Whenever I advise new shooters on how to choose their first handgun, I stress that proper fit is the most-critical aspect, second only to reliability. To drive the point home, I liken it to a glove that must accommodate both of their hands at the same time. The better the gun fits, the more control the shooter has over recoil and the faster their follow-up shots will be.
This is the driving concept behind the TISAS PX-9 Duty, a striker-fired semi-automatic Turkish pistol that delivers a custom fit and a bevy of features for a reasonable price.
Imported by SDS Imports of Knoxville, the PX-9 is built to accommodate nearly any hand size or style through a series of interchangeable backstraps and side panels that allow you to dial in the fit. TISAS includes a total of nine of these components to create over a dozen different configurations. All parts are treated with a unique texturing that I found added control without being aggressive to the point of discomfort. Controllability seems to be a running theme on this handgun, as seen in the implementation of the undercut trigger guard, a feature that allows for higher hand placement closer to the bore axis. This turns a snappy muzzle flip into a subdued rearward push, keeping the pistol at hand and on target whenever a shot is fired. Additional control is created by a relief cut for the center finger—I vastly prefer this over a full set of finger grooves. Other frame features include a Picatinny accessory rail, removable magazine-well flair and a reversible magazine catch to accommodate either dexterity.
Moving up to the slide, TISAS Cerakotes these to match the frame. The final assembly is fitted with a set of drift-adjustable sights that fit the Glock 9/40 pattern if you wish to change them out; however, with an embedded fiber-optic rod, I didn’t deem that swap at all necessary, primarily because the pistol provides other low-light options, such as mounting a red dot to the RMR-optics cut that comes standard on all models.
Setting up my pistol before a range day was as simple as screwing down a Trijicon RMR electro-optic and picking out three types of 9 mm Luger ammunition to see how she ran. The barrel of my test sample was threaded, but to keep my results as fair as possible, I opted to shoot it without the addition of any muzzle-mounted accessories. (For those not interested in the extra length, a flush, unthreaded version of the barrel is available.) After dialing a rough zero, I packed my bags and set out for what was going to be a perfect late-summer day on the range.
After setting out paper targets, I built a stable shooting position with a series of sandbags and fired five, five-shot groups from 15 yards. My first observation was that, as predicted, its recoil gave more of a push than a snap; it remained incredibly close to my point of aim after each shot.
Once I was comfortable with the overall feel and movement of the gun, I turned my attention to its trigger. This trigger operates on the typical single-action, striker-fired principle, meaning that it’s the same pull throughout the entire magazine and features a safety blade in the center. TISAS went with the more popular flat-style bow that is better at keeping your finger where you want it throughout the entire press and subsequent release. I also found it wider than most, which is particularly helpful in mitigating any angular influence from your finger placement. The same could be said for its light pull weight, which tipped the scale at 4.5 pounds. Overall, I was satisfied with it, but I did find both the rearward travel and the reset a bit long. This, of course, is a personal preference, and there is even a polar mindset that considers these aspects desirable in a defensive pistol.
Moving on to some dynamic testing, I donned the included holster and prepared to work on a series of silhouette targets. Before getting to the performance report, I’d like to note how refreshing it was to see a carry pistol include a holster that can be configured for either inside- or outside-the-waistband carry. This is such an underrated accessory, considering how often new guns suffer from holster availability.
I found that the gun pointed instinctively, another byproduct of proper fit. I was able to put a center-mass round on target from outside-the-waistband in as little as 1.12 seconds, which is fantastic for a gun that’s brand new to me. After singles, I performed a series of double-taps to get an idea of the pistol’s recovery and trigger stroke. Judging from the proximity of one shot to the next, I felt that it returned to the original point of aim relatively well; it routinely landed two shots in the A-zone with each engagement. The trigger stroke was a tad limiting, as I found that my best split times were only 0.28 of a second; however, it ran like a top, digesting more than 150 rounds of mixed ammunition without a single failure in feeding, firing or ejecting.
Before leaving the range, I disassembled the pistol by locking it to the rear and rotating the frame-mounted takedown lever. Once turned, the slide can be slipped off the frame, but only after depressing the trigger. For that reason, it is even more imperative that you begin the process by ensuring the pistol is unloaded and always keep it pointed in a safe direction. With the two halves separated, the guide rod/spring assembly and barrel can be lifted from the slide for cleaning and lubrication. Reassembly is as simple as reversing these steps and performing a function check.
I found the PX-9 Duty to be an outstanding pistol; especially for anyone who might be learning how a gun is supposed to fit or is working with a light budget. This leaves money left over for training and practice ammunition, which is far more important than the brand etched into the side of your pistol. Features like the various included grip-adjustment options and the optics cut also allow newcomers to feel out what works and what doesn’t as they configure the ideal gun for their needs. And, of course, thanks to its ergonomics, 20+1 capacity and price point, it also makes a fantastic everyday pistol.