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Review: The Tisas MAC 1911-9 DS brings modern innovation to a historic design

The feature set is good, and the price is hard to beat


The MAC 1911-9 DS with a Streamlight TLR-9 attached. The frame is notched to accept full-sized pistol lights.

Photo/Andrew Butts

The 1911 design dates back to, well, 1911, and comes from a time before computer aided drafting and robotic manufacturing processes. It comes from an era when parts were fit and assembled by craftsmen trained and familiar with the platform.

Today, many of the high quality 1911s are still built in the old ways. Guns are fit and tuned by skilled workers who take pride in a job well done. Guns assembled thusly are as much a work of art as a functional tool. The downside? Labor costs. Time spent fitting parts equates to a higher purchase price. What happens, then, when modern production techniques are applied to this legacy design? Can these modern methods produce a quality 1911?

Enter Tisas, a modern Turkish weapons manufacturer producing firearms for military and commercial markets. Tisas products are imported into the U.S. by SDS Imports in Knoxville, Tennessee, and distributed under several different names.

The Tisas 1911s are sold under the Tisas USA banner and have made quite a stir; offering a good quality pistol at a very reasonable price. Tisas has recently started making high capacity 1911s. These new guns are being sold under both the Tisas USA and Military Armament Corporation (MAC) labels.

Enter the MAC 1911-9 DS

The MAC pistol is called the MAC 1911-9 DS — 9 for 9 mm caliber and “DS '' to denote its higher capacity double stack magazine. It shares many features of the less expensive Tisas USA 1911 double stack but is marketed as a more custom level handgun.

Unlike the Tisas USA guns, which are painted, steel parts on the MAC are finished in QPQ, a salt bath nitride providing a good combo of durability and corrosion resistance. The MAC slide is cut with cocking serrations front and rear and is machined to accept optic mounting plates. An iron sight set ships installed on the pistol. Included with the pistol is a plate to mount a Trijicon RMR or optic built on this footprint. Other features include an extended ambidextrous thumb safety, an aluminum magazine well and a long flat trigger. The frame section in front of the trigger guard is notched to accept a pistol light.


This shows the iron sight/rear sight plate that comes installed on the pistol. It can be removed and replaced with a red dot adapter plate.

Photo/Andrew Butts

Fit and finish of the MAC 1911-9 DS

The general fit and finish of the MAC is good. There is some slight play or movement between the frame and slide. The barrel locks up tightly at the muzzle with just a hint of play at the ejection port. The grip safety is nicely tuned and only requires about half its travel to release the trigger. The ambi safety snaps on and off cleanly and the trigger on our test sample was surprisingly good and crisp with a five pound break. The exterior surfaces are generally smooth and free of sharp edges or rough spots.


Here is the included red dot adapter plate shown off the pistol. It is made to accept a Trijicon RMR or other optic made for the RMR mounting footprint.

Photo/Andrew Butts

Downsides of the MAC

The factory recoil spring is said to be 16 lbs. It may be a bit heavy for anything other than full powered defensive ammo. The iron sights on the pistol are nice but are not tall enough to work when an RMR or similar optic is installed. In my opinion, the pistol should ship with two recoil springs -- one for duty ammo and a lighter one for range ammo. SDS is aware of the discrepancy in sight heights but does not yet offer a solution. Purchasers wishing to have taller sights that can be used as backup for a dead optic battery will have to have new sights fitted by a gunsmith.

Testing the MAC

I tested the MAC with a variety of practice and defense ammo. The gun seems happiest running hotter duty ammo, which is not surprising given its fairly heavy recoil spring. All in all, I fired over 400 rounds through the gun. Accuracy was good, the gun seems reliable and it was, frankly, very fun to shoot.

The MAC 1911-9 DS is made to closely mimic another high capacity 1911 that is quite popular with law enforcement. As a result, it is likely that the MAC will generate interest as a duty pistol. The feature set is good, and the price is hard to beat. The MAC yields probably 75% of the performance of more expensive 1911 options at about 50% of the cost. Does this mean the MAC belongs in a duty holster?

Shooters interested in learning more about the 1911 and how to efficiently operate the pistol should consider attending A.J Zito’s training. Mr. Zito also offers armorer classes for those wishing to learn more about 1911 maintenance.

The MAC ships with two 17 round magazines and comes in a black padded nylon carrying case. Interested parties are encouraged to visit for more info.


The pistol ships in a black zippered bag. Just to clarify, the pistol does not ship with the Streamlight pistol light.

Photo/Andrew Butts

MAC 1911-9 DS specs

  • Action: Semi-automatic. Recoil operated
  • Frame: Forged steel. Black QPQ finish
  • Slide: Commander length. Forged steel. Black QPQ finish
  • Barrel: 4.30” length. 1x10 right-hand twist. Forged steel. Black QPQ finish
  • Grip: Black polymer
  • Caliber: 9 mm Luger
  • Capacity: 17 round standard. Accepts STI pattern 126 mm or 140 mm length magazines
  • Weight: 33 ounces without magazine
  • MSRP: $1,099.99
Cleaning your firearm is not just about maintaining its aesthetics or functionality; it’s essential for ensuring safety and reliability

Andrew Butts has served as a soldier in the Army National Guard and also served as a correctional officer in Montana, and recently retired from a federal law enforcement agency. Butts currently holds an Expert classification in IDPA and an A classification in USPSA in both Limited and Single Stack Divisions.
Contact Andrew Butts