PSA Dagger Compact 9mm – How Does it Carry and Shoot?

Shooting and testing a PSA Dagger

Palmetto State Armory knocked it out of the park with their Dagger Compact pistol. This striker-fired 9mm is their take on compact carry guns that give you all the accuracy and potency of a full-size combat handgun.

With an overall length of 7.65 inches and tipping the scales at just 22.4 ounces unloaded, the Dagger is optimized for concealment but handles like a much larger pistol.

That 4.5-inch threaded stainless steel barrel gives you every last inch of velocity you’d expect from a duty-sized 9mm.

The trigger seems to be a little long with a crisp break, but I had no problem hammering steel at normal ranges.

My test sample came configured in the optics-ready “Doctor Cut” model with Palmetto’s rugged Cerakote sniper green finish over that stainless steel slide. I topped it off with the included Vortex Venom 6 MOA micro red dot for a sleek, hard-hitting carry package.

PSA Dagger Compact 9mm Pistol: Extreme Carry Cut, Threaded Barrel & Vortex Venom RDS

I’ve never used a 6 MOA dot on a pistol before, typically opting for a smaller MOA. However, I have to say I kind of enjoyed the larger dot the more I got used to it.

At just 1.9 inches long and an even 1.1 ounces, the Venom’s durable aluminum housing provides a crisp pointable aiming point that worked great with the suppressor height sights.

Out at the range, that extended 4.5-inch stainless steel, DLC-coated barrel helped the Dagger’s inherent accuracy shine at pretty much any practical defensive distance from 7 yards out to 25.

I was effortlessly splitting playing card-sized groups well inside the 10-ring at 10 paces.

And even stretching it out to 25 yards, I was able to consistently get decent groups by just chasing that nice crisp 6 MOA Venom dot into the center of the target.

But where the Dagger truly separates itself from the concealed carry pack is in the ergonomics and shootability categories. Those “Extreme Carry Cut” relief slashes on the front and rear of the slide and the nice ergonomics provided a smooth draw stroke from pretty much any mode of carry.

I was mainly using a PHLster Pro Series holster during my range time. Not once did I have any snags, hotspots, or printing that would give away the game. At least nothing beyond what is expected with that combo.

The aggressive texturing and high undercut trigger guard on the Dagger’s polymer frame just locked it into my firing grip. It felt really good in the hands.

Even with the recoil impulse of the 9mm, I was able to effortlessly manage the Dagger and get fast follow-up shots without losing sight picture thanks to the ergonomics.

Shooting and testing a PSA Dagger

Drill after drill – it just ran like a sewing machine at 7-15 yards.

Reliability was a non-issue and it worked great through about 400 rounds.

I ran Winchester white box ammo the entire time.

We’re talking about hundreds of rounds down the pipe without me even having to think about clearing a malfunction.

For a fighting pistol that lives around the house or rides shotgun for the road trip…the standard model with its Nitrided ramp treated me just fine carrying it for a few weeks straight.

For me though, when it comes to personal protection pieces, it’s all about pragmatic concealed carry capability.

And in that department, the Palmetto Dagger worked great.

The threaded 4.5-inch barrel gave me all the precision and ballistic performance I could want out of a 9mm compact, while still running shockingly small and easy to conceal even around the house in a t-shirt.

You’re looking at a 15-round capacity from those slim PMAG GL9 magazines.

And despite the ergos doing their level best, you are going to experience a bit more recoil/muzzle flip compared to a full-size service pistol given the reduced grip length and reciprocating mass.

But for a pure no-compromise concealment-optimized personal protection pistol, those are pretty small prices to pay.

When I put the Dagger side-by-side against my longstanding everyday carry piece – the iconic GLOCK 19 – I can see why the Dagger is so popular.

At a street price hovering around the $550 mark (give or take) for the tricked-out optics-ready model with the Vortex Venom included, I truly believe the Palmetto State Dagger is one of the best ultra-compact personal protection pieces on the market today in that price bracket.

It’s got all the shootability and ergonomic concealment you could ask for from a modern compact pistol.

But it does it while still giving you a 4.5″ barrel to squeeze every last foot pound out of the 9mm projectile.

This Dagger is honed for self-defense use from pillar to post – from its finish and grip to its discreet deep concealment cuts to its optics-ready slide.

So if you’ve been on the hunt for a budget-friendly, easy-carrying 9mm pistol that disappears under just about any cover garment yet still packs all the punch of the big boys? Do yourself a favor and check out the PSA Dagger.

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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