Gun Nuts and 1911s

As you know, I’ve pivoted a lot of our coverage lately to high round count tests of 1911 pistols. So far on the new Gun Nuts 1911 Review system we’ve done a Taurus PT1911 Review, a Wilson Combat CQB Review, a Springfield Range Officer review, and most recently wrapped up a review of the Rock Island Armory Ultra FS. I’m also currently testing a Dan Wesson Valkyrie Commander, and have two more 1911s on their way to me.

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USPSA training stage

Since we’ve been focusing pretty hard on 1911 lately, I’ve been revisiting a lot of my old 1911 content. Here’s a video from the Automatic Accuracy class I took back in 2013 with Ben Stoeger and Matt Mink as I was training up for Single Stack Nationals. The gun is a Colt 1911 CCG in .45 ACP. Mags are Wilson ETM, belt/holster is all Safariland.

Gun myths: Pocket guns aren’t accurate

Yeah, tell me another one. The problem is that people often mistake shootability for accuracy. Most j-frames will shoot 2 inch groups at 25 yards from a rest, but most people who own j-frames can’t produce that kind of accuracy.

My unusual history with 9mm 1911s

As I continue to work my way through the PT1911 Torture Test, I find I really genuinely enjoy shooting the Taurus. All-steel SAO gun with a good trigger in 9mm equals fun, and I can really drive this gun hard. On bill drills I’ve had splits down in 0.15 range, so…shooting it is pretty easy.

Shelley Rae nighthawk

I actually have a really unusual history with 9mm 1911s, because I’ve really only ever shot 4 (or 5, depending on your definition of 1911). I’ll go through them here, and at the end you’ll see why I really want to get another one, but I want to move up-market with the brand that I’m shooting.

1. ParaUSA LTC 9mm
This was my first 1911 of any type, a 9mm Commander-sized gun from Para. This gun was improbably reliable, likely because it had special Todd Jarrett voodoo inside it. It was only available to attendees of the first (and last) Gun Blogger Summer Camp in 2008, and I shot the hell out of that gun. It fed all kinds of ammo, it ran and ran and ran, and it was genuinely fun to shoot. That was my first exposure to 1911s of any type, and my first exposure to 9mm 1911s, and it sort of set the table of my expectations. Again, I attribute this gun’s reliability to having magic inside it.

2. ParaUSA Tac-S (maybe this doesn’t count)
I don’t know if I should count this as a 1911 or not, because it was a double-stack 1911-style pistol built by Para around their LDA trigger. I shot this at my first Bianchi Cup, a full size DAO 1911-type gun, and it was a wreck. It wouldn’t reliably feed JHP ammo, and every single stage at the Cup I was worried about having to do a failure drill. Luckily I didn’t, but I sold this gun pretty quick. It was a lot of fun to shoot though, when it ran. But it didn’t run very well.

3. Shelley Rae‘s Rock Island Armory 9mm 1911
A few years back, Shelley had a 9mm Government style 1911 from Rock Island Armory. That gun was an utter, absolute tank. The trigger was a little rough, the GI style hammer would bite your hand, but it did not complain about anything. It just fed round after round after round. We put a ton of rounds through that gun, and used it for a while as our evaluation platform for 9mm ammo testing.

Rock Island Armory 1911

It was great. I actually really liked that gun, and thought that it was an excellent example of a reliable 9mm 1911. Sure the sights were tiny, but man could it shoot.

4. Nighthawk Custom 9mm 1911
That’s the gun that Shelley is shooting in the Bianchi Cup photo. A custom 1911 from Nighthawk that had a threaded barrel, suppressor height sights, and a truly amazing trigger. The weird thing about this gun was that we struggled to make it run reliably; I eventually had to change the hammer spring and the recoil spring to get it to cycle our Bianchi Cup match ammo. Now, you’re probably thinking that the match ammo was some cupcake load, but it wasn’t. It was a 115 grain Hornady XTP at 1100 FPS, so it was perfectly in the normal range for 9mm ammo.

However, the Nighthawk was by far the most accurate of the guns on this list, routinely turning in sub-2.00 inch groups from the bench.

5. The PT1911 9mm
You know all about this gun from the torture test.

That’s my history with 9mm 1911s, and you can see why it’s odd. I’m at the point now where I know I want another one, but I don’t know what to get. I know Springfield, Kimber, Colt, and Rock Island all make 9mm 1911s, and I know there has been interest from my readers about torture testing some more of the budget 9mm 1911 options, so what do you think? Where to next?

Taurus/Colt machining rumors update

A few days back I posted about the rumors that have gone round the internet about Taurus purchasing Colt machining to start their 1911 production. At the time, I reached out to Taurus directly to see if they could shed some light on the situation; due the holidays and how busy everyone is prepping for SHOT Show, it took a bit for them to get back to me. I spoke with their PR/Marketing Director, Tim Brandt via email, and on the topic he had this to say:

I just wanted to let you know that I was able to confirm that no Colt machinery was purchased.

Taurus PT1911 9mm

After noodling on this, I do have a theory on how all of this started. It’s a well known fact that Springfield Armory, a reputable maker of 1911s, sources some of their slides/frames from Imbel, a Brazilian company. It’s also a well known fact that Taurus did buy the Beretta factory/tooling to make the PT92. So when you add those two factors together, with the internet being the delightful source of half-truths and misinformation that it is, I can see how people would end up spreading a rumor about Taurus buying Colt machining.

As it turns out, it’s 100% not true, just as I speculated in my earlier post. Thanks to Tim at Taurus for confirming the conclusion we had arrived at via a little detective work.

Did Taurus buy old Colt machining to make their 1911s?

While I’ve been working on the PT1911 Torture Test I have come across an interesting bit of internet folklore regarding Taurus’ 1911 production. Apparently, some people believe that Taurus bought old Colt machining when they started making their 1911s. I thought this was a fascinating rumor, so I decided to run it down.

PT1911 failure to extract

First things first, I popped over to Taurus’ website and checked out their history page. It mentions the Bangor Punta era, it mentions the Beretta factory in Brazil, but there’s no mention of Colt. Nothing on Colt’s website either, and other sources don’t turn up anything about it either. I’m actually 100% comfortable calling this one “myth busted,” because there aren’t any credible sources that say it happened.

The big reason I’m calling it myth busted is because of Taurus’ website. On their website they reference when Taurus and Smith & Wesson were both owned by Bangor Punta, and they also mention the famed Beretta contract that lead to the Taurus PT92. For a bit of a history lesson for my readers, way back in the day, a company named Bangor Punta owned both Smith & Wesson and Taurus. Both of the companies were separate, but you can see the influence of the joint ownership in some of Taurus’ legacy revolver designs. The Beretta story is a lot more interesting – Beretta won a contract to provide 92-series pistols to the Brazilian military, but one of the contract stipulations was that the guns had to be built in Brazil. So Beretta built a factory from the ground up in Brazil, and when the contract ended, sold the whole thing, lock stock and barrel to Taurus. This resulted in what is still Taurus’ best gun, the PT92.

As I mentioned, Taurus mentions both of these facts directly on their website, so if they’d somehow acquired Colt machinery, I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t call that out as well. The second big reason that I don’t buy the Colt/Taurus link is because Taurus owns two important things: its own MIM production facility and its own forge. In fact, Taurus is one of the largest supplier of MIM parts to the firearms industry, and you’d likely be surprised to know where some of those parts end up. Taurus’ forge also produces all their own 1911 slides and frames. But not all of the slides/frames that come out of that forge end up with Taurus stamped on the slide. Many are sold to domestic 1911 manufacturers who then finish the parts, install their own internals, and stamp whatever logo they want on the gun. Again, the names on that list might surprise you.

When you look at those two facts, Taurus buying old Colt machining to build their 1911s just doesn’t quite add up. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but you have to remember that there’s no such thing as a special “1911 building machine.” It’s all just cutting metal and installing parts, so a company that can manufacture their own CNC machines doesn’t really need to buy someone else’s tooling.

Ammo review: Hornady Custom Lite Reduced Recoil .308 Winchester

Jeez, that title was a mouthful, wasn’t it? I swear, ammo manufacturers are getting carried away with their product names these days. But that’s not the point, the point is to talk about this product from Hornady. Today we’re reviewing their reduced recoil .308 Winchester load, which is loaded with Hornady’s 125 grain SST bullet.

Hornady Custom Lite .308 Win

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Revolver Tour #14: Colt Cobra

Colt Cobra

Today’s revolver tour is the only gun in the safe that isn’t actually mine, it belongs to Shelley Rae. It’s actually been in her family for three generations now, and that makes it special. It would be special anyway, because it’s a Colt, and I have a soft spot for Colt revolvers.

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The Struggle is Real


Colt sent me their new MARC 901 rifle, this is a the .308 Winchester AR platform that Colt has been working on. This model is the AR901-16S, and it’s pretty awesome. There’s only one problem: It’s like 5 degrees (real degrees, not those silly communist ones) outside, and there aren’t any indoor ranges in town that will let me cook off a .308 round. The struggle, as I said, is real.

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New Colt pistols for 2015

Some of these aren’t “new” in the sense that Colt’s never made them before, but rather represent the return of classic models from yesteryear that Market was asking for. Hit the jump to see the rest

Colt National Match Cold Cup Series 70
Colt National Match Cold Cup Series 70

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