If you read the title and asked, "The what? By who?" you're not alone. I had the same reaction when a viewer asked we look into this firearm. I'm usually at least a little familiar with a company or handgun model, but this one had me puzzled.
Where did it come from? Ermox Defense is a Turkish company offering rifles, shotguns, and this pistol. The importer marked on my sample is PW Arms of Redmond, Washington. I know PW Arms for their past importation of military surplus firearms, parts kits, and ammunition, but hadn't seen anything marked by them in some time. I've since spoken with PW Arms and been told that while a smaller lot of these pistols has been originally importeed, there are plans not only for more, but also in other calibers. PW Arms has also been working closely with Ermox to adapt and improve the X-Fire pistol; listening to customer feedback and adapting. It seems this is just the tip of the X-Fire iceberg!
What is it? The X-fire is an aluminum-framed, striker-fired 9mm pistol of the compact size variety (4" barrel, 15rd capacity). The X-Fire accepts Glock-pattern magazines and in the range video we'll test 9 different Glock 19 magazines for compatibility. The sights appear to possibly be Glock pattern, and the trigger mechanism is familiar, but build quality, rails, and other details are not Glock pattern, causing me to declare this IS NOT a Glock clone as some have described it. Get a closer look at this interesting pistol in the tabletop video below.
Specifications as with all other information is very limited. Converted from the metric on the manufacturer website here's what we have:
Unloaded weight: 28.87oz
Capacity: 15rd (Glock 19 pattern)
Why Should You Care? I bought this sample for about $350. Aluminum framed, railed, optics ready, fiber-optic sights, and a lightened slide all for $350. There aren't many guns that offer those features at that price. This could likely sell for $600-800 if it had some popularity behind it.
In an update from my original post: I've learned that there is full warranty support for the X-Fire, and that rolling changes have been made to the pistol's design. If we can get our hands on some of the next batch we'll review and comment on the differences.
I bought this one out of curiousity, knowing it would not be my only gun, and as a fan of oddities. My original thought was that this might someday become a Curio (if the ATF ever updated their list), but after speaking with PW Arms see the potential that these early models may become collector items as the brand gains steam. If that sounds silly to you allow me to remind you of the Walther P99 which now has a "Final Edition" and strong fan base, or another example of an affordable Turkish pistol that was once mocked and now commands respect; Canik.
As you saw in the tabletop this appears to be a very nice pistol. I was eager to get to the range and see how it stood up to the GBGuns range protocol which included:
Cold Shots: Truly our first rounds through the gun, on camera, with first thoughts shared.
Multi-Mag: Since the Ermox Defense X-Fire accepts Glock 19 pattern magazines we'll run nine different facotry and aftermarket magazines of the pattern type through it; testing for fit and function. It's been my experience that not all "Glock mag compatible" guns run well with all Glock-pattern magazines.
Magazines Tested Include:
BUL Armory: $19.90 from BUL Armory
TorkMag $19.95 from TorkMag
What's For Dinner™: A test to see what ammunition the gun will eat. Does the gun feed the round from slide lock, will it cycle and feed another round of the same type, does the slide lock to the rear on empty, and is there any notable point of impact change with different loads.
For this gun we used the following ammunition:
Priced and linked where found at the time this article was written
50gr+p Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense $31.99 / 20 at Optics Planet
100gr Hornady Critical Defense Lite $23.89 / 20 at Global Ordnance
115gr Sierra Sports Master JHP $6.99 / 20 at Palmetto State Armory
115gr Sig Elite Denfense V-Crown JHP $23.99 / 20 direct from Sig
115gr Wolf Steel Case: $13.77 / 50 at Sportsman's Guide
115gr Blazer Aluminum Case $17.59 / 50 at Optics Planet
124gr Hornady Critical Duty $22.61 / 20 at Global Ordnance
138gr Federal SCHP $19.59 / 20 at Optics Planet
147gr Remington High Terminal Performance JHP $15.51 / 20 at Global Ordnance
150gr Federal Syntech Action Pistol $21.05 /50 at Palmetto State Armory
Sights & Trigger Control: on a 6" spinner target at a distance of 12 yards. We got this from Titan Great Outdoors and use it to gauge how learnable the trigger is and usable the sights are for forced, timed, precise shots.
Practical Accuracy: Five shots from a distance of seven yards at a one inch target. This isn't so much about printing a tight group as it is a culmination of our shooting experience and time for us to collect thoughts prior to making a conclusion.
After Shots: Final impressions and reflections from the range session.
You can watch the entire experience including some interesting notes learned while shooting in the Shooting Impressions video below:
I was blown away by the shooting experience; seriously impressed. Keep in mind that I've reviewd about 400 handguns over the years. The Ermox Defense X-Fire is an outstanding pistol. The recoil impulse was very nice, it's seem to eat what you feed it, even from magazines that other guns don't like, and accuracy was excellent. I shot four different handguns that day and the X-Fire shot more accurately with less effort than the other three.
My only complaints are from how the gun fit my hand. I felt a slight pinch on my trigger finger with higher-recoiling rounds. The other complaint is that the trigger feels very heavy. It broke in some throughout the day, and may be fixable if Glock-pattern trigger springs fit. I might tinker with this if I find the time and see what I can do about getting to the advertised 5-6lbs of trigger. On the other hand, it didn't really hold me back from shooting well once I became accustomed to it and otherwise the trigger felt great.
We've seen good and bad "Glock Clones", but the Ermox Defense X-Fire does things a little differently. Yes it accepts Glock-pattern barrels and magazines, and possibly some other parts, but the handling and shooting experience definitely set this apart from others. At this introductory Price I can't find a good reason to not pick one up; it's a very budget-friendly way to experience the joys of an all-metal gun.