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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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1911 2011 double-stack double-stacked Tisas

I Now Have The Tisas Carry DS!

I posted that I bought a Tisas 1911 Carry DS.

The Tisas 1911 Carry DS product page is here.

For some reason, I had a difficult time obtaining this gun.

First, I should’ve bought it from a different seller. The place I purchased it has a spotty customer service reputation and many folks that have purchase things from them have had bad experiences.

Second, the gun took a day to ship, as the seller created the pickup slip after the mail had been picked up for that day, so the package waited another day before USPS picked it up. USPS picked it up on Tuesday.

It was delivered to the my choice of gun store on Thursday, at 1:30 PM. The gun store sat on it until Friday (WTF). They texted me Friday morning (a bit after 10 AM) saying that the gun was ready and that I could come pick it up.

I went to pick it up at 11:30 AM. It took me 15 minutes to get there and then 15 minutes to complete the background check paperwork (I had to redo one form and redid another form two times). I gave the cashier my state ID and concealed carry license.

Now, normally, there’s maybe a 5-10 minute wait for me and then they tell me that the I passed the background check. I ended up waiting 40 minutes. I wanted to leave and thought that they’d call me when it was approved, but I didn’t want to do the paperwork over again (if I couldn’t come back until the next day) and didn’t want to be on the way home just for them to call me back in (or call me after I’ve arrived back at home). They called me just before I walked out.

WTF. It was a little bit busy, but I know damned well that I don’t have any dirt in my background. I’ve used this location two other times, and didn’t have to wait that long during those times. It was busy but it wasn’t 40 min delay busy. Either NICS had issues with their systems or maybe NICS itself was having a super busy day.

It was fucking odd waiting that long. I was running out of things to look at in the store. I almost asked what took so long, but I was so flustered, I knew I was going to pop off, so I just shut the hell up so that I could leave as quickly as possible. Also, their damned FFL transfer fee went up (it’s now $45…that’s kinda high around here). I was unaware until it was time to pay. Again, I just wanted to leave, so I didn’t say anything.

This place is an odd gun store. I’ve never liked using them for firearms transfers but they were close to home and my choices were limited (or so I thought). I asked some folks on Reddit about this place and apparently, they’re the d-bags of the local gun stores (I’m not sure what defines d-bag here). I’ve never had issues or conflicts with the staff there, but I swear, there’s something “off” about the place.

So, I will never visit that store again. There are other stores I can use to buy things. For firearms transfers, I found out from a Reddit user that my range (I’m a member) charges $15 for transfers, for members. I could’ve used them the past 3 firearms I purchased!! What’s cool is that I could have a gun transferred there (or buy one there) and then immediately go shoot it!

So, after I got in my car, I THEN checked the firearm. Yeah, they didn’t let me check it before I did the FFL paperwork, which is bad – the reason most GOOD places let you check the gun before you do the paperwork is because the paperwork seals the deal and if the gun is broken or is missing parts (like a magazine), you can decline the transfer because there’s something wrong with the product you bought. Of the three guns I had transferred there, they only let me check one of those three and that one check was after the paperwork was completed and after I’d paid for the transfer.

I checked to see if the gun was present and that I had the two mags that came with the gun. Then I closed the box and drove home.

I got home and looked at the gun. This gun is nicer than folks will expect. A lot of guys keep insisting that, since the gun is a budget (very budget priced) 2011-patterned 1911, there has to be something wrong with it, like shoddy workmanship of the gun, tolerance issues, etc.

The gun is a $900 gun (MSRP) that I bought for $700 (street price). It feels like (at very least) a $900 gun.

Fitment is good, not great, but again, it’s a $900 1911/2011. It’s also not bull-barreled, so fitment isn’t going to be as tight as a bull-barreled gun would (generally, bull barrel guns have better slide to frame fitment).

Finish is good – the slide is QPQ and the frame is Cerakoted.

It came with two mags. Most of the latest budget 2011s have been coming with one mag. Two mags are certainly better than one. The mags are Checkmate mags, which are Staccato-patterned. They are good mags (at least $65-70 each).

The sights are good and are dovetailed. I believe the front is Novak-styled (not actual Novak patterned, though). Tisas has been pinning the front sight up until recently. The rear is Glock-patterned, which is great and means there are MANY replacement options. As well, if you decide to use an optic, you don’t lose the rear sight when the optics cut plate is removed. The rears will cowitness 1/3rd! As they are, the sights offer a great sight picture. The rear offers a semi-wide rounded U-notch and the front sight is a contrast white dot.

The optics cut is patterned for RMSc, which means I can continue to run a Holosun. The optic mounts directly to the cut (no adapter plate is needed).

The gun has a titanium firing pin, which is great.

The grip is nice. It is easily nicer than the grip on my SAS II UL. What’s nicer? It has front strap checkering, even on the polymer grip module. The side texturing feels like it will be sufficient for shooting, while also not being overly aggressive in texture. I saw someone say they thought it felt cheap. That same guy owns a SAS II UL – THAT gun’s grip feels cheap and it’s an $1600 2011!

The trigger’s shoe is polymer, but there are high end 2011s with polymer trigger shoes (Staccato and Springfield Armory Emissary guns come to mind). The trigger is also not all that light (but not heavy either). I assessed the trigger twice – an average of 5 trigger pulls netted a first average of 4 lb 13 oz. The second group of pulls averaged out to 5 lb 1 oz. 5 lbs isn’t heavy but it isn’t light, either. The perfect weight for me would be high 3s and low 4s. The trigger wall is pretty firm, though.

I field stripped it (I also removed the firing pin), and checked each part. There are some tool marks, but it doesn’t have super ugly marks like the LFA Apollo 11 or the EAA Girsan Witness 2311 guns. This gun is MIM-less. There is not a single MIM part in this gun. My Tisas Duty single stacked 1911 that I bought 2 years ago has some MIM – you can clearly see the cast lines and stamps on those parts.

The plan is to take it to the range tomorrow (or more like, today, as it is 2:30 AM right now).

I may even carry this gun, as it doesn’t feel big to me and fits in all of my 1911 holsers (those that accept railed 1911s, at least). I can conceal the grip well, too.

So far, there isn’t much to not like about the gun. In fact, I currently have no dislikes.

If Tisas does an Officer sized 2011, I’m going to buy it…there’s no question. If they follow the same recipe that they used with the Carry, a smaller 2011 is going to be an instant hit.

I’m currently working on capturing video footage for the gun that I will eventually share on YouTube.