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Unbiased review of American Tactical FS9 / Tisas Zigana

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I bought an FS9 from a gun store for $370 after I read a magazine review of the similar HP9 which, with the right ammo, grouped under an inch at 15 yards. It's a very attractive gun for it's feature to price ratio. Comes standard with a 5+ inch ported barrel and lightened slide, 20 round magazine, and NATO certification. The only things that weren't attractive were the cardboard box (which I promptly threw away) and the grips (which I'll describe again later).

The barrel to slide fit was outstanding for a cheap service pistol and the slide to frame fit was above average. I expected this as I had previously researched the gun and not only did other purchasers note the same, but a video tour of the factory in Turkey led me to believe that final fitment for all of the pistols is done by hand. As a result of this, I began to believe the magazine review's accuracy figures.

After playing with the gun for a couple of weeks, the slide stop's finish started to show some wear where I activate it and there was normal finish wear on internals where they can be normally expected. The rest of the finish has remained good.

The only part of the gun which really didn't look good, inside or out, were the grip panels. They looked liked cheap, thick plastic, 80's car grips and they had the big letters "Tisas" on the top. The letters certainly didn't go with the engraved "American Tactical FS9" on the slide which actually looked quite good. So, I had a gunsmith thin (needed also because the grip panels added a lot of area to an already big grip) and stipple the grips. Now, the gun is much more ergonomic and the grips look good because the only design left besides the stipple is the pattern seen on the bottom of the grips in this pic. http://dealer.americantactical.us/products?product=938

Shooting Impressions: The gun is heavily sprung, likely for NATO spec ammo. This increases muzzle rise in comparison to something like an M&P or 1911. However, the porting reduces the muzzle rise back to other service pistol levels, especially with higher pressure ammo. Here's an important part, 115 grain standard pressure ammo does not shoot to point of aim, it's a solid 5 inches off at 10 yards. The gun didn't shoot near point of aim (as I define as within two inches of aimed area at 10 yards) until I used high pressure 124 grain and standard pressure 147 grain ammo. That being said, the pistol does group well offhand, I have not and will not test it in a rest, but can believe the previous magazine article as a one and one half inch hole offhand is possible for me at 10 yards with RWS ammo and 10 shots. The stock trigger is terrible, heavy and gritty. I had the same gunsmith who did the grips do the trigger. Now, the double action is still long and moderately heavy (~8-9 pounds), but it is very smooth through out its entire range of travel. The single action breaks crisply and is light at about 3 pounds.

The gun had two failures to eject in the first hundred rounds with standard pressure, 115 gn ammo. Since then, I have not had any issues in over 2000 rounds. Reloads work great as do the $12.97 RWS 50 round boxes at Wal-Mart. In the 2000 rounds I have noticed minor to no wear of any components and certainly no more wear of any components than any other service pistol.

Overall, it's a big gun, but it's a good, cheap gun. Especially with trigger and grip panel mods. With a gunsmith doing the work total cost for the pistol comes out to about $510. In my opinion, that is worth it for what is gotten, including a better trigger pull than any other stock service pistol on the market. My main gripe is lack of parts, such as matte black adjustable target sights. This is a good pistol to keep by your side at night. Not only will it do its job, but you will be able to cheaply replace should you ever actually need to use it.

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