ParaUSA 14.45 Tactical

ParaUSA has two cool new announcements for 2011 – the first of which is that they’ve brought Travis Tomasie on board as their new shooter. In one of his first official roles, Travis talks about one of their new guns, the ParaUSA 14.45 Tactical. This is a .45 ACP double stack 1911 with a rail, Dawson magwell, and adjustable sights with a fiber optic front.

Looks like my Para weakness is acting up again, I handled the demo gun, and according to the guys that got to shoot it at Media Day it’s quite the shooter.

Happiness is a dirty gun

Recently, I loaned out my Para LTC 9mm, aka the Gun Blog 9mm to someone who is shall we say a bit more fastidious about cleaning her guns than I am.  I noticed on Tuesday night that ejection from the Para was starting to get a little anemic, with the empty cases popping up about a 3 inches over the gun then just falling lazily all over the place.  Contrast with my Ruger SR40 which launches its brass into low earth orbit, and it occurred to me that it might be time to clean the Para.  Actually, that’s not true.  The Para was forcibly cleaned as it was proclaimed by several to be “filthy”, and other words such as “disgusting” and “how could you do this to a 1911” may have been bandied about.  After the gun had been cleaned, I went back and checked my records – the Para had over 10,000 rounds of 9mm ammo through it since the last time I cleaned it, and it was still functioning just fine.

That’s the barrel and feedramp area.  Pretty fouled up, but you can see that strip on the feedramp where the bullet would contact the ramp and still slide in to the chamber.  The rifling was full of carbon fouling from the round count, which indicated it had been a while since I had even bore-snaked the gun.  Still, it continued to run despite the abuse it had been taking.

The frame was actually even dirtier than this.  I snagged this shot on my iPhone after the dust cover had been wiped out, which prior to cleaning had been the same cruddy brown/black color that the rest of the gun is sporting.

You can also see something interesting in this photo; more accurately it’s what you don’t see that’s interesting.  Notice the lack of crud and grime around the housing for the laser.  Even with all this junk on the pistol, the laser’s function and beam remained unobstructed and had been functioning just prior to the cleaning of the gun.

Honestly, the inside of the slide didn’t look all that bad to me.  Just a nice “used” color from lubricant and fouling that didn’t do anything to damage the function of the gun in any aspect.  Apparently, the breech face was just a total mess of fouling and was about the same color as the barrel and feedramp that you saw in the first picture up here.  All of that is now all shiny and clean.  I mean it’s as shiny as something that’s finished in coyote tan will ever be.

Gunk from the inside of a Para LTC 9mm

And here’s the money shot that you may have seen yesterday at the Shooter’s Log.  All that mess on the q-tip is actually crud that came out of my gun from somewhere.  I don’t know where, because I didn’t know you could fit that much fouling inside a 1911 and still have it run, but I guess I was wrong.

I should mention that I never intended for my gun to get this dirty.  The Para hasn’t been my primary competition gun in a while, but it gets taken out of the safe and run whenever I need either a 1911 or a 9mm to compare with whatever I’m testing/shooting at the time.  It would then usually get lubricated and put back up to be called upon only when needed.  In the course of all that shooting, it worked up a serious round count without being cleaned.

Don’t do this to your guns.  In terms of intellectual exercises, it’s neat to see a 1911 go 10k+ rounds without so much as a boresnake passing through it, and it’s a credit to Para that their alloy 9mm platform stood up to this kind of abuse.  Even as “anti-cleaning” as I am about guns, they should probably be cleaned more often than I cleaned this, as that much neglect can actually start to cause mechanical failures and other issues with the pistol.  Please clean your guns more frequently than I cleaned this poor Para.

But it is interesting to see how well made modern firearms are.  The various torture tests at Pistol-Training.Com (first the M&P, then the HK P30, followed by the HK45) have really demonstrated what our current level of pistol technology is capable of delivering.  These are very interesting data points on what firearms are capable of when they’re pushed well past the performance limits of the everyday shooter, and I hope that we continue to see this kind of serious testing as new guns come out.

ParaUSA Century of 1911

New from ParaUSA late this year will be their Century of 1911 guns – two 1911 pistols that celebrate the design and advancements that have happened over the century since God first handed John Moses Browning the stone tablets on which were carved the instructions for the Chosen Pistol.  The first of these pistols is the Para Hi-Cap 1911-2011 Limited, which features many of the advancements and enhancements that been added to the timeless 1911 design.  The Hi-Cap version features Para’s high capacity 1911 frame which holds 14 rounds of .45 ACP ammo.  The main features of the gun are the Trijicon night sights, an integrated rail for lights and accessories, ambidextrous thumb safety, match grade barrel, match grade trigger which is adjustable for over travel, and hey it says “1911-2011” on the slide!

The second entry in the 1911-2011 Limited series is the Para GI45 1911-2011 Limited series gun.  Built on Para’s popular GI Expert platform, this gun hearkens back to the classic 1911 platform that was the standard service sidearm of the US Military in WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.  That being sad, the Para gun features some modern touches, such as dovetailed sights, which will allow the user to replace the 3-dot style sights with different models of their choosing if they so desire.

The guys at ParaUSA were kind enough to let me haul their Hi-Cap Centennial gun at the recent NRA show, and I have to say that I think it’s a pretty cool idea.  The gun looks pretty cool, and if you’re a collector of 1911s you could definitely do worse than this particular model and its partner.

No word yet from Para on the MSRP of the guns, but I’ll keep you posted as soon as I find out.

Para Tac-5

You’re going to have to wait a couple more days for the “full” review, because someone forgot the spare batteries for the camera.  Heh.  Suffice to say, the gun shoots extremely well, turning in a 2 inch group with Federal 147 grain Hydra Shoks at 25 yards off the sandbags.  It seemed to really like the Winchester 124 grain NATO loads as well.  I’ll have a full review up for you on Monday.

ParaUSA Tac-5

Today, as many of you know, is buy a gun day!  Robb picked up his heater yesterday, and is really enjoying his new mousegun.  I actually recieved my BAG Day purchase a couple of weeks ago, but have been holding off on blogging about it until today.  My new gun is a ParaUSA Tac-5, which is a build up of their 18.9 LDA gun.

From Para Tac-5

The Tac-5 is an 18 round 9mm, which is fed from Para’s double stack magazines. This gun has some improvements on the bone stock 18.9 LDA, which make it an ideal fit for practical pistol or tactical applications. As you can see in the picture, the pistol comes from the factory with an expanded magazine well for faster reloads, a compact beavertail for acquiring a fast grip on the gun, a single side extended thumb safety, and an extended magazine release. Additionally, the Tac-5 uses a standard 1911 guide rod – no full length guide rod to add extra weight to the gun.

From Para Tac-5

The keystone of the gun is Para’s proprietary Light Double Action trigger, which gives the shooter a trigger pull similar to a fine-tuned DA revolver. The trigger on this guns breaks at about 6.5 pounds, and that will wear in after I start pushing rounds through the gun. The best feature of the gun though isn’t the trigger (which I really do like), but rather it’s the sights. From the factory, the gun comes with a set of adjustable Novak sights – the rear sight is two black posts, with a large white dot on the front post. Usually on my competition guns I change out the front sight for a fiber optic, but on this gun there isn’t any need to do that, as the huge white dot is very easy to acquire.

Now, the final feature of the gun is pretty fun – I was checking out it, and there’s a little button on the back of the magwell labeled “stealth”. So I pushed it just to see what would happen, and holy crap my gun engaged a cloaking device.

From Para Tac-5

That’ll be a great feature for open carry! I kid a bit there – but back to the gun, this gun comes ready right out of the box to be a serious gun for IDPA Enhanced Service Pistol division, or to run in Limited-10/Limited if you don’t mind shooting minor. One of the neat things is that this gun is light – Para was able to save weight in several places, so the gun is 7 ounces lighter than the full on 18.9 LDA. Doing dry-fire, the gun moves easily from target to target, and I’ve got a gut feeling that this gun will be murder on steel plates.

This gun is coming with me to Bianchi Cup. It’s legal for the new Bianchi Cup Production Division, and I’ve been getting a load of trigger time with LDAs lately, it’s only natural I’d want to bring a light kicking 9mm along with me. I’m heading out to Atlanta Conservation Club tomorrow with a bunch of 9mm to put the Tac-5 through its paces.

Speaking of 1911s

For the Do-it-yourself 1911 guy, Para-USA has a pretty neat product in their pro shop.  You can go to Para’s website and buy a complete slide assembly for your homegrown 1911 pistol which comes with the following set up:

This is a complete slide assembly in stainless steel, and includes a fiber optic front sight, fixed rear sight, a Para Power Extractor assembly, plunger spring, firing pin, firing pin plunger, firing pin spring and firing pin stop.

If you’re building a 1911 from the ground up, buying a complete slide assembly could be a way to save yourself some time and heartache. Since it comes complete and assembled, instead of having to build the stripped slide up with the parts, all you need to do is fit it to your bushing, barrel, and frame, and then you’re off to the races. The fiber-optic front sight will provide fast target acquisition during those run and gun stages, while the fixed sight rides low on the gun so you won’t rip your hand to shreds doing malfunction drills. The whole shebang retails for $499.99.

Set your DVR to AWESOME

Tomorrow night on the Outdoor Channel, the episode of Michael Bane’s show Shooting Gallery that was shot during the ParaUSA Gun Blogger Summer Camp will be showing.  It’s airing as part of Outdoor Channel’s “Wednesday Night at the Range” coverage.

If you get the Outdoor Channel, set your TIVO/DVR whatever, and don’t miss this episode!