The reasonably priced, high-quality, no-frills M1911 is one market niche that never seems to be adequately filled. Only a handful of O-frame guns have a price tag of $600 or less. A new addition to that group is the IAC Regent Model R100, made by Trabzon Gun Industry Corp. of Ankara, Turkey, and Imported by Interstate Arms Corp. of Billerica, Mass. Trabzon Gun Industry was founded in 1993 with the support of the Turkish government, and production of pistols for the Turkish armed forces began in 2000. Today the company catalogs 20 handguns in six calibers, including two M1911s in .45 ACP. All guns are manufactured to ISO 9001 and NATO AQAP 120 quality standards.
IAC, a wholesale distributor of imported and American-made arms for 34 years, began bringing in Trabzon-produced M1911s in 2009, and marketed them under the Regent R100 name. The R100 is a rendition of the M1911A1 that is visually faithful to the original design, with a spur hammer, M1911A1-style grip safety, arched mainspring housing, high ejection port and minimal fixed sights. The gun, made in .45 ACP only, has a matte-black finish and sports brown checkered plastic stocks. The Regent we received for testing evinced a level of quality unexpected at its $559 price. The sides of the frame and slide were dead flat, with no high spots or undulations, and the lines where the flats met the curved areas of the slide and frame were straight. The forward edges of the slide, frame and slide stop were dehorned.
All machining inside the slide and frame was well-executed, with minimal tool marks. The bar-stock slide appeared straight, and the investment-cast frame showed no signs of porosity or other flaws that sometimes bedevil castings, either inside or out. Although a forged slide and frame set is often considered the gold standard of M1911 manufacture, properly made investment castings can be every bit as serviceable.
Measurements showed the frame rails to be parallel to within 0.001 inches, another sign of care in manufacturing. Side-to-side, slide-to-frame play was measured to be about 0.011 inches, which is adequate for a combat or plinking gun. Although the R100 is of Series 70 design, and so lacks the passive firing pin safety of the Colt Series 80 guns, the frame nonetheless has a relief cut for the Series 80-style plunger levers, which is occupied by a steel filler plate.
The stainless steel, hammer-forged barrel was fully throated and showed the proper setback from the frame feed ramp, which had no visible tool marks. The barrel hood had about 0.009-inches clearance on each side and about 0.002 inches at the rear of its cut in the slide—again, sufficiently tight tolerances for a defensive or recreational pistol—and the barrel bushing did not require a bushing wrench for removal from the slide.
The quality of internal parts is as important as external fit and finish, and the R100’s appeared well-made, with no burrs, rough machine marks or other defects. IAC states that the R100 should accept virtually all aftermarket parts made for M1911-style pistols. The only cosmetic flaw was the plum-colored plunger tube, which did not match the black color of the frame.
Function-testing with dummy ammunition demonstrated that the pistol’s thumb and grip safeties worked properly. The magazine was properly retained by the magazine catch, with little up-and-down play, or “mag float,” and dropped freely when the catch was pressed.
At the range, the R100 continued to impress. All three loads performed well, averaging 3 inches or better for five, five-shot groups at 25 yards. As one could predict from the velocity and energy figures, recoil was mild with the Sellier & Bellot and Hornady loads, but fairly stiff with the hot Cor-Bon +P ammunition.
Reliability was excellent, with both the supplied magazine and with aftermarket Wilson and McCormick units. Ejection was strong, sending cases as much as 12 feet to the rear of the gun. The only issue encountered was difficulty in freely dropping a magazine loaded with the Cor-Bon JHPs, whose broad nose rubbed on the portion of the slide stop lug that projects into the magazine well.
The fixed sights were reasonably well-regulated. Twenty-five-yard groups ran about 2 to 2 1/2-inches high and 1/2 to 1 inches to the right, depending on the ammunition. At the typical self-defense range of 7 yards, the R100 shot only about 1 inch above the point of aim. The G.I.-style sights gave a surprisingly good sight picture, and the 5 3/4-pound trigger, though slightly mushy, actually felt lighter than its measured weight. In sum, the IAC Regent R100 is an attractive, well-made and eminently shootable version of the classic M1911A1 pattern. Its $559 price tag alone gives it considerable appeal, yet it is more than just an economy-grade gun. The R100’s quality and performance should earn it a serious look from any aficionado of O-frame pistols.
Manufacturer: Trabzon Gun Industry Corp.
Importer: Umarex USA, Inc.; 479-646-4210; RegentArms.com
Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: short-recoil-operated, single-action, center-fire semi-automatic pistol
Frame: investment-cast steel
Barrel: stainless steel, 5"
Rifling: six-groove, 1:16" RH twist
Magazine: steel detachable box, seven rounds
Sights: ramped, serrated front post; fixed rear notch
Trigger Pull: single-action; 5 lbs., 12 ozs.
Stocks: checkered plastic
Overall Length: 85⁄8"
Weight: 40 ozs.
Accessories: hard plastic case; cleaning brush; gun lock; owner’s manual
Suggested Retail Price: $559