adjustable rear sights and a fiber optic front sight provide excellent sight alignment and target acquisition. The Limited Custom also boasts a wide range of customization options, allowing shooters to tailor the pistol to their specific preferences.

  1. STI Staccato XC

The STI Staccato XC is a cutting-edge 2011 platform pistol designed for the highest levels of competition shooting. It features a unique island barrel design, where the front sight is mounted directly to the barrel, ensuring that the sight picture remains consistent with each shot. The Staccato XC’s frame is a hybrid of steel and polymer, balancing weight for stability while maintaining ease of maneuverability. Its compensated barrel reduces muzzle rise, and the crisp, light trigger pull allows for rapid, accurate fire. This pistol is an excellent choice for shooters competing in USPSA Open Division.

For shooters looking for a compact option suitable for both competition and carry, the Glock 43X MOS offers an attractive choice. Its slim profile and MOS feature make it versatile for various shooting applications, including competitive scenarios where size and speed are critical.


The competition pistols highlighted here represent the pinnacle of design and engineering in the world of competitive shooting. Each model brings its unique set of features tailored to meet the demands of serious shooters. Whether you prefer the classic feel of steel-framed pistols like the CZ Shadow 2 and the Walther Q5 Match SF or the modern modular designs of the Sig Sauer P320 X-Five Legion and the Glock 34 Gen5 MOS, there is a competition pistol out there to suit your needs. The key to choosing the right pistol lies in understanding the specific requirements of your shooting discipline and finding a firearm that feels like an extension of yourself. As the sport of competitive shooting continues to evolve, so too will the technology and performance of competition pistols, ensuring that shooters always have access to the best tools for achieving their goals.


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