It used to be that if you wanted something more than a standard 1911, you first had to acquire a Colt-a donor gun in modern parlance-and send it to a pistolsmith for the enhancements you wanted. That costs money, and even with the plethora of enhanced 1911 pistols available today, it can still cost a significant wad of cash. Since many shooters must balance their hobby and sport with other responsibilities, it's just not possible for them to drop the better part of two grand on a pistol.
Legacy Sports, the Nevada-based importer has put together a 1911-pattern pistol that offers the most popular upgrades for about as much as a third of the going rate for a tricked-out 1911. Called the Citadel, this all-steel 1911 includes a beavertail grip safety with a cheater pad; an ambidextrous, extended manual safety; oversized slide release and dovetailed Novak sights that are adjustable for windage. The barrel is throated, and the ejection port is lowered and ported. Coarse grasping grooves fore and aft on the slide provide a sure purchase for racking the slide and press checks.
The frame is cast, and the slide is machined from bar stock. Smaller parts such as the hammer, slide stop and manual safety appear to be made from metal injected molding. The entire pistol is finished with a matte bead blast. My test gun was a full-size 1911 with a 5-inch barrel, so I was a bit surprised to see a long recoil spring guide.
When stripping the pistol, I found some features I liked and a few that I didn't. The machine work on the internals was very good, probably a product of modern CNC machine centers that have proven to be extremely accurate and repeatable. The barrel bushing is solid and fit fairly well for a service pistol-tight enough that there was no discernable play between the barrel and bushing, but not as tight as a match bushing. Some things that gave me pause were, I'm sure, the result of virtually every metal part of the pistol being bead blasted except the barrel. The biggest issue was that it took a punch and some fairly robust taps with a hammer to free the extractor from its mooring. In order to replace it I needed some gun grease and taps with a brass hammer.
The pistol functioned well at the range, though I had some difficulties feeding the first round of hollowpoints from a locked slide position. Other than that there were no other failures to feed, fire or eject. Groups ran 3 1/2 to 4 inches at 25 yards from a sandbag rest. My best groups were with Federal 230-grain Hydra-Shok ammo.
To be sure, this pistol isn't at the level of the two-grand guns, but for the shooter on a budget or an entry-level shooter, the Citadel offers a lot of .45 ACP for $575.
Manufacturer: Apintl-Pahrump IIV, Philippine Islands
Importer: Legacy Sports International, (775) 828-0555; Legacysports.com
Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: Recoil-operated, semi-automatic
Receiver: Cast carbon steel
Barrel: 5 inches, a Concealed Carry model is available with a 3.5-inch barrel
Rifling: Six-groove; 1:16 right hand
Magazine: Two 8-round detachable magazines included
Sights: Novak low profile, adjustable for windage only
Trigger Pull: 5 lbs., 1 oz.
Grips: Hardwood, double-diamond checkered
Overall Length: 8 3/4 inches
Weight: 36 oz.
Accessories: Locking cable, hard plastic case, owners' manual
Suggested Retail Price: $575