What happens when you take a good thing, the PX9 Gen 2 and make it better? Well, in this case you get the PX9 Gen 3 Duty gun from SDS Imports of Knoxville, Tennessee. I have just completed a thorough and comprehensive test of this brand new model and I will share with you my thoughts about this improved PX9 version.
The PX9 Gen 3 Duty pistol has many upgrades from the previous two generations.
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Zigana PX9 Gen 3 Duty
Technically, these pistols are the Zigana PX9 Gen 3 Duty guns imported exclusively by SDS Imports. They make them available for sale to the American gun buying public. Not too long ago, I reviewed the PX9 Gen 2 9mm pistol as a self-defense gun and found it to be a quality item. Let’s consider the factory specs for this new pistol.
PX9 Gen3 Duty
- Caliber: 9x19mm
- Capacity: 18 + 1 rounds
- Actions: Striker-Fired
- Weight (empty): 1.78 lb
- Barrel Length: 4.69 in. (Threaded 1/2×28 TPI)
- Slide Length: 7.9 in.
- Sights: Steel and Fiber Optic
- Finish: Flat Dark Earth (FDE)
How is this pistol different from the Gen 2 you might ask? The trigger design is a true striker-fired action with the now standard trigger mounted safety lever (on the Gen 3 this lever is red). The manual thumb safety of the previous generations is no longer present. The sights on the Gen 3 are black steel with a green fiber optic front and a serrated black rear. The sight cuts in the slide are GLOCK 17 compatible. This is good news for those who would like to add the more expensive Tritium sights later on.
Speaking of sights, if you look closely, you will see a cover plate on the rear top of the slide. The PX9 Gen 3 slide is pre-cut in the factory to allow a Trijicon RMR or any mini-sight with the same footprint to be mounted with two screws. The barrel is factory threaded with a 1/2×28 RH TPI design.
Note the fiber optic and steel sights as well as the cover plate for the RMR mount.
Grips & Accessories
As with the Gen 2, the Gen 3 has interchangeable back straps and grip inserts in Small, Medium, and Large configurations. In addition, included is an optional extended magwell. The magazine well in the polymer grip is beveled already, so I do not have the need for this option. But if you do, go for it. For the record, I found the Medium grip/backstrap set up worked the best for me.
Speaking of magazines, Zigana and SDS Imports did something extremely intelligent and bold for the American market. For instance, rather than put 18 holes in the back of the magazine, they moved the viewing holes to the right side of the mag body and cut them down to four: 5, 10, 15, and 18 round view holes. This was a smart decision as most military pistol magazines do not have dozens of holes. However, the Beretta M9 has three. The Browning Hi-Power likewise has three holes.
From this author’s experience, dozens of view holes in the back of a pistol magazine serve primarily to allow dust and crud to get into your magazine. If you cannot count to 18 or just stop when the magazine is full, you need better training. I have carried a pistol in some of the worst environments on Earth. Enough dust and sand will get into the gun and magazine without adding extra holes to facilitate the situation. Above all, it’s important that your magazine functions and doesn’t get stuck when you need it.
SDS and TISAS worked together and came up with an intelligently designed magazine.
Before sitting down to write this review I took the pistol out for three range sessions. During the very first session, I ran through the One Box Workout. I was pleased to find the gun performed flawlessly. The OBW was run on a steel silhouette from a distance of about five yards. I then backed up incrementally by five yards until I was 30 yards away. Holding in the chest, all shots impacted right where they should have.
As far as holsters are concerned, the pistol comes with a spartan, polymer holster. The PX9 frame and slide are close enough to the Springfield XD(M) that the Gen 3 fit in my XD(M) belt holster perfectly for drawing drills. During weapon presentation drills I sped up and fired double and triple shots on the steel. This is where the trigger truly shined. The factory spec trigger weight is 4.18 pound. In addition, I found that the trigger broke in a crisp fashion and reset was right on par.
I added an AAC TiRant 9mm pistol silencer to the nearly five inch barrel. Firing both supersonic and subsonic 9x19mm ammunition, the gun cycled reliably and round hit the silhouette at 5, 10, and 15 yards.
As for ammunition, I ran 9x19mm ball and JHP from Black Hills Ammunition, ball ammo from Century Arms and CCI, Federal Hydra Shok, and the US Military M882. For those unfamiliar, the M882 is a 124 grain full metal jacket load running at +P+ speeds. I did not encounter a single issue with any of the above mentioned ammunition.
Since the PX9 Gen 3 is listed as a “Duty” gun, I performed the drop test from chest height onto hard packed earth. I also dropped it into sand, kicked some sand over it, retrieved it and shot it. As I expected, the gun fired without issue.
Fight Your Way Up
Rather than merely stand flat-footed and shoot, I decided to make the most of the ammunition I was expending and run through some practical drills. When it comes to being proficient with a fighting or duty handgun. We must assume that we will be called upon to use it in the worst of conditions, not just the best.
It has been so long since I learned this drill I cannot remember the first time I performed it, but I understand its value. The “Fight Your Way Up” drill begins with the shooter lying flat on their back, to simulate being knocked down, etc.
There are 4 steps to take, if you find yourself on your back.
- Begin on your back. Roll your body to clear your holster, draw the pistol being cautious not to point it at your legs, tuck your feet, and fire two or three rounds from your back.
- Sit up on your butt and fire 2-3 more rounds.
- Come up to a kneeling position and fire 2-3 rounds.
- Move from kneeling to standing and fire 2-3 rounds.
The author ran many drills with the PX9 Gen 3 including “fight your way up”.
During the evaluation of the PX9 Gen 3, I fired somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 to 300 rounds of a wide variety of 9x19mm ammunition. The gun was fired from a two-hand, single right, and single left hand hold. After that, it was dropped and covered with sand. The farthest distance fired was 50 yards. As long as I did my part, the pistol put hits on steel.
The two 18 round magazines were continuously stuffed full and I began most drills with a loaded chamber and a full magazine. If you are hoping I will tell you about stoppages or malfunctions, you are going to be disappointed. The truth of the matter is that handgun manufacturing has become such an exact science today that a gunmaker would truly have to try hard to make a bad one. The Tisas factory that makes Zigana guns produces NATO spec firearms, they are not playing around.
In other words, what all of this means to you, the American gun buyer, is that you can get a seriously well-made, duty-grade handgun at an extremely attractive price. In conclusion, the price is so attractive that you might be tempted to buy two or even one for every member of your family.
Professor Paul Markel
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