Palmetto State Armory has done an incredible job of making their Gen 3 Glock 19-based Dagger models affordable. We reviewed a base-model PSA Dagger here. The PSA Dagger performed well, but wasn't exactly what one would call, "inspiring" and that's ok. The PSA Dagger is a value pistol and can fill that role easily. It's reliable and simple, a great tool for self defense.
At the time this was written complete pistols or just under $400, A complete frame (with all internals) under $100, and complete slides for around $200. Those of you handy with math will realize that in purchasing a complete frame and complete slide you save. What inspired this piece was a complete slide purchased on sale for just under $200. How is that possible? It wasn't too long ago that an aftermarket Glock-pattern slide started at $400 without any internals.
What we bought was the "SW2 complete slide with day sights and non-threaded barrel with a black DLC coating" which was on sale in an email for $199. This slide features some nice angular cuts and lightening cuts. I wasn't worried about dot capability or paying more for night sights since the Dagger is a range gun for us and thanks to the Real Avid tool we have swapping sights is a breeze.
Why? I was curious to see if the slide was any good for such a low price. I also wanted to see if the lightening cuts made any weight difference and if that impacted reliability. Slide mass has an impact on both recoil and reliability. Some of this can be tuned with a recoil spring, but in general the lighter the slide the less felt recoil, but some slide inertia is needed to strip a round form the magazine.
When the new slide arrived I noticed something was different about the barrel. The crowning appears slightly different and the finish is certainly different from what wsa included with my original Dagger. Weighing the two slides showed a .3oz difference in weight. That doesn't sound like much, will it change how the pistol shoots? I assume a company wouldn't release a product that has reliability issues, so my curiosity turned to if I'd feel any difference while shooting.
To test out the new slide and barrel a modified version of our standard range review was used including, of course, our trademark What's For Dinner™ Test.
50gr+p Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense: $27.54 / 20 at Sportsman's Guide
65gr ARX Inceptor: $18.67 / 25 at Firearms Depot
110gr Koenig JHP
115gr Blazer Aluminum Case $17.59 / 50 at Optics Planet
115gr Wolf Steel Case: $13.77 / 50 at Sportsman's Guide
124gr Federal Punch: $15.66 / 20 at Global Ordnance
138gr Federal SCHP $19.59 / 20 at Optics Planet
147gr Winchester Defender JHP
150gr Federal Syntech Action Pistol $21.05 /50 at Palmetto State Armory
158gr PPU Subsonic $23.74 / 50 at Sportsman's Guide
So How'd It do? With a different slide mass and different barrel I treated the combination essentially as a new gun and recommend you do the same when changing major components. The results can be seen in the video below:
Ammunition seen in our Shooting Impressions video was made possible by our Patrons and supporters of our ammunition savings account through Ammo Squared. Additional, on-demand ammunition through True Shot Gun Club.
The 0.3oz weight savings doesn't seem to have made a big difference, but the accuracy was better with the new slide. Yes, the shooter is a big variable with accuracy, but it could also be that Palmetto State Armory has quietly made rolling changes to their design and QA/QC process for Dagger products. If so, is that worth buying a new slide to update your barrel? that's up to you, but many of these complete slides are available for the price of a barrel elsewhere. Having an extra set of internals or slide to try a paint job on isn't the worst thing in the world.