U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- When Palmetto State Armory announced the 9mm PSA Dagger at SHOT Show 2020, it was just one in a long line of show-stoppers the South Carolinian gunmaker unveiled in Vegas that year. And despite being physically the smallest, the PSA Dagger made huge waves in the industry.
Which made perfect sense. After PSA's rise to near total-dominance in the budget-friendly AR Market, news that Palmetto was taking a stab at the handgun market with their Dagger understandably made a few competitors quite nervous.
That said, after the announcement, came COVID-19 and an unparalleled firearm and ammunition buying spree. This caused the development of many new guns from multiple gun makers to be delayed indefinitely – but not the PSA Dagger. In fact, it should be hitting shelves in the very near future.
For the uninitiated, the 9mm PSA Dagger is a polymer-framed, locked-breech semi-automatic magazine-fed handgun. It features total parts commonality (meaning magazines, sights, and aftermarket accessories) with a third-generation Glock 19. Unlike the 19, the PSA Dagger is fully made in America. Basically, it's PSA affordable answer to the Glock compact handgun.
The folks at PSA were kind enough to invite me out to Clinton, SC, to get some trigger time with both the PSA Dagger and a handful of other guns. In Dagger's case, I fired around 12 magazines through the gun filled to between 10 and 15 rounds. I was able to fire both a few pre-production guns as well as a production model. All of the guns felt incredible in the hand and had a very mild recoil impulse.
One of the pre-production models encountered a few hiccups with some underpowered ammunition, but it featured a new experimental chamber design that PSA had already abandoned on production guns. I mention this for full transparency, so readers don't think this coverage is some sort of paid advertisement.
On the full-fledged production guns, we encountered no reliability or accuracy issues whatsoever. In fact, the Dagger felt oddly familiar-yet-still-distinct when I was manipulating the controls and firing it. It's difficult to quantify, but it was almost like an amalgamation of an M&P, a Glock, and a race gun.
I say this because the trigger feels much more like a well-used M&P trigger than that of a Glock, but the sights were very Glock-reminiscent, while the grip didn't feel like a production grip at all. In fact, that was one of my favorite parts of the gun's design. The way the backstrap fills my palms, while not feeling like a 2×4 is, in my opinion, an improvement over traditional third-generation Glock frames.
As for accuracy and reliability, I honestly didn't get to fire enough rounds to make a definitive judgment, but I never struggled to hit a target during my time with the gun. Surely, we'll need a much more long-term, in-depth session with the Dagger to make a final call. But thus far, the PSA Dagger is a very impressive little gun. One that if it comes to market at SHOT Show rumor prices, could very well dominate the handgun market.
About Jim Grant
Jim is one of the elite editors for AmmoLand.com, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.
When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.