by B. Gil Horman - Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Thanks to the recent celebration of the 1911's 100th anniversary, the market is currently awash with slab-sided shooting options. In fact, some companies released their first, and in some cases only, 1911 pistols to join in the fun. One-of-a-kind pistols, historical replicas and commemorative special releases all have their place in the market, but what if you need a full-size 1911 to take to work every day? For professional operators serving in law enforcement and military roles, the selection of a reliable sidearm is not a matter of luxury, but a necessity. With the needs of these working warriors in mind, Para USA has released the new Black Ops 1911 chambered in .45 ACP.
The frame and slide of the single-action .45 ACP Black Ops pistol are both constructed of solid, reliable stainless steel. The frame's dust cover features a milled-in tactical rail for light and laser accessories. The slide is milled with front and rear cocking serrations and a flared ejection port.
Inside the slide you will find a full-length guide rod, match-grade barrel bushing and Para's Power Extractor. The slide assembly is topped off with front and rear combat style fixed metallic Trijicon night sights. The match-grade trigger is skeletonized and fitted with a factory-set over travel stop, and the flat mainspring housing features 25 lines-per-inch checkering. The hammer is skeletonized for a fast lock time. The grip panels are manufactured of tough, heavily textured black G10 and held in place with black hex-head screws.
External safeties include an ambidextrous thumb safety and a beavertail grip safety with a raised speed bump. Internal passive safeties include a disconnector to prevent the pistol from firing out of battery and a hammer half-cock to prevent an accidental discharge if the primary sear notch fails. To prevent the pistol from firing if dropped, the captured firing pin will not engage a cartridge primer unless it is struck by the hammer, and a firing pin block prevents the firing pin from moving forward unless the trigger is fully depressed. Two of PARA's Expert eight-round magazines are included in the hard case this pistol ships in.
TheentireBlack Ops pistol is treated with an Ionbond satin black finish. It is approximately three times harder than chrome with a lower fiction coefficient.This includes the 5-inch match-grade barrel. If you really want to find out how tough a finish is, applying it to the barrel would be the way to find out since most barrels treated with bluing or other chemical treatments tend to show wear right away. The PK2 treated barrel on this pistol shows no visible wear after hundreds of rounds. As it turns out, former U.S. Army Sergeant and World Champion action shooter Travis Tomasie has put thousands of rounds down range through a barrel with this finish, and it still shows almost no indications of its rugged use.
At the Range
For those shooters who have sworn their devotion to quality 1911 platforms, I have nothing to say about the Black Ops that you don't already understand. For those who don't quite get the near obsession with this century-old semi-auto, a day at the range with the Black Ops will help to explain it. Lyman's digital trigger gauge states the Black Ops trigger weighs in at 4 pounds, 1- ounce. The trigger feels smooth and crisp, making it enjoyable to work with.
A 40-ounce full-size 1911 is too much pistol to slide comfortably into an ankle holster. It can also be a bit much on the hip for concealed carry, but good holsters make daily carry possible. However, the weight and balance of the all-steel construction swallow up the felt recoil produced by .45 ACP cartridges, even potent +P loads. A comfortable level of recoil improves chances of accurate first round placement and solid follow-up shots.
PARA describes the G10 grip panels installed on this pistol as having "an aggressive machined pattern." This very aggressive pattern is ideal for wet, cold or slick hands that need instant purchase in a defensive situation, but extended practice proved to be uncomfortable. However, with shooting gloves in place, the logic of this grip design quickly became apparent. The sharp points and ridges of the grips' surface settled into the fabric of the gloves to provide one of the most secure and comfortable grips I have worked with.
Knowing that this pistol is intended for users who need top notch performance, I used a few of the best defensive loads on the market for the formal shooting tests. Accuracy work was conducted from a bench rest with targets set at 25 yards using consecutive five-shot groups. I expected solid performance from this pistol and the results were not disappointing.
The best single five-shot group of 1.75 inches was produced using Asym 185-grain +P Barnes Tac-XP hollow points. The Asym load also produced the best five-group average of 2.15 inches. Winchester 230-grain PDX1 bonded hollow points averaged 2.4 inches, with three single groups of just 2.25 inches. DoubleTap 185-grain Nosler jacketed hollow points produced a best single group of 2 inches, with an overall average of 2.55 inches. I spend too much time at a keyboard typing and too many range sessions swapping out shooting platforms to develop the laser-like precision of competitive shooters. When the shot groups are this well formed, the credit goes to the gun and ammunition combination.
Although a growing segment of the handgun market is dedicated to ultra-light pocket pistols, Para USA knows that plenty of shooters, especially those that carry a sidearm on the job, still recognize the value of a full-size all-stainless steel 1911. The new Black Ops series of pistols exemplifies Para USA's dedication to producing rugged, high-quality pistols that can stand up to the job at hand. This pistol arrives ready to work, right out of the box. The PK2 finish is rugged and good looking, and promises to protect the pistol from the dirt and moisture working handguns encounter. The new Black Ops' combination of tactical features and accuracy make it an ideal working gun as well as an after hour’s home and personal protection pistol.
Manufacturer: PARA USA, Inc.; para-usa.com
Model: 1911 Black Ops (PRX845SO)
Caliber: .45 ACP
Material: Stainless Steel
Finish: Black Ionbond
Grips: Textured G10
Sights: Night Sights
Barrel Length: 5”
Overall Length: 8.5”
Weight: 40 ozs.
Capacity: 8+1 Rounds, Two Magazines Provided
Twist: 1:16” LH
Rifle Groove: 6
Suggested Retail Price: $1299
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