For some time now, Palmetto State Armory has heralded the release of their Dagger Pistol… and not made it available for sale. Now, in 2021, the wait is FINALLY over! Let’s look at the Palmetto State Armory Dagger, and discuss whether or not it spells Bad News for the Glock 19!
How do you get one?
Before I could get my hands on one I had to haunt the Palmetto State Armory website on a daily basis for MONTHS, all to no avail. Just FORGET ABOUT getting an in-stock notification email. They don’t send them, since every single time the Dagger is in stock it sells out in mere minutes.
So how did I get one? Perseverance, mixed with a little bit of luck. The trick is to visit the Palmetto State Armory page for the Dagger at 3:58 pm Eastern EVERY DAY and refresh your browser until a pistol comes in stock, then QUICKLY put it in your cart and fill in the payment info. If you’re lucky, you’ll secure one before they sell out. If you haven’t got one by 4:05, you’re not going to. These things go FAST!
PSA Dagger first impressions
When I was finally able to buy one, it shipped quickly. It arrived at my local FFL within a week. It comes in a cardboard box that bears a striking resemblance to a shoebox. Inside the box is a foam panel with a cutout for the pistol. Under the panel is another space for a lock. The owner’s manual is in a plastic sleeve attached to the inside of the lid. A chamber flag is in the pistol, as is a Magpul G19 magazine.
When I first picked it up from the box and wrapped my hand around the grip, I was struck by two things. First, the grip is very well contoured and lacks any sort of “blockiness” that some people complain about with Glocks. The grip naturally molds itself to my hand as if they made it for me. Second, the grip texture is reminiscent of the Taurus TX-22 (which is a superb little .22lr gun!). It is aggressive enough to provide a non-slip surface without hurting your hands at all.
At first glance, I loved it. Then I dry fired it.
This is where I found the first negative to the pistol. Out of the box, the trigger is GRITTY. It feels, and sounds, like it has sandpaper in there. I was a bit concerned, but I thought “Well if I don’t like it I can always put an aftermarket trigger in it.“
The slide stop and magazine release are both modeled on the Glock. The Dagger has steel sights in the three-dot pattern. Since it’s Glock compatible, I see a set of tritium sights in the future.
Palmetto State Armory Dagger at the range
I took the Dagger home and started to dry fire it. A lot. I wanted to see if I could break in that trigger before I went to the range. Speaking of that trigger, PSA departed from the Glock theme when they designed it. Instead of the Glock trigger dingus, they opted for a flat-faced trigger with a hinge. It isn’t a problem, per see, but it IS different. At any rate, I dry-fired it enough that the trigger started to smooth out. The front of the frame is cut for an accessory rail, so I plan to fit my Mantis X10 elite to it and perform a LOT more dry fire.
When I got to the range, my opinion of the pistol started to go back up. It handles beautifully. The single finger groove forces your shooting hand up against the undercut below the trigger guard. The beavertail lets your hand get high on the pistol without letting you get slide bite, and the thumb rests cut into the forward part of the frame let you mitigate any recoil with ease. After a few hundred dry fires and a few hundred live rounds, the trigger smoothed out well. The sights are easy to pick up and allow for fast target acquisition.
I used a variety of magazines in the pistol, including an OEM Glock magazine, the supplied Magpul magazine, an Amend 2 magazine, and even a KCI magazine. The pistol didn’t have a problem with any of them.
I also used a variety of ammunition, sometimes mixed up in the same magazine. I used CCI Blazer Brass, Tulammo (good luck getting THAT now that Biden banned Russian ammo imports, but I digress), Federal American Eagle, and some Winchester steel-cased. The Dagger gobbled all of it without a hiccup.
It was incredibly easy to score hits on a steel target at 10 yards, and I was even able to hit the plate at 30 yards with the Dagger. Fast follow-up shots are simple, especially if you use the front thumb rest just forward of the takedown lever.
Final thoughts- Does the Palmetto State Armory Dagger render the Glock 19 obsolete?
Overall, I think this is an OUTSTANDING pistol, especially in the price range. The plain Jane model has an MSRP of $299, while the two-tone varieties go for $349. With all the features packed into the pistol for that price tag, coupled with the ready availability and vast array of aftermarket parts, I think the Glock 19 just might become a thing of the past. Providing, of course, that the Dagger proves to be as robust and reliable as the Glock. Also, PSA needs to ramp up its production to meet the demand. You can offer the greatest pistol in the world, but it might as well not be there if no one can buy it…
Be sure to check out the accompanying YouTube Video!