Colt 1911 US Army - Western Arms
Most of Western Arms' 1911 models are high quality and a pleasure to use, but this 1911 US Army model really is something special.
A replica of the First World War 1911 model, it is around 100g heavier than most 1911s and has a distinctly 'special' feel and look to it.
As with most WA models, this one came to me for review, courtesy of Elite Airsoft.
In the Box
Lying in the familiar grey, with white lettering, box, the 1911 looks pretty much like any other WA 1911.
With the gun is the usual array of accessories; a 1911 bushing wrench, some BBs, an Allen key and the usual collection of paperwork.
At first sight the 1911 US Army model looks good, with fairly realistic looking fake wood grips and a faintly blued steel look to it, unusual on WA's recent output.
Picking the 1911 up, you realise, especially if you (like me) have a few to hand, that this 1911 is a little out of the ordinary. It's noticeably heavier than any other 1911 I've handled.
The markings are good, those grips look realistic and features like the plain chamber and unchequered mainspring cover make this look and feel a slightly unusual 1911. I suppose, really, it is not that this one feels unusual, rather that it lack the bells and whistles that so many 1911 variants seem obliged to add. Original may not be best in real steel terms, but when the underlying gun is the same, having the original, pure 1911 style has a certain appeal.
The gun shoots pretty much like the other SCW 1911s, which is to say, well, with a snappy cycle, good power and decent accuracy.
Metal parts include the trigger, safeties (right thumb only and grip), mainspring cover, front and rear sights, bushing, slide lock and mag release button.
The slight bluishness of the metal parts of the gun, visible in some of the pictures is due to the use of flash and is not apparent to the eye under natural or domestic light.
The whole gun has a slightly gloss black appearance, looking more like a blued gun than the modern matt black finishes.
Markings are extensive, of course, with the Colt ones being most prominent.
The left side of the slide marked "PATENTED APR.20.1897.SEPT.9.1902"/"DEC.19.1905.FEB.14.1911.AUG.19.1913", followed by "COLT'S PT.F.A.MFG.CO."/"HARTSFORD.CT.U.S.A.". There is a Colt rampant horse logo at the very rear of the slide. The left of the frame has a stylised M in a circle above the mag release and "UNITED STATES PROPERTY" on the front of the dustcover.
The right side of the slide is marked "MODEL OF 1911 U.S.ARMY", with an ASGK mark above the grip and "No248516" above the trigger guard on the right side of the frame.
The chamber cover is unmarked, in contrast to the modern norm where the ammunition type is stamped into the chamber, and, like the barrel is gloss black in colour.
The grips, of course, are plastic, but are quite realistic looking. You can easily swap them for real steel grips, if you want that real wood look and feel, which I would suggest is a good investment for such a lovely gun.
Features that stand out on the original 1911, replicated here, over the others I am more familiar with, include the smooth, flat mainspring cover. I must admit I thought only modern 1911 variants featured this, so common is the curved version.
The top of the grip safety (and the frame section which follows it) is much shorter than most later 1911 variants and the trigger is a long (front to back) plain slab of metal with a concave face, with no pattern. Some found the original 1911 trigger too long, hence the change on later models and, although I have not found it poses me any particular problems, you might want to consider this if you have shorter fingers and are not worried about having the 'original' Colt 1911.
The grips are quite ornate, a feature simplified for the 1911A1.
This WA 1911 produced performance pretty much on a par with all the other SCW 1911s I have tested.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, the 1911 produced a best 5 shot grouping 5.5 CM (2.25 inches) across.
These shots are marked as triangles on the target shown and, as you can see, are in two tight groupings (both just 1 inch/2.5CM across) suggesting I let the aim shift slightly.
Over 10 shots, the 1911 U.S.Army averaged 250 fps (using 134a gas) indoors (at 21C), suggesting somewhere around 310fps with Propane or Abbey Ultra gas.
Trigger pull was 820g (29 Oz), which is a medium weight pull for a GBB.
Take down of this gun will be familiar to anyone who has field stripped a 1911, real or airsoft.
With the magazine out, the slide should be moved back until the slide lock can be pushed out of the frame. The slide and barrel can then be slid off of the front of the frame.
The barrel bushing should be rotated 45 degrees anti-clockwise, it can then be removed. The recoil plug and spring must be removed from the barrel/slide and then the barrel and chamber can be drawn out through the front of the slide.
Overall, this 1911 variant stands out from the WA crowd as something special.
The finish is exceptional and unusual and the extra weight is noticable and adds to the pleasure of handling and shooting the gun.
Personally, if I was looking to own just one 1911 variant, this would be it (with the obvious cavaet of 'of those I have seen to date').
The one thing that this gun really needed was some better looking grips.
I purchased some from HogueAuction and fitted them.
You lose quite a lot of weight (as the originals are nearly all metal), but they look a lot more realistic.
Weight : 1,020g (220g magazine)
Realism : *****
Quality : *****
Power : *****
Accuracy : ****
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