[Review] IWI Masada: Optics Ready G19 Killer?

You’ve likely heard the hype around IWI’s newest offering, a striker-fired, G19-sized, optics ready, pistol for an actually affordable price point.

Masada on a stump
New IWI Masada 9mm Pistol

Sounds too good to be true?

We got a couple of pre-release pistols in hand for testing and have the real talk about the brand new Masada.

But to really see it in action, check out Johnny putting it through his trials and tests!

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Table of Contents

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Who Is IWI?

In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last 80+ years, IWI is the Israel Weapon Industries and they’ve been in the firearms game for a long time now.

Probably best known for the Tavor, they’ve been a huge name in ammo manufacture, weapons development, and small-arms testing for decades.

Israeli Forces with Tavor
Israeli Forces with Tavor

They know what they are doing and they know how to make a firearm truly combat ready.

Introducing The Masada

Named after an ancient fortification, the Masada is everything you would expect from a modern carry/duty firearm. Roughly the same size profile as the Glock 19, this gun is good to go right from the box.

440
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Features

Great Batman, these gun has features. Basic specs to know, it’s 9mm, short-recoil, and holds 17+1 rounds. Sights a bit basic with a simple 3-dot system, but it also comes optics ready!

Masada and box

Plus, you get two of the 17-round steel magazines in the box.

29
at GunMag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Setting the Masada apart from the rest of the market are the 3 interchangeable backstraps (okay, those aren’t really unique – but a nice addition that most others are still missing) and the optics plates that are INCLUDED with the gun.

From the box the Masada has mounting plates for the Vortex Venom, Sig Romeo1, Leupold DeltaPoint, and Trijicon RMR.

Everything about the Masada is modern, it’s optics ready, it comes with two mags, it feels great, and of course, it front slide serrations.

Masada front cuts
Masada front cuts

Masada grips are grippy without being a problem either, great balance between the two. If you wanted to run this in a competition, you could get some stippling done – but that isn’t really where the Masada is meant to be.

masada grip
Masada grip

The only thing not great about the package is the packaging itself. Sadly, the box is…very bleh. Ultra-thin cardboard is cheap, but it’s not something we love to see.

Masada in the box
Masada in the box (peppers not included)

However, this was a pre-release model so maybe that will change by the time the Masada hits your LGS.

Range Report

Several hundred rounds of CCI 9mm and the Masada ran to perfection. Accurate, reliable, and very comfy to shoot.

Johnny had some slide-lock-back issues after the mag was spent, but these started to resolve themselves near the end of the test. This could very well just be the Masada breaking in.

The extra backstraps make it easy for all hand sizes to find their perfect grip.

Masada in the water

However, the trigger isn’t outstanding. While no EDC gun has a match grade trigger out of the box that we’ve seen, the Masada’s was extra middle-of-the-road. Not bad, not great. Totally acceptable for EDC.

Masada trigger
Masada trigger

Two Frames

In our video and in our pictures the keen-eyed will note that there are two frame types for the Masada.

Masada early trigger guard
Masada early trigger guard

Note the trigger guard, on one frame it is angled sharply and on one frame it is flat.

The angled trigger guard was pre-production while the flat guard is the production American version.

Masada USA guard
Masada production trigger guard for the American market

This is done for American style flashlights to give them a solid rear contact point.

Disassembly

Crazy easy. Really one of the easiest pistols to disassemble on the market.

masada takedown bar
Masada takedown bar, so easy!

Turn the takedown lever, dry fire the pistol, and let the slide slip off the front. Just that simple.

Price Range?

The MSRP is at a crazy low $480, but MSRP is rarely the same price as what you’ll see in the store. Since these aren’t on the market yet, we don’t know what street price will be but we’re confident that it will be very affordable.

For the features that you get (two mags, optics ready, backstraps, etc) this is an outstanding bang-for-your-buck pistol.

Masada on a stump

Holsters

Since this is a brand new gun, holsters are a little harder to find right now. But IWI did work with a lot of the major brands so they could come out with holsters ASAP!

CrossBreed has their SuperTuck Deluxe already available for the Masada. If you’re looking for an awesome IBW hybrid holster – this is our top recommendation.

69
at CrossBreed Holsters

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

By The Numbers

Ergonomics: 4/5

On some level, you’re gripping a giant piece of plastic. But overall good purchase, great grips, and not much to complain about.

Accuracy: 4/5

In the hands of another shooter, it may be higher. But it absolutely did what I asked it to do.

Customization: 5/5

As stated above, it is optics ready. Add whatever dot or light you want and you’re good to go!

Tested Pistol Red Dots
Pew Pew Tactical Tested Pistol Red Dots

The fire control group is removable, so we’ll see if any third-parties offer new frames down the road.

And of course, the rail is able to accept any standard weapon-mounted light! My pick would be the Streamlight TLR-7.

102
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Looks: 5/5

I’m a sucker for the IWI logo, and I think the new Masada branding is clean.

Value: 5/5

It’s $480 (or less now). Done.

440
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Overall: 4.5/5

Parting Shots

The IWI Masada is a really compelling EDC gun that’s geared for any role you would normally see a G19, but upgraded in nearly every way. Optics ready, railed for a flashlight, nicely designed, and under $480. We wait for further long-term reliability reports and holster accommodation.

Masada with ammo

While we ran over 500 rounds though the Masada, that is a tiny number in the grand scale. We’ll stay on top of other range reports and your comments to track just how well the Masada does once it is out in the wild.

But so far – we are very impressed!

What do you look for in a modern pistol? Do you stick with old faithful designs still? Let us know in the comments! Check out our go-to Best CCW Guns (By Caliber).

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45 Leave a Reply

  • Joe Somebody

    The IWI Masada is a seriously impressive pistol. It's very comfortable to shoot, extremely reliable, and deadly accurate. I have put thousands of rounds through mine after owning it for about 6 months now and I have not had a single malfunction. I really have grown to love and appreciate everything about this weapon the more I use it. I have a vortex venom on it and I feel comfortable taking very long shots ( for pistol) and impressing anyone that is watching me. I cannot say enough good things about this pistol - I just wish more people knew about it !

    7 months ago
  • Jim McGinn

    I really like my Masada. 100% reliable so far with about 700 rounds. I have a Vortex Venom on it and it has very good accuracy (I only shot it out to 25 yards). I received an LE/Mil discount through Prove Outfitters and it was only $384

    8 months ago
  • Charles Onderdonk

    I love my IWI Masada- I prefer it over my glock hands down. Here is why.

    Masada has
    - better grips
    - better barrel
    - better sights
    - better slide release
    - better disassembly
    -better accuracy
    - comes with a optics cut
    - better looking

    I do not know why but I shoot the Masada so much better than my Glock, it feels better in my hand, it shoots better, and I am far more accurate.

    9 months ago
  • me

    Waaaaay too much ads to make out this article..!!!

    1 year ago
  • John

    I'm going to start putting sayings "Glock Killer" and "CZ or Canik as replacing Glock" up there with "Computers will eliminate paperwork", "We will be on the metric system within the decade" and "Soccer will be the most popular sport in the United States in 20 years" . The first two are recent lies, the last three I've been hearing since the 70's

    1 year ago
    • Doc Glock

      Do you own one of these? Because since I've purchased my IWI Masada I have not wanted to fire a single round out of any of my glocks. I've started not even packing them in my range back when I go. The IWI Masada IS a glock killer, it's got way more features, is much more comfortable to shoot, I don't have to spend an extra $300 to get my slide cut to mount and optic on it, and its got much better grips. There is no question - that this pistol beats a glock in every single category.

      7 months ago
  • Jarrod

    I’ve had mine for a few months. I just put a vortex venom on it and although my precision went down the gun is very accurate. The red dot shows my flaws but I’m quicker on target and my grouping is damn good at ten and 25 yards. It’s a solid piece of equipment. Has me wanting to buy a second one or maybe they will make a compact that will make me give up my Glock 43x.

    1 year ago
  • Steve Fogg

    The trigger shoe on my Masada is the most uncomfortable that I have ever experienced on a handgun. It is made of metal and has a fairly pronounced curve to it. The trigger safety is also metal and sticks out below the bottom of the shoe. After firing 10-15 rounds my finger feels uncomfortably pinched. Has anyone else noticed this as an issue?

    1 year ago
    • Scott Carlson

      I have as well Steve! Had mine for a few hundred rounds and definitely looking for trigger upgrades already! I am using the Venom optic and I'm still getting used to that (1st time using an optic).

      1 year ago
  • Paul H

    Just purchased this today for 460.00 USD. It is much more pronounced and slightly bigger than my Urban Gray EDC Glock 19 but the ergonomics are astoundingly good. This is a HIGH quality gun that is battle ready and a nice compliment to my Tavor X95. I am partial to XDs and CZs so this gun borrows heavily from the feel and weight of the prior mentioned. So glad I was able to get this! Mostly every other manufacturer gives you more out of the box than Glock and this is proof positive.

    1 year ago
  • Richard Vest

    My Masada is a pos
    Bought it 9/14/19
    Shot it ,couldn't disassemble it
    Bad locking block
    Returned 9/19 to iwi
    Still waiting
    Not happy

    1 year ago
    • J

      Mine was buggy too - sent it back and I got the item returned - report from their gunsmith said the trigger bar was bent - replaced and 17 rounds fired through it at their place - yet to take mine to the range, but it should fare well.

      1 year ago
  • Dude-Buddy

    Optics plates come with screws and Allen wrench. The grip back strap pin requires 2.5mm punch. The sights can be swapped. It does come with an IWI sticker in the box. Yes this is a very nice gun. The trigger is extremely nice IMHO regardless what some claim (read a lot of reviews and most claim the trigger is just okay at best. Many guns on the market have longer and heavier pulls, like a SW40). It is very easy to take this pistol apart like stated. Not sure about the easiest, but it’s pretty easy and simple.

    The only thing I dislike is it’s still new so the future for options is vague. Overseas has different colors. So far it’s only black on the US market. Rumors of all sorts of swap-able parts blah blah. I think the chassis system was designed to be easier for manufacturing to introduce different variants based on regions like how we have “an American market”. It’s slightly different than Israeli versions I am assuming. I don’t believe this gun have a cache of different parts to mix and match to customize. I believe this is it. Might get colors but I doubt a shorter magazine with grip conversion for CC or different threaded barrels, etc.

    1 year ago
  • Adam Clark

    Idk if I’d call this a glock 19 competitor. It seems more like a glock 45 or 17 size to me. Still seems nice though

    1 year ago
  • Daddydogpt

    For me I never use the box again, but, if it's a nice box I hate to just throw it away. So I guess the crappy cardboard boxes create less clutter in my house. They go out with the trash. Better still if the price gets reduced by just giving us the cardboard.

    1 year ago
    • Tyrone boy

      I have a corner in my closet full of plastic cases top to bottom and a couple of cardboard boxes. If a manufacturer can cut the cost by giving me cardboard, then I am fine with that. I don't need a holster, loader, lock etc. in a box that just adds to the cost that I will never use anyway.

      1 year ago
  • GCSD71

    I'm I the only one who believes that this is more of a G19X/G45 competitor... Full size grip 17rd and a 4" barrel.... Just my two cents, I'll wait for the "compact grip" to become available before crowning it the go to CCW gun. It's a duty gun like the G19X/G45

    1 year ago
  • R. Corrino

    Probably a futile hope that we will be getting this in California.

    1 year ago
  • spacecadet

    I see one issue already. it's not a 1911 and its dont fire a 45acp. I guess it would be a good gun for plinking.

    LOL, honestly it looks like a neat firearm, and IWI I am sure has done its homework as to the function of this pistol. For the price its right on point to keep pace with similar pistols in that caliber. I hope that it isnt a flash in the pan and proves itself out in the real world.

    1 year ago
  • JimyP

    We're in a Golden Age of Guns and IWI has just added another quality handgun to choose from. All these choices ...keep it coming!

    1 year ago
  • David

    "...pull trigger, gun goes bang." I totally agree. Why make religion out of firearm preference? If one person prefers Glock because he/she fires it well, why does another person take offense because he/she fires IWI well?

    It would be the same if two carpenters got in a fight over which brand of hammer makes a better carpenter.

    Use the tool with which you get the job done. Respect the other person that gets that same job done but with a different tool.

    1 year ago
    • Arthur

      Amen brother!

      1 year ago
    • Jesus

      Estwing....nuff' said

      1 year ago
  • Jim Bennett

    I have been a Glock fan for years. Currently own three. Look forward to trying a Masada. No other brand of pistols I have tested caused me to consider buying one.

    1 year ago
  • TxDoubleAgent

    Care less about the box it comes in, that will gather dust on a shelf somewhere. G19g4 packer here, will give this one a hard look for recommendations.
    PPQ's and CZ P10c's are gonna be a hard act to follow.

    1 year ago
  • Christian Poulin

    Hi guys
    I haven't seen the barrel length. Just curious to know if it will be available in Canada.

    1 year ago
    • Graham Cooke

      I checked the IWI stats and the barrel is 102mm which makes it a "hair" shorter than the Canadian approved "Restricted" Glock 19 Gen4 edition - without a threaded barrel.
      It will make it to market in the USA first but Canada, it remains to be seen.

      - just providing my expert opinion based on research and experience as a former Cabelas Gun Counter outfitter.

      1 year ago
      • JD

        check out red deer shooting centre they have them for sale

        1 year ago
  • James Bentley

    I watched the video review of the IWI Masada. The pistol itself appears to be terrific. As far as the box is concerned. I prefer a container that I can carry to the range and/or if need be return with the pistol for (Hopefully never) repair.

    1 year ago
  • Johnathan G White

    I would like to give this weapon a good run. How would I be able to acquire this weapon.
    I like a lot of people own a Glock 19 Gen 4. In addition to that, I just purchased a Walther PPQ M2 9MM. My Walther is the one I lean more to favor. My Sig P239 40 cal is a solid pistol, but the New offering of the Masada being from IWI sounds like it would be a nice addition.

    1 year ago
  • Gavin M Lantry

    Another repackaged glock so not a killer but a redesign is more like it...

    1 year ago
  • J Isbell

    I would love to get one! Right now my EDC guns are a SCCY CPX2 and a Ruger LCP2 as a pocket gun. As to the packaging thing both my SCCY and Ruger came in a not very sturdy cardboard box. I was never a fan of the plastic blow molded cases either.

    1 year ago
  • Eli Rodriguez

    Don’t think this is a Glock killer at all and I am not a Glock fan . I like Sig Sauer and their new P 320 X5 . Check that one out . It is a pricier pistol than this Masada but you get what you pay for . The X5 is more a Glock killer IMHO.

    1 year ago
  • J Sanders

    Would LOVE to "Test Drive" one of these!!!

    1 year ago
  • Mike Moser

    CZ already unseated the GLOCK.

    1 year ago
    • C4BZ

      I agree! Chose the CZ P-10c over the Glock 19 for EDC two years ago, and couldn't be any happier with that decision. Now looking at the P-10s for carry during warmer months. However, there's always room for another great choice in that compact size category and IWI makes great stuff.

      1 year ago
  • Thaddeus Jackson

    I don't agree with this whole G19 killer. Yes there are quite a few amazing firearms on the market. Glock had done some amazing things with there pistol's throughout the years. With that said!! So have several other firearm manufacturer's. Every pistol may fit the next person different. Not one shooter is the same. To each is there own. As for this pistol being a Glock killer. I seriously doubt that. Yes it may be a good pistol but so isn't Glock and several others.

    1 year ago
  • Santosh

    Seems like they trying to mix the CZ100 and the GLOCK 19.

    I STILL PREFER THE GLOCK.
    2ND CHOICE CZ75 for sport

    1 year ago
  • Jeff M

    Hmmm. Haven't heard of IWI. The Galil, Jerico or Tavor bull pup? Just to name a few. Oh, sorry, only Glock makes guns.. Not a Glock hater, pull trigger, gun goes bang.. Does what it should, others do too, The Galil is one of the best close-quarter combat rifles out there. Can't be bad coming from a country that knows a thing or two about war. (Refer to the Old Testament if you're in doubt)

    1 year ago
  • Notaglockkiller

    "In case you've been living in a cave for the last 80 years..." Guess I have because I didn't know who the hell IWI was. After reading this article, I still don't care. It will not be a "Glock killer."

    1 year ago
  • QuietM4

    No, it won't be. There are so many articles about new pistols going back many year saying "is this the new Glock killer?" None of them have been. This won't be either.

    1 year ago
  • Rod

    It's not a Glock, looks like something Ruger would put out, I put it in the fudd Territory right next to Xd's

    1 year ago
    • Shiro

      Uh, no kidding? Because it's not a Glock, you're immediately saying it's trash? Fanboy much?

      1 year ago
      • Greg Zimmerman

        The Masada combines the best design features of the top polymer guns. That alone makes it more modern and efficient than a Glock. Time, shooting reports, sales and continued development of options will have to happen. This gun has potential to move to the top. The quality is there. Time is on the side of the Masada, not Glock.

        1 year ago
    • D

      Watch yo lip fanboy

      1 year ago
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