While the blog has certainly… evolved from its original intent, I still personally enjoy collecting and shooting Israeli-manufactured firearms. One that I bought long ago, but never quite got around to reviewing, was the Tanfoglio Mossad Compact. Well, the long-promised review has arrived…
Cost: I don’t even remember at this point. Probably something like $300-$400. I do remember that I purchased it off Gunbroker.
Caliber: 9×19 (9mm Parabellum).
Included in the box: Bought from an Israeli buy-back lot, so just an included magazine.
Magazine Type and Capacity: This gun uses Tanfoglio TZ-75 / TA-90 “small frame’ magazines. The compact flush-fit magazines hold 13 rounds.
Platform Background: Israel has a relatively large number of civilian concealed carriers, which means that there is a sizable market for concealed carry pistols. While some of this demand is met by native manufacturers (KSN, IMI/IWI, BUL, etc.), there are also quite a number of imports. The Tanfoglio Mossad was a specific model designed for the Israeli market, manufactured in Italy, and imported with custom markings by Israeli distributors (Weapons House, Titanium, perhaps others). The Mossad was available in full-size and compact versions – both have been seen in import lots.
There is nothing to indicate that the Mossad is any different than a standard TZ-75 / TA-90. Therefore, it is not really clear why Tanfoglio decided to go with the “Mossad” branding, other than perhaps marketing purposes. No evidence whatsoever exists that the actual Mossad used these pistols, and, indeed, it would be utterly bizarre if they had used pistols with their name stamped on them (in English, no less). The lack of a lanyard loop makes me think it was not used in civil police (Mishteret) service, either.
The TZ-75 / TA-90 pistol is a parts-incompatible clone of the CZ-75 pistol. The CZ-75 was unable to be imported in the West, so Tanfoglio made a rough copy and sold it. This has led to an unfortunate number of people describing the Mossad, Jericho, etc. as “CZ-75 clones”. They’re not, and people hoping to do parts swaps will be sorely disappointed.
Aesthetics: My example of the Mossad Compact was used heavily by someone, and is not in great shape. It looks very much like someone did a quick and dirty paint job on it at some point, and the grips have taken light damage. The original importer name is almost entirely obliterated, but it appears to be from Titanium. I really have no idea why these buy-back guns are in such terrible shape sometimes, I’ve never seen daily carries by Americans look quite that horrible.
In prime form (you can Google for pictures), it looks nice enough. There’s some checkering on the front and back of the steel frame by the grip, and the branding is appealing to me as a Jewish-American. The beavertail is a nice idea, but is inadequate for the high holds you use in modern shooting.
Controls: There’s a (single-side) safety, and there’s a trigger. Both are functional. The safety is easy enough to hit with my thumb, and it lets you run the gun in “cocked-and-locked mode”. That’s good, because the trigger is something like 9-10lbs in double-action, and 4.5lbs in single action. This is nothing to write home about, but par for course for guns from this era. Other than being heavy and having a bit more take-up than I’d prefer, it was an acceptable trigger.
Disassembly is conducted the same way as a standard CZ-75 or TZ-75 – you move the slide back a bit and then push out the slide stop lever. It takes a bit of force, but a magazine baseplate makes short work of it.
Holster Compatibility (out of the box): This gun should fit in any CZ-75 or Tanfoglio/Witness small frame holster.
Accessory and Sighting Mounting Options: The Mossad Compact has three dot iron sights – the rear sights are in a dovetail, and the front sight is milled into the slide. The rear sight was loose on my gun after test firing, but a bit of peening or green loctite should resolve. There is obviously no provision for optics; you may be able to mill out the slide if that’s something you really need.
Testing: This is an old gun, and it’s beat up pretty good. That said, it functioned fine when I went out to the range with it, and accuracy was acceptable. The Compact weighs 31oz, so recoil isn’t excessive. I did notice a bit of hammer bite from an inadequate beavetail; if you’re doing a high hold, this gun is going to punish you for that.
Conclusions: Would I buy the Mossad Compact as my daily carry in 2023? Absolutely not. The P365XL outclasses it in basically every respect. However, given the late 90’s / early 2000’s vintage of the gun, it’s a nice enough carry piece for that era, and shoots fine. These days, it mostly serves as a curiosity – an Israeli-market-specific export model, which is rather unusual in a general sense. I don’t think they’re terribly rare given the number that made it over here, but for the Israeli firearm collector, they do have some sentimental value – despite not being made in Israel.
3 thoughts on “Tanfoglio Mossad Compact Review”
As another jew with a burgeoning Israeli gun collection i appreciate your blog! I came across it years back i think looking for info on the 9mm revolver Israel made. Silah Report now has a good pair of articles on the 9mm revolver and makeshift 9mm revolver ammo if you’re curious!
Thanks for pointing those out! Very interesting how the Israelis got the machinery and maybe the plans from S&W.
Someone once said, “Israeli (Army) maintenance can charitably described as “benign neglect”.” Maybe that’s why these pistols look so rough?