Zenith Tisas ZiG PCS9 9mm Luger

The sights, light rail, and trigger action looked good, and we felt the grips were the best of the test. Unfortunately, the extractor gave problems, and the slide-lock safety wasn’t properly fitted.

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Gun Tests Grade: D

$549

The majority of the Tisas 9mm Commander handguns we viewed on line were illustrated with checkered wooden grips. When ours arrived, it had G10 grips, which may be something of a bonus. The pistol is stainless steel and seemed nicely put together. When you compare the price to the features, there is a lot in the plus column. The finish is well done. The pistol isn’t a true 4.25-inch-barrel Commander, but is instead the modern 4-inch-barrel version. The barrel is belled and fits the slide tightly. Because the barrel bushing is eliminated, the barrel is able to tilt sufficiently in the shorter slide. The pistol features a full-length guide rod, an impressive recoil spring, and recoil-arresting device. The slide is topped with Novak-type sights, which offer an excellent sight picture. The trigger action is smooth enough and breaks at 5.2 pounds. The slide-lock safety is an ambidextrous unit. The fitting isn’t the crisp snap we like, but was instead mushy. It works well enough, but the fit isn’t ideal. The beavertail grip safety is a good design that properly releases its hold halfway into its compression. The barrel is a ramped design. The frame features a rail for mounting combat lights. The pistol is supplied with two magazines.

Action TypeShort recoil-operated locked breech, single action
Overall Length7.7 in.
Overall Height5.6 in.
Maximum Width1.25 in.
Weight Unloaded34.0 oz.
Weight Loaded38.4 oz.
Barrel4.0 in.
MagazinesTwo 9 round
SlideForged steel
Slide Retraction Effort19.0 lbs.
FrameStainless steel
Frame FinishBrushed
Frame Front Strap Height2.6 in.
Frame Back Strap Height3.3 in.
Grip Thickness Max.1.25 in.
Grip Circumference5.36 in.
Rear SightDrift adjustable
Front SightDovetail post
Sight Radius5.5 in.
Trigger Pull Weight5.2 lbs.
Trigger Span2.8 in.
SafetySlide lock, beavertail grip
WarrantyFive years
Telephone(928) 458-7260
WebsiteZenithFirearms.com
Made InTurkey
In all the handguns, the rifling was distinct and accuracy acceptable. This is the bore of the Zenith Tisas.

After the initial inspection and evaluation, we felt that the Tisas had promise and seemed to be a real bargain. The mushy safety fitting was something of a trade off for the economy price. Then, at the range, we had trouble with the first magazine of FMJ ammo in the Tisas. The pistol fed, chambered, and fired normally, but the extractor failed to extract the fired case. Fearing an incompatibility with the SIG Sauer case rim, we tried the other loads. The same results followed. The Tisas failed to extract the spent case, causing a jam when the next round attempted to feed, at a rate of about 10%, or generally one round per magazine. In some cases, the empty brass wasn’t partially extracted — it wasn’t pulled out at all. This created a difficult jam to clear. We had to remove the magazine and rack the slide two to four times to convince the extractor to remove the spent case. 

The Tisas Commander is an attractive handgun despite its flaws. We liked the design of the slide-lock safety (arrow), but the safety was not tight and crisp in operation. The Zenith Tisas 9mm’s G10 grips are nice.

In spite of this defect, we soldiered through the test program. The Tisas is very easy to use well, as a steel-frame 9mm should be. During the combat stage, one rater fired all his shots one handed and turned in very good results.  Moving to accuracy testing at 25 yards, the Tisas was quite accurate, turning in groups in the 2.0-inch range with the best results.

Our Team Said: This is the only pistol tested with a light rail, and the Tisas was well finished for its modest price. We feel that it had potential, but there were two problems that really affected its grade. First, the slide-lock safety wasn’t properly fitted. While it works and seemed to lock the pistol, which may be all we could ask, we would have preferred less slop. This type of fitting may result in eccentric wear. A stronger plunger-tube spring may fix this, but it may be internal. The failure to extract was more serious. We feel that either tuning or replacing the extractor would cure this problem, but, bottom line, the gun didn’t work as it should.

9mm Luger Range Data

We fired groups at 25 yards from a solid benchrest position using a Bullshooters pistol rest. To record velocities, we placed a Competition Electronics Pro Chrony chronograph 10 feet from the muzzle of the firearm.
Hornady Critical Defense 115-grain FTX 90250Zenith Tisas ZiG PCS9Citadel M1911A1-CRuger SR1911Tisas Regent BR9
Average Velocity1164 fps1112 fps1150 fps1171 fps
Muzzle Energy346 ft.-lbs.316 ft.-lbs.338 ft.-lbs.350 ft.-lbs.
Small Group2.1 in.2.9 in.2.2 in.1.8 in.
Average Group2.6 in.3.5 in.2.6 in.2.5 in.
Winchester PDX1 Defender 124-grain Bonded JHP +PZenith Tisas ZiG PCS9Citadel M1911A1-CRuger SR1911Tisas Regent BR9
Average Velocity1184 fps1170 fps1191 fps1217 fps
Muzzle Energy386 ft.-lbs.377 ft.-lbs.391 ft.-lbs.408 ft.-lbs.
Small Group2.4 in.2.8 in.2.2 in.2.4 in.
Average Group2.7 in.3.5 in.2.4 in.2.7 in.
Federal HST 147-grain P9HST2Zenith Tisas ZiG PCS9Citadel M1911A1-CRuger SR1911Tisas Regent BR9
Average Velocity938 fps922 fps967 fps999 fps
Muzzle Energy287 ft.-lbs.277 ft.-lbs.305 ft.-lbs.326 ft.-lbs.
Small Group2.0 in.2.7 in.2.1 in.2.3 in.
Average Group2.5 in.3.6 in.2.6 in.2.8 in.

Value Guide: 9mm Luger Handgun Rankings

GUN NAMEISSUEGRADECOMMENTS
Shadow Systems MR920 9mm Luger, $799April 2021AOur Pick. The Shadow Systems Multi Role (MR) pistol is basically an improved Glock 19. Excellent buy.
Sarsilmaz SAR9 9mm Luger, $400April 2021A-Best Buy. Many good features. We would have liked a lighter trigger action.
Tisas Zigana PX-9 9mm Luger, $330April 2021BReliable. Will appeal to those who like the Springfield XD-9. The primary drawback is a heavy trigger.
Ruger American Pro Duty 10 08607 9mm Luger, $579Feb 2021AOur Pick. $100 more than the others, but it was the most accurate pistol and had surprisingly light recoil.
Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ NTS 12437 9mm Luger, $479Feb 2021A-The Shield EZ9 was easy to manipulate and soft to shoot, but the sights needed to be calibrated better.
KelTec PF9 Blued-Black 9mm Luger, $358Feb 2021B+An inexpensive pistol that functioned flawlessly. It reminded us of a good 38 Special snubbie.
Taurus G3C 1-G3C931 9mm Luger, $306Feb 2021B+Best Buy. The Taurus G3C pistol is an inexpensive offering that functioned flawlessly and shot well.
Walther P38 9mm Luger, $800 to $1200Dec 2020AHeavy trigger and heel-type magazine release. Still an outstanding combat handgun.
Radom (Polish) VIZ 35 9mm Luger, $995Dec 2020B-Well-made handgun. A hardy, robust, and reliable handgun that never failed to function.
FN Browning Hi-Power 9mm Luger, $1200Dec 2020B-In its original form, it wasn’t the best of the dufflebag guns in a personal-defense role.
German Luger P-08 9mm Luger, $995Dec 2020DWe had problems with our test gun. It’s undoubtedly interesting, but its cost and 11 misfires soured us.
Ruger SR1911 LW Commander 06722 9mm Luger, $775May 2020AOur Pick. Relative newcomers to the 1911 world, Ruger has learned its craft in a hurry.
Springfield RO LW Compact PI9125L 9mm Luger, $730May 2020B+Best Buy. Good accuracy, most concealable profile. Sights were very visible but poorly calibrated.
Taurus 1911 Commander 1-191101COM-9MM 9mm, $470May 2020B-Impressive list of features for the price. The grade comes from poorer-than-expected accuracy.
Colt Lightweight Commander 04842XE 9mm Luger, $895May 2020CMost expensive pistol in our test. Disappointing poor performance and malfunctions.
Springfield Armory Hellcat HC9319BOSP 9mm Luger, $550March 2020AOur Pick. An 11+1 pistol, this small Springfield might be the most versatile pistol in the group.
Smith & Wesson PC Shield 2.0 11786 9mm Luger, $735March 2020AThe longest in this group, the Shield was the softest-shooting handgun and just missed being a Best Buy.
SIG Sauer P365XL 365XL9BXR3 9mm Luger, $579March 2020ALacks a rear sight when the optic is installed but hasa great trigger and overall performance.
Walther PPS M2 2805961 9mm Luger, $649March 2020ABest Buy. A smaller pistol with grips that will not abrade tender hands.
Arex Rex Delta REXDELTA-01 9mm Luger, $425Feb 2020ABest Buy. Reliability and practical accuracy are good, and the pistol is the right size for concealed carry.
Stoeger Industries STR-9 31721 9mm Luger, $350Feb 2020BIf you like the Glock 17, you will like the STR-9. Worth the money, but it is not our favorite.
Ruger Security-9 Compact Model 3818 9mm Luger, $309Feb 2020BThe pistol is adequate for the task and will not break the bank.
SIG P365 Nitron Micro-Compact 9mm Luger, $465Feb 2020BThe SIG costs more than the Ruger Security-9 without overwhelming advantages.
S&W M2.0 PC Shield 11787 9mm Luger, $430Jan 2020ABest Buy. Smooth and accurate, great sights and trigger. Costs a lot less than the SIG.
SIG Sauer P365XL P365XL-9-BXR3 9mm Luger, $580Jan 2020AOur Pick. The SIG P365XL was the most accurate of the four pistols tested.
Springfield Armory XDE9 XDE9389B 9mm Luger, $460Jan 2020ASlide is easier to retract, hammer-fired, DA/SA trigger set the XDE apart in this test.
Springfield Hellcat Micro-Compact 9mm Luger, $500Jan 2020F/AHellcat #1 failed when the trigger wouldn’t reset (F). Hellcat #2 worked perfectly (A). Best accuracy.
Glock 43X Ameriglo Night Sights PX435SL301AB 9mm Luger, $542July 2019AOur Pick. Firing grip is superior to the G43 and allows better shooting with little compromise.
Glock 48 PA485SL301AB 9mm Luger, $488July 2019ABest-shooting pistol in the test and the most powerful. Minimally more difficult to conceal.
Mossberg MC1sc 89001 9mm Luger, $365July 2019A-Best Buy. The Mossberg 9mm gave up little to the Glock designs. Reliability was never a question.
Springfield XD(M) 4.5 9mm Luger XDMT9459FDEHCE TB, $505April 2019AOur Pick as a personal-defense, home-defense, and tactical pistol.
Glock G34 Gen5 MOS PA3430103MOS 9mm Luger, $710April 2019AThe Gen5 guns are the best yet, with superior accuracy and features over earlier Glocks.
CZ-USA CZ P0-9 91620 9mm Luger, $402April 2019BBest Buy. CZ has managed to pack a lot of value into the P0-9. 19-round magazine.
FNH FNS-9L Longslide 66725 9mm Luger, $570April 2019BHeavier trigger than the other pistols. Accuracy wasn’t as good.
Glock 45 9mm Luger, $546April 2019AFast from concealed carry. The action allows a trained shooter to make fast hits. Reliable.
Beretta APX Compact JAXC921 9mm Luger, $449Jan 2019BMagazines were difficult to load. Slide was difficult to rack. Takedown button too tight.
SIG P320-M17 320F-9-M17-MS 9mm Luger, $770Jan 2019BThe grip fits most hands well and the sights are excellent. The DAO trigger was too heavy.
Beretta 92 FS JS92F300M 9mm Luger, $562Jan 2019BShows the age of its design with a slide-mounted decocker and long DA trigger pull.
Taurus G2S 1-G2S931 9mm Luger, $204Nov 2018ABest Buy. The Taurus pistol was reliable and controllable in rapid fire.
Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield SW180021BW 9mm Luger, $400Nov 2018AThe Battleworn Shield is reliable, accurate enough, and compact enough for EDC.

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