The Polish VIS 100 M1 pistol from Fabrika Broni is an upgraded variant of the pistol that is currently issued to the Polish Armed Forces, the VIS 100 (no “M1”) while the primary advantage of the civilian M1 version provides an optics-ready capability. The history of the VIS 100 M1 can be traced back to the early 1990s when Poland began looking inward for the production of a pistol for the armed forces. This search saw a couple different designs, the MAG 95 and the WIST-94, the latter of which was adopted in 1999. The MAG pistol was updated in 1998, and again in 2008. In 2018, the evolution of the MAG design, the VIS 100, started being issued to the Polish Armed Forces, replacing the WIST-94. The VIS 100 M1 is imported and sold by Arms of America, and is also available through Atlantic Firearms, who graciously provided the review sample you see here.
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VIS 100 M1 INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & SPECS
The FB Radom VIS 100 M1 pistol has an odd overall appearance that harkens back to the “Wonder 9[mm]” era and seems to draw aesthetic influence from the Smith & Wesson Third Generation semi-autos, albeit with a modernized set of features. The angled trigger guard is what resembles the S&W’s the most to my eyes, even though it’s much larger to accommodate a gloved trigger finger, but the wrap-around grip panels also add to that S&W motif.
It seems that the development team took a look at the features that most shooters want in a DA/SA pistol, as the magazine release, slide stop, and decocker are all ambidextrous, the slide comes pre-cut for optics-ready capability as well as features front serrations, and the frame has a railed dust cover. The overall thickness was kept to a minimum, and the controls hardly protrude at all, while remaining simple to manipulate without having to adjust my grip. The slide is only .98 inches wide, and the ambi slide stop lever only adds .27 inches to the total width in that spot.
One negative aspect is that the magazines are proprietary, as they require a hump on the front of the magazine to interact with the ambi mag release. At the time of this review, there aren’t many VIS 100 M1 pistols in the United States, so users will be stuck with the two mags supplied with the pistol. At least until more can be imported, with no word yet on what spare magazines will cost, however, Atlantic Firearms has 10-round magazines listed on their website as “coming soon.” Despite this early importation issue, FB Radom supplies two types of magazine base plates for each supplied magazine; a thin, low profile base plate that makes the capacity 15 rounds of 9mm, and a thicker, +2 base plate that brings the capacity to 17 rounds.
The sights come standard with a red fiber optic front sight, and green fiber optics aft. I find that the contrasting sights are easy to pick up and are very bright under most daytime lighting conditions. The rear sight can be drifted out from its dovetail slot, and the front sight is fixed in place with a screw from the inside of the slide.
VIS 100 M1 TRIGGER
The trigger gets some special attention here as it has some interesting mechanics. The double action pull was pretty consistent on my makeshift trigger pull scale, a luggage scale, which showed it was breaking around 10 pounds, while the single action seemed to weigh in at around 5 pounds. The double action pull seems long but it’s incredibly smooth throughout its entire travel. The single action trigger pull has about 3/8 of an inch reset, and once it’s reset, there’s still some slack to work through before landing on the sear, and from there to the break, it’s also very smooth. Having said all that, I’d expect that trigger snobs would hate this trigger, but I was quite pleased with the VIS 100 M1’s accuracy and the ease of maintaining my sight picture through each function of the trigger. More on that soon.
RANGE TIME WITH THE FB RADOM VIS 100 M1
I’ve never had a problem with slide-mounted decocking levers, but the designers at FB Radom certainly listened to the majority of DA/SA pistol shooters when it came to mounting their ambidextrous decocker lever on the frame of the VIS 100. The decocking lever is also designed to be unobtrusive and low profile, without being a pain to reach and manipulate. My medium-sized hands didn’t have any problem working the decocking lever, and I didn’t have to change my shooting grip to do it either. Regardless of which hand I held the VIS 100 M1 in, I used my middle thumb knuckle to operate the decocking lever, however, I found the starboard side easier and more comfortable to manipulate since it was more squared off than the left side lever. If there was one thing I would change about the VIS 100, it would be the shape of the left side decocker. I also found that the rounded triangle lever on the left side of the VIS 100 bit into the web of my hand under recoil, which is a bit irritating over time, but it’s not enough to start flinching.
The two sets of supplied grips for the VIS 100 M1 were both comfortable, although they didn’t seem to have a major difference, and I’ve labeled the grips in the photo below as “large” and “medium” rather than large and small. I’ve also highlighted the different contours between them, as the large has a slightly higher back strap, while the medium is less steep. The arrow is pointing to the extra dimple on the back strap of the large grip panel that indicates the difference at a glance (if they’re next to each other).
The VIS 100 M1 magazines fed each round extremely reliably as I didn’t have any failures to feed, however, I did have some problems with the slide not wanting to lock open after the last round was fired. This happened in the first few magazines, then it seemed to work just fine afterward, but then I had the same problem again on my next range trip. Given the inconsistency, it either just needed time to break in, or perhaps the slide stop mechanism needed a bit of oil. The ambidextrous magazine releases worked wonderfully from either side and were also reachable without having to re-grip the pistol.
Getting back to accuracy, I was pleased with the FB Radom VIS 100 M1’s performance, as well as my own. During one of my earlier range sessions, I shot two targets at 15 yards with ten rounds each, the left of which shows my double action trigger results with quick shooting. My ten-round group of single action trigger pulls is on the right, and not surprisingly a little tighter than the double action group. A short time later, I stepped back to the 25-yard line and shot ten rounds off hand, taking my time.
On one of my range trips, I had a few minutes left and ten more rounds loaded up, so I tried my hand at the farthest target on the range, which, from where I stood was 175 yards to a steel frame that used to hold 12-inch steel targets. I aimed at the top left corner (where it was thickest) and hit it twice. On my next range trip, I was able to repeat it with my MK Machining steel Covid plate. I’ll admit It took me 11 rounds before I hit it once, but I was happy enough with that for now, and I was glad that the VIS 100 M1 could still prove capable at distance despite the interesting trigger mechanics.
I apologize to those that prefer to see an optics-ready pistol with a red dot mounted, but I don’t currently have one, so I wasn’t able to review that feature. Otherwise, I had a great time with the FB Radom VIS 100 M1, and I can highly recommend it if it’s within your budget and desire. Which brings us to the MSRP, which is currently $939 for the Black version as reviewed, $1,049 for the Cobalt, and $1,149 for the Inox. The price is higher than originally hoped for, but some pistol enthusiasts will no doubt enjoy shooting an upgraded copy of Poland’s military sidearm, either with friends, family, or perhaps we’ll even see some at competitions. I’ve always loved DA/SA pistols, and although it’s curious to see a modern military issue one during the striker-fired era, it’s also classy at the same time.
What do you think about the FB Radom VIS 100 M1 pistol?
- Smooth as butter trigger
- Controls work without adjusting the grip
- Trigger and sights are capable of long range
- Optics ready, and optics plate accepts many footprints
- Higher MSRP than expected
- Last round slide lock was finicky
- Proprietary magazines are in short supply until more shipments arrive