The IWI Masada 9mm pistol is an advanced solution to modern battlefield requirements. It is about the same size and profile as the Glock 19 and it’s good to go right from the box.Â
In case you’re new to this gun, IWI stands for Israel Weapon Industries. Being one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world with a very active army, their weapons are both state-of-the-art and combat-tested.
The IWI Masada is no exception. It is much more than just another striker-fired pistol. The Masada features a low-profile barrel for reduced perceived recoil. It also features fully ambidextrous controls and enhanced ergonomics.
These provide a natural and spontaneous pointing grip angle. It has three interchangeable wrap-around back-straps integrated with the deep beavertail. It allows the MASADA pistol to fit a wide variety of hand sizes.
- Affordable price
- Ergonomically designed
- MOS cut with mounting plates
- Fixed 3-dot sights
- Integrated picatinny rail
- Optic ready pistol with 4 adapter plates (RMR, Venom, Delta Point and Romeo1)
- Low barrel axis for reduced recoil
- 3 interchangeable wrap around backstraps
- Large trigger guard
- Longer trigger reset
- no option for a threaded barrel
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A Little History
Israel Weapon Industries has been in the firearms game for a long time now. They are best known for the Tavor, and they are a huge name in ammo manufacturing, weapons development, and small-arms testing.
To begin with, IWI’s US exports were focused on their excellent long guns. But in 2018, IWI launched its family of Masada pistols. It first appeared in Asia, Europe, and South America before debuting in the US.
It was made to address the Israelis’ needs on the modern battlefield. But its creation was also motivated by IWI customers who requested a contemporary pistol to complement IWI’s current armory.
While the Masada is named after an ancient fortification, this pistol is everything you would expect from a modern carry or duty firearm. As I said before, it is about the same size profile as the Glock 19 and is good to go right from the box.
Now, let’s take a look at the IWI Masada specifications to have a better idea of what it has to offer.
IWI Masada Specifications
|Manufacturer||IWI (Israel Weapons Industries)|
|Action||Striker fired. Short recoil|
|Caliber||9x19 mm Parabellum|
|Magazines||17 & 10 round; all steel with base pads|
|OAW||25.7 oz. with magazine|
|GTWW||34.5 oz (with 18 147-grain rounds)|
|Barrel||Cold hammer-forged polygonal rifled barrel|
|Sights||Fixed, White dots front and rear. Rear can be drifted for windage corrections. With an option for night sights.|
The Optics Plates
What makes the Masada stand out? It comes with three interchangeable backstraps and optics plates (depending on the version).
The Masada has mounting plates for the Vortex Venom, Sig Romeo1, Leupold DeltaPoint, and Trijicon RMR.
Hands-on Look and Feel
The IWI Masada has been designed from the ground up to be used in real-world combat. The gun is unbelievably dependable, and the controls and features are ideal.
Unboxing the IWI Masada
The cardboard box the Masada comes in is thin, flimsy, and fortunately not a sign of the quality of the gun.
Inside the box, you’ll find the Masada has mounting plates for the Vortex Venom, Sig Romeo1, Leupold DeltaPoint, and Trijicon RMR. Each plate is accompanied by specifically sized Torx screws and a Torx wrench. This is a nice touch for a modestly priced firearm.
I know I have said this several times, but it looks very modern. It feels nice and solid without being too heavy. The Masada comes with two magazines for consumers who live in states with magazine capacity restrictions.
While they skimped on the box, they certainly did not do that on the owner manual. It is one of the most extensive manuals for safety, operation, and maintenance that I have ever read.
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IWI Masada Build Quality
The IWI Masada in Action
There are three words I can use to summarize the feeling I have when shooting the IWI Masada. It is accurate, reliable, and very easy to shoot. The gentle recoil is also worth mentioning. I bet any beginner will enjoy shooting this amazing pistol.
Shooting Experience – Recoil, Grip, and Trigger
This is definitely a modern pistol. The frame is made of high-strength, impact-resistant fiberglass reinforced polymers. It’s built to endure all types of military abuse in harsh environmental conditions, while still being a relatively light gun.
The MASADA features a low-profile barrel. This helps reduce the perceived recoil and muzzle rise. It has fully ambidextrous controls with a natural and instinctive pointing grip angle.
Its grips are too clenched, but it is not a problem. If you wanted to run this in a competition, you could get some stippling done. But Masada isn’t meant for competitions, anyway.
I encountered some slide-lock-back issues after the magazine was used, but they resolved themselves near the end of the test. It might just be the Masada breaking in.
The extra back straps ensure that all kinds of sized hands find a good grip.
But the trigger isn’t that outstanding. It is designed to enhance the shooter’s accuracy and safety. The Masada trigger has a 6 1b trigger pull with a clean and crisp break and a positive reset. But the reset takes a little longer than I expected. Featuring a built-in trigger safety, the pistol will not fire unless the trigger is pulled. The Masada’s was just so-so; not bad, not great.
The trigger guard on one frame is angled sharply and on one frame it is flat. The flat guard is the production American version. It is made for American-style flashlights to give them a solid rear contact point.
The Ergonomics are quite friendly overall. But its medium-sized backstrap was too small. I tried to remedy it with a hammer but the backstrap retention pin requires further action to dislodge. The large strap snapped comfortably into the grip’s slot. The retention pin required a lot less muscle than it did to remove it. The larger strap helped my index finger fit on the face of the trigger exactly where I wanted it. With this, the recoil was spread over a larger grip area.
IWI Masada Disassembly
The Masada uses a modular serialized high-grade steel trigger mechanism housing that can be easily removed. It allows simple and easy disassembly and maintenance.
This is really one of the easiest pistols to disassemble on the market. Just turn the takedown lever, dry fire the pistol, and let the slide slip off the front. Just that simple.
All parts of this gun are going to last you a long time. Especially taking the price into consideration, this is solidly built. It’s also able to take most of the abuse you can throw at it. While I wouldn’t recommend burying it in mud, it handles it with no problems.
When you fire your IWI Masada, you must clean and lubricate it on a regular basis, just like any other firearm. Disassemble, clean, and lubricate your gun after each shooting session. Or when you expose it to dust, high humidity, or other harsh conditions.
Cleaning the Pistol
1. Upon receiving the pistol, disassemble and inspect it. See ”Disassembling the Pistol”.
2. Clean the pistol regularly to ensure it functions properly when needed.
3. For the initial cleaning, make certain that any heavy or sticky deposits of protective grease are removed.
4. When cleaning the slide, pay particular attention to the area around the extractor and firing pin, making certain that all carbon buildup and powder residues are removed. A small brush, swabs, and Solvent should be used to remove dirt from hard-to-reach areas.
5. To clean the barrel, use the brass wire brush. Run the brush completely through the chamber and bore it till it protrudes from the other end of the barrel.
6. Pull the brush in the opposite direction and remove it from the barrel. Repeat this operation several times.
7. Use a patch moistened with gun cleaning solvent and clean the bore. Repeat this operation using clean, dry patches.
8. Oil all moving parts of the pistol with a lightly oiled patch/cloth, then remove all excess oil with a dry. The chamber bore, and breach face of the slide should remain dry (no oil deposits).
9. While cleaning, inspect all parts for wear, cracks, or damage. Make sure all surfaces are free from rust and that the chrome coating (if there is any) is not peeling.
10. Assemble the pistol and make sure it functions properly and move the safety lever to the ”SAFE” position.
Always be aware of your gun! If anything ‘feels’ or sounds strange, stop and have a qualified gunsmith look it over. Never take a chance on something you’re not sure about; always consult a professional. Cleaning and caring for your firearm properly will increase its durability and longevity.
Spicing Up Your IWI Masada
The IWI Masada is already an amazing gun as it is from the market. But there are a lot of accessories that can be added to this one to make it even better.
IWI Masada Talon Grips
The Talon Grips are a durable, single-piece, and firearm-specific design. It provides maximum coverage to your IWI Masada. This is available in three grip sizes. If you are concerned about it adding bulk to your pistol, worry not as this is only 0.5 mm thick. This won’t make your pistol’s grip too bulky. Talon Grips are trusted by law enforcement, military, gun enthusiasts, and law enforcers. Its top-quality and finish maintain the ergonomics of the gun. This grip enhances your control and accuracy and reduces muzzle flip.
Orpaz IWI Masada Holster
This light-weight Orpaz C-series holster is made from a durable hard polymer construction that is molded to the gun model for a tight fit. This is not just available for IWI Masada but also for many popular handguns. This includes Glock, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, H&K, and CZ. Its ergonomic design allows for fast draws for a shorter time to target. It has fully adjustable retention and rotations. It features a thumb lock release mechanism which is perfect for first responders.
Arisaka Defense Finger Stop Picatinny Rail
The Arisaka Finger Stop has a slim profile ergonomically designed to be located between your index and middle fingers. It was developed as a minimal control accessory. This places it further forward on the handguard. It doesn’t get in the way when transitioning to kneeling or prone shooting positions. The wider profile also functions well as a rear hand stop. The Finger Stop is secured to the rail by two nylon tipped-set screws. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), installing an Arisaka Finger Stop on the forward accessory rail of a pistol will not make a firearm classified as “any other weapon” defined in the NFA.
Shooting Guide for IWI Masada
During testing, the Masada performed flawlessly with a variety of FMJ and HP Winchester, Federal, Fiocchi, SIG, and CCI Blazer aluminum and brass case ammunition. As well as several mixed magazines. Accuracy shooting was done off-hand at seven and 25 yards by me and my friend. Both delivered similar accuracy results and comments about the distinct preference for 124-grain rounds. Overall, with 115-grain rounds coming in a close second. It is an amazing experience indeed.
IWI Masada Versus Glock-19
Whenever a new striker-fired pistol is released, it is always involved in Glock’s world. Here, we will compare the IWI Masada and Glock-19.
The Masada comes with more comforts and practical upgrades than a Glock.
The first one is that Masada uses steel sights. Glock uses plastic sights which are a known issue during one-handed weapon manipulations. The second one is that Masada comes with front cocking serrations and Picatinny rail.
Glocks have a very particular grip shape. It’s either you love it or hate it.
The Masada grip shape isn’t as unique as a Glock grip. But, for me, it is more comfortable. Those who find the Glock grip comfortable will probably find the Masada less comfortable.
The palm swell is well placed. The grip texture offers good pull without being too aggressive. It is more upright than a Glock. Also, more versatile for those who shoot multiple handguns. It is because its angle is more consistent with other models.
Let’s get this straight: Masada’s trigger is better than a Glock trigger. The Masada’s trigger accuracy is a step-up for many striker-fired pistols. Though there are areas where Glock is better.
The break of Masada is cleaner and the pull weight is more consistent. However, the Glock has a better reset. Glock triggers are, in my opinion, one of the very few triggers that reset greatly.
Another Masada drawback worth noting is that the slide heats up fairly quickly. If you’re not wearing gloves, the slide can be a bit hot to handle after two or three magazines. It is not dangerous, but it is really noticeable that this heats faster than other guns. It is not an issue, though, if you use gloves.
They may have designed it with a lighter slide to enhance the performance. Anyway, the ideal consumer of this gun would be armed professionals who usually wear gloves when they shoot. They are probably thinking this shouldn’t be a problem.
Is It Worth Buying Masada?
I believe the new IWI offering is well worth it. The features set and durability at this price point are great. I can honestly say it’s good and pretty cool. And there’s more, it comes with a ton of room for growth in the midst of the anticipated release of new frames.
The IWI Masada 9mm Striker-fired Pistol is really an enthralling EDC gun. It has been upgraded in almost every way compared to Glock 19. It is modern, optics ready, railed for a flashlight, nicely designed, and has the right and affordable price for its quality.
Having one in your arsenal is highly recommended. especially if you are a gun enthusiast.