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The Tisas PX-9 Duty 9mm Pistol Review: Great Affordable Security

The Tisas PX-9 Duty handgun offers accuracy, ergonomics an dependability in a mid-size package at an excellent price point.

The Tisas PX-9 Duty 9mm Pistol Review: Great Affordable Security

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Polymer-frame guns rule the day. They are usually reasonably priced, and they offer durability, light weight, high capacity and dependability. The Tisas PX-9 is no exception and checks every box including an attractive retail of $339 in the trim I tested. A Turkish firm, Tisas Trabzon Silah Sanayi began producing firearms in 1993 for domestic and export markets. In 2004, a variety of importers began bringing Tisas arms into the U.S., and in 2022 Tisas USA opened its own importing and service operation in Knoxville, Tennessee. Best known for an affordable mil-spec 1911 .45, Tisas also began making a copy of the Browning P35 Hi Power. In between those two iconic all-steel pistols, Tisas introduced the polymer-frame PX-9 pistol. The current iteration is the third generation PX-9 and comes in several models. My PX-9 sample is finished with an attractive flat dark earth frame and slide. Standard matte black is available, too. The PX-9 series uses forged carbon-steel slides and cold-hammer-forged barrels. Suppressor fans are offered a model with a threaded 4.8-inch barrel. For a little extra money, the Nightstalker model comes with an attractive gray frame/slide and an orange/tritium front night sight.

Tisas added a bit of flair to the trigger-lever safety by making it red. This model lacks a thumb safety, but an ambidextrous safety verions is available. The slide is cut for the Trijicon RMR footprint.

All PX-9 pistols have nicely sculpted slides with tapered reductions along the sides widening toward the muzzle, slide serrations front and back and a well-shaped grip angle. This version is simply called the PX-9 Duty, and it’s a medium-size pistol chambered in 9mm Luger offering 18+1 rounds in the standard magazine. A 20-round magazine with extended base pad is also included. The gun comes in a lockable hard case, and inside you’ll find a minimalist inside-the-waistband holster, a mag loader, cleaning rod and brush, trigger lock, extra front sight pipes, screws to mount a reflex sight, and a mag-well funnel—plus a full complement of interchangeable grip inserts. Adaptability of the grip size is huge, with 27 potential combinations of side panels and backstraps. Included are two extra backstraps and two extra grip panels for each side. The grip panels are marked inside “S” for small, “M” for medium and “L” for large as well as “left” and “right.” The backstraps are marked “S,” “M” and “L” too. The gun ships with the medium set all around, which will fit most hands well. It did for my average-size hands, and the pad of my forefinger gravitates naturally to the center of the trigger.

The small set also feels fine, although my trigger finger extends almost to the crook of my first digit. The large set felt awkward, but the trigger reach was still acceptable. The large set increased the width to 1.45 inches, while the small set reduced width to 1.27 inches compared to 1.31 for the medium set. Combining the large right side with the medium left and medium backstrap is my favorite. That combo gave a feel of having a Wundhammer palm swell (ask a RifleShooter reader if you don’t know what that is) and was very comfortable. All the options fit together well during my experimentation. Drifting out one pin at the base of the backstrap allows free interchange among all these options, and the punch to drive out the pin is included. You’ll have to remove the mag well if you’ve installed it. After driving out the pin, slide down the backstrap until it pops free. The grip panels now slide out toward the back. There are twin guides molded into the frame and the inserts to ensure they go on straight.

The gun comes with different sizes of backstraps and side panels for a truly custom fit. The mag-well funnel is easy to install and remove.

Slide the panels in from the back, making sure both top and bottom are in their tracks. Place the backstrap over the back of the pistol, slide it up and drive the pin back in—ensuring it is equally deep on both sides. The provided holster has a spring-steel belt loop that accepts belts up to 1.75 inches. The spring is held to the holster by two Phillips head screws, and the upper one allows the holster to be canted a few degrees forward. Although slotted to tilt to the rear, the spring clip hits the body of the holster, limiting adjustment. Retention is quite firm, as two molded panels trap the trigger guard. For shooting games, a magazine well funnel is included and attaches with one screw, which is provided. The mag well’s sides are scalloped so you can grasp a magazine and pull it out if it doesn’t drop free for some reason. During my test, the magazine dropped smoothly out the bottom when the release was pressed, even with the slide locked back. One thing I always look for is whether the mold line inside the trigger guard of a polymer frame is left unfinished. On some other brands, the line raises a blister on my finger during extended shooting sessions, but not with this pistol. While the mold line is there, the PX-9’s flat-face trigger ensures my trigger finger is never forced down onto the mold line, even when shooting snappy loads.

Trigger pull averaged 3.75 pounds with the usual mushiness during take-up; it’s a little crisper when fired off the reset. Two safeties are provided on this model. The striker has an internal block to prevent firing pin travel if the gun is dropped; it lifts out of the way when the trigger is depressed. The now-common safety lever is present in the center of the black trigger, and this one is bright red. The PX-9 can be had with an additional thumb safety. I prefer thumb safeties on this style of pistol because loose clothing can snag on the trigger during holstering, potentially causing an unpleasant accident. The Tisas thumb safety can be applied whether the striker is set or not. If you decide you want to add the safety later, you can order the part from Tisas for gunsmith installation. When the striker is set, a red cocking indicator extends from the back of the slide as a visual or tactile indication of condition. A pleasant surprise was discovering I could load all 18 rounds in the flush-fit mag without resorting to the provided mag-loading tool, although rounds 17 and 18 were a bit of a struggle. I also got 19 in the 20-rounder before resorting to the loader to put in the final round.

The frame has a light rail molded in, and the gun comes with both an 18-round flush-fit magazine and the extended 20-rounder shown here.

The magazines are made in the USA by Check-Mate Industries. The mag bodies are dimensionally the same as Sig P226 bodies, but the base pads are different and thus not interchangeable. Extra mags are available for $35 from Tisas. The mag catch is reversible. There is a benefit in having that many rounds. If this is my house gun, I might load 14+1 or 15+1 just to keep maximum compression off the spring. If you’re a security guard, all 18 is more comforting. Modern spring material is far better than it was just a few decades ago, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea to rotate house mags every six months or so. At their modest price, it wouldn’t hurt to keep some extra mags and rotate them on this schedule. If a reflex sight is desired, the PX-9 slide has a removable plate for mounting one with the footprint of a Trijicon RMR. The footprint is recessed to allow the iron sights to co-witness with a reflex sight. As for the iron sights, the front has a green fiber-optic light pipe installed. A spare green and a red one are included should it get broken or a change in color be desired.

The rear sight is a plain, square notch, serrated for glare reduction and windage-adjustable only. The rear sight allows a little more daylight than I like for target shooting, with a notch measuring 0.140 inch mated to a 0.115-inch front. For me, the front sight should be the same or nearly the same width as the rear notch for optimum accuracy. When I’m on my game with such sights, getting a flash sight picture is not a problem, and I’m more precise. In stock trim, the extra daylight between the front and rear of the PX-9 are fast and easy to pick up, though, something especially useful if I fall out of practice, which happens more quickly these days no matter the gun. While the accuracy reported at 25 yards might not win many wagers, it would certainly end a fight, especially with its favored load. The Tisas PX-9 comes apart safely and easily. To initiate takedown, drop the magazine, pull the slide back and lock it open. Look in the chamber to ensure no live rounds are camping there.

Turn down the takedown lever just ahead of the slide stop. Lower the slide, and when it reaches the closed point—while holding the slide—squeeze the trigger to release the striker. Ease the slide off the frame. Lift off the recoil spring. It is captive and will not fly. Lift out the barrel and clean as usual. Here is where the Tisas is different. I’ve cleaned a lot of polymer pistols in my time, and this is the first time a company has admonished me not to leave bore solvents on the frame. In the past I’ve never done so because the frame never fouls that much. Tisas warns that any damage caused by leaving bore solvent on the frame will void the warranty. This, I think, reflects how many powerful solvents come in aerosol cans these days. Being a wisenheimer, I placed a few drops of Shooter’s Choice MC-7 on the inside of a grip panel while I was playing with the fit of the other panels. There was no damage or softening after a little more than an hour, so you have time to clean the gun any way you like. Just don’t soak it.

Sights include a serrated black rear and a green fiber-optic front. The striker has a red cocking indicator, making it easy to tell the gun’s condition.

I go to a desert plinking spot for the break-in and familiarization period that involves shooting soda cans and other simple targets. With the PX-9, there really was no requirement for a break-in beyond a simple cleaning and oiling prior to shooting. The PX-9 ran like a top right off the bat. No malfunctions of any kind occurred over the duration of the entire test. Manipulation of the gun was sure. The slide serrations are generously spaced, yet easy and comfortable to grasp even with sweaty hands in the mid-90s summer heat. Shooting one-hand/left-handed I was able to drop a magazine, reload and depress the slide stop easily with my forefinger. Even with the slightly limper hold during left-hand shooting, no malfunctions occurred. The green pipe glares a little too much in bright daylight for me, and I achieved better groups after I blacked it out with a marker pen (you can later remove the ink with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol). If you like it to glow a little during daylight, just black out the top, and there is enough light coming through the ends to glow without flaring. I did notice the groups shifted their point of impact after blacking out the sight—something to be aware of if you plan to do this.


The loads I tested and their results are shown in the accompanying chart. In addition to those, I also shot Remington UMC 115-grain full metal jackets for the break-in and familiarization. Interestingly, all loads from 115-grain to 147-grain shot more or less to the same elevation. I had high hopes for the Remington 147-grain ammo, since subsonic loads are always so pleasant to shoot, but the gun didn’t like them. The Black Hills load delivered a stellar four-shot group of 1.5 inches with the fifth shot pulling out the group to just under three inches. (Note to self: Finish shooting a group before admiring the first four shots.) The pistol seemed to favor lighter weight bullets overall. All in all, the Tisas PX-9 rates a “best buy” for reliability alone. During the 300 rounds I fired, the pistol never hiccuped. The Black Hills load would be my ammunition of choice, since it consistently gave the best accuracy.


Tisas USA PX-9 Duty Specs

  • Type: striker-fired, semi-auto
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Capacity: 18+1, 20+1 (10-rd. mags available)
  • Barrel: 4.1 in. 
  • OAL/Height/Width: 7.4/5.8/1.31 in. 
  • Weight: 24.5 oz. 
  • Construction: polymer frame; steel slide and barrel
  • Sights: square notch rear, green fiber-optic front
  • Trigger Pull: 3.75 lbs. (Measured) 
  • Safety: trigger, striker block; optional ambi thumb safety available
  • MSRP: $339
  • Manufacturer: Tisas

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