SDS Imports Bantam Carry 9 Semi-Auto 9mm Pistol and TAC-12 Semi-Auto 12 Gauge Shotgun

by Matt Olivier

photography by Matt Olivier

February 17th, 2022

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SDS Imports Bantam Carry 9











A few months ago, during a periodic media event held at Gunsite Academy in Paulden AZ, I had the opportunity to meet Dave Biggers of SDS Imports.  He had brought with him a number of products that SDS was either already importing, or about to start importing.  Among the many guns there, two of them caught my eye and piqued my interest.  One of them is the Bantam-9, a bobbed, 9mm, Commander size 1911, and the other is their TAC-12, a 12-gauge clone of the Benelli M4.   I had the opportunity to shoot both of these during the event and liked them enough to ask Dave to send me one of each of them for a review.  After the usual exchange of FFL paperwork, and a few weeks of order processing and shipping time, I had both guns in hand and ready to try.

The Bantam 9 is a 4.25” barrel, Commander size, 1911 semi-automatic pistol chambered in 9mm.  It comes already equipped with many features that were once only available from either custom gunsmiths or from high end guns.  It has a hammer forged slide and barrel, and an aluminum frame, both finished in black Cerakote.  The gripframe has an Ed Brown Bobtail (Registered) cut to it and is fitted with a set of grey G10 grips.  The ejection port is flared and lowered.  It has a green fiber-optic front sight and a U-notch rear sight for fast target acquisition, an ambidextrous extended thumb safety, a Commander style hammer, and an extended beavertail grip safety.  It comes with two 9-round magazines, which is one more than most competitors are offering these days.  The frame has symmetrical cut-outs on the front and back straps, in lieu of checkering, which work quite well in improving the purchase on the grip.  The slide has lightening cuts on it as well, in a similar pattern as the front strap, and the barrel hood is fluted in a similar pattern, making for an attractive, yet modern-looking pistol.  The gun is manufactured by Tisas, in Turkey, to SDS’ exact specifications, which include not only measurements, but materials and parts.  Slide to frame and barrel fit were both surprisingly tight and the pistol feels really nice in the hand.  It is easy to manipulate, the controls weren’t too tight or hard to manipulate, and the slide was relatively easy to rack back, something that can sometimes be a chore, especially for shooters of a smaller stature.

I took the pistol out to the range, on several different occasions, and fired a variety of ball (FMJ) ammunition of different brands and weights, along with a variety of self defense (JHP) ammunition.  Throughout the testing, I did not encounter a single malfunction from the gun.  It gobbled up everything I fed through it, even when I mixed some of the ammo together in a single magazine.  The pistol simply did not care what it was fed, it swallowed it up and shot it.  And it shot it well.  The two loads I had the most of in inventory were the Double Tap Gunsite 124-gr FMJ and the Federal 124-gr Syntech range ammo.  Both of those loads shot very well and were a definite favorite for this gun.  One-hole groups were not unusual, if I did my part, and any flyers were certainly not the gun’s fault! 

I installed a set of stag grips that I acquired from Tyler Gun Works, in Friona, Texas, to give it a little bit of a more classic look.  Paired with leather holsters from either Barranti Leather, or Simply Rugged Holsters, the gun is ready to go for everyday carry (EDC), range work, or that fancy BBQ, where looking at the gun, stocks, and holster is just as important as the event itself.

The other gun that I asked to review and try is SDS’ TAC-12.  This is a 12-gauge, semi-automatic, shotgun that is advertised as an exact clone of the revered Benelli M4.   The test gun that was available for us to shoot during the event, sure proved that claim.  It handled, felt, and shot just like the M4.  One of the traits of the M4 that stands out is its speed between shots.  It is a very fast operating shotgun.  The TAC-12 felt and functioned just as fast.  It was truly impressive.

It has an 18.5” barrel, with a 3” chamber, that is choked with a Benelli pattern screw-in-choke, and comes with a wrench and 22x0.75 adapter.  It has an overall length of 40”, and a 5+1 magazine capacity.  The gun is truly an identical clone of the M4 and is advertised as being compatible with M-1014 parts and accessories for additional customization.  I went and purchased aftermarket Benelli M4 parts, from a sling, to a side saddle, to an extended release.  The gun takes down and functions exactly like the M4.  The only difference is the buttstock and pistol grip. It comes with a ghost ring rear sight and post front sight.  Also included in the box is a rail for mounting of optics.  The safety is positive and easy to reach.  I installed a Wilderness Tactical sling on it, as I consider a sling on a long gun to be equivalent to a holster for a handgun, both are an absolute must for safety, portability, and convenience.  I also installed the provided rail and mounted a red dot optic on it for quick target acquisition.  I did find that the angle of the stock was too steep and did not allow for a good sight picture with the red dot, which sits noticeably higher on the rail than the ghost ring rear sight.  I asked my good friend Rob Leahy, at Simply Rugged Holsters, to make me a 12-gauge cartridge cuff, with an integral cheek pad, so as to raise my head when shouldering the gun.  This fixed seeing the red dot sight issue and allowed me to get to work with the shotgun.

I took it to the range and tried just about everything I could try through it.  From birdshot, to 00 buckshot, to slugs, it digested everything, including reduced recoil loads.  The only load it didn’t cycle were a few extremely light recoiling less-than-lethal loads that I knew would probably not cycle, but that I wanted to test.  At about 45-50 yards, the gun patterned quite well with slugs, as seen in the pictures.  Paired with some of the Wilderness Tactical’s cartridge slides and sling, and Simply Rugged’s shell cuff, this gun makes for quite a package whether it be for competition, home defense, or range use.  I was very pleased with how it handled and performed.  Due to import restrictions, it comes with a 5+1 magazine.  It would benefit from having one of the readily available 7-shot tube extensions.  In fact, I will probably purchase one and install it on this gun sometime in the near future.

Overall, I was extremely favorably impressed by both guns.  Both proved to be extremely reliable, well built, and accurate.  In fact, I went ahead and purchased both of them and plan on keeping, using, and shooting them going forward.  The Bantam Carry 9 will make for a great lightweight carry gun, and the TAC-12 will make for a great home-defense, or competition gun.

SDS Imports is really bringing in some high quality guns that are built from top notch materials, using their specifications, and they even have their own engineers in Turkey, overseeing production, just to make sure that they continue to bring great, high quality products to the market.

As of this writing (February 2022), MSRP for the Bantam Carry 9 is $1199.95 and, $749.95, for the TAC-12.  They are both available through normal distribution channels.

Matt Olivier

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SDS Imports TAC-12