Someone recently brought a PSA Dagger in for a class, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to shoot and review it.
The Dagger Compact is Palmetto State Armory’s (PSA) response to the popular GLOCK G19. It is a 9mm semi-auto striker-fired pistol with a polymer frame and is basically a Glock Gen 3 clone. The big difference between the two is that the Dagger retails for $299 vs. a Glock 19 for around $500.
Palmetto State Armory is based in Columbia, South Carolina. They started PSA in 2008 and are best known for their AR products and parts. They developed the Dagger in-house, based it on the Glock 19 G3, and then released it at the beginning of 2020. The model I got ahold of had a version two slide, and they have since progressed to version three and fixed some early design problems.
PSA Dagger Specs:
- Model: Palmetto Dagger Compact
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 15+1
- Action: Striker Fired
- Weight: 22.4oz (unloaded)
- Overall Length: 7.15″
- Overall Width: 1.28″
- Overall Height: 4.78″ (Without Mag)
- Barrel Length: 3.9″
- Barrel Material: Stainless Steel with a DLC Finish
- Slide Material: Stainless Steel with a DLC Finish
- Frame: Polymer
- Front Sight: Steel – White Dot
- Rear Sight: Steel – White Two Dot
- Safety: Striker Block Safety & Trigger Safety
- Glock style universal lower rail
They made the frame of the Dagger Compact of a black polymer. It has a GLOCK style rail for accessories and aggressive texturing on all four sides of the grip. The rectangular magazine release and slide catch cannot be reversed, so sorry, if you are a lefty, you are out of luck. Like a Glock, it has a takedown lever above the trigger.
The slide has serrations on both the front and the back, whereas a Glock has them only on the back. The ends of the slide are angled, so they are less likely to get hung up on clothing when drawing from a concealed position, and PSA calls it their “extreme carry cut.”
The flat-faced, curved trigger has a factory pull of 5.5 lbs., and although it is not terrific, it does the job. They hinged it as an added safety feature. The good part is you can swap it out with any aftermarket Glock trigger.
The Dagger comes with a 15-round Magpul PMAG that was causing us headaches because it would not always lock into place. We swapped it with a factory Glock mag and then had zero issues. After some research, I learned that this was because of a feed ramp issue, and they have since fixed it on their later models. If you end up with one where the mags are not staying in place, send it back to PSA, and they will get it corrected. Some people have reported that PSA just sent them a new barrel when they called, and it solved the problem.
The PSA Dagger sights are a typical three-dot design made of steel, not polymer. The sights are easy to swap with anything that will fit a Glock. You will have no problem if you want to go with something with better visibility or higher contrast because there are plenty of aftermarket ones available. They even have optic cut slides with or without a red dot attached.
There are a lot of different configurations available from the PSA, including threaded barrels, optic cut slides, and multiple finishes. One downside is there are not a lot of holster choices out there yet, but I am sure as it becomes more popular, they will be easier to find. Although it is based on the G19, the holsters are not interchangeable.
The low price and being able to use Glock aftermarket parts make this a great gun to add to your lineup. Personally, though, I would want to put a lot of rounds down range to be confident it will hold up as an everyday carry. Don’t get me wrong, PSA has a top-notch lifetime warranty, but at this price point, I would want to be confident the quality was there if I was going to use it for self-defense. It has had its share of design issues, but they appear to be fixing those as they go.
The bottom line is I liked it enough that I will probably pick one up and use it as a loaner for training.