From our August issue’s cover story, this is the second story of a two-part series. Make sure to check out Part I by clicking here!
Muscle Gun-Part II
Car and Gun Cultures Collide in the Les Baer Hemi 572, a Tactical 1911 with 10-Ring Accuracy
Shooting a firearm from the bench provides information about the performance of a gun under relatively controlled conditions, but it doesn’t say much about its shootability and reliability under high-stress conditions. To understand how useful a gun will be in the field, it needs to be fired in tactical drills and in competition. Black Hills’ 185-grain JHP and 230-grain JRN ammunition was fired from the Hemi in competition and while running drills.
Prior to using the Hemi in tactical drills, I took it to the Weekly Informal Bullseye Match at the Flagler Gun and Archery Club. The last third of the Flagler match involves shooting the Army “L” Course. Using an unfamiliar handgun in Bullseye competition challenges the shooter to make a number of adjustments in his or her grip, finger position on the trigger, trigger squeeze and sight picture. No two hands are the same, so you make adjustments until you find the sweet spot where it all comes together.
Usually, I find the grip and trigger press that works for me by the end of the first two stages of the match. By that point I’ve fired a number of five-shot strings using different hand positions and trigger presses. The final two strings in the Army “L” course are shot in the rapid fire stage. This stage allows 11 seconds for each string. The target is 15 yards away. When shooting rapid fire with tactical pistols like the Hemi, I use a solid Isosceles stance, firmly grip the pistol and concentrate on the front sight and trigger press. The results delivered by the Hemi were excellent. The first string placed five-shots in two ragged holes that straddled the bottom of the X-Ring. I raised the point of aim a couple of inches and fired the second string. The result was a five-shot group that straddled the X-Ring a bit high and to the left. The score was a very respectable 100-6X, clearly indicating that the Hemi was fully capable of fast, accurate fire.
The Hemi was used to fire tactical drills at the Volusia Club. These drills involved shooting around and through a simulated building front. Targets were engaged at 10 and 20 yards through a window, and at five yards from around the side of the structure. Because I was shooting around and through cover, I used a retention Weaver position. This position does not control muzzle climb as well as the Isosceles position, but it helps keep the gun close to me when working around cover. One never knows if an assailant may be hiding on the other side of cover, and the Weaver retention position can help prevent and/or defeat a gun grab.
The result of the building drill demonstrated the accuracy with which the Hemi could be fired from a tactical stance. During this drill, torso shots at all distances were well-placed in the center of mass. The headshots were completely within or touching the 10-point scoring zone in the center of the head. It’s hard to ask for more than that when you’re shooting as fast as you can acquire the sights.
Les Baer’s Hemi 572 is a fine example of a custom-made M1911 pistol. It is precisely made to the highest quality standards, and it has a very attractive appearance. Good looks notwithstanding, it is a very shootable pistol. The VZ grips and the even checkering on the frame’s frontstrap and backstrap provide a firm hold, it’s trigger breaks very cleanly with almost no overtravel and the green fiber-optic tube in its front sight provides fast sight acquisition and a precise sight picture. With an MSRP of $2,395, the Hemi won’t fit into everyone’s budget, but it delivers a lot of performance for the money.
Model: Les Baer Hemi 572
Manufacturer: Les Baer Custom
Caliber: .45 ACP
Barrel: 5” National Match with National Match Bushing
Frame: Hard-chromed steel National Match
Slide: Hard-chromed steel National Match
Weight: 38 oz. unloaded
Action: Single Action Semi-Automatic
Capacity: 9 rounds with loaded chamber
Magazines: 2 premium 8-shot magazines supplied
Sights: Adjustable rear, green fiber-optic front.
Story & Photos by Dr. Martin D. Topper