Today, shooters have the pick of the litter when it comes to a 1911 with personality. One of the newest editions to the fold is a case-hardened Model 1911 by Auto-Ordnance ($1,327). The gun is stunning with its unique color case-hardened finish, executed in what Auto-Ordnance calls a “swirling” pattern. The finish is found not only on the frame and slide but also has been carried over to the trigger and controls. It is well done and very even on all parts.
All of the slide, slide cocking serrations and frame flats are true, with no over polishing or rounded corners. For traditionalists, the words “Model 1911A1 U.S. Army” are stamped boldly on the left side of the slide.
Both the trigger and hammer are serrated for a non-slip surface, and it comes fitted with the traditional five-inch machined barrel.
Breaking at 7.5 pounds, the trigger is not going to win any competition medals. The hammer is wide, has a safety stop position and includes the modern firing pin block.
If you didn’t already know this, Auto-Ordnance warns never to use this half-cock position as a manual safety, as it was designed to prevent the hammer from hitting the internal firing pin if it should slip from your thumb while cocking. To use it as a safety could damage the sear, leading to an accidental discharge.
The beavertail grip safety seems a bit wider than the original Model 1911, but it’s in step with modern times with its memory groove. The gun has an arched mainspring housing, something I have always approved of since it positions the gun correctly in your hand.
This housing has been vertically serrated, and the base sports a lanyard loop as per original guns. The frontstrap is polished smooth, while the magazine release is checkered with the base of the single seven-round magazine fitting perfectly flush with the bottom of the frame.
Auto-Ordnance took a bit of license with the thumb safety. There’s a small, checkered nub that sticks out for easy access rather than a longer, tapered appendage. The slide lock/release is standard fare, serrated for non-slip use.
The low-mounted sights are rudimentary at best, with a blade front sight and a rear sight assembly drift-adjustable for windage.
The wood grips are a standout, as they are not only nicely checkered with the traditional double-diamond pattern but also have a large U.S. logo engraved in an oval in the center. Oil finished, they are a distinctive part of this fabled .45.
For those wanting the flavor of the older Model 1911 with a touch of class, look no further.