With the liberalization of concealed carry laws in many states, the demand for small, lightweight, concealable handguns has ballooned, and many people with CCW permits choose to carry a 1911 pistol, which has resulted in a number of manufacturers offering subcompact versions of this venerable design.
One of the newest to hit the market is the FX45 Fatboy LW. Built by the Philippine firm of Shooters Arms Manufacturing and imported by American Tactical Imports, the FX45 Fatboy LW (LW stands for lightweight) is an amalgam of traditional 1911 features with a number of refinements to produce a practical concealed-carry pistol.
With an overall length a tad under seven inches, 5.5 inches high and only 1.33 inches at its widest point, the FX45 is easy to conceal even under light clothing. But it’s a true 1911 and has all of the excellent features John Moses Browning designed into his original pistol: single-action trigger, excellent ergonomics and well-placed controls that are easy to operate. And all true 1911 lovers will be happy to know that it’s chambered for the iconic .45 ACP cartridge.
The machined steel slide has dual sets of grasping grooves, and the ejection port has been lowered and flared to ensure that spent cases get out of the way surely and quickly.
But the most modern feature is that it uses a bushing-less barrel with a flared muzzle section. Another departure from the original is a telescoping, dual-spring recoil system on a full-length guide rod. Both of these features ensure tight and consistent barrel/slide lockup for improved accuracy and functioning. It also greatly simplifies disassembly.
The low-profile rear sight has a large, easy-to-acquire square notch and is angled to prevent it from hanging up on clothing on the draw, and its rear face is serrated to reduce glare. The front is a square blade with a white dot insert although I would like to see a fiber-optic front sight as an option.
The alloy frame pares the Fatboy LW’s unloaded weight to a mere 22 ounces, and the frame is undercut at the trigger guard to permit a high grip on the gun.
The ambidextrous thumb safety levers are smaller than normally seen on a 1911 but can still be operated positively. An extended beavertail grip safety with a palm swell provides superior handling while ameliorating recoil—a nice feature on a .45 pistol weighing so little. Aggressively checkered, polymer grip panels allow a secure grip.
As you may have ascertained from its Fatboy moniker, the FX45 is a high-capacity 1911. It uses a double-column magazine that holds a comforting 12 rounds of .45 ammo (10-rounders are available for states where capacity is limited).
Because it’s a subcompact, test firing was performed from an MTK K-Zone rest at 15 yards. I tested four different brands of factory ammo, all of which shot close enough to point of aim to please me and produced groups in the three- to four-inch range with the fast-moving Federal Guard Dog load taking honors.
I also set up a combat target and ran the pistol through a series of offhand drills, firing it from five and seven yards with both two- and one-hand holds. The wide grip, checkered grip panels and beavertail safety provided a lot of control for such a lightweight .45 ACP. The sights came on target quickly, and the rounds went where I wanted them to go—well-centered groups in the nine and 10 rings of the target. All in all, I was impressed.
I experienced a few failures to feed with the Black Hills lead wadcutter loads, but other than that the pistol ran with an almost boring, albeit pleasing regularity.
The magazines were a bit difficult to load to capacity, and I think ATI should provide a magazine loading tool with the pistol. But the wide-mouthed magazine well made for fast, fumble-free reloads, and the pistol proved reliable with everything I could stuff into the magazines except as noted above.
My only complaint with the gun is that the rear of the magazine base pad has rather sharp corners that galled my hand quite a bit by the time I was done test firing. The manufacturer should bevel these so as to provide a more user-friendly pistol.
Other than that, I believe ATI’s FX45 Fatboy LW is a viable choice for the licensed civilian, police officer or armed professional who is looking for a lightweight, compact, high-capacity 1911 pistol for concealed carry.
The striker-fired SR45 and the single-action, hammer-fired SR1911CMD have one big thing in common: the .45 ACP cartridge.
The SR1911CMD, despite being some 41/2 ounces heavier, had a sharper-feeling recoil than the SR45. However, the weight didn’t matter as much as the bore axis, and the SR45, being higher, gave the pistol more leverage. So the SR1911 snapped straight back into my hand, while the SR45 rolled more, taking more time to do so. Neither was unpleasant, but I could definitely tell which was which.
Check out Patrick Sweeney's complete review.
Check out our Beretta Pico review.
Like the M45 CQBP issued to Marines, the commercial version features the flat, Desert Tan-colored Cerakote finish over a stainless-steel slide and frame; under-barrel Picatinny rail; fixed Novak three-dot night sights; a flat, serrated mainspring housing with lanyard loop; an enhanced hammer to guard against hammerbite; a long, solid aluminum trigger; and an ambidextrous safety lock. As you inspect the obvious, be sure not to overlook the stainless-steel, 5-inch National Match barrel and bushing.
Check out our Colt Mustang XSP review.
However, the 10mm Auto is still considerably more potent than the .40 S&W. And chambered in the Glock 20, it represents about the upper limits of ballistic potential you’re going to get in any real-world auto pistol.
Check out Payton Miller's Gen 4 Glock 20 review.
In short, the company has found a way to make lemonade out of black polymer lemons. The G30, while useful, was perhaps not well thought-out, with its porky G21-size slide. And the G36 was never the single-stack Glock many had hoped for. But by teaming that lighter G36 slide to the just-big-enough G30SF (SF is short for Short Frame) frame, I think Glock has a very attractive carry gun on its hands.
The HK45 is assembled in the United States from U.S.- and German-made components at Heckler & Koch’s new manufacturing facility in Newington, N.H. It is a big gun, a 10+1 shot .45 ACP pistol that’s almost six inches tall and more than 7.5 inches long with a standard-length barrel.
If you think the C9 has odd proportions, you’re right. That’s because that it is a straight blowback design, very unusual for a 9mm. The slide is both big and heavy to absorb the recoil energies of the cartridge. The slide is a zinc-aluminum alloy and has a black powder-coated finish.
Read Dick Metcalf's Custom Hemi review here.
So, even if this isn’t your usual interest in handguns, give this report a read.
This year sure feels like the year of the Commander, what with all the new Commander-style 1911s that have been introduced. One that Shooting Times is first to review is the brand-new Falcon Commander from Nighthawk Custom. Getting right to the point, this new 1911 is a premium pistol in every sense of the word.
A lot of the features of the frame are normal in appearance, too. The grip safety is the now-normal design—upswept with a speed bump—the trigger is aluminum with three lightening holes and an overtravel stop. Mag catch? Right where you’d expect it to be and working just as it has since March 1911.
The frame is polymer, cast to the shape of a 1911 metal frame, complete with frontstrap checkering and a heavily beveled mag well. It is designed to accept all the customary 1911 accessories. If you don’t like the flat mainspring housing on the Rock River Poly, then you can swap that one out for the one of your choice. Ditto the rest of the internals because the frame is just like a metal one, except it’s polymer.
For more information, make sure to check out our full review.
The frame and slide are machined from stainless steel with a Nitron finish. The ejection port has been lowered and flared so spent cases get out of the way reliably, and the low-mount Siglite night sights provide a fast sight picture and target acquisition in any light.
The method of operation is a modified Browning-type: short recoil, locked-breech and a conventional cam-dropped barrel system, but with a squared-off area above the barrel chamber locking into the slide’s ejection port and additional locking with the bell-shaped muzzle end of the barrel locking into the front end of the slide.
There was a great desire in the 1911 universe for an external extractor to address the perceived need to junk the old internal extractor and its “need” to be properly tensioned. Many 1911 makers fumbled the engineering on this, and it wasn’t long before they switched back to the internal design.
The PPQ was immediately successful, but the company didn’t sit still on it. For 2013, Walther has made internal improvements to the PPQ and now refers to the pistol as the PPQ M2. The PPQ features a high-capacity magazine (15 rounds in 9mm), yet the gun feels good in the hand. Obviously, the complaint with many high-capacity auto pistols is that the grip is shaped like a 2x4. Not the Walther’s. Not only that, but the PPQ also features a very nice, crisp trigger pull, something that always catches my attention.