I wanted to jot down a few notes as to our experience with the IWI Masada. A quasi review, but not a full article approach. More down and dirty notes and observations. It didn’t take long as soon as the gun was available that all the top YouTube reviewers had already put up some great information, so I would advise you to check out your favorite reviewers.
Here’s just our experience and thoughts.
Aesthetics: The Masada is a gorgeous gun. Little HK looking. We all thought it was well thought out and good looking for a Duty oriented firearm.
Feel: Love the way the Masada feels in the hands. The circumference is probably smaller than any other gun in it’s class. Based on the Masada’s Grip shape and back straps people with small hands can really access this full size duty gun. The texture is on the less aggressive side. Some people will love it and some people will immediately send it out for a stipple job. To me the perfect texture is the M&P 2.0 series and even the Poly80 Frames.
Components: Ambi slide lock, mag release, Cold Hammer Forged barrel, trigger housing is the actual firearm instead of the frame. This seems to be the new wave that manufactures are attempting to go to as their standard. Sig seems to have really set the stage for this approach.
Trigger - Longer take up, great break, what I would call a rolling break. It has a slight wall and allows you to pre-stage the trigger without breaking a shot accidentally like some really light 1911 triggers if you’re not used to them. The break is great. I personally like it a lot, but I also set my Glock triggers up this way. They have a slight wall and then they roll through smooth on the break. I don’t like pressing through a heavy pronounced wall. I’ve got great trigger control and don’t jerk the trigger but for many people trying to press through the wall, especially on one handed use, will cause them to jerk the trigger.
Not true with the Masada. That roll through break is really smooth. The reset is longer than I would like, but then again my entire team and I are trigger snobs. All of our personal firearms have great triggers in them.
Not necessarily “light triggers” but flat faced preset shorter take up and reset triggers by Killer Innovations. The kind that you can really step on the gas and run 5 rounds in a second and still be in the A Zone. Let’s say that we are no strangers to Flitz.
So when I say that we all like the Masada trigger, it’s true we do. We like it way more than our duty guns which are all standard Glock triggers with no modifications at all. But, you can’t really step on the gas with the Masada the way we are used to. It’s just the laws of physics. It takes longer to get the trigger to break and reset. Just that simple.
We always found ourselves waiting on the trigger. Which drives people like us insane. But… for a duty gun, ccw gun and a combat weapon… the trigger is perfect and I personally wouldn’t change a thing.
Having been in a few altercations with the gun… I can assure you that I will not be running around pressing off double taps to the A Zone. Combat Controlled Fire is what is needed and this trigger is perfect for that. Can you use this gun in competition? Sure you can. IDPA it’s probably fine. USPSA, depending on you classification and your skill… well that just depends.
I would compete with it, since I only run the guns I actually carry personally, but still would rather a faster trigger for competition, since that’s all about the points and nothing realistic about it. I’ll know more in the next week as we run it through our version of competition based on shot sequences that would put a bad guy down and actually end a threat.
We actually have our own competition format that we designed specifically for our training purposes, that also translates into our Force On Force trainings. I think the Masada is going to do very well in this format.
The Sights: To all of us, they are total garbage. Why would they do that? Why not just take it all the way over the goal line, especially if you’ve already done everything else, in addition especially if there no aftermarket support for your gun like Glock.
Everything is wrong about the sights. Wrong hold, wrong zero, wrong alignment (dots not the blade and notch and dots for reference, etc). This is where Canik has really done the right thing by adding Warren Tactical Sights to their SF line.
So smart and wether you like those sights not not, you can’t complain because they are duty ready to go out of the box. Critical. I would not use this gun as a duty gin out of the box, because of the adjustment I would have to make on my sight picture, unless of course I could add the optic straight away… then I’m good.
Not everyone likes optics and not every department allows you to use them. With my guys, they are getting close, and some of my SWAT guys, their departments have just been given the go ahead on MRDS’s.
The Magazines: Love these, love the cut out on the grip that allows for better purchase if you need to rip a stuck magazine out. Love the mag baseplate design and how it perfectly fits the grip cut out.
The Slide: We all love the slide. We loved the styling, the cuts, the front serration, although don’t really help. Love that they made the Masada name small and sexy on the front part of the slide.
There are so many reviews out there that go through all the specs and they do a fantastic job, so you can look those up. It’s not really my desire to run through basic features and facts. For me it’s all about the performance when really put to the test.
Our Thoughts On Performance:
Feels little top heavy: First thing I noticed when I picked the gun up out fo the box is that it felt a little top/front heavy, but then again, that doesn’t really matter. It’s more about how the thing shoots.
Also you would have thought that it feeling top heavy would somehow translate into the recoil or overall performance in a negative way but it doesn’t at all. In fact, once you load a magazine with 17 rounds, the gun feels fantastic in your hands and it presents perfectly, and it felt totally balanced when shooting.
Not as low bore axis at Glock or CZ P10c or Archon Type B (my favorite striker fired pistol, with the exception of no optics ready slide out of the gate standard, major fail in my opinion for a $850 gun.) But the gun doesn’t shoot like that, at least for me and my team. It shoots like a dream. You can see in the short video compilation.
We all agreed, that it really is the perfect duty gun.
Put 2,000 rounds though it, not one failure of any kind no matter the ammo.
Because of our extremely high hand hold on the gun, I like the controls since I use them to index and like a slight ledge to help manipulate the firearm for better recoils management. But also because of my extreme high hand hold, usually the slide doesn’t lock back for me on the last round since I am forcing the slide lock down and not allowing it to do it’s job.
BTW… all guns are the same for me including my Glocks (unless I’ve got a Kragworks slide lock lever, then no issues at all except the annoying slide scrape it causes. Also the Archon Type B never has that issue, another reason why it’s my favorite gun.). The only guy on the team that was bothered by the controls was our weapons engineer. He’d make a modification to the controls, but he’s also qualified and has the machinery to do it correctly.
How it performed as we ran it..l bone stock how it comes out of the box:
Our place of testing: Full firearms training compound where Special Forces, SWAT, LE Departments and Competition shooters train. We have everything from steel, to building facades, distance, MOUT Village, vehicles and a full live fire kill house. So, when we run a gun, we do days and days worth of actual training for real live situations.
Those trainings are run by our team members who are Military and LE instructors, current LE, competition shooter and highly accomplished civilian CCW instructors. I feel like we really give a gun a good evaluation by putting into the situations we would potentially find ourselves in, based on our profession.
Drawing: the gun grips great. It’s simple to get a solid purchase on the gun based on it’s shape and dimensions. Wether that’s from appendix or strong side outside the waistband duty rig (belt ride of thigh rig). The gun also points fantastic.
I need to check on the actual grip angle. It’s more 1911esque, but doesn’t seem to be the exact same grip angle. Usually since we are all GlockOPhiles, we like the Glock grip angle and it gives us the ability with our extreme high hand hold to strangle the gun and pretty much negate any recoil impluse.
Typically I don’t like full 1911 grip angles. They were made for a different type of grip than what we use, and although I have no problem shooting a firearm with that grip angle its not my preferred. The Masada seems to be somewhere in-between.
Usually if you’re used to the 1911 grip angle you pick up a Glock and when you present forward, the nose of the gun is still point up. If you’re used to a Glock and you pick up a 1911 grip angle style gun and you present forward the gun will usually be pointing down.
The Masada seems to split the difference. As a Glock guy and my entire team, we had no adjustments to make. The Masada just fell right into our extremely high hand hold Glock style grip.
Recoil Impulse: This is purely relative based on how you shoot and your skill level. We love the gun and the recoil impulse to us was nominal. The gun cycles beautifully and the timing on the slide reciprocating is perfect. You don’t notice the slide either lagging or jerking back too fast.
The weight of the slide and the springs make the Masada run wonderfully. The gun returns perfectly back to the point of aim, as long as you are doing your job.
Accuracy: We only ran this gun for accuracy out to 15 meters, because we already know that even with a CHF Barrel and a great trigger, the sights wouldn’t allow us to properly test the guns inherent accuracy at 25 meters.
Also, we all run Killer Innovations Glock barrels in every single one of our guns and there is not pistol barrel on the market, Glock or otherwise) that will outshoot that barrel. Sub MOA at 25 meters. (on video, so many times). So for me… what’s the point. The Masada won’t come close to that even if I put it in a vice.
UPDATE on Accuracy: We took the Masada out to the high desert and this time added an optic (Holosun HS507c on the red 2 MOA dot), we were already doing another review on Impact Ammunition 9mm, 135gr HP that they use for competition performance.
We were at 25 meters on a sand bag and bench. Major Problem: We had a 35mph constant wind with 50mph gusts. It was literally knocking the targets over, even when we put some sizable rocks on the bases.
The end results was we were able to get rounds literally touching with these conditions. All I can say is that the Masada seems to be in our testing one of the most accurate pistols we’ve ever handled.
And during the drills we ran, the accuracy proved out even more. Can you get that with the regular sights (probably not) but with a MRDS… no doubt! The pictures and included video demonstrates our experience.
Trigger Work / Speed on gun: From High Compress Ready, Low Compress Ready, Temple Index, Duty Draw or Concealed Draw, etc… getting on the gun, sight picture acquisition to first trigger press is fast and feels great. No real transition time needed from our Glocks.
Just the sights are crap. I keep saying that but they are crap. Someone asked me once if I could only change one thing on a stock duty Glock what would it be? Most people immediately answer, “The Tigger.” Not me… it’s the sights. You don’t feel a 6.5lb trigger in a gun fight, trust me.
But the sights make the difference between bad guy being dead or you being dead, and potentially innocent bystanders being dead. The sights to me are the most important thing. This is when they screwed it up.
Speed on FollowUp Shots: Easy because of the trigger, but also frustrating because of the trigger. Just that the length of the reset and take up are longer so for better shooters, it will make you crazy when you are waiting on the trigger. Otherwise the gun is great, the recoil is nominal and timed perfectly and the slide comes home to the same spot every time.
Working the Kill House - Clearing rooms and facilities and conducting live fire exercises with the Masada is fantastic. Easy to move and flow with. Easy and fast to get on target and then transition from target to target.
Distance: We had pretty good luck on distance. We actually ran the gun in some 150 meter drills, where we starting putting rounds on target (Poster Perp paper target in a window of a Falluja like building, then closed the distance while moving and shooting.
We we able get the rounds on target mostly, but the sights really kill that groove. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the barrel but it’s not a Killer Innovations barrel, then again, nothing is. But the Masada barrel is solid and you shouldn’t be taking 150 meter shots with your pistol anyway. LOL
We ran this thing hard and non stop in the dessert training facility. It kept cool and it was easy to keep running without burning it up. That makes a difference.
Reloads: The combination of the way the grip and mag funnel is designed with the magazines themselves… we slammed reloads like we had an open gun setup. We we actually massively surprised how easy the reloads were, especially noticeable on the move.
Shooting On The Move: The Masada allows for a perfect platform and press. But of course, that just depends on who you are, how skilled you are, how you were trained to grip the firearms and run the trigger, stance etc. For us… shooting on the move was no different than any well built pistol. Fantastic.
Pointed great, easy to get on target during moving to contact, while running, shooting from cover, vehicles, the 9 Hole Wall, kneeling, prone, on your side, and working through the kill house. One thing we all agree is that the way the mag chute is designed and the mags, we were surprise at how none of us had any hiccups on reloading while running and moving. Not one.
It surprise us all. Yes, we got some skill, but with many firearms with no Maxwell, you may miss a couple reload by a little bit, meaning you’re just a tiny bit off and then after you dry fire a bit, you get it all dialed in. The Masada was just dialed in the the first reload. So we loved shooting this gun on the move.
Mag Release: On one hand loved it and on the other hand, we all had a little complaint when it came to the mag release. First the good stuff. When you hit that mag release the mags shoot out of the gun like a rocket. I mean the fly out of there like some little fairy was inside the mag chute pushing it out of there.
In fact, when you turn the gun upside down on the slide and push the mag release, the mags pop right up. Any more and they’d eject upside down. I’m not even kidding… talk about an “assist.”
Now, the bad… or maybe let’s say “not the greatest.” They could have done a better job on the design of the mag release itself. The shape is a little smaller, although it’s easy to get to, or no different than any other pistol, it’s not an oversized, but at the same time it’s a little sticky when pushing it.
Once you hit it though, the mags bust out like they’ve got to get somewhere in a hurry. I just wish the designers would just take the gun all the way over the goal line, especially when they’ve built something that is right there so close. It’s not that big of a deal, and when it comes to things like mag releases, well let’s say that’s just a little critical, so why not put a little more effort.
Dry Fire Practice: We dry fire basically every day, but the team has a weekly dry fire scheduled practice session that we do Live on Facebook in our Ultimate Combat Warrior Group. The drills include everything from regular draw and presentation to one handed, reloads, from ready position, etc. All on a shot timer.
I really love that we do this and the Masada is great. I honestly really love almost everything about this pistol except the stock sights. I think that we can change them out with some NightFision M&P sights with slight modifications. If so… I will do that or I will machine some myself on our mill. A lot of work but, It’s got to happen.
Surprising Performance Discoveries: Things we discovered and were surprised by and really loved about the Masada.
The angle cut at the bottom front of the slide and frame: We all carry appendix, so that cutaway kept a full size duty gun from jamming into your inner thigh like most guns of that size. I mention that mostly from when we carry with just a trigger guard. A full holster doesn’t make any difference.
The contouring of the grip made the gun disappear when carrying appendix. In fact it was thinner than my Custom 1911’s with thin grips. A lot thinner. Great job here IWI. It made carrying this pistol appendix a dream. I made a holster for it and have been carrying this weapon appendix for the last month now.
I’m about the add an optic to the gun, now that we’ve run it in it’s stock format. The Holosun HS507c as our standard on a gun like this for us… Otherwise our duty optic is a Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adj.
Optic plate covers: We made sure they were tight, and haven’t had a problem since. Haven’t come loose at all, which is surprising actually.
Optic Mount: We did on the last full day of training mount and optic on this sucker. One issue that came out immediately was once mounted the gun would rarely go back fully into battery. We couldn’t figure it out. One second working flawlessly, the next… not working at all.
We figured it had something to do with the mounting screws. In the end that’s exactly what it was. The longer screws were not allowing the spring to engage and when you took the screws out you could see the spring through the hole. I’d rather they fix that so it’s not even a possibility, but it was an easy fix of course. Use the shorter screws. It was nice to have the experience because at least now we know.
After running 1,000 rounds with the optic on during a full training day… the optic was solid as a rock. This is what really makes the Masada and puts it over the top. That it’s optics ready.
In fact we had a guy there during the training that got to use the Masada and HS507c (the very review gun we bought) while he ran the training day. In the end after shooting it, he Venmo’d me the money and bought the pistol straight out. He loves it. Of course as does everyone on my team.
Final Comments: We all love this gun. And I mean we all love this gun. From Combat Vets to Current SWAT to Civilian CCW and a few Feds. Pretty much we’ve all come to the same conclusion, which is… we would be completely happy if we were issued this firearm as our duty gun… as long as it either had an optic or we could change out the sights.
Those sights suck butt. And we are not saying that because we are sight snobs… we just don’t like them in any way. I personally don’t understand why a better sighting format doesn’t come standard. Take a page out of Caniks playbook.
Most of the reviews I’ve seen keep saying that this is a great gun at it’s “Price Point.” Let me explain… this is a great gun PERIOD. At any price point. Outside of the sights, this gun is fantastic!
If I could only pick one gun at this price point, I’d take this. Over the M&P 2.0 series, which is my wife’s carry (2.0 Compact) and her duty gun (full size), which you can usually grab at the same price.
I’m not a Springfield Armory fan, none of us are, so those don’t qualify in the running at this price point, and in the end… we have all had great experiences with the IWI rifles and our personal favorite which is the Galil ACE in all of it’s configurations, and our Go To in pistol or SBR configuration in 7.62x39. So I trust that IWI is going to stand behind this product.
Would be nice to see really quickly replacement sights and maybe some way to shorten the trigger, but I am sure that will have to come directly from them. I also am sure that additional frame options and maybe a compact version is in the works, at least I am hoping. I think that would put it over the top and make them a serious contender.
We all like carrying the same type of gun on duty that we run ccw… meaning Glock 17 for duty, Glock 19 for CCW, and maybe a G48 for deeper concealment and VIP Security work. Every manufacturer does that in their size offerings, so it will be cool to see if IWI provides at least a Glock19 size option in the next year.
For all of us… the IWIU Masada is a huge win.
By: EDward A. Earle
With Alan Carp & Debi Earle