The IWI Masada 9mm Pistol

A Fistful of Defiance

The Masada 9mm combat pistol from Israel Weapon Industries is designed from the ground up
to be a dedicated and effective defensive tool.

The word Masada is taken from the Hebrew metsada meaning “fortress.” The fortifications of Masada are perched atop a barren plateau some twelve miles east of Arad. They are epic.

Masada was the brainchild of Herod the Great. He built himself two fortified palaces there between 37 and 31 BC. I can only imagine what it took to hump all those rocks up to the top of that thing.

By AD 73 the occupying Romans had exhausted their patience with the impertinent rebellious Hebrews. They razed the temple and scorched the earth. Some 960 Sicarii rebels subsequently retreated to Masada. This motley group consisted of soldiers, women, and children. They had water, food, weapons and time.

The Roman governor of Judaea, Lucius Flavius Silva, commanded the legion X Fretensis, and he couldn’t allow the Hebrews to prevail. The entire foundation of their empire was dependent upon subservience. Silva’s 8,000 legionaries constructed a series of camps at the base of the mountain the outlines of which can still be seen today.

Over three months, the Romans laboriously constructed a siege ramp to breach the walls. Once they finally entered the fortress they found two women and five children remaining alive out of 960 Hebrews. These Jews chose death over subjugation. This is the spirit of the state-of-the-art Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) Masada pistol.


The Masada features a synthetic frame formed from impact-resistant reinforced polymers along with three interchangeable wrap-around backstraps. The deep beavertail and undercut trigger guard offer the lowest possible bore axis along with an instinctive grip-to-frame angle. Enhanced grip texture forms the perfect interface between gun and flesh. The Masada is available in black, OD, and FDE.

The six-pound striker-fired action includes a built-in manual safety in the trigger face as well as a crisp break and abbreviated reset. Like any good combat handgun, this system requires no extraneous thought. Keep your finger off of the trigger and it is safe. Touch the trigger and it is ready to fire.

There is an integral Picatinny rail formed into the dust cover and the slide is cut to accept a red dot optic. Four adapter plates accommodate the most common micro red dots. Rugged steel 3-dot sights are easy to use and intuitive if needed.

The Masada comes with two 17-round drop-free magazines. The slide stop lever and magazine release are perfectly replicated on both sides of the gun. The heart of the Masada is its removeable serialized high-grade steel trigger module. The pistol can naturally be disassembled and maintained without tools.

How Does She Run?

Like a crack-addled chipmunk. The Masada fits nicely in the hand and displays a delightful balance. The clean trigger personality lends itself to double taps, while the high-tech ruggedized design is proof against harsh environments and rough handling.

At typical defensive handgun ranges I could easily obliterate a tennis ball from a simple rest. Combat mag changes set the standard for everything else and the Masada really doesn’t care which hand you favor. The Masada has all the good stuff you want without any of the fluff you don’t.

Utterly reliable and thoroughly well-reasoned, the Masada is a highly refined state-of-the-art Information Age tactical handgun.


Nobody knows combat like the Israelis. When I was there, every concierge at every hotel was armed as were the front staff at shopping centers and museums. If their weapons were concealed, the little curly cord lanyards typically gave them away. The Israelis really like their lanyards.

Violence is an unfortunate but pervasive part of life in the Holy Land. Humans have been fighting over this remarkable piece of dirt for millennia now and I don’t see things changing anytime soon. As a result, these guys really know how to build weapons.

The IWI Masada was contrived for the singular mission of gunfighting. The gun is as easy to carry and conceal as is any full-sized high-capacity pistol and is as reliable as the tides. It is also fun to shoot and surgically accurate. What’s more, with an MSRP of $480 the Masada is about a c-note cheaper than the competition.

The Israelis just don’t make substandard firearms. The Masada is crafted from the drawing board to the holster to be a weapon to which you might reliably entrust your life. Securing a place among the Uzi, Galil, Jericho and Tavor, the Masada is a simply legendary defensive tool. Like the fortress that inspired it, the Masada is a fistful of defiance.

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View the the Masada in action with Dr. Dabbs here and learn more about the guns fascinating history. CLICK HERE