Review: Alchemy Custom Weaponry Quantico HiCap

by
posted on May 30, 2024
Alchemy Custom Weaponry Quantico HiCap handgun right-side view on gravel image overlay
Photos courtesy of author.

The M1911 pistol, aka the Government Model, has a storied history going back more than a century and continuing through today, having been adopted by the U.S. Army and Navy on March 29, 1911. This pistol was the standard American military handgun for more than seventy years, supplanted by the Beretta M9 in 1985. Even so, the M1911 continued to be carried by various military units thereafter.

The Government Model also enjoyed great success with American law enforcement starting in the 1920s and 1930s and continues to be carried by police officers to this day. Many fabled organizations have carried, or still carry, some version of the M1911. These include, among many others, the Boston, Mass., Police Department; the Texas Rangers; Gallatin County, Mont., Sheriff's Department; Los Angeles, Calif., Police Department; Riverside County, Calif., Sheriff's Department; the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Hostage Rescue Team (HRT).

Alchemy Custom Weaponry Quantico HiCap pistol right-side view slide stamping

The FBI has a long and storied history with the Government Model. Many of J. Edgar Hoover's "G Men" carried M1911s as they chased gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. In more recent years, FBI's HRT used Para-Ordnance P14s. Later, HRT turned in its custom double-stack Para-Ordnance guns for single-stack guns.The FBI's time using various M1911s has passed, but the guns have inspired Alchemy Custom Weaponry to create the Quantico Series.

Alchemy M1911s are cataloged in three different families. Regardless of the series, all Alchemy pistols are conservative in styling and features. The first is the Prime Series. Guns of the Prime Series are available in Government, Commander and hybrid-Commander slide/Officer frame (often called CCO) sizes. Next up is the Restomod Series. The Restomod line is Alchemy's homage to custom M1911s of the past. Last is the Quantico Series. These pistols are available in 5" and 4-3/4" versions, and then in single-column or double-stack magazine format. Similar in concept to the Restomod series, Quantico guns take retro styling cues from the FBI guns of yesteryear.

Alchemy Custom Weaponry Quantico HiCap pistol left-side view on empty brass cases

Being that Alchemy's Quantico guns are patterned after law-enforcement pistols, frames are squared off out front and notched along the dustcover to accept a light or similar accessory. Single-stack guns are available in .45 ACP or 9 mm Luger. The double-stack guns are available only in 9 mm Luger. In addition to choice of barrel length and caliber for the single-stacks, customers can request some additional options such as an optics mounting plate, front cocking serrations, hammer profiles and options for hard-chrome or diamond-like-carbon finishes.

Quantico HiCap guns are made in the 2011 format and use Stacatto's 2011-type magazines. Guns of this makeup are modular, in the sense that 2011-style frames use an actual frame section made of steel, or occasionally aluminum, that is attached to a polymer, or occasionally steel or aluminum, grip section versus the tradition monolithic frame of Browning's patent. The frame holds the hammer, sear and safety components while the frame's grip houses the trigger, mainspring and magazine release. The frame and grip can be separated from each other, thus providing modularity to the design.

Different grip modules are available from several sources and are easily swapped by anyone comfortable with detailed disassembly. Alchemy recently began using grip modules from MJD Solutions on the Quantico HiCaps. These modules are made of a carbon fiber, nylon and Kevlar composite. And the texturing is surprisingly good. In fact, the checkering used on the new module's front and backstrap surfaces was so sharp it felt more like metal than plastic.

Alchemy Custom handgun opposing images comparison details grip safety trigger checkering

The Alchemy Quantico HiCap reviewed here is actually one of the company's loaner pistols for media use. It has been sent to a number of video and traditional print-media reviewers. It was also used by Alchemy staff as a training and demo gun. As a result, round count and its actual usage is unknown, as is its detailed maintenance history. It can be assumed that the gun has been “rode hard and put away wet” for most of its life.

Still, the gun functioned properly and was quite accurate during my formal range evaluation. The pistol was sampled with a variety of ammo that included light target loads and hot defensive loads. In all cases, the HiCap fed, chambered, fired, extracted and ejected without any issues. Magazines used included the Alchemy-supplied unit as well as magazines made by DuraMag and Atlas Gunworks.

Alchemy Custom Weaponry Quantico HiCap pistol disassembled exploded parts on concrette floor black slide barrel bushing spring guide rod frame grip

The media test gun I sampled is of the 5" format, without front cocking serrations. The slide is made to accept optic mounting plates. Plates are made for Alchemy by the firm's sister company, Cabot Guns, and anchor to the slide by four screws. The pistol came mounted with Trijicon's SRO. Currently, plates are only available for optics built on the Trijicon RMR footprint. Even though it is one of Alchemy's early builds, the pistol's specifications are still current. The polymer grip module was updated to the latest MJD Solutions style. The pistol is also outfitted with a prototype aluminum magazine well, which Alchemy and should have available soon.

Shooting the Alchemy Quantico HiCap was a worthwhile experience. Despite an unknown, but likely, high round count, the gun's barrel-to-slide-to-frame fitment remained tight. The grip texture was simply excellent. So was the trigger. The initial takeup was short followed by a crisp and predictable break. The trigger's reset was equally good, and it allowed for fast splits, or the time between shots. Checking the trigger with a Timney trigger gauge showed a consistent weight of 3 lbs., 4 ozs. The HiCap was tested for accuracy from a sandbag rest. Accuracy results are as follows:

American Rifleman Alchemy Custom Weaponry Quantico HiCap accuracy testing results ballistics data numbers velocity energy ammunition sampling

Alchemy Custom Weaponry is located in Fort Wayne, Ind., and the company turns out fewer than 1,000 pistols per year. Guns are built individually as orders are placed. Current lead time from order to delivery is about six months. Each pistol undergoes many quality checks along its build path. This includes large details like tight frame-to-slide fit as well as small details such as concentricity between the breechface, barrel and firing pin to make centered primer strikes for ignition.

Final function and test-firing are completed before application of surface finishes to ensure each gun is shipped in pristine and unmarred condition. This attention to detail yields a firearm with first-class fit-and-finish and a correspondingly high price. Is the cost worth it? The Quantico HiCap evaluated here proved to be accurate and reliable, showing a high level of craftsmanship without being gaudy or with audacious cosmetic features just for the sake of being flashy. Anyone with the money and desire to own a hand-fit firearm built to a performance standard instead of a cosmetic one should consider the Quantico HiCap.

Alchemy Custom Weaponry Quantico HiCap pistol right-side view shown on Savior pistol handgun bag on concrete floor

Alchemy Custom Weaponry Quantico HiCap Specifications:
Chambering: 9 mm Luger
Action Type: single-action, semi-automatic, centerfire pistol
Barrel: 5” polished stainless steel (black available as an option)
Frame: 4140 carbon steel
Grip Module: polymer
Slide: 4140 carbon steel
Finish: Bead Blast Blue
Magazine: 17-round detachable box
Sights: serrated blade rear, fixed; fiber-optic front (Cabot optic plate available upon request)
Overall Length: 8.7"
Height: 5.7"
Width: 1.4"
Weight: 36 ozs.
MSRP: $3,995 (base)

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