Gun torture tests; apparently the YouTube audience loves them. When my friend Dave, at SDS Imports, asked me if I would be willing to do a 1000 round torture test on their new Zigana PX9 Gen 3 Duty pistol (you can also find these guns listed as  the Tisas PX9). I agreed, with one condition. That condition was that the test would be realistic and the PX9 would be challenged under realistic field conditions. 

The snow finally melted and the dirt road to my mountain shooting range finally dried up enough to be passable, and so, on April 1st I began my testing. Serious, no joke there.  

The author fired numerous magazines single-handed


Zigana PX9 Gen3 Duty 

Before we begin with the testing, let’s take a moment to consider the actual firearm we will be using.  Here are the factory specifics:

PX9 Gen3 Duty

  • Caliber: 9x19mm 
  • Capacity: 20 / 18 + 1 rounds
  • Actions: Striker-Fired
  • Weight (empty): 1.78 lb
  • Hammer Forged Barrel
  • Slide Length: 7.9 in. 
  • Dual Captive Recoil Spring
  • Sights: Steel and Green Fiber Optic
  • Finish: Black

The sights on the Gen 3 are 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. We strongly recommend the Night Fision Accur8 Tritium sights for Glock pistols and, of course, now the PX9 Gen 3 models.

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 Zigana PX9 Gen 3 Duty pistol came in a molded plastic hard case with two magazines; one 20 round and one 18 round with a magazine loading tool. The magazines are the SIG P226 pattern, but these hold more rounds than a standard SIG duty pistol. As for holsters, the PX9 comes with a Kydex IWB minimalist rig. Those looking for additional holsters should order the Springfield XD(M) 9mm versions. 

Each PX9 Gen 3 pistol comes with interchangeable back-straps and grip panels in Small, Medium and Large. From the factory, the medium set up is in place. Switching the back-strap and grip panels requires the removal of a single pin and the process takes but a few minutes. 

The Zigana PX9 Gen3 Duty pistol has premium features and an affordable price.



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Ammunition and Accessories

If you are going to T&E a handgun, you need a good holster, belt and magazine carriers. I went to the CrossBreed Holsters website and ordered one of their Drop Slide OWB holsters sized for the XD(M) 3.8, a dual mag carrier, and a Crossover leather belt. I picked the gun up from my FFL guy two days after the CrossBreed package arrived.    

When the UPS lady dropped off a case of Wolf 9x19mm, 115 grain full metal jacket ammunition that was the final piece of the puzzle. SDS Imports supplied me with ten Zigana PX9 Gen 3 magazines. I can tell you by the time I loaded magazine number six, I was happy to have the loading tool that came with the pistol. (*Authors Note: If you own both a Canik TP9 and an PX9 pistol, take a paint pen and mark your magazines. The magazines from both guns look very similar but are not interchangeable.) I don’t need to haul cardboard boxes and styrofoam ammo trays to the range, so I dumped all of the Wolf 9mm ammunition into an OD green steel ammo can to make my life easier.

With all of the magazines stuffed full, the last thing I did was disassemble the PX9 and lube the slide rails. For this test I would be using the red EDC CLP. I have been working with the product for three years now and am completely happy with its performance. Lastly, I put all of the magazines, my Champion electronic ear pro, the holster and mag carrier and loading tool into a Full Forge Gear “Storm” range bag. The only thing left to do was to load both cardboard and steel targets into the bed of the truck.

We started with 1000 rounds and a dozen magazines.

Torture Test Day 1

The ruts in the range road were no joke and I had to gun it through some muddy spots, but I made it to my private shooting area in the mountains. As I mentioned, it was April 1st, but it did not feel much like spring. The Wyoming wind was a mild 12 mph and the windchill was in the 30’s. However, the sun was shining so all was well with the world. 

Step one was to put the full 20 plus 1 round magazine into the Zigana PX9 and fire rapidly onto a cardboard silhouette from ten yards. The sights proved to be right on and all the shot holes clustered in the preferred area. The sunshine made the green fiber optic front sight stand out and it was easy to pick up. There is no white paint or fiber optic material in the rear sight to confuse the shooter’s eyes. Next up was a full magazine of head shots from seven yards. Again, no issues.

Now I moved to single handed shooting. Full magazines with the right hand only and then the left hand only on a steel half-silhouette. Then distance shooting. I backed up to fifteen and then twenty yards. As long as I did my part, the steel rang with regularity. 

Continuing, I worked a couple of magazines worth of single shot holster drills. Then two and three shot rapid fire drills. The only pause in the action was to put loaded magazines into my mag carrier and then to stuff the magazines I had emptied.

Before I finished for the day, I worked from a kneeling position, did some moving and shooting and engaged multiple targets. By the time I packed up the target stands, there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 pieces of gray steel cases on the grounds. Total number of stoppages: zero (0).      

The author used a CrossBreed Holsters “Drop Slide” and a dual mag carrier.

Torture Test Day 2

I meant to go out the following morning, but the wind was howling so I waited and was rewarded with a pleasant, sunny day. The temperature actually reached 50 plus degrees and I was able to shed my jacket. Before I went out for Day 2, I replaced the Medium backstrap/grip panel set up for the large versions.

I began Day 2 by running through our SOTG One Box Workout Drill. This is a skill maintenance program we came up with many years ago to help you get the most of your time and ammunition.

 Once more, I ran moving and shooting drills, multiple target engagement, and shooting from awkward positions. Also, I ran through single handed drills where I fired the gun to empty and reloaded it using only a single hand. I did this both right and left handed.

About midway through Day 2 I did a drop test. I simply opened my hand and let the gun fall on hard packed dirt and gravel. Then I knelt down, retrieved it and emptied a magazine into a steel target. After being dropped, the gun pistol was dusty. I moved over to a 5 gallon bucket, dropped it in the water, retrieved it and fired out a full magazine. 

After the water test, I disassembled the gun, brushed it off, and put some more EDC CLP on it. Also, I used this time to replace the large set up with the Small back strap and grip panels. I was able to make the change on the tailgate in a minute or two. 

Back to business

I did some distance shooting on the half silhouette and moved all the way back to 50 yards. The sights were on target and steel range regularly. It was sunny and the green fiber optic front sight stood out. I poured more rounds into both the cardboard and steel targets, making sure to use proper form and trigger press. The dual captive recoil spring of the Zigana PX9 worked exceptionally well and follow up shots came very fast. 

Once more, the only breaks I took were to drink water and recharge magazines. My thumb was happy that I had that simple reloading tool. Even working constantly, it took me a few hours to run all the drills and finish off the thousand rounds. During the entire testing period I lubed the gun three times total and ran the included barrel brush through the bore at about the halfway point.

In addition to the relatively inexpensive Wolf Ammunition, I went into my fighting stock and fired some Defiant Munitions 9mm +P duty quality ammo through the gun. So, we had both inexpensive practice ammo and expensive fighting ammo. I experienced zero (0) stoppages or malfunctions. If you were waiting for me to tell you the gun broke, I’m sorry to disappoint you. These pistols are made in the TISAS factory which is a NATO Spec military arms production facility.    

Zigana PX9 Gen 3 Pistol Torture Test: Full Video

Thoughts on Practical and Realistic Torture Tests

I have gone on record stating that most YouTube firearm torture tests amount to little more than ballistic masturbation. For better than thirty years I have worn a uniform of some sort, be it that of a United States Marine infantryman, a Police Officer or a Military Contractor. I feel as though I have a solid understanding of what can be expected of a duty grade or field grade firearm. 

The Instagram Models and YouTube “Influencers” who take a gun and blast away recklessly into a dirt berm as their buddies feed them magazine after magazine might be having fun, but they are accomplishing nothing. I once heard that a youtuber set about running a gun “dry”, no lubrication, deliberately until it failed. Friends, allow me a moment of blunt honesty, such an endeavor is pure f**ktardation. That is akin to draining the oil out of a Ford F250 and driving it a hundred miles an hour until the engine seizes. What did you prove?

 Firearms are simple machines. Machines operate the best when cleaned and lubricated. Yes, a gun should get through a dozen magazines without needing more oil, but gaming the test in order to break a gun serves no practical purpose.

Every single trigger press you make is practice for the real thing.

Also, and this is a BIG also, pointing a gun at a dirt berm and yanking on the trigger as fast as humanly possible is a fantastic way to train your finger to spasmodically jerk and to build up a fantastic flinch. I cannot recall which instructor said it but the advice he gave was that every single trigger press you make is practice for the real thing. When you are called upon to save your life with a firearm, God may only grant you a few precious trigger presses to stop a monster from making your wife a widow and your kids fatherless. 

When it comes to the subject of 1000 Round Torture Tests, you can either waste one thousand trigger presses playing a pointless game or you can take the time to execute one thousand perfect trigger presses and develop or maintain a skill that could save your life or the lives of people you care about. Additionally, depending on the caliber you are using, a 1000 round case of ammunition will cost half or more as much as the gun you are firing. Why would you waste valuable ammunition and your time? The choice is yours to make.

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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