I’m just getting back from my most recent trip to the shooting range. As usual, I had a ton of fun, met interesting new people, and of course spent a lot of money turning gunpowder into noise and murdered paper.
But more importantly, I finished my review of the Palmetto State Armory Dagger, the Made in USA knockoff of the Glock 19 I spoke about in a previous article….
Over several trips to various ranges, I managed to hit that magical 1000 round count milestone that’s so popular with firearms writers these days. Most of the ammo used was Wolf steel cased 9mm 115gr, with some brass Magtech 115gr and some Federal HST 147gr hollowpoints.
TLDR : The Gun performed 100% flawlessly for all 1000 rounds of testing.
And to be completely honest, this was pretty much exactly what I was expecting. The Glock 19 is pretty much what made Glock the standard for reliable concealed carry pistols, so a clone of it could be reasonably expected to be Dead Nuts Reliable too.
I chose not to baby the gun at all during the test, because I didn’t want to have to make excuses for it. After taking it out of its packaging, the only thing I did to prep it for this trial was add a *tiny* amount of oil to the frame rails and the contact areas for them on the slide. The gun was never cleaned or lubed after that. Although I did not intend to “torture test” the gun by burying it in the mud or anything like some of my favorite Youtubers, I did have the presence of mind to drop it in the dirt a handful of times (unloaded, of course).
As for how it shoots? Pretty much exactly like a Glock 19 Gen 3. Some things I noted:
The lip at the bottom of the magwell tucks in my pinky finger while gripping the gun with my shooting hand. This is fine or even optimal for someone with medium sized hands like me, but if you have larger mitts, this might be a deal breaker for you.
The magazine release is better than the Glock 19 Gen 3, but not as good as the Gen 4 or Gen 5. I will guess most of my readers who own a Glock have one of the latter, so the release may take a small adjustment to get used to.
The slide stop/release button is better than the Gen 3, and just as good as the Gen 4 and Gen 5. Like the Gen 3 and 4 and unlike the 5, it is not ambidextrous.
The grip, in my opinion, is better than any Glock. It’s noticeably rounder and more organic feeling, similar to the Smith and Wesson M&P, One very common criticism of Glocks in that they feel too square in the hand. This does away with that.
It has come to my attention that the Dagger, like the Polymer 80 and other “Glock Clones” WILL NOT fit all Glock holsters. However, the dagger DID fit the three holsters I bought with me, namely the Henry Holsters Spark (for using a white mounted light), the PHLster Pro, and the Raven Concealment Morrigan.
The trigger, while still the shortcoming of this pistol, did not decrease my performance as much as I was expecting. I do not stage the trigger much when firing (preferring to reset all the way and pull straight through the take-up and wall) but even when deliberately staging, it did not seem to pull my shots. I had read a review that the trigger performs better once broken in, and I did dry-fire this pistol hundreds of times before shooting it for real, so that might have had something to do with it. In any case, the trigger is adequate and not a reason to discount this gun on its own.
I used stock OEM Glock 19 magazines for the vast majority of my testing, and one stock OEM Glock 17 magazine. The latter failed to drop free during one reload, but the rest performed flawlessly. I think this is because the Dagger’s grip isn’t the same dimensions as a stock Glock 19, so the longer G17 magazine had too much contact area and friction (probably doubly so because I rotate pistols about 45 degrees while reloading “in the workspace”). If you use G19 magazines, this won’t be an issue. I did not have any 40 round Extendo Clips to test, so my bad on that one.
So remember how I said I only lubed the rails ? Well…..
Glock Design? Glock wear patterns.
But while Glocks are nitrided and therefore protected whenever cosmetic wear builds up, the PSA’s are stainless steel that’s been treated with Diamond Like Coating. Neither are prone to rust from cosmetic wear, but if you’re the kind of guy that doesn’t like to see wear and tear on your guns (I personally do) then you’d do well to clean and lube this whenever you shoot it.
I like this gun. It’s definitely worth the $550 I spent to get it delivered to me WITH a Holosun red dot (inclusive of taxes and FFL transfer fees) and it’s an astonishing value deal.
However, its proprietary parts are a bit disappointing. I wish every single bit in the gun besides the frame was an exact duplicate of Glock, because I don’t think you should try and build a Gucci Glock off this platform. If you’re going to buy this gun from PSA, buy it in the exact spec you want, and then leave it that way or only replace internals with PSA brand parts.
This is now the best gun you can get for $300. It’s the best optics-ready pistol for under $400, It’s a hell of a deal with a Vortex or Holosun red dot provided for $500. But although it takes some Glock parts and fits some Glock accessories it’s not really a Glock.
I’d recommend the Dagger to someone on a lean budget while still wanting the means to protect themselves. If you’re tight on funds, that ~$200 you save can buy you a holster, cleaning supplies, extra magazines, and a couple boxes of ammo to train. Then once you have more money, you can still use those accessories once you graduate to a True Blue Glock, should you decide to remain in that ecosystem.
I’d also recommend it as a way to get into something like USPSA Carry Optics Division on a budget. Though personally, my wallet hurts too much to use 21 round magazines so I’ll be sticking to Production Division (for now).
I’d also recommend it if you’re just a huge Glock fan or maybe just a 2nd Amendment fanatic in general, because the whole concept of a redneck budget gun company taking High Brow Austrian Engineering Excellence and slanging it for cheap is just about as big of a Fuck You to the Eurocucks as we can manage.
That’s all I have for today. I hope you enjoyed reading.