Sunday, November 27, 2011

Medium Iron

One of the first handguns I ever fired was a 1911, and I've had a soft spot for the old warhorse ever since. I have a Springfield GI 1911 that I customized and spends most of its time as a .22LR with a Ceiner slide. I also have a Para LTC that is getting back into my concealed carry rotation, but spends most of its time as my woods companion or at the range. 

So over the Thanksgiving holiday, I went to the family farm and proceeded to bust a few caps in the Para. I put  a hundred of my handloaded 200 grain hardcast LSWCs (powered by a near max load of HP38) and 50 rounds of Federal 230gr FMJs. I've always been pretty decent with a 1911, but I threw in the wrinkle of talking to a friend on my cell phone (by wedging it under my ear muffs) and shooting for group at 20 yards. Things turned out okay. 
Said 20 yard cell phone group.

I've had the LTC for about a year now, but with the deployment, I haven't spent much time with it. But I do have a few observations. First, the black finish on the slide is not very durable. While I haven't yet had a battle with rust, the finish wears off at an alarming rate. A hundred rounds will usually result in a new scratch near the ejection port. That's annoying on a $700 gun. Next year I will probably pay a guy I know to refinish the slide with CeraKote. But it shouldn't be necessary on such a high dollar piece. Also, both Para 8 round mags failed. They were prone to double-feed. I had a bunch of GI 7 round mags, and that's what I prefer to use. I may pick up a Mec-Gar 8 rounder later and see how that works out.

Scratches from ejection/holster wear.

Holster wear from my Fobus scabbard.

That said, my Para is very accurate and totally reliable with Winchester Supreme Elite 230gr JHPs, 200gr LSWC handloads,  and 230gr ball of several makes. I think I've put a few Winchester Silvertip 185gr rounds through it too, but not enough to form a conclusion about their reliability through my pistol.

The 1911 has always been controversial. In the early days it was too dangerous, having only a single action trigger. Now it is dangerous because it has a thumb safety and some internet heroes will tell you that it's impossible to remember to flick the safety off under stress (you mean like soldiers do every day on their M4s?). Capacity is relatively low now compared to the M&Ps and Glocks of the world. And it weighs a lot more, which is an issue for all day carry.

25 yards just plinkin'.
I shot a mag transitioning from left dot to right dot quickly.

I will always have a soft spot for big, heavy, metal guns with great triggers. I have fond memories of learning to shoot with a 1911, and doing a few shooting matches as a teen. I will probably always have a 1911, and I believe it will always be king of the target range, though detractors constantly declare it obsolete. 

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