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IWI Masada review

IWI Masada Review

If you were wondering whether the IWI Masada is worth the trouble, we're here to tell you in our IWI Masada review. And our verdict?

Oh yeah.

The IWI Masada, a 9mm poly striker pistol, is now one amidst a sea of plastic fantastics, each competing for attention. The pity is that many really good guns get overlooked because they don't have the right name on the slide, much like with many other classes of products.

The IWI Masada is a fantastic pistol.

IWI Masada: By The Numbers

IWI Masada

We start this review of the IWI Masada with the numbers.

But first a brief detour. The Masada is named for a mountaintop fortress in the Judean desert, south of Jerusalem. Masada was the last holdout of the Sicarii, a Judean revolutionary/guerilla army who rebelled against the Roman occupation (they also killed other people for disagreeing with them; it was kind of like "Life of Brian" just desperately unfunny and violent) during the first century AD/CE, whichever is your preferred notation.

Eventually, the Sicarii holed up in Masada with their wives and children as they were being pursued by the Tenth Legion. The men in charge (typical; guys make a mess of everything) decided that it was better not to be taken alive (in fairness, there would have been a lot of crucifictions) so they set fire to the place and started killing everyone. A couple of the wives wisely thought "to heck with this!" and hid in a cistern with a few children and survived.

It became a symbol for Jewish resistance to outside occupation and oppression, and remains a popular tourist site to this day.

Anyhow, that's what the pistol is named for. If you needed to resist bad guys, it's a good tool to have. Here are the specs:

  • Barrel length: 4.1 inches
  • Overall length: 7.4 inches
  • Height: 5.6 inches
  • Weight (unloaded): 1.4 lbs/22 ounces
  • Capacity: 17+1 of 9mm, and you get two magazines
  • Sights: Dovetailed 3-Dot, with tritium night sights available as a factory upgrade
  • Factory rail? Yes! 1913 pattern, MIL-STD
  • MSRP: $480 (street price $400 to $450)
  • So, as you can see, your standard slightly-compacted full-size striker gun. Right at home in the segment; smaller than a Glock 17, but more in the wheelhouse of a VP9 or PPQ as it's bigger than a Glock 19.

    So...what did we think of it?

IWI Masada Review

The IWI Masada is heavily influenced by the Walther PPQ, which is often regarded as (probably) the best striker-fired pistol money can buy, with the VP9 being very close behind it. If you like the PPQ, you'll like the Masada.

A cool tidbit? The Masada is actually a chassis-based pistol, so the firing group could actually be swapped into a different frame. However, no other frame/slide sizes are being made...at least yet.

The grip angle is the more traditional 18 degrees, unlike Glock's 22-degree rake, so it fits the hand very nicely. The pistol comes with swappable backstrap panels, with small, medium and larger units coming with the gun. It has a pleasant texture rather than stipling, again much like the Walther.

The backstrap is deceptively deep, as it looks shorter than it is. You get a generously high grip very easily, and most people will find accessing the slide stop and magazine release buttons with the shooting hand thumb pretty easy. Controls are truly ambidextrous; slide stop/release levers and magazine release buttons are on both sides. There are fore and aft cocking serrations, which are large and grippy.

Takedown is the standard dry-fire method, with a Beretta-style takedown lever.

The barrel sits over a dual captive recoil spring, fairly standard for the type.

The slide comes pre-machined for use with a reflex optic, so it's ready for a red dot sight if you so prefer. The white dot sights are usable, though you can order a model with night sights from the factory. Per Atlantic Firearms, it's compatible with Trijicon RMR, Leupold Delta Point, Sig Sauer Romeo 01 and Vortex Venom optics.

The sights (front blade, rear combat ramp) are dovetailed, so they could be swapped. We couldn't get official confirmation of this, but the rumor is that the Masada uses Sig Sauer sight cuts. If that's true, a bevy of aftermarket sights are available.

The party piece? It's the trigger.

The go-pedal of the IWI Masada is near sublime. It barely creeps, and breaks clean and crisp at about 6 lbs. Travel is short; about ⅜", and reset is audible and tactile. Everyone who handled the gun in our offices was overwhelmed with just how good the trigger was.

For a street price of $450 or less? This is a darn good buy. The pistol is excellent, with one of the better striker triggers you can get. You really ought to look at this one.

Are there any downsides?

Honestly...we couldn't think of any. It's about as close to perfect as any out-of-the-box handgun we've had our hands on. About the only area that could stand improvement is adding a metal trigger instead of a plastic one. If it came with one, we would have declared the Masada the new King Of The Striker Guns. It is seriously that good.

The pity is that a lot of people are going to overlook it because it doesn't have "Sig Sauer," "Glock," "Springfield Armory" or "Smith and Wesson" on the slide. Not that those brands make bad guns; they don't. It's just that plenty of other companies make great guns too, and they don't get the attention they deserve. The IWI Masada deserves a look if you wanted a high-capacity 9mm pistol.

If you were to...you might be glad you did.

About The Author

Writer sam hoober