You might think the market has become saturated recently with micro-compact pistols and for those manufactures just now joining the game, it’s a bit of an eye roll. IWI’s Masada Slim wasn’t built yesterday though. This striker-fired high-capacity micro 9mm pistol was submitted to the ATF back in February of 2020 and has just now been given the green light for importation. It’s unfortunate that it took this long, but it’s here now and it’s worth the wait. The Masada Slim brings great features to the market giving it a solid edge against the competition.
The Masada Slim has a similar footprint in size and weight to the Sig Sauer P365, but unlike its competitor, MSRP is only $450, which means the gun shop down the street is going to be selling it for roughly $400. That’s a hell of a steal for this tiny package that’s optic ready, includes optic height sights, has one of the best OEM triggers on the market and shoots like a mid-sized handgun despite its micro-compact size.
Seeing the gun in photos simply doesn’t do the Masada Slim justice. It doesn’t look like a micro-compact, but as they say, the camera always adds ten pounds. Just looking at pictures, you’d think it’s not much smaller than a mid-size pistol. You really have to hold this gun to get a true feeling for its size and appreciate the ergonomics. As mentioned before, it’s comparable to the original Sig Sauer P365, with the Masada Slim being just a few ounces heavier and .3” longer in barrel length. The 3.4” barrel creates better muzzle velocity than shorter micros.
The ergonomics of the gun are ideal for a compact pistol. The polymer frame pistol is well balanced, and the design combination of the pistol, grip, and recoil spring make this micro-compact a pleasure to shoot, which is rare when it comes to smaller firearms. It doesn’t have interchangeable palmswells like its big brother, the full-size Masada, but the design places your hand closer to the bore axis for more efficient recoil management. The grip naturally curves into the pocket of your palmswell to provide a high and tight grip. Even individuals with larger hands will be able to grip the Slim comfortably and securely. The magazine is double stack, but bottlenecks into single stack towards the top of the magazine. This gun comes with two 13 round flush fit magazines or two ten round magazines if you live in a state with magazine restrictions.
For those looking for a longer grip or more capacity, there’s great news. The Masada Slim is compatible with IWI Jericho magazines, and you can get a sleeve to cover that awkward space that hangs out from the magwell to provide a longer grip. Most grip sleeves however have been known to come loose when changing magazines, so IWI is currently working on a basepad with a spacer that will lock that sleeve cover into place. These mags will be great for anyone with bigger hands, those simply wanting more ammo for training, or one might even use the larger mags for home protection and the shorter mags for concealed carry. Wait, did we just find a handgun that fits all needs? The Jericho magazines boost capacity on the Masada Slim to seventeen rounds, which puts it right up there with full size pistols.
The slide includes an RMS Shield optic cut, which accepts optics such as the Holosun EPS, EPS Carry, or anything with a K2 footprint, such as the Sig Romeo Zero. One might complain about the limited optic options, but there are already over half-a-dozen well-made optics with this footprint and more manufacturers are designing optics to fit the RMS Shield optic footprint right now. The sights are fairly basic, which include a white dot front sight and solid black rear sights; they are however, tall enough so that you can co-witness your sights with your red dot in the off chance the optic stops working. Unlike some optic ready micro slides, you won’t lose the rear iron sights when you mount an optic. Some manufacturers included a small notch in optics like the Romeo Zero to be a backup rear sight, but they can be less than desirable. Ideally, it would be nice to see IWI offer an option with night sights in the future. The front and rear slide serrations are the same pattern as the original full-size Masada pistol, which give you a comfortable, but solid grip to rack the slide even if your hands are sweaty.
Now for the trigger, which aside from the price tag, might be the best thing about this gun. The trigger is one of the best OEM triggers on the market. It’s flat-faced, has very little travel when pulling the trigger back to fire a round and includes the shortest reset you might experience on a stock handgun. The engineers at IWI concentrated more on the feel instead of the weight however, the weight averages about 4.5lbs. It’s not listed as an official spec, but this is what you can expect for trigger pull. The trigger includes a trigger safety, which seems to be a fairly common safety feature on most handguns nowadays. It prevents firing unless that little tab on the trigger is engaged when pulled back.
This gun should eat up just about any 9mm ammo that you feed it. IWI tested the Masada Slim with every brand and grain of ammunition available to ensure it runs reliably for everyone. All of your typical range ammo including +P self-defense, is good to go.
The biggest drawback on this gun is that it lacks an accessory rail. Customers would like the option to mount a light or laser and can’t unless a company like Streamlight makes one specific to the gun. Unfortunately, even those compact lights and lasers for specific guns take a while to produce. They also typically suffer from a lack of lumens due to their small size and tiny batteries. With most popular firearm models however, manufacturers often put out different iterations, so we may see new options in the future.
Another drawback to the pistol is that it is not ambidextrous. It does not include a slide lock or mag release on the right side. The magazine release is reversible, however, but you’ll have to remove the chassis and switch the magazine release. Regardless, without a slide lock on the right side, converting it for lefties is incomplete and may be a deal breaker. Hopefully, this is another option we’ll see addressed in other variations. IWI has a good history of making ambidextrous or convertible guns, so it’s doubtful they’ll leave lefties out in the cold on this one.