by NRA Staff - Friday, December 16, 2011
More than 20 years ago Canadian-based Para Ordnance introduced a true double-column, high-capacity M1911 pistol. The firm then went one better and turned the American classic into a double-action. Today, Para USA produces its guns in Pineville, N.C., and has recently added two new models to its line.
The Para USA LTC, designed as a compact single-column magazine pistol, and the 14-45 Tactical, a full-size double-column magazine gun, bring many of the classic Para features to a true tactical pistol. Both models feature Para’s Power Extractor, which replaces the M1911’s traditional single piece spring steel extractor with an articulated four-piece spring-loaded design.
The engagement surface of the Power Extractor is 50 percent larger than on a traditional extractor and engages a larger portion of the case rim to provide increased reliability and ensure that dirty or stuck cases are positively extracted from the chamber.
The pistol’s fully adjustable rear sight is dovetailed and deeply set into the rear of the slide and features a flat, serrated matte black surface facing the shooter to help diminish glare. It also contrasts sharply against the very bright red fiber-optic front sight. That was the intended effect, drawing the shooter’s eye quickly toward the front sight for faster target acquisition and follow-up shots. An additional red insert and a high-visibility green insert are also included with instructions on changing the front sight. A sight adjustment tool for the rear sight is also provided.
The slide and frame are both made from stainless steel but of slightly different compositions to help prevent galling, and both feature a matte-black PK2 finish chemically bonded to the metal. The slide has deep, wide serrations at the front and rear for maximum purchase, and it has a full-length guide rod. The frame’s dust cover has an integral rail for mounting accessories, such as tactical lights or lasers. Match-grade features abound on both the LTC and the 14-45 including match-grade stainless-steel barrels, Ed Brown bushings, slide stops and flat checkered mainspring housings with 25-l.p.i. checkering.
The skeletonized trigger, also match grade, includes an overtravel stop that has been factory-set, and adjustment is discouraged. The Cylinder & Slide Tactical II skeletonized spur hammer, provides a faster lock time than conventional hammers.
Safeties on the Para pistols include an extended ambidextrous thumb safety for cocked-and-locked carry and a beavertail grip safety with an extended memory pad. Internal passive safeties include a disconnector, which prevents the gun from firing unless the slide has completely closed on a chambered round, and a hammer half-cock, which prevents accidental firing in case of primary sear notch failure.
Two additional passive safeties are also included to prevent the gun from an accidental discharge as a result of being dropped. They are a captured firing pin, which keeps the firing pin from striking the primer on a live round unless the hammer fully strikes the firing pin, and a firing pin block, which prevents forward movement of the firing pin unless the trigger is completely depressed.
Several features set these two tactical pistols apart; most notably the 14-45 features the wide frame and 14-round-capacity magazine for which Para is best known. The larger pistol also has a 5-inch barrel as opposed to the LTC’s 4.25-inch barrel, is half an inch longer, and 6 ounces heavier. The very aggressive and somewhat sharp frontstrap checkering is also slightly different with the 14-45 featuring 25-l.p.i. checkering, while the LTC has 30-l.p.i. checkering. That said, both should provide an extremely sturdy hold even in inclement conditions.
Each pistol also carries different stocks with the LTC using a tough G10 composite while the 14-45 Tactical features high-impact, ultra-slim polymer stocks with standard checkering. The checkering on the LTC stocks feature a mixed pattern with a cross cut in the front portion and diagonal cuts in the rear with a groove on the left grip for easier reach to the magazine release. To expedite magazine changes, both pistols also have enlarged aftermarket magazine wells with the 14-45 featuring a Dawson Precision well and the LTC an Ed Brown magazine well.
The LTC Tactical pistol was tested for accuracy at 25 yards from a bench rest. There were no malfunctions experienced in either bench use or offhand shooting; however, one of the five magazines provided did have an occasional tendency for the follower to jump over the internal slide lock tab and lock up the action. This was easily corrected by pulling out the stuck magazine. None of the other magazines exhibited that issue.
The Para USA Tactical pistols offer excellent fit and finish with tight tolerances, crisp triggers and all the extra features shooters have come to expect from the Para brand.
Manufacturer: PARA USA, Inc.; (704) 930-7600; www.para-usa.com
Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: recoil-operated, single-action, semi-automatic, center-fire pistol
Frame: PK2 covert black stainless steel
Slide: PK2 covert black stainless steel
Rifling: six-groove, 1:16", left-hand twist
Magazine: single-column, detachable box with eight-round capacity
Sights: fixed-post front with fiber-optic insert, rear notch adjustable for windage and elevation.
Trigger: single-action; 4-lb. pull
Overall Length: 8"
Weight: 36 ozs.
Accessories: molded plastic case, five magazines, owner’s manual, cable lock, sight-adjustment tool, replacement fiber-optic front sights, bushing removal tool, Allen wrenches.
Suggested Retail Price: $1,599
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