I’ve been a customer of PSA since literally the beginning of the company ordering many AR15 uppers, lowers and other items from them. They are a company whose corporate values align with the American Patriot community- a rare thing today, even with firearms companies, who have a nasty habit of often doing or saying things that undermine their customer base. I was very excited when they announced they would be entering the handgun market with a Glock clone- Ever since it was announced I have been trying to get my hands on one. Recently, production seems to have caught up with demand and I was finally able to get a sample and over the last month I have taken it to the range on my weekly practice sessions. I can hear the lamentations now- “Oh Great, ANOTHER Glock/Plastic Handgun clone”…..Well, yes- the Glock is the most successful handgun design of the last half a century by orders of magnitude. Like them, hate them- they are immensely popular and for good reason combining good accuracy, excellent reliability in adverse operating conditions with reasonable cost and simplicity of maintenance- the recipe for a successful design.

PSA is a “value added” company in my opinion. They produce a mid to high quality product at very reasonable cost. Now, I know that will grate with some but it has been my experience with them. Do they have more QC issues than some other companies? Absolutely. I know this from personal experience, I’ve sent at least two AR15 uppers back to them for tweaking- over a decade of buying probably 30 or more uppers and countless other orders of parts and accessories. Each time the issue was corrected in a timely manner and the product returned to service and continues to be used without issues to this day. The company strives to increase the quality of their products making needed materials and build/design refinements during the product life cycle. They listen to their customer’s feedback. PSA is always looking for ways to better arm their fellow Americans- whether that be with AR15 style rifles, Ak’s or their new handguns…one result is their Glock 19 clone, the Dagger 9mm pistol.

With the Dagger, the “value added” is easy to see. First, the pistol sells direct to consumers in base form for $299, there are other versions available or in the works including optics cut and suppressor ready models. That is fully a third of more less than a comparable pistol. But, what to you actually GET for your money? It’s a long list. First is the finish which is DLC or Diamond Like Coating. This is a popular finish with high end firearms manufacturers- send a slide to Agency Arms to get it cut for an optic for example and your slide is re finished in DLC. The barrel is stainless steel with cut rifling and is recessed in the slide slightly. Even Glock, many believe due to complaints of so-so accuracy, has changed the rifling on their latest generation of pistols, as a bonus, cut rifling allows the use of lead bullets which are not recommended in polygonal rifled arms. OEM Glock and aftermarket barrels drop into the slide and function without issue. The barrel being recessed in the slide is a nice touch, it shields the crown from accuracy robbing dings and damage. The pistol comes with steel sights, a vast improvement for serious use over plastic units included on some pistols though I could do without the 3 white dots preferring plain black units. The frame is nicely stippled with a Cats Paw type finish, not too rough as to tear up your clothes but enough for a good purchase even when wet. A single finger bump is well placed and not obtrusive. The frame has a pronounced dish at the takedown at the slide lock which provides an excellent index for your trigger finger and if you shoot thumbs forward a ledge for your off thumb. The magazine release has a slight recess allowing easier access but maintaining a low enough profile to not be activated accidentally. The slide stop is slightly elongated and seems wider as compared to a standard Glock unit and somewhat easier to hit on reloads while not being bothersome. The magazine well includes cutouts to allow for stripping a stuck magazine forcefully from the pistol in the event of a malfunction- a custom feature offered by many Glock smiths such as Bowie Tactical Concepts or Cold Bore Customs. Up front we find the now ubiquitous rail for the mounting of lights or other accessories. The frame is well contoured with a somewhat longer beavertail than a standard Glock frame and the slightly undercut trigger guard is another custom feature that allows the gun to sit higher in your hand. The frame has a fixed backstrap that seems thinner in profile than a standard Glock frame and fits my hand well. The slide has been substantially carry beveled and lightened and offers aggressive front and rear cocking serrations- again, a nice custom touch. The recoil spring surrounds a stainless rod and appears to be a complete unit. But,…”Does it take Glock mags????”….Yes, it ships with a Magpul 15 round unit.

All of which is interesting and informative but can easily be gleaned by looking at a photo or product information fluff. How does it Shoot? Is it Reliable? Will it accept Glock replacement parts so I can keep it running forever? These are important questions about a firearm intended for hard use possibly in defense of life and limb- the obvious intended use for this handgun. My copy of the Dagger has been my primary practice pistol for the last month. My practice sessions consist mainly of shooting various drills- Dot Torture, Bill Drill, FAST, Casino Drill etc….I typically fire 150-200 rounds per session. Meaning my Dagger at this point has somewhere between 600 and 800 rounds through it. The ammo has been almost exclusively some Federal 115 grain FMJ, cheap, Walmart, bulk, practice ammo. The exception has been several magazines of mixed hollow point ammo. This is ammo that I pulled from my various carry guns to swap out for fresh ammo. The ammo would have included Federal HST in 124 and 147 grain versions, Speer Gold dot in 124 grain and two Winchester offerings their 115 grain “Personal Defense” load and some 147 Grain Ranger T. In total, I would say that I’ve fired about 100 rounds of these mixed hollow point defensive loads. When I was filling magazines with the hollow points I purposefully mixed them grabbing a few of each and staggering them throughout the stack. I have to date, not experienced a single malfunction or failure to fire with any of the ammunition used. Not an exhaustive test by any means, sample of one…. But, I am willing to stake my life on the pistol performing as needed at this point. Five hundred trouble free rounds with no cleaning, has always been my personal standard for establishing street reliability for any given pistol and the Dagger is past that. I will further note that not once have I been hit in the head by ejecting brass- which is a good thing. I used a mix of magazines during testing including the supplied Magpul unit as well as a large number of OEM Glock magazines of various vintages and some much-abused ETS magazines that I have used in practice and classes for over 5 years now- literally not telling their round count.

Parts interchange in a service weapon is critical. Eli Whitney, best known for his cotton gin actually was the first manufacturer to offer manufactured goods, military muskets, with standard and interchangeable parts as part of a military musket contract. This has been an important issue for service type weapons since….forever…. A hard use firearm needs inexpensive and easily user serviceable parts. Everything breaks if you use it long enough. In my lifetime, the Space Shuttle turned into a bottle rocket not once but twice…The Dagger does depart from standard Glock format parts in it’s locking block, using a two pin unit with the pins placed horizontally vs. vertically. They also use roll pins at the front of the locking block and to secure the trigger pack. The trigger is also unique, a hinged unit similar to the Smith and Wesson M&P series though with considerably less bow, it does not feature a safety bar again in the vein of an M&P. The trigger was a bit gritty when new but at this point, worn in, is smooth and has a reasonable amount of take up with a hard wall and break. It resets audibly and forcefully. My pistol after break in, has a consistent 6 lb pull as tested with a Timney Recording trigger gauge. I was able to substitute a standard Glock trigger assembly for the PSA unit and it functioned without issue for one range session. Disassembly is by the usual method- pull trigger on unloaded firearm, pull slide slightly to the rear while engaging the slide lock and pulling the slide off the front of the frame. The slide cover plate is slick and lacks serrations making it somewhat harder to remove than a standard Glock unit, I’ve replaced mine with a Glock OEM I had lying around.

At the Range: PSA Dagger slide shown on Glock Gen 3 frame, Dagger frame shown with Agency Arms slide and barrel with Holosun 509T. Frames and slides were mixed and matched among all four pistols using a Brownells slide, Lone Wolf Frame and the above shown combinations. All combinations were fired at least 10 times without issue. The sand colored OEM Glock frame and OD green PSA Dagger frame make an attractive combination!

As an experiment I pulled several different Glock 19 pistols and clones from my safe. On one trip to the range I swapped the various slides and frames around. Every combination that I tried functioned 100%! The slides included OEM Glock, Brownells, Agency Arms and the Dagger. The frames included two Glock 19 frames, a Lone Wolf unit and the Dagger frame. This little exchange program says a lot to me about the PSA Dagger and the state of the firearms industry in general- all positive and frankly, pretty friggen amazing.

 

Dot Torture shot at 7 yards. Notice the smaller .22 holes in the target, I warmed up with a Glock 44 and then shot the Dagger on this target. This is a perfect score of 50 with the centerfire-(And yes, I’m counting the line hit on #2 as a hit!)…. the rimfire run scores in the mid 40’s. These days I don’t shoot many centerfire handguns with iron sights, for the Dagger to give me a perfect score speaks well to how the pistol handles and it’s over all accuracy potential.

 

The PSA Dagger and Glock 44 .22 LR, perfect range companions!

 

Bottom line- Do I recommend the PSA Dagger to folks looking for a defensive firearm? Absolutely. The pistol offers an amazing amount of value for the consumer combining features often found only on much pricier pistols with very high though not 100% parts commonality with OEM Glock pistols. My sample has proven accurate and reliable enough for defensive use. My complaints are few- the pistol does not fit well in several Glock holsters, something in the contour of the slide makes it hard to seat and withdraw, this appears to be a common complaint. It would fit but it wasn’t ideal. Of the half a dozen holsters I tried it in, it fit one perfectly– admittedly I did not attempt to re tension the holsters to see if it would make a difference- I Loctite my adjustments and didn’t want to go through the hassle. The holsters worked fine with the other combinations, ymmv. I don’t care for the 3 dot sights and the slick rear slide cover makes disassembly of the upper unit somewhat harder. These are small gripes really and I can promise you that there will be several more of these pistols purchased by me as funds allow. They are a perfect back up/hand out gun or at their modest price- a gift. Which gift would be remembered more, a throw away Walmart TV or a quality, defensive pistol? Christmas is coming.