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1911 2011 9mm double-stack double-stacked Tisas

Carry DS9 – A Good Gun But Not In Love With It

The last time I posted about the Tisas Carry DS9, I’d only recently bought the gun.

That was back in February 2024. It is now June 2024. I’ve owned the gun right at four months and I’ve right at 1200 rounds through the gun! Yeah, it’s that much fun to shoot/own! And, of those 1200 rounds, it has only misfed one time. I was also able to shoot that same round from the gun after loading it back into the mag. It’s eaten steel cased ammo, lots of JHP, and lots of JHP that is considered good SD ammo. This may well make for a good gun for training courses. It can withstand gunk/carbon/dirt, too — I went maybe 400 rounds before I cleaned it, at one point.

I’ve a running thread at 1911forum.com that has somewhat detailed updates. I’ve also been posting video updates on YouTube.

Initially, I ran into an issue with the gun that I couldn’t ignore or adapt to. The gun had a trigger that was not only somewhat heavy, but it was difficult to work around. The trigger wall itself was super thick, to the point that I was pulling the gun out of target alignment when actuating it. The goal was to not modify the gun before I hit 1000 rounds. I made it to maybe 450 rounds before I decided that I had to either pay a gunsmith to make the trigger better or do it myself.

I ended up buying a 19 lb mainspring and a sear spring from EGW. The sear spring is what I thought would solve the issue. I actually pulled the OEM sear spring and looked at it. The OEM spring was bent oddly and didn’t have a lot of spring/give. It was also difficult to remove and re-install. I believe the main issue was the sear spring and I was correct – when I received the EGW sear spring, it immediately solved the issue. The new spring didn’t require any tuning, either. The trigger was a bit over 5 lb when I got the gun. By 450 rounds, it was at 4 lb 8 oz. The new sear spring didn’t change the trigger weight but did change the trigger wall. The wall was much more crisp after that upgrade.

I installed the 19 lb mainspring just to determine if I’d like the change. Initially, I didn’t like it. It made the trigger feel sloppy (added some slack). I put the OEM mainspring back into the gun. Oh – that’s also the first time I did something like that. I didn’t think I could do it without a workbench or clamp but I was able to replace it without issue. I ended up re-installing the EGW mainspring and the gun ended up wearing in – the gun’s trigger feels fantastic now.

I also did several detailed strips of the gun, just to look at the individual parts. I can verify that the gun has NO MIM parts. Not a single part is MIM. None of the parts, apart from the weird sear spring, has fitment issues. No, none are polished, but they’re standard parts and fit well enough.

After I crossed 1000 rounds, I decided to have a bit of fun with the gun. I ordered 14 lb and 12 lb flat recoil springs (from EGW). I thought they’d fit but they wouldn’t fit around the short guide rod. I ended up having to buy a full length guide rod (the requirement was I required a 1/4″ diameter rod), which came with a plug designed for use with a FLGR.

I installed the parts and was shocked again…the gun felt even better, just racking the slide. When I took it to the range, I was shooting quite a bit faster, while still being accurate. The lighter recoil spring makes the gun feel more manageable, control-wise. It seems to shoot flatter. The Prodigy comes stock with a 12-lb recoil spring and those guns shoot really well. There are more than a few videos that state the Tisas guns are over-sprung…I believe it’s true.

Another great thing about the gun is that iron sights will co-witness (1/3rd) with the optic. I’ve a Cyelee CAT that works well with this gun. This optic has been 100% dependable.

There are a few bad things about this gun, though.

The optics cut is crappy. Tisas CS is insisting that the issue isn’t that they’ve milled the optics cut wrong, but that the optics makers have milled their optics wrong. I don’t think that’s the case, as I tried two different brands (Holosun and Cyelee) and neither would fit well. I could see daylight between both optics and the slide. As well, both optics were factory zero’d to have the dot rendering generally within the center of the glass, but when I installed both, both dots were rendering super-high. I wasn’t the only person with this issue, either, and many of those folks complained that they couldn’t zero their optics because they ran out of elevation adjustment when trying to bring the dot down. I fixed my issue by using an optic ship (bought from Amazon). The shim allowed a better fit on the gun (no daylight between the optic and slide) and also allowed a lower shifting of the rendered dot. The shim doesn’t help everyone, though. Some folks stated they had to use two shims to get their optic to properly zero.

What’s funny is that Tisas keeps trying to dodge blame. Not only that, but folks keep insisting that Holosun is a cheap optic and that makes Holosun at fault. WTF. These aren’t EOTechs but they aren’t exactly cheap, either.

Tisas has a problem with milling in general. Initially, their single stacked 1911s had (and still do have) issues fitting standard 1911 sights. Part of this is because they’re avoiding licensing Novak specifications. Later on, folks started complaining that they couldn’t mount their standard-sized lights on the M1918 rail mount. Tisas stated that the rails will only mount small lights. This mainly affected their Carry line – they installed smaller rails for some reason. This issue migrated to their new line of Carry DS9s. Now there’s mounting issues with the optics and I know for a fact that it is indeed the slide milling that is the issue.

Those issues and the fact that Tisas didn’t jump to help folks means that I won’t be buying any other Tisas guns. There’s also another reason. I bought the Carry DS9 after already owning a couple of double stacked 1911s that cost over twice as much as the Tisas. Those two guns feel better and shoot better. They feel expensive. That’s not saying that someone with a DS9 won’t be able to outshoot someone with a SAS II UL. What I’m saying is that, no matter how much they make the DS9s cheaper, it’s still a cheap (as in cheaply made) gun. There are immediate and significant differences when comparing a DS9 to a SAS II UL, whether a person is just handling both or shooting both. No, most folks won’t cross-shop those two guns but I’m not the only person that has bought a DS9 after owning a Prodigy or SAS II UL or even a Staccato.

In summary, I didn’t need the DS9 and the SAS II UL almost certainly spoiled me. The DS9’s trigger will never feel like the UL’s trigger. The DS9 rattles. It has side to side play in the slide. The trigger is a bit sloppy. The DS9 right-side safety isn’t blended (it cuts my hand – my Tisas single stacked Duty 45 does the same thing and I ended up swapping in a single sided safety to save my hand). The DS9 isn’t bull-barreled. There’s the optics milling issue. That sear spring on the DS9 was shoddy. All of those 7-8 sentences I just typed is justification to stay away, in my humble opinion.

For those who don’t already own a 2011 or nicely crafted double stacked 1911, this gun is probably for you, as long as you remember that a cheaper gun is going to be built cheaper. There’s a reason why 2011s, up until recently, were priced at mid $1000. If you already own something twice the cost of a DS9 (or other variant), you’re going to be disappointed, unless you love to tinker.

I love it but I’m not in love with it.

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