Reviewed: Tisas Bantam Semi-Auto Pistol

A .45 ACP pistol made that’s made for everyday carry … but looks almost too good to put into a holster.

by
posted on May 24, 2023
Tisas Bantam

Whenever somebody tells me they don’t understand why people like guns, I introduce them to my collection of 1911s. This iconic design has graced the American backdrop for over 100 years and is quite possibly the most recognizable handgun in the world. Moreover, it boldly demonstrates that firearms are more than just sporting or defensive equipment; they’re functional artwork. In fact, if done correctly, aftermarket aesthetic treatments can even play a role in weight reduction and overall operation.

Such is the case with the TISAS Bantam, a .45 ACP pistol made that’s made for everyday carry … but looks almost too good to put into a holster. Intended to be compact and light (for a 1911), the Bantam is built with a smaller, “commander-sized” slide and barrel mated to an aluminum frame. While most handguns designed on this footprint stop there, this is only the beginning of this TISAS masterpiece.

Carry guns must be comfortable and concealable; otherwise, they stay inside the gun safe. Therefore, the Bantam is designed with what’s called a “bobtail treatment,” which clips the rearward corner of the magazine well. This provides relief for the heel of your hand when you are holding the pistol and eliminates a conspicuous printing point whilst on your waistband.

Clever engineering can be found throughout the entire grip, as both the front and back straps are treated with a fluting pattern in place of the typical cheese-grater-like texturing. This helps to keep the gun under control without destroying your hands in the name of practice. G-10 grip panels are used to finish this area, with the left one having a deep recess for your right-hand thumb should you prefer a lower grip. Those who like to place their thumb higher on the frame will find that this area also melds nicely with the support side thumb muscle to help lock things down under recoil. Finally, lefties will appreciate this area for the relief it provides for the middle finger, again enhancing purchase.

Working up to the controls, the Bantam is made for rapid engagements, regardless of dexterity. An extended beavertail grip safety allows for a higher grasp while protecting the web of your hand against hammer bite, should you acquire a less-than-perfect grip under stress. The thumb safety is fully ambidextrous, meaning that the “lefty side” provides the same ease of operation for southpaws as it does for boring people. Additionally, it is placed in a manner that allows even smaller hands to remain on it during firing while still engaging the grip safety. To that end, its linear texturing makes it a superb thumb rest, and I highly recommend it being used in this capacity while shooting. Lastly, the hammer and trigger are both skeletonized, which reduces lock time, shaves a little weight off the gun, and adds a bit more aesthetic value.

The slide of the Bantam is uniquely designed; it is lightened and angled in ways that make the gun both more suitable for concealed carry and more attractive. Starting up top, material is removed where it isn’t needed, reducing the surface responsible for glare in the process. TISAS also machines anti-reflective serrations between the front and rear sight to ensure that you have an unobstructed sight picture in the event of an emergency. This is further assured by the fiber-optic front sight and the fast-to-acquire U-notch rear. This package is one of the fastest on the market, as they self-align with very little influence.

I can only look at a gun for so long before I need to take it to the range. As this gun is built for personal protection, I selected three different self-defense ammunitions that I found appealing. In the mix was Speer’s 230-gr. Gold Dot load, the slightly lighter Hornady Critical Duty ammo and the newer Winchester USA Ready fodder featuring the company’s innovative hex-vent bullet. After rounding up my chronograph and some targets, I was set to see if this gun shot as well as it looked.

After unpacking my gear, I placed a few full-sized IPSC silhouettes at 10 and 15 yards and proceeded to fill the included pair of 8-round magazines. I kicked things off by running a box of each type of ammo through the gun to develop an initial feel and check to see if one proved to be incompatible. To my delight, all ran just fine, and I was pleased with the overall handling of the Bantam. While the recoil suggested that it was undoubtedly a lightweight .45 ACP, it was comfortable in the hand and returned to target relatively quickly. I was very satisfied with the fluting scheme and G-10 stock panels, as they provided enough texture for shooting but did not irritate my hands or my waistline.

After poking enough holes for “science,” I pushed my targets out to 25 yards and conducted a formal accuracy test. From a bench-rested position, I fired five-shot groups, which helped me to better appreciate the crisp 5.6-lb. trigger. After firing a total of five groups with each brand, I crowned Hornady as the most accurate round of the day in this pistol. On the other hand, Winchester’s USA Ready produced the most overall energy, so there is a decision to be made at the gun counter. Speer’s Gold Dot also performed admirably, but it is clear that it does its best work in full-sized pistols. During this leg of the testing, I planned on making any necessary sight adjustments; however, TISAS did its diligence at the factory, and no such adjustment was needed.

Before wrapping it up, I cleaned the Bantam with the included kit, and wiped down the Cerakote finish with the polishing cloth that was also enclosed in the hard-sided case. Very little was required to get this gun back to showroom condition, which is always important to me when it comes to showy products. I found my time with the Bantam exciting on both a visual and experiential level, which I believe should be the case with every firearm that is taken to the range. For more information, check out SDSImports.com!

 

Bullet make/type

Bullet Weight (GR)

Velocity

Energy

Accuracy
(inches)

 

FPS

(ft.-lbs.)

 

Smallest

Largest

Average

 

Hornady Critical Duty FlexLock

220

888

385

1.9"

3.0"

2.32"

 

Speer Gold Dot GDHP

230

782

312

3.2"

3.4"

3.34"

 

Winchester USA Ready JHP

200

956

406

3.6”

4.4”

3.92”

 

Accuracy results are averages of five 5-shot groups at 25 yards off a sandbag rest. Velocities are averages of 10 shots measured on a Caldwell G2 chronograph set to read 3 yards from the muzzle, at 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

 

 

Type

Hammer-fired semi-automatic

Caliber

.45 ACP

Capacity

8+1

Height

5.4 in.

Width

1.34 in.

Overall Length

8.1 in.

Barrel Length

4.3 in.

Weight

28.1oz.

Front Sights

Fiber Optic 

Rear Sights

U-notch, drift adjustable.

Accessories

Hard Case, cleaning kit, chamber flag, owner’s manual, spare magazine, action lock

Materials

Steel Slide; Aluminum Frame

Trigger

5.6 lbs.

MSRP

$1099.95

 

 

 

 

 

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