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Preview – 1911 Faceoff

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Photography by Kenda Lenseigne

We Stack Three Tiers of .45s Side by Side by Side to See How They Measure Up

If you’ve picked up a gun magazine in the past decade or so, you’re probably accustomed to reading breathless accounts of the latest 1911 from whichever advertiser happens to have bought a spread that month. An unfortunate hack tasked with churning out a couple thousand words will use phrases like “acceptable combat accuracy,” “recoil was brisk, but manageable,” and “…so long as I did my part.” In case you ever wondered, submitting those magic words in an article to RECOIL is cause for an instant shit-canning and well-deserved derision.

So instead of looking at ho-hum models and telling you they’re the best thing since exploding underpants, we’re going to cast a jaundiced eye at three distinctly different .45-caliber 1911s at widely separated price points and find out what you get for your money.

Once You Go Black…
First up is Para-USA’s ominously titled Black Ops Combat. Retailing for $1,325, it’s a full-size, double-stack .45 ACP that’s tricked out for suppressor use and produced in Para’s Pineville, North Carolina, plant. In the two years since Freedom Group bought Para following its relocation from Canada, there’s been a marked improvement in the quality of guns bearing its roll mark. Because let’s face it, when you’re at the bottom, the only place to go is up.

Para-USA - Black Ops Combat

The fruits of Freedom Group’s (now-renamed Remington Outdoor Group) multi-million dollar investment in new CNC machines is readily apparent, so it will be interesting to see if this level of fit and finish will continue when the company’s operations are consolidated into Remington’s new plant in Huntsville, Alabama. You may know the feeling — you’ve just finished remodeling the kitchen and your significant other decides it’s time to move closer to family…

The Para’s Government-length slide and extended barrel (along with the frame) feature a matte black finish in keeping with the gun’s quasi-badass theme. Slide and frame are stainless investment castings, and while this will no doubt offend some traditionalists, they work just fine and have plenty of strength in reserve. Neither appears to have spent much time in contact with a buffing wheel — the frame especially looks like it came straight off the CNC machine and into the PVD booth, but hand-finishing would quickly run up the gun’s cost. Slide to frame fit, while by no means terrible, is definitely looser than the other two guns in this test — again, indicative that this is a production-line gun. Trigger pull comes in at around 5.5 pounds with some creep and grittiness, likely due to the Series 80 fire-control components, but is perfectly usable.

Despite its shortcomings, the Para does have a decent spec sheet. Its sights are very tall in order to clear a suppressor, and the rear is drift adjustable. Although at first glance the stratospherically high front sight looks a little goofy, it’s actually very quick to acquire. The skeletonized trigger has an over-travel stop and the pistol arrives with an extended ejector, full-length guide rod, high grip beavertail, low mass hammer, and ambidextrous safety as standard, as well as skinny G-10 grip scales from VZ. (Despite having almost twice the capacity of a single-stack, the Para’s grip is only about 0.05 inches wider.) While most of its small parts are MIM to hit its price point, the EGW extractor is the same as found on many high-end race guns — as this is one of the most critical 1911 components in terms of reliability, it’s good to see a major manufacturer choosing components from one of the most highly respected little guys.

Predator Tactical - ShrikeCabot Guns - Jones-1911

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