IWI Masada 9S Slim: Quality Concealability

Sig’s P365 series revolutionized the concealed carry pistol market a few years back, all but deep-sixing the subcompact single-stack genre and sending rivals scrambling to catch up. Since then, several companies have answered the call for a subcompact double-stack semi-auto pistol. In my humble opinion, none of those have done it better than IWI with their Masada 9S Slim pistol.

Shooting the IWI Masada 9S Slim pistol
The IWI Masada Slim is a great response to the Sig P365 series. (Author’s Photo)

Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) has a long history of producing firearms for the Israeli Defense Force. IWI also serves the civilian market with quality products at more than competitive prices, including its Masada line of handguns. I was fortunate to get my hands on the Masada 9S Slim for testing. Full disclosure: IWI sent me this pistol specifically to test and review. That fact does not affect my conclusions. My son and I carried and ran this pistol hard for four months. Here’s what we found.

IWI Masada 9S Slim Specifications

  • Caliber: 9mm parabellum
  • Capacity: 13+1 or 10+1
  • Operating System: Striker Fired
  • Barrel Length: 3.4 inches
  • Overall Length: 6.25 Inches
  • Slide Width: 1 inch
  • Height: 4.7 inches
  • Weight: 1.27 lbs. without magazine; 1.4 lbs. with magazine
  • MSRP: 450.00

Not a Baby Masada

Even though IWI classifies the Masada Slim as part of the Masada line, it’s not just a scaled-down version of its older brother. In fact, we’d classify it more as a cousin. Both pistols feature a modular, serialized chassis system, which hints at future options, though those options have yet to appear for either gun. Both are also optic-ready. Finally, the guns share the same grip texture and magazine cutouts, but that’s really about it.

So, let’s focus now on the Masada Slim’s features, without comparing it to the full-sized Masada.

Masada 9S Slim Features: What We Like

Comfortable Concealability

The Masada Slim is, first and foremost, a carry gun, and it fills that role admirably. The two of us carried it for four months, both on the hip and at the appendix. We used the LAG Tactical Defender holster at the four o’clock position and the Mission First Tactical bellyband holster for appendix carry. Comparing it to the Sig, which is the standard right now, the Masada Slim is most analogous to the P365X.

IWI Masada Slim in Mission First Tactical Bellyband holster
The Masada Slim was perfect in the Mission First Tactical Bellyband holster, whether on the torso or the appendix. (Author’s Photos)

The Masada Slim was consistently comfortable, and its slimness made it easily concealable, so long as we did our part. In fact, one recent comment between us noted that the pistol seemed “nonexistent” at times. Admittedly, some of that was the holster, but the gun itself is well-designed for comfortable concealment. This is a gun you can confidently carry with almost any attire, summer or winter.

Optic Ready

Let’s face it, handgun optics are the new hotness, whether you like that or not. For a carry gun to succeed in this market, it better be optic-ready. The Masada Slim is cut for the RMS Shield footprint, allowing compatibility with the Holosun EPS Carry and 507K, the Sig Romeo Zero, and other popular dot sights. This provides an even greater value, especially for the Masada Slim’s fantastic price point.

Since we’re discussing sights, this is as good a spot as any to mention the pistol’s iron sights. They are a basic blacked-out U-notch rear with a white dot blade up front. Both are adjustable. They’re fine, but nothing special. We don’t love them, but we don’t especially dislike them either. We can say that we were able to accurately hit the target with them, so there’s that.

We should note, however, that IWI offers a Masada Slim version equipped with Meprolight’s Hyper Bright orange ring night sight. We haven’t tested that one, but we do have experience with Meprolight ring night sights, and we believe that would be very nice indeed.


The Masada Slim features a flat-faced trigger that we believe is superior to the full-sized Masada and, dare we say it, to our Sig P365XL, though it’s a close call. It has a little more take up than we like, but the wall is pretty firm, and it breaks clean. The reset is much shorter than the original Masada’s trigger. Very nice out of the box.

The magazine release is also better than those other two guns. It’s large and prominent, yet we had no issues whatsoever with hitting it accidentally. We didn’t have to adjust our grip to hit it comfortably, and the mags dropped out cleanly. The mag release button is not ambidextrous, but it is reversible. We also like the magazine cuts at the pistol’s butt that allow the shooter to grasp and pull the mag out if necessary. We never had that problem, but it’s a nice touch.

grip and controls
We love the Masada Slim’s trigger and positive controls. The grip texture was just as we like it. (Author’s Photos)

The slide release is easy to reach and is fairly stiff, which we like. Some folks’ grips make slide lock an iffy thing at times, but we believe this one won’t have that problem. My son has that issue with some guns, but not the Masada Slim, and he believes it’s because of the slide release’s stiffness. We wish the slide release was ambidextrous, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker.


The double stack capacity in a subcompact handgun is what set the P365 series apart. IWI answered that challenge and did it one better with the Masada Slim. Our Sig P365 XL has a 12+1 capacity in a flush mag for 9mm. The Masada Slim is 13+1. That rivals some guns a size category larger, like my beloved Walther PPQ with 15+1. Yet the concealability is still there. Well done, IWI.

Masada 9S Slim Features: What We Don’t Like

No gun is perfect, and this one is no different. Companies make design choices for many reasons, whether it be cost, weight, concealability, or whatever. So, let’s look at what we don’t like about the Masada Slim.

No Accessory Rail

Honestly, this is the biggest head-scratcher. Front accessory rails are expected on defensive handguns. It’s a standard feature. Yet the Masada Slim has no rail. There’s plenty of space for one, but no dice.

Many folks don’t attach a light or laser to their carry gun, but some do. We can’t see that it would cost much more, if anything, to add a 3 or even a 2-slot rail to the Masada Slim. Even though we don’t like the proprietary Sig rail on our P365XL, at least there’s a rail there to start with.

Disassembly System

I can’t say why the Masada Slim’s disassembly process is the way it is. I’m sure there’s some engineering reason that is likely beyond my layman’s comprehension. But I can say that I don’t like it. It’s not user-friendly at all, and it seems overly complicated for where the handgun industry is right now.

 disassembly pin
We aren’t fans of the gun’s disassembly process, but it’s not enough to deter us from using this otherwise excellent handgun. (Author’s Photos)

I won’t go into the whole process but suffice it to say that you have to take out a pin from between the slide and grip frame and then reinsert it when reassembling. Taking it down isn’t a huge deal, but you better have some fingernails. Putting it back together is more complicated, requiring some minor contortionism from one hand, while reinserting the pin with the other. We learned to do it with some practice, but it’s still a pain and we don’t like it.

Lack of Aftermarket Support

We had a difficult time finding compatible holsters until LAG Tactical came through for us with their Defender IWB/OWB. There aren’t many options, and we hope more companies will expand their lineups to include IWI products.

Shooting the Masada Slim

This is the best part. The Masada Slim is a great shooter. We shot it slow and steady, and we ran weeks’ worth of drills with it, including transitions, mag changes, and failure drills with snap caps. We shot deliberately, from the draw, and from retention. It performed admirably. We both loved this gun on the range.

Recoil was very manageable. The undercut trigger guard helped us get a high grip and we were able to get back on target quickly. The trigger is quite good, as we mentioned, and the short reset helps with follow ups and double taps.

Ergonomically, the controls are easy to reach and very positive. The grip texture is right where we like it, being positive but not sandpapery. We know some folks will want more texture, though, especially in humid areas. The grip fits our palm very well and didn’t feel too slim, like some guns do.

IWI Masada Slim with Magtech ammo
We ran several varieties of ammo through the Masada Slim, including this Magtech 115 grain FMJ, with 100 percent reliability. (Author’s Photo)

Accuracy was good. We easily held 1 to 2-inch groups at 7 yards. They spread out a bit as we moved back, but that’s us, not the gun. We mainly used inexpensive range ammo, so accuracy might be improved a little based on ammo choices.

Speaking of ammo, we ran several brands, both 115 and 124 grain, through the gun without a single hiccup. We deliberately ran dirty and greasy ammo too, but the Masada Slim ate it all. We also ran a couple of brands of hollow points and, again, no problems whatsoever.

We never seek to induce failures by pouring dirt in magazines or stuff like that, but we ran the gun hard and purposely did not clean it after an initial lube. The Masada Slim responded like a champ and did everything we asked of it. It was 100% reliable through four months of testing. We used the two steel factory IWI mags that came with the gun for all our testing. They were reliable throughout.

Final Verdict

Despite not liking the disassembly process and wishing for an accessory rail, we love this gun. It performed on the range and in the holster in terms of comfort and concealability. The capacity is awesome, and we love the ergonomics. It might be the most comfortable carry gun we have.

The Masada Slim has already become the preferred EDC gun for my testing compatriot (my son). Likewise, I’ve carried it many times and will not hesitate to do so again. The gun has proved its trustworthiness and we are very happy to have such a quality option.

IWI Masada Slim in LAG Tactical Defender Holster
The Masada Slim, seen here in the LAG Tactical Defender holster, is now one of our regular EDC guns. (Author’s Photo)

And finally, the value just can’t be beat. The MSRP is $450, but the current street price is around 415 bucks, which is an absolute steal for a gun of this quality. That’s more than $200 less than what we paid for our Sig P365XL, and we like some things about the Masada Slim better than the Sig. Don’t think that the Masada Slim is great for its price point. That’s doing it a disservice. This is just a great little gun.

We’re hoping that IWI will soon make good on the modular possibilities offered by the chassis system on both the original Masada and the Masada Slim. If you’re looking for a quality concealed carry gun with a high capacity for not a lot of money, do yourself a favor and check out the IWI Masada 9S Slim. Bet you’ll like it as much as we do.

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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