We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›
It’s not too often that you’ll find a pistol that’s cheap, good looking, feature-rich, and utterly dependable but, based on my experience the PSA Dagger seems to be all those things. An entire industry has sprung up to produce Glock clones, or Glock-like pistols that embody what many shooters want a Glock to be. Many of these are tricked-out, flashy pistols, and they usually cost a bit more than the stock OEM Glocks. The cost of optimized slide profiles, optics cuts, improved sights, and other parts adds up. The exception to that, at least at first glance, is the PSA Dagger. It’s a suspiciously affordable Glock clone that has a growing cult following. Does it live up to the hype? I couldn’t wait to find out.
PSA Dagger Compact Specs
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 15+1
- Magazine: PMAG 15/Glock G19
- Dimensions: 5.2 inches (H) x 7.65 inches (L) x 1.28 inches (W)
- Weight: 23.5 ounces (measured with empty magazine)
- Frame: Black polymer, one-slot accessory rail
- Slide: Stainless steel, Sniper Green Cerakote finish
- Barrel: 4.5-inch, stainless steel, dlc-coated, threaded (.5 in. x 28)
- Sights: Ameriglo lower ⅓ co-witness, black, serrated front post
- Optic: RMR optics cut, cover plate included.
- Trigger: 6 pounds, 10 ounces (measured)
- Safety: safety trigger, striker-block safety, no manual safety.
- Price: $359
The PSA Dagger: The Glock Clone Craze
These pistols from Palmetto State Armory fall into a larger category of aftermarket blasters that specifically mimic Glock’s designs—particularly pistols like the Glock G19, which is one of the most popular 9mm pistols in the world. They’re pistols that have a long-standing reputation for being simple, affordable, and categorically reliable. However, many shooters want more. And so they’ve personalized or optimized the blocky Glocks with aftermarket parts and custom modifications.
Several companies have seen an opportunity to build and sell pistols that take what everyone likes about Glocks, and infuse common upgrades into an out-of-the-box, ready-made product. These pistols usually include sleek slide profiling and cocking serrations, varying iron sight and optic options, frames and grips with better ergonomics and textures, as well as different coating options. We’ve tested some of these guns from companies such as Shadow Systems in our annual gun test, and although the improvements are a fair value, the pistols cost more than a plain ol’ tupperware Glock.
Some companies that borrow Glock’s design features focus on producing a pistol that’s a bargain. I’ve tested and reviewed pistols like the Stoeger STR-9, and been pleased with their reliability, but they aren’t as feature-rich as some of the more flashy Glock clones.
The PSA Dagger, at least on paper, is both a bargain and an upgraded Glock-style pistol. I’ve found that it fits in most of the G19-compatible holsters I have. The most basic PSA Dagger Compact model rings up at only $299. It has iron sights, a beveled, “carry-cut” slide, and a DLC finish. The PSA Dagger Compact model I tested is only $359, and has added upgrades of an RMR optic cut, Ameriglo black co-witness suppressor sights, and a threaded barrel. It seems a little too cheap, to be blunt. Generally, you get what you pay for in a pistol, and sub-$400 territory is usually murky water. I hoped to hell that this pistol would run.
Features of the PSA Dagger Compact
The bones of the PSA Dagger Compact are distinctly similar to the G19 but, like other aftermarket clones, it has some notable differences.
PSA Dagger vs. Glock G19: Slide Assembly
In addition to the slide assembly being machined to an attractive and functional profile, this one is finished in a “Sniper Green” Cerakote. The finish is durable, low-key, and unlike some other colors that are like a set of white gloves—it looks pretty damn good when it’s dirty too. The RMR optics cut is well-executed, and the pistol includes a cover plate for when an optic isn’t used. The Ameriglo sights are simple, black in color, and can be co-witnessed through a Trijicon RMR. They’re too short to see over my Silencerco Omega 36M suppressor, but work perfectly with my Silencerco Osprey 2.0.
Both the slide and barrel are stainless steel, and the barrel on my sample has a durable black DLC coating. It’s threaded in ½-inch by 28 like most other 9mm barrels, and comes with a thread protector and rubber O-ring. Unlike the stock G19, the PSA Dagger features a one-piece stainless-steel guide rod.
Grip and Frame
Although the PSA Dagger uses many interchangeable parts with a Gen 3/Gen 4 Glock G19, the shape of the grip is notably different. It still has a bit of a hump on the back of the grip, but the grip angle is a bit more vertical than the stock G19—the forward-pitched grip angle is a common gripe about the Austrian pistols. The PSA Dagger has a subtle-but-grippy laser-etched stipple texturing on the front, back, and sides of the grip, and a nicely-shaped undercut trigger guard that allows a high grip. The PSA Dagger compact doesn’t come with additional backstrap pieces like the Glock Gen 4 and Gen 5 G19, but it incorporates a nice beavertail that protects the shooter’s hand from slide bite.
The Dagger features an extended magazine release, and the magwell has relief cuts on either side to allow easy removal of a magazine that won’t drop freely. Up front, it has a single-slot accessory rail for attaching a light, laser, or a combination of the two. A subtle feature that I appreciate is a gentle scalloped spot on the frame, just forward of the takedown levers that allows the shooter to apply pressure with the support-hand thumb, like a low-profile, built in gas pedal thumb rest. It comes with a single Magpul GL 9 PMAG 15, and is also compatible with OEM Glock magazines.
The takedown process for the PSA Dagger is the same as for a Glock, and you’ll note that internal parts are similar if not the same in some cases. One difference I noted is that the PSA Dagger has a thin piece of steel molded into the frame, in front of the forward slide rails, where the slide makes contact with the frame at the rearmost part of the recoil cycle. After testing, I noticed a small piece of polymer alongside this strike plate had been chipped away by the slide, but it’s no worse for wear. I’m glad to see this strike plate, as I’ve seen some aftermarket frames damaged by a few thousand rounds of recoil in that spot.
The PSA Dagger uses a Glock trigger, but the frame and locking block are slightly different. The locking block pin is forward of the takedown levers, and Palmetto uses roll pins rather than solid pins for the locking block and trigger housing. The front slide rails are built into the PSA Dagger’s locking block, where they’re molded separately into the frame of the Glock G19. The trigger pin is identical to what you’ll see in a Glock 19, and I even swapped the trigger connector and spring to improve the trigger pull—more on that later. The trigger shoe itself is a cantilever-style, rather than the standard safety-bar-center Glock trigger, but operates in the same manner.
Shooting the PSA Dagger Compact
I shot the hell out of the PSA Dagger, and my testing was somewhat unique in that it was all left-handed. You see, back in April at Outdoor Life’s gun test, I did something one shouldn’t do. I fired more than 3,000 rounds of pistol ammo in just over two days—half of which was 10mm and .45 ACP. In the aftermath, it’s been assumed that I got a stress fracture (or some other injury) in my right hand. Rather than ride the bench, I took on the weak-handed challenge. I also recruited the help of a couple buddies for some additional input.
My PSA Dagger Compact has had approximately 650 rounds fired through it without a single malfunction. I fired it weak-hand-only, with two hands, and supported on a bagged tripod for accuracy. I fired every type of ammo I had, from Norma 65-grain NXD, to Black Hills 100-grain Honey Badger, as well as 115-, 124-, and 147-grain ball and defensive loads. After an initial lubrication, I didn’t clean the pistol and about half of the 650 rounds fired were through a suppressor. With a Trijicon RMR mounted, the PSA Dagger averaged 1.68-inch five-shot groups at 15 yards with Federal’s 124-grain Punch JHP ammo, and the recoil cycle feels very similar to my Gen 4 G19.
I’m thrilled with how well this bargain-priced pistol performed, and my only gripe is the trigger it came with. It’s not exceptionally heavy. I measured the trigger weight at 6 pounds, 10 ounces, but the trigger pull is long with a stiff break. That makes it more difficult to shoot quickly and accurately than a stock G19—mine measures 6 pounds, 7 ounces. I installed a $16 Lone Wolf trigger connector and spring, and it took a few ounces off the trigger pull. The upgrade also made the pull and break feel more like that of a standard Glock trigger.
PSA Dagger Review: FAQ
Is the PSA dagger as good as a Glock?
The PSA Dagger is based upon the Glock design, and some shooters will like it better than a stock Glock. Because of the feature set and dependability, it’s arguably a better value than a Glock.
What is a PSA dagger comparable to?
The PSA dagger is comparable to the Glock G19.
What is the difference between Glock 19 MOS and PSA Dagger?
The PSA Dagger has a differently-profiled slide, and different grip shape. The Glock 19 MOS is compatible with a wider variety of optics, but is twice as expensive.
Can you put Glock parts in a PSA Dagger?
You can put some Glock Parts in a PSA Dagger. Trigger upgrades are common.
This PSA Dagger review is one I’ve been looking forward to writing. I’m not sure that I’ve rooted more fervently for a pistol. I like what it represents and greatly appreciate its value. Usually guns this cheap are going to display some problems or issues that would prevent me from calling them “dependable,” but the PSA Dagger has exceeded my expectations.