Product Review Operation Wideload: PSA Dagger Full-Size Race Pistol

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Operation Wideload: PSA Dagger Full-Size "Race" Pistol. I'm kidding about the "Race" descriptor but I did build it to compete in a steel plate shoot once a month. So I want it to be comfortable for my big hands and somewhat accurate and reliable for 150-175 hard rounds during a match.

wideload1.jpg

I also built a VERY low-buck TEMU holster "race rig" for it detailed at another forum "members area" that you will have to join to view. One of my friends there makes kydex holsters so it was to amuse him. PM if you want more info.

This pistol began as a complete "PALMETTO DAGGER FULLSIZE-S" FDE frame bought around the end of June, 2023. After S/H, sales tax, FFL fee I figure I paid about $70 for it. It was bought with other frames so the S/H and FFL fees were less. It could compare to a Glock 19x with G17-sized grip frame that takes G19-sized slides. The Dagger is Gen3-ish with no lanyard loop.

Near the beginning of June, I had bought a complete PSA FDE RMR slide/threaded-barrel/RSA as a package with a Holosun 507C X2 Red Dot Sight (RDS). That was about $450 to my door. The slide came with a cover plate for the optics cut, a thread protector for the barrel and 1/3 RDS co-witness all black steel sights.

fde507c.jpg

I had to warranty return the first FDE slide because the RSA tab was bent. The RSA would just about "fall out" when the slide was removed. You can read about that issue and see more pictures of the old slide HERE.

An issue with the "new" slide (and maybe the old) were the mounting hole threads for the optic that I had to tap slightly deeper. You can read about that issue and see more pictures of the slide HERE.

Otherwise, the replacement slide appears to function well, the internal parts look good, the cerakote is well-matched to the frame and well-applied. The machining is well-done and bore holes and other parts appear to be accurate and smooth. Initial inspection revealed a fairly clean (ie: no grit inside), properly operating slide and parts. The only current issue is I still have to sight in the optic since the holes were tapped and RDS re-mounted. :(

I swapped the skyscraper front sight with a shorter regular dot steel sight from PSA ($3). I prefer it not be in the way and it helps me pick up the optic red dot if I'm aiming too high. Of note is that the new front dot has a slight reddish tint on one side that doesn't affect function and I'm not worried enough about it to get another.

There is slight finish wear on the hood of the black barrel where it tucks into the slide and slight cerakote wear from the trigger drop safety hump rubbing against it.

I'll update if I find the slide to be less than accurate. The rest of this post will deal with the frame.

PALMETTO DAGGER FULLSIZE-S FDE frame:

First impressions of the frame were positive. It seemed to fit my large hands just about perfectly. And has a nice texture and palm-swell design. But the first trip to the range determined work needed to be done... :rolleyes:

Since it was about 95^ with no breeze my hands were sweaty. And gripping the Dagger was like trying to hold onto a wet eel. Stippling/engraving will need to be done. As a temporary measure, I put on a FREE gift rubber sleeve from TEMU. It is a few bucks there but I found an identical grip on zamazom for $12! :eek: The last steel match I went to the sleeve worked well although it twisted a little bit by the end of the match. But the sleeve increased the grip circumference hence the "Wide Load" moniker... :D It is a fat gat! :)

I also went and smoothed most of the molding seams with a couple jeweler's files and rolls of 120 grit sandpaper. I worked the middle finger groove on the grip down to the level of the other fingers as it was about 1/16" proud to begin with. Doing so smoothed the "texture" in that area not that it was doing anything. I also worked some of the "hot" spots on both sides of the trigger guard with the sandpaper roll. You really couldn't tell by looking but I can certainly feel the difference. :)

The next issue was the mag release was extremely hard to press. I'll update and add another post with pics of the fix at a later date.

Speaking of mags, the only 17rd Glock mag I have does NOT easily lock into this gun. The base hits the bottom of the mag well. It WILL lock in if I push hard enough but das ist nicht richtig... It is a Gen3 or prior mag (only one release cut out) so I don't know if that is the issue. MagPul 17rd-ers fit fine and I have at least ten of those. I'll update and add another post with pics of the fix at a later date.

I like pistols with extended slide releases, not so much to release the slide but to make it easier to hold it open. The Dagger does not come with an extended release. The stock release is pointy and uncomfortable. So I made one out of a surplus P80 release. I'll update and add another post with pics of the fix at a later date. I spent 20min making a part I could buy for $10... ;)

I added a 3D printed mag well bought off debay. You can read about that modification and see more pictures HERE.

The most recent issue was the firing pin safety "hump" was not in the correct place and rubbing the slide. I'll update and add another post with pics of the fix at a later date. You CAN fix trigger bars and I did... :)

(to be continued...)
 
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I really like the Dagger grip frame. Fits my hand like a glove. If I were going to run a DIY pistol in a match I would do something like you did. The Dagger was a good choice as a platform. My second best would be a GST-9 frame. Only becuse of the grip. I prefer it over the P80 Dove Bar grip for that style of shooting.
 
MAGAZINE RELEASE:
One of the first "issues" I found with this frame was that it was EXTREMELY difficult to get the mag to drop. The effort to push the button in was excessive, IMO. I had two additional springs from different vendors that I tried with the PSA mag release. All three springs were the same diameter. The spring I ended up using was a "brown" one that came with an OE Glock extended mag release purchased over a decade ago. I will go over the release buttons below... Dimensions are approximate with release installed and measured from below the trigger guard with calipers. Mags tested with are Pmag 17s.

PSA original, shown in a Dagger Compact FDE. ~29.57mm. Regarding the one that came in the Wide-Load, it too was not textured and seemed to drag on mags not allowing them to drop free without pressing extra hard. I can't remember if I had this problem with the compact frame--I'll have to check and update. This frame is currently hanging out with some unserialized bros...

psamagrel.jpg

Glock original, shown in a G26 along with OEM ext. slide release and "oldie" trigger :) . ~29.25mm. Mags drop easily.

oemmagrel.jpg

P80 original, shown in a PF940C. ~29.74mm. I like the feel of this release but I DID have to knock down a little bit of the sharpness with a jeweler's file/sandpaper. I didn't have a spare or I may have tried it with the PSA. Mags drop easily.

p80magrel.jpg

Glock extended, shown in the Wide-Load. ~31.44mm. This is what is in the gun and will probably stay as it works good with the aforementioned brown spring and mags drop free. Again, slight cleaning up of the edges so the gun is more comfy when shooting left-handed. This was previously in the G26 above--see notice below...

extmagrel.jpg

NOTICE About Extended Magazine Releases!
Whether or not an extended mag. release will be an issue may depend on your gun and accessories such as mag well, grips, etc. For example, the ext mag release in the Wide Load does not stick out enough to be an issue. BUT when that same release was in the G26, if you laid the gun on a table on its left side, and pushed down on the grip, the magazine would release! :eek: I think I had the same issue with my G30 and also removed that one and put the original back in.

Semi-related to the mag release was the fact that an OEM Glock 17rd mag was difficult to get to lock in place in this Dagger Full-Size S. From what I can tell, it is a pre-ban, Glock Gen2, U-notch mag. So whether or not Glock Gen3+ mags fit, I couldn't tell you. While I was getting the release sorted out, I checked to see what the issue was with the Glock mag. This is the ONLY OE Glock 17rd mag I have. I determined that it was "bottoming" on the bottom of the grip/mag well. Pmags did not have this problem. Pmag then Glock shown...

pmagmag1.jpg pmagmag2.jpg glockmag1.jpg glockmag2.jpg
 
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I have abandoned oversized mag releases for some of the reasons you cited.

This came up in a conversation with a dude I wished I hadn't spoken to at a match. He had the full Monte when it came to accessorizing his pistol. He proudly advocated that the upgrades cut his times considerably. I asked how much time this stuff shaved off and how many times he won. The answers were 'lots' and 'not yet'. :rolleyes:

Accessorizing is a common phenomenon among hobbyists of every stripe. Guns, cars, motorcycles, trucks, airsoft/paintball, especially. Cyclists really amuse me. This guy:

Screenshot 2023-10-03 at 9.09.05 PM.png

He's got all the latest gear but doesn't seem to be riding enough to burn more calories than he's taking in. I think he just likes to be seen in pink Spandex riding his $8000 bike to Dunkin Donuts. The hydration rig holds two liters of Dr. Pepper.

Vendors like GlockStore hawk all kinds of useless "upgrades" and people buy it. People love snake oil. With pistols, I think there's a simple explanation. It's easier to buy shit than it is to train.
 
SLIDE RELEASE:

I like extended slide releases on my pistols not so much for releasing the slide, but to make it easier to hold open to check the chamber, show the Range Officer "clear", etc. I did not have a Glock OEM extended release in stock (~$12 at MidwayUSA) to put on the WL so I decided to make one. :) Gen3 G26 with release I added 10yrs ago, shown. The ejector photo-bombed the picture! ;) New OEM releases may be slightly different. Stock photos courtesy of Midway.

oemextrel1.JPG oemextrel2.JPG g26extrel1.jpg g26extrel2.jpg

I DID have an extra P80 "regular" style release leftover from their parts kit because I used an OEM extended instead. Since I will probably never use it (I have OEM regulars if needed) I thought I would try my hand at adding a drop or two of weld to make a “nub” for an extended release.

The following pics are the Lone Wolf extended release shown next to the P80 regular before I welded it. Compare to the G26 OEM, slightly different but very similar.

lwrel2.jpg sr1.jpg

Pics show a piece of 1/8 alum scrap I used as a backer and heat sink. Usually, steel will not weld well to alum but in this case it did, sort of. :rolleyes: I probably could have done a prettier job with the TIG but I would have had to set it up and this was just a "test", anyway. Since the MIG was already ready to go I used it, although .035” was much thicker than needed and took a little finesse. First weld about .3 seconds, with a second to cool then another about .5 and I figured that would be enough. Unclamped and sprayed with water to cool it. Separated the release from the alum and blended it with a cut-off wheel. Then to the deburr wheel to smooth it.

sr2.jpg deburrwheels1.jpg

It might not look fantabulous but it feels great and is 100% functional. I’ve manipulated it during normal use at least 100 times with no issues. OE PSA shown before I swapped it out. I found the PSA pointy slide release to be on the sharp side, and not especially easy to use to hold the slide open. I’m not sure what extended release is on the P80 shown--it is the one that came with it in the USPA kit a few years back.

sr3.jpg sr4.jpg sr5.jpg
 
I like the Kagworks - extended and raised. Eject, slap in a fresh mag, the nubbin is already right there where your thumb is. I tend to have a high grip and this works great for me.
Screenshot 2023-10-14 at 7.24.08 AM.png

Caveat: It may rub on the slide if you push on it laterally and cause a scratch. On a match gun or carry... I don't care what it looks like.
 
I like the Kagworks - extended and raised. Eject, slap in a fresh mag, the nubbin is already right there where your thumb is.
Hmmm... For $49 (they WILL finance for you! :rolleyes: ) this is something I might try fabbing... :unsure: I keep a low grip so might not be for me.
 
TRIGGER BAR and FRAME PINS:

When installing the slide, I noticed I would have to “bend” it laterally towards the left to get it to engage the rails. The first pic shows how it would not “line up”. Note the arrow pointing to the interference area. Upon closer inspection, I determined the trigger bar firing pin safety “hump” was rubbing the side of the slide and also not properly engaging the firing pin safety plunger. Notice how the slide shows wear marks in the plunger area (arrow). A Lone Wolf frame is shown which is what one should expect as far as engagement and alignment.

goingoncrooked.jpg nogood.jpg rubbingoneout.jpg lwbutton.jpg

OK, so time to drive the frame pins out to get the trigger bar and assembly out. Shown are the tools and pin block I used to drive the pins out. As the roll pin is 1/8”, I used the 1/8” punch out of the Mayhew set. I marked the opening for the rollpins on the frame so they would go back in the same orientation and not chew up the hole unnecessarily. As I was careful, I avoided driving the pins all the way out, saving a little time. It took what I would consider to be a substantial amount of force to get the pins to move, but once started they tapped out fairly easily. I AM concerned about the wear from the front block on the one pin… :unsure:

pins.jpg pinsstillin.jpg frontpin.jpg

So one scenario is I can install a brand new OEM Glock trigger kit which I keep in stock. Another scenario is I can try to fix the PSA trigger so I figured that would be worth a shot. I mean I paid for it so... ;)

oemtrigger.jpg

Clamped the trigger bar in my baby Palmgren vise. Then I clamped that vise in a bench vise. I thought I might use the adjustable wrench to bend the hump but ended up using Vise-Grips instead and gave the “Z” of the hump some well-placed taps to bend it into compliance. Total hillbilly shit! :D Or was it expert craftsmanship? :D Polished the hump and a couple select areas of the bar and disconnector on the deburr wheel. While the hump looks dinged, it is smooth to the touch. Re-installed everything and by golly, the hump engagement of the trigger safety plunger looks good, the hump no longer rubs the slide AND the trigger feels a LOT better. :)

visesquad1.jpg visesquad2.jpg humpmod1.jpg muchbetter.jpg

The compact Dagger frame has a similar rub issue but not AS bad as the FS frame. When the time comes to assemble that frame to a slide, I might hillbilly it again but I’ll probably just install the Glock trigger pieces since my son is turning 21 and wants a pistol. I ordered an OEM extended slide release to install and the mag release seems to work a lot better than the the one that came on the FS frame but I have an OEM if needed.

Since this work has been done I removed the grip sleeve and installed some pieces of grip tape. The tape is actually hardware store 3M and cut with utility scissors. It feels good and gun isn’t as “phat” in the hands. Some of the bends are more than the tape can handle so there is minor lifting in a couple places but not noticeable in the hands.

wlgrip1.jpg wlgrip2.jpg

This will probably be the final installment of the Wide Load build as it is just about as “good” as I’m going to get it without getting a new trigger, etc. It runs good and is fairly accurate and reliable for a budget build.
Yes, I DID build this, Nobama! 🖕 ;)
 
Nice work.

This plays to a philosophy I've formulated about the myriad of Glock clones and 80% pistols in general. They are all cheaply made and quality control of the components is non-existent. That's part of the challenge among those who enjoy building and fixing things. For n00bs without the necessary skills, they end up with a marginally reliable POS firearm.
 
I have a screw on brake coming for mine.
 
Nice work.

This plays to a philosophy I've formulated about the myriad of Glock clones and 80% pistols in general. They are all cheaply made and quality control of the components is non-existent. That's part of the challenge among those who enjoy building and fixing things. For n00bs without the necessary skills, they end up with a marginally reliable POS firearm.
I'm starting with a straight up Dagger. Complete upper and lower. I never trusted an AR until I got a Palmetto freedom rifle kit. Now a half dozen or so AR's later I would shoot a Palmetto next to any 4-5 figure AR. Sub MOA and reliable. What more can you want. From what I've seen of the new factory it looks like they have quality down. I'm truly hopeful. Mine is going to be set up for a Miami Classic style holster I'll make with the compact frame and screw on comp with a Cyelee Doctor optic. I'll consider it an escalation from my optic equipped Max9 and a step down from my 7" 357sig poly 80 frankenglock.
 

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Nice work.

This plays to a philosophy I've formulated about the myriad of Glock clones and 80% pistols in general. They are all cheaply made and quality control of the components is non-existent. That's part of the challenge among those who enjoy building and fixing things. For n00bs without the necessary skills, they end up with a marginally reliable POS firearm.
A Man with Tools and Skills has few limitations. Yeah some of the parts kits out there are garbage. My Poly 80 frankenglock has Glock parts and seems to be Glock reliable and accurate. I'm hoping Palmetto has these down as well as they have their AR's
 
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A Man with Tools and Skills has few limitations.
That is indeed the differentiator. Also an eye for detail. When I see an 80% frame that has rough surface around the tabs, out of round holes for the pins or crooked rails it bugs me. I can't abide by sloppy work. The other thing with me is a dirty gun.
 
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That is indeed the differentiator. Also an eye for detail. When I see an 80% frame that has rough surface around the tabs, out of round holes for the pins or crooked rails it bugs me. I can't abide by sloppy work. The other thing with me is a dirty gun.
If they were still cheap and available I would do it with a chainsaw. I got a few Knicks around the lugs on my 5 minute with a hand grinder and cordless drill one. Works Perfectly. The Polymer frame has almost nothing to do with the functionality of the gun. It's plastic who cares. Now if I want to carve a stock out of a piece of burl walnut with inlays and elaborate checkering I might pay attention.
 
If they were still cheap and available I would do it with a chainsaw. I got a few Knicks around the lugs on my 5 minute with a hand grinder and cordless drill one. Works Perfectly. The Polymer frame has almost nothing to do with the functionality of the gun. It's plastic who cares. Now if I want to carve a stock out of a piece of burl walnut with inlays and elaborate checkering I might pay attention.
Everybody has a thing. I grind, then polish it. It's no different for me than working with wood, where a good joint is one you can't see.

I am obsessive about order and symmetry. I notice patterns in physical things and also in behavior. The former was very beneficial in my engineering career and the latter even more so - in quickly identifying and profiling people who may be threat. On the other hand it can drive the people around me crazy. My wife is very tolerant.
 
Everybody has a thing. I grind, then polish it. It's no different for me than working with wood, where a good joint is one you can't see.

I am obsessive about order and symmetry. I notice patterns in physical things and also in behavior. The former was very beneficial in my engineering career and the latter even more so - in quickly identifying and profiling people who may be threat. On the other hand it can drive the people around me crazy. My wife is very tolerant.
I agree. I'm that way with most things I do. And I believe it makes a difference.
 
Good discussion!!

For me, my eyes are sharp and I’ll pick up on symmetry or lack of it. Like BL- my wife puts up with it, too. Fit and finish as well. Your work speaks of who you are. That’s how I was raised, anyway.

As far as doo-dads and other aftermarket parts, first of all I’m not a doo-dads or bling guy. I want function first, and with it, fit. That goes for grips and your hands as BL was speaking of earlier.

But the aftermarket pieces/“upgrades” must truly serve a purpose for what I build. For me, I haven’t had any aftermarket extended mag releases cause any problems like was given in instances listed above, those are just too long. While we did use the Vickers/Tango Down extended releases on a few builds, I decided to just modify glock extended mag releases we had lying around by sanding at a 45 degree angle the 4 sides of the release button and softening the edges for other builds since using the Vickers… pretty much the same results as the Vickers units I was purchasing. Works perfect. No hard/sharp edges and won’t release the mag when laying the weapon on its side on a table.

I do find the Vickers slide releases better (for me) then OEM std Glock, but not any better or any worse than the Glock factory extended slide release, other than the Vickers is more “compact” than the glock upgrade. Your hands (and thumbs) may and likely do vary, which will dictate what works better for you. YMMV.

That TiN barrel I was shipped for the g26 clone I’m still barely tolerating its looks…I’d ordered a SS BBL and they shipped me TiN….but that sucker works as part of a symbiotic whole that I don’t want to change. It’s a reliable, monstrous little package.

It’s great that there are so many options for GLOCK platform sidearms. What’s one man’s trash is another man’s treasure I suppose..
 
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