I am not a gun reviewer, nor do I play one on YouTube. And with that said, I got to send a handful of bullets downrange the other day with the IWI Masada 9mm pistol.
Having had a very late start in firearms, I definitely lack the perspective (and some might say the predisposition) of the all-metal, double-action/single-action pistol as the baseline for comparisons. In fact, the first pistol I spent much time with was a Glock G19 Gen 5, and while I’ve test driven a CZ 75B, that’s about as far as I’ve gotten with a DA/SA gun.
In other words, I’d be one of those kids that would get yelled at to get off the proverbial lawn.
So, as someone who skipped past the 1911’s and the “Wonder 9s” to go straight to the polymer striker-fire plastic fantastics, I’d have one word to say about the IWI Masada:
A Love Child of Many Parents
The post-modernist practice of describing a band you just heard as “a little bit of this, a little bit of that” can definitely be applied to firearms, especially when the gun in question has so many characteristics that are obviously like those of other pistols.
Having a “compact” length barrel in a “full size” frame that supports 17 round magazines? It’s kinda like a Glock 45.
Removable, serialized fire control center? Sounds exactly like a Sig Sauer P320!
Low bore axis? Sorta, kinda like the S&W M&P 2.0.
Ergonomically rounded grip? Like a P320 with less sandpapery texture than the M&P 2.0.
The trigger feels smooth, has a clean break, and resets solidly. It’s kind of a cross between the Sig P320/P365 and the S&W M&P 2.0 with a Glock-style safety “nub” (but wider than the slivery doohickey on Glocks).
Three dot sights and fully ambidextrous controls: common feature amongst all the “cool kids” these days.
So, it’s less like the kid looking like the milkman, but more like him resembling all the other hot dudes in the neighborhood? Hmmmmm. Anyhoo….
Whats in the Box?
Sure, there’s tons of photos and other unboxing content out there, but eh, what’s wrong with one more set?
Here’s the box that the Masada ships in. I’d give it a “nice” with one “i.” Heck I can get a padded case for far less than a box of ammo these days, so no big deal.
And this looks like any other box containing a modern firearm. Note that we only have one magazine, as this unit was a “factory blem” (which to my untrained eyes seem perfectly fine).
Not seen in this image was the healthy amount of grease that got wiped off the pistol. But then it is a long way to the factory in Israel, so more than a dab’ll do ya. Anyway, those blessed unguents are good for the machine spirit, so praise the Omnissiah!
Driving It At the Range
I grabbed a couple of boxes of Speer Lawman, an IPSC target, and set up at a PSTC range lane.
One box of 9mm TMJ (preluded by 10 dry fires to get a feel for the trigger) later:
The lower “A” and “C"s were at 7 yards. Both letter “D"s were engaged at 10 yards, and the upper “A” box was at 15 yards. As pointed out by other reviewers, the Masada seems to shoot “low” past 10 yards (although the 10th shot of this group landed just above where the photo got cropped!).
Shoots pretty darn well, I gotta say!
I did bring an LGC Bullseye target, so I put 10 rounds into it at 15 yards. At that distance the front sight post completely obscures the target (combat sights, not the “pumpkin on a post”), so I gotta figure a sight picture strategy.
Pray, Where’s the Mantis?
I also brought the Mantis device and tried it out on the Masada:
Surprisingly good scores on the live (and dry) fire sessions at the range. I suspect that the goodly amount of practice with other pistols (here’s looking at you, G19) has helped with the results.
If I Built This Fortress*…
Admittedly this was a very short behind-the-trigger run with the Masada, but I am duly impressed with the pistol and with the experience at the range.
The $480 (MSRP** of the Masada) question is whether you should get one of these. A quick Google search will yield you a sheaf of opinions that seem to harmonize with the mantra of “ehhhhhhhh” while shrugging. The reviews are all positive, but there’s that question of how YAPP (Yet Another Polymer Pistol) fits into one’s collection, especially if you’ve got a Glock (or a Sig or an M&P).
I personally would be content to have a Masada as a first purchase. The aftermarket accessories are decidedly paltry, as it is a pretty new product, but I’ve not bounded down that rabbit hole/money pit. Additional magazines, parts, and supplies are readily available through IWI’s online shop, so you’re not totally high and dry for additional bits and bobs. Alien Gear offers a variety of holsters for the Masada in case you were interested in packing iron (and plastic).
Oh right, and the Masada is optics-ready right out of the box. Not that I’d be in the market to drop a wad of cash on a micro red dot right now, but it’s great to have that as an option. And speaking of options for the future, whenever IWI comes up with additional frames, calibers, etc. like the P320, the modular aspect of the Masada will realize its full potential.
* And as one probably should know, “masada” (מצדה) means “fortress” in Hebrew. I have hazy childhood recollections of watching the TV miniseries chronicling its siege by the Romans (led by Peter O’Toole, if memory serves - and I’m too lazy to IMDB it) and being bummed that the protagonists killed themselves rather than be captured. But, to fast forward to another gratuitous Warhammer 40,000 reference: “Death is nothing compared to vindication."
** Given the current shortage of hardware, that MSRP might as well as be a hypothetical concept, as I’m not seeing any for sale at the moment.