The Masada Slim by IWI (Israeli Weapons Industries) was released in early 2022. It is the little brother to the Masada, IWI’s answer to a battle handgun. IWI has a great reputation, and my interest is always peaked when I see a new Israeli-made weapon hit the market. The IWI Masada S does not fall into the micro-weapon category and it’s not full-size either. The frame is a bit larger than the Springfield Hellcat although the grip is slimmer.
Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to follow and signup for notifications!
It has some interesting design features that make it stand out from other guns in the compact category. I found one thing I didn’t like about it and several things I did like. Let’s look at how it performs on the range and how it will stack up in the long line of CCW defensive handguns available today.
Israeli Made Weapons
IWI was born from a combination of the Israeli Defense Forces, also known as IDF, and the Israeli Military Industries LTD, or IMI. As a combination of the two, it was a spin-off from the Israeli government. IWI US Inc. began operations in 2013 and has been bringing us Israeli-made weapons ever since. Some of the most popular and respected military weapons in the world are made by IWI including the TAVOR, GALIL ACE, and the X95. I never hesitate to try a weapon made by IWI, but that does not always mean it is a winner. IWI makes weapons I like and some I don’t care for. This is, of course, personal preference and does not speak to their quality.
While IWI makes some great battle handguns, they are not what I would call compact. They used to produce the Desert Eagle before that was moved to Magnum Research. They make the JERICHO and full-sized Masada pistols, but again, these are not small handguns. A compact, lightweight design is a great thing to see coming from IWI. I purchased this weapon some time ago and have had some time carrying it. I’ve been to the range with it numerous times and fired a lot of target ammo and hollow-point ammo through it. Here is my take on their entry into the CCW market.
The Size of the Masada 9S
There is no exact size or specifications for a CCW gun. Some companies market their full-size firearms as a contender for CCW and they are not wrong. A full-size gun can be used for CCW and sometimes they can’t. It all depends on the person carrying, the weather, and the type of clothing a person wears. When I’m not on duty carrying a full-size weapon, I prefer to carry a mid-size gun. But often, I find myself grabbing a smaller compact weapon because I am not wearing the right clothing to cover up anything larger. I like to classify handguns as full-size, mid-size, compact, and micro-compact.
The Masada 9S falls into that compact range. Other weapons in this general category include the Glock 43, Springfield Hellcat, and the Sig P365. It has a 3.5” barrel making it a little longer than the Hellcat and Glock 43. The grip portion of the Masada falls in between the Hellcat and Glock 43. The grip is about 3 3/8 inches long also making it a little longer than other compact weapons, but not by much. With a longer grip comes a longer magazine to hold more ammo. The most noticeable difference in the Masada 9S magazine is the steeper angle the grip uses. This allows the double-stack magazine to hold 13 rounds with a flush-fitting mag.
What makes it stand out?
The Masada 9S has a smooth lower frame with somewhat aggressive-looking serrations on the slide and trigger. I kind of like that mixture and this is what made it stand out to me at the gun store. There is some light texturing on the grip, but it is not overly aggressive. The slide serrations also help keep a good grip on it when manually cycling the slide. The front serrations on the slide line up with the serrations on the lower frame which is not common on most handguns. The trigger also has deep serrations, which complement the slide.
The trigger has a Glock-style “safe trigger” so it does not have a manual safety. At first glance, the aggressive-looking trigger is what stands out the most on this little weapon. The trigger pull has some play, but when it does reach the breaking point, it is crisp. With 10 trigger pulls on the trigger pull gauge, the Masada 9S was just under 6 lbs. The mag release is not flush and sticks out noticeably making it easy to find and push. It doesn’t get in the way when shooting and is ideal for manipulating with gloves on. The slide release is also just a little wider than most guns this size making it easy to find and push when firing on the range.
There is an optic cut-out with a removable plate, so the gun comes optic-ready for those wishing to make upgrades. According to IWI, the Masada S9 cutout works with the Holosun EPS Carry, 507K X2, the Sig Romeo, and other compatible optics. A hex wrench and two mounting screws come in the box to make installation easier.
What I Don’t Like
This is getting nitpicky, but the Masada 9S is not easy to break down. I think you should be able to take a handgun apart without the use of a tool and it should be easy. Glock, Hellcat, and Sig all did this. IWI did not. To take the slide off the IWI, you lock the slide to the rear and push a small lever towards the muzzle end of the gun. This gives you access to the takedown pin, but you need a small tool (I used a penny) to catch the lip of the pin and pull it out.
The pin does not go through to the other side of the gun so you can’t push from the other side. Getting it back in also took a little more time than I liked. This is not a deal-breaker for me, but I like wiping down my gun and applying more oil after shooting it. Why not just make it easier to pull out without a tool? Okay, gripe over.
The IWI Masada S9 shot well on the range. The grip is slim, but I could keep ahold of it okay while shooting. I didn’t shoot past 20 yards with it because this will be a CCW weapon but it held good groups at 20 yards. It uses a double recoil spring which helps reduce the felt recoil and allowed me to shoot quickly for such a small, light gun. The slide is just a little thicker than other compact guns which could make a difference when carrying inside the waist.
The iron sights are tall and easy to acquire when bringing it up to find the target. I fired several different brand and types of ammo and never had any malfunctions. When I pulled the trigger, it went bang. With the time I’ve spent on the range with this gun, I would rank it up there with other top CCW contenders and would not hesitate to carry it for self-defense. If you are looking for something a little different that falls in a budget-friendly price, the IWI Masada 9S could be a good option for you.