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Military Armament Corp MAC 9 DS 1911: Full Review

Military Armament Corp's new MAC 9 DS double-stack 1911 can serve as a carry gun, competition pistol, or just about anything else. Here's a full review.

Military Armament Corp MAC 9 DS 1911: Full Review

(Photo by Mark Fingar)

Military Armament Corporation (MAC) is building a fine reputation on its Turkish-made shotguns such as the MAC 1014 series — a line inspired by the U.S. Marine Corps M1014 — and various, affordable, military-themed tributes such as the MAC 1911 JSOC 45, which calls back to the M45 MEUSOC pistol issued to U.S. Marine Force Recon units from 1985 to 2012. Its AR-style, magazine-fed MAC F12 shotguns have also caught the attention of tactical enthusiasts, and MAC isn’t slowing down. For 2024, Guns & Ammo’s audience gets to lay eyes on the new MAC 9 DS first.

Based on the timeless 1911 design, the MAC 9 DS is a double-stack Model 1911 chambered in 9mm. “Double stack” means that it operates from a 17-round magazine. Its profile represents the touch of John Moses Browning, but this is far from the M1911 and M1911A1 pistols issued to U.S. troops for the last century. As you’re about to learn, MAC has added many features we’ve seen on costlier guns — including those introduced in recent years. 

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(Photo by Mark Fingar)

Trendsetters

The story begins with the double-stack framework. Double-stack 1911s have been around since the Para-Ordnance P14-45, which was introduced in 1990, a 14-shot .45 first reviewed in G&A’s August 1991 issue. The STI 2011 debuted in 1994. However, when the patent for the 2011 modular receiver expired in 2014, other manufacturers were already standing by to launch a double-stack (DS) 1911. Like the red-dot optic craze, the current DS 1911 trend began with competition shooters, and continued with the FBI’s acceptance of 9mm as a duty round in 2015, which had great effect on the commercial market. This recent history was punctuated with the launch of the Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy  in Guns & Ammo’s October 2022 issue, followed by the Kimber KDS9c in the August 2023 issue. 

The Model 1911 traditionally used either seven- or eight-round single-stack magazines of .45, or nine rounds of 9mm. These double-column types now boast magazine capacities between 15 and 26 rounds for 9mm. Still, the $1,500 DS Prodigy and KDS9c, and $2,500 Staccato P  are costly, putting this type of pistol out of reach for many. At $1,149, the MAC 9 DS is much more affordable while offering 17-plus-one rounds of capacity. This is a good place to note that, unlike other double-stack 1911s, the MAC 9 DS uses readily available 2011-style magazines manufactured by Check-Mate.

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The grip is a removeable, polymer module that attaches to an aluminum frame, making it a hybid-frame pistol like the 2011. The aluminum flared magazine well is removable as well. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

Hands On

Like the 2011, the MAC 9 DS is assembled around a hybrid polymer grip module that is attached to a 7075-aluminum frame. Attached to the polymer grip module is a removable, competition-style aluminum magazine well. Aiding control is 25 lines-per-inch (LPI) molded checkering that covers the mainspring housing and exists as a stripe on the frontstrap of the grip. The slab-sided polymer grip simulate 1911 panels, even sporting a single Allen-head screw at the top that secures the grip module to the aluminum frame. The side grip texture is a tight, wavy pattern complete with the MAC sword-and-shield logo at the base. 

At the front of the polymer frame, is a competition-style square triggerguard with an undercut allowing for a high grip. At the back, the high-grip idea is further promoted by an extended beavertail grip safety; there’s no chance of hammer bite with the MAC 9 DS. It’s all about safety and control of the pistol. This design affords a comfortable, high grip that improves a shooter’s recoil management.

The serialized frame is ahead of the polymer grip module. The metal frame includes an accessory rail under the dustcover, also made of of 7075 aluminum. Thee aluminum is hard-coat anodized in black which comes close to matching the quench-polish-quench (QPQ) Tenifer nitride finish of the carbon-steel slide. 

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The bushingless barrel is made of 716R stainless steel and finished black. It is complete with an 11-degree target crown. Note the front of the slide featuring the so-called “Browning Cut.” (Photo by Mark Fingar)

Slide Work

The MAC 9 DS features a Commander-like profile with a slide enclosing a 4¼-inch barrel. The barrel is a match-grade 716R stainless-steel given a 1-in-10-inch twist rate. As expected for a 9mm-chambered 1911, the match barrel is supported, ramped and polished for reliable feeding. The muzzle of the bull barrel features a cone-like 11-degree target crown, which mates with the slide sans bushing pretty well. The crown design is a nice touch, too, and not unlike the muzzles of custom 1911s sporting bushingless barrels. Like models produced by Dan Wesson, Ed Brown, Nighthawk and Wilson Combat, MAC’s design is an attractive upgrade that protects the muzzle from scars and eases disassembly for routine maintenance. 

Locking the Series 70-style firing system — including a cocked skeleton hammer — is an ambidextrous-type extended thumb safety. MAC indicates that this is a new “match-type” ambi-thumb safety design. Inside the slide are two details that might go easily overlooked though: There is an internally mounted extractor and a titanium firing pin that should never wear, bend or fail. The small parts throughout are finished with black Cerakote.

The slide features five angled serrations at the front and rear, on both sides, for racking, and a carry cut like we’ve seen on certain pistols from Ed Brown and Wilson Combat. On top is an optic cut protected by a coverplate featuring a familiar sighting arrangement. The front offers a white dot, while the rear is a simple two-dot with a square notch. Both sights are dovetailed, but a rear Novak-style sight sits in the Glock-pattern dovetail on the optic plate. Iron sights are zeroed at the factory for 25 yards.

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The extended beavertail grip safety guards the firing hand against hammer bite, while an additional safety feature is the extended ambidextrous thumb safety. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

Red-Dot Ready

Red-dot optics on 1911s are increasingly popular, and most of the 1911 custom shops offer this feature. Rather than a traditional red-dot cut with a cover plate separate from the rear sight, the MAC 9 DS includes a coverplate with the rear sight attached. This means that when the coverplate is removed, the rear sight comes with it. The idea that a shooter doesn’t need back-up iron sights when an optic is in place is also a trending topic. Many people would rather have standard-height sights instead of suppressor-height sights and forfeit the use of them when an optic is mounted.

The included optic plate fits RMR-footprint reflex sights, though other plates are available. Installing a rear optic involves removing the two screws that hold the coverplate in place. After removing the coverplate and rear-sight assembly, attach the optic adapter plate to the slide using the coverplate screws. Cutouts in the optic plate allow the screws to fit flush so the optic can be mounted. The two plates included with the optic plate secure the red dot in place. It’s a slightly different setup than found on other pistols, but if you’re mounting a Trijicon RMR optic, there’s no need to keep up with the optic screws and plate screws. Everything I needed came with the pistol. 

Recommended


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The serrated rear sight is dovetailed to the optic plate. Trying to align the irons through the optic’s window proved futile, however. The front and rear sights were a little too low to co-witness. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

I mounted a Trijicon RMR for testing. The countersunk plate accommodated the coverplate screws, and the additional screws secured the optic to the gun. The combination of the Trijicon RMR and MAC 9 DS proved effective on the range. I was able to use them to put rounds into the center mass of a target quickly. For someone looking for a personal defense pistol that could moonlight as a weekend match pistol, this gun is well-suited. Even the standard white-dot sights worked well for what they offer. Unfortunately, the deck height of the RMR didn’t allow the sights to align when the optic was installed.

At The Range

A week prior to testing the MAC 9 DS, I shot both the Kimber KDS9c and Springfield Armory’s Prodigy for this comparison. While it may seem unfair to compare two $1,500 guns to the MAC 9 DS, it really wasn’t. The MAC 9 DS lacks a bit of intangible refinement that those other guns offer, but it functioned no less flawlessly than those guns. In fact, I particularly liked the grip module’s finger channels, which seemed to lock my hand in place. The polymer grip texture doesn’t exude the same sense of quality as the Prodigy’s Adaptive Grip Texturing or the carved grooves of the G10 grips on the KDS9c, but the texture molded into the MAC 9 DS grip was functional and provided a secure hold of the gun. 

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The trigger features an overtravel screw that can be adjusted using an Allen-head wrench through a hole at the bottom. Be careful not to screw it in too far or the pistol may not fire. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

The flat-face aluminum trigger appears aesthetically unique with its three horizontal slots. It is medium to long in length, and has an overtravel screw for the option of tuning short-feeling reset. (I wouldn’t really mess with the overtravel.) The trigger is protected within a square-shaped triggerguard, also featuring 25-lpi checkering. It’s available for those who want to grip the pistol using the support hand’s index finger pulling back on the front of the triggerguard. In some cases, the square triggerguard design may require users to seek out a custom shop to make an everyday carry holster, especially one that accepts the pistol with a light attached. However, the pistol may fit existing holsters for the Springfield Armory Prodigy and STI 2011, which also have square triggerguards. 

The trigger was easy enough to manage, measuring 4 pounds, 4 ounces, on my Wheeler triggerpull gauge. I noted a slight take-up followed by a crisp, clean break. 

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The four-slot accessory rail rail makes the MAC 9 DS ready to equip with a light or laser. “ZIG PCS9”, for the model, and “TISAS/TURKIYE” indicate the handgun’s manufacturing origin. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

Accuracy was fair. I produced a 2-inch group using Fiocchi 115-grain full-metal-jacket (FMJ) ammunition. Most of my five-shot groups measured in the 2½- to 3-inch range, while a few flyers pushed some groups into the 3-inch mark. It is not as accurate as some custom 1911s, but it grouped fine for being considerably less expensive. Shooters who practice against IPSC torso targets at self-defense ranges shouldn’t see a substantial variance between the MAC 9 DS and another 9mm 1911.   

Felt recoil was manageable, especially for this model being chambered in 9mm, featuring a large double-stack grip, and having an overall weight of 2 pounds, 6½ ounces, once the Trijicon RMR HD was installed. Functionally, the slide moved smoothly along the rails with none of the grit or movement you may have encountered with coarse, low-cost 1911s. The operation felt slick and both magazines locked firmly, even with the slide and barrel forward. 

Off the bench, the pistol shot very well. Double tap and Failure Drills went very well, and the wide grip and generous beavertail helped to secure my hand for fast follow-up shots. The actual grip texturing could use an upgrade, though. It’s functional, but I think a microtexture design would elevate the feel of the MAC 9 DS from good to great. 

Mechanically, it worked reliably, and I can only report one failure: a stovepipe that occurred when shooting Nosler ammunition on the benchrest. On one occasion, the slide also failed to lock back after the magazine was empty, which isn’t all that uncommon among pistols. The two 17-round magazines dropped free with the press of the magazine release, and finding the double-stack mag funnel highlighted a benefit to a 1911 with a double-stack grip: Quick reloads are rarely an issue. 

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Check-mate manufactures the 17-round capacity magazines used to feed the MAC 9 DS. Two are included, which are the same as the long-time reliable 2011 pattern. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

For EDC?

I carried the MAC 9 DS in an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster under a jacket, and it rode like any similar full-size 1911. In my opinion, the magwell would need to be removed if I were to commit to wearing this gun daily, but the MAC 9 DS is otherwise everything a person who loves to carry a 1911 wants — just with more rounds in the magazine. 

The MAC 9 DS is not the same gun as an Ed Brown, Springfield, Staccato or Wilson; it just isn’t. That said, I really did enjoy my time with this gun. It’s priced right, and the build quality and mechanics of the pistol are very good. If you’re looking for a double-stack 9mm 1911, it’s a solid buy and an affordable option.

Military Armament Corp. MAC 9DS

  • Type: Single action, recoil operated, semiautomatic
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 17+1 rds.
  • Barrel: 4.25 in., bushingless
  • Overall Length: 7.9 in.
  • Width: 1.6 in.
  • Height: 5.9 in.
  • Weight: 1 lb., 6.7 oz.
  • Finish: QPQ Tennifer (steel); hardcoat anodized (aluminum)
  • Sights: Three white dot, included plate for RMR with integral notch rear sight
  • Trigger pull: 4 lbs., 4 oz. (tested)
  • Materials: Forged carbon steel (slide); 716R stainless steel (barrel); 7075 aluminum (frame); polymer (grip module) 
  • MSRP: $1,149
  • Manufacturer: TISAS, Trabzon, Turkey
  • Importer: Military Armament Corp., (865) 604-­6894, milarmamentcorp.com
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