FLAWLESS FUNCTION, ACCURACY TO SPARE
Testing pistols at the bench is not, in all honesty, my favorite activity. The exercise proved especially challenging in this case. That was partly due to the fact that my aging eyes are still getting used to wearing progressive corrective lenses, and partly due to the fact that I was shooting off a new rest for the first time. Initial groups were mildly disappointing, and I had a strong suspicion it wasn’t the gun’s fault. Adding a few strategically placed sandbags and shifting my focus, I started over and was immediately rewarded with tighter groups.
Given the light pistol’s tendency to leap off the rest in recoil from potent loads, it came as no small surprise that the most accurate load tested, of six law enforcement/self-defense loads, was also the hottest of the bunch. Hornady’s Critical Duty 220 grain +P load clocked 948.4 fps over my Competitive Edge Dynamics M2 chronograph, and delivered an average five shot group size of just 2.3 inches at 25 yards. It also turned in the single best group, of all loads tested at that distance, of just 1.78 inches.
Winchester’s PDX1 230 grain load (which also happens to be the FBI duty load) also turned in good performance, with groups averaging just 2 ½ inches at 25 yards and a single best group measuring 2.17 inches. At 878.1 fps, it was the fastest of three 230 grain loads tested. The average group size for all tested ammo was a bit less than three inches.
As respectable as those groups were for such a light pistol shooting full-house loads, it was infinitely more fun to shoot offhand. That’s how I really prefer to test a fighting pistol, and I had a definite that’s-more-like-it moment when one of the first groups I fired at 12 yards, again with Hornady’s hot Critical Duty +P load, measured just 1.04 inches. Two bullets punched through the same hole.
Just as you would expect a gun this light to be easier to carry, you might also expect it to be more difficult to shoot. It was more difficult to shoot at the bench compared to heavier 1911s, but I thoroughly enjoyed shooting it offhand and had no difficulty controlling it. Simply stated, this pistol is capable of excellent offhand accuracy—far better, in fact, than what’s required of a carry gun.
If you’re used to shooting only a full-size, 40 ounce 1911, you may need a little time to adjust to this lightweight version. The 3/4 inch reduction in barrel length and sight radius, combined with more than a 25 percent reduction in weight, will require you to maintain focus to avoid flyers if you’re shooting for groups on paper. If, on the other hand, you’re shooting in a real life, no-do-overs self-defense situation, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a pistol that will better serve the purpose in any meaningful way.
Finding it hard to put the gun down, I fired more than 150 rounds in one prolonged testing session, and the gun functioned flawlessly. I even tried to induce failure by limp-wristing the gun and shooting it with goofy holds. It fired, ejected, and reloaded with authority with each pull of the trigger, regardless of ammo or hold.
At the end of the day, I came to one inescapable conclusion: feed this one quality self-defense ammo, and you’re fresh out of excuses.
Should you choose to carry it, you may just find this pistol, as I found that first 1911 so long ago, to be of considerable comfort.
Story & Photos by Mike Dickerson