September 24, 2010
There was a time when Cobra Enterprise had problems with unreliable parts provided by other manufacturers.
To solve this, the company has made a serious investment in MIM machinery and is now doing its manufacturing in-house.
One of the first new models to benefit from this change is the Patriot .45, which at first glance looks like a cross between a Kahr and a Glock.
Designed as an inexpensive carry gun in a serious caliber, the Patriot .45 is a polymer-framed, striker-fired semiauto that--I soon discovered--takes standard 1911 magazines. It comes from the factory with one six-round magazine and one extended seven-round magazine. My test gun had a stainless slide, but it can be had in all black.
The Patriot features a firing pin safety, and the magazine release is a square pad, set deep into a scalloped recess so it can't be hit accidentally.
Of the two provided factory magazines, the seven-rounder dropped free while the six-rounder did not. This seemed to be directly related to follower design, as all of the high-end 1911 mags with beefier followers that I tried in the gun dropped free.
Also, the Patriot's slide does not lock back, as there is no slide stop, which at first I found a bit odd, but I suppose that's just one less part to break on a gun designed to be simple and snag-free.
The Patriot is light--20 ounces, which is barely more than half what a standard Government Model 1911 weighs. The narrow grip is ergonomically designed, with good checkering and a finger groove on the front strap.
While it is an automatic, the Patriot's trigger pull feels closer to a traditional double-action revolver trigger: long, smooth and heavy (12 pounds). The long, heavy trigger combined with a short light gun made shooting groups--or attempting to--quite an experience.
Interestingly, the faster I pulled the trigger the lighter it seemed, but I think this was more psychological than mechanical. The pistol is a true double-action. If you experience a light hit on a primer, just pull the trigger again.
When you take apart the pistol and look into the frame, there's nothing there. The trigger design is so ingeniously simple it makes the inside of a Glock frame look like the cockpit of a space shuttle.
The slide is a different matter. I had to take it apart at the range to perform some tinkering. I had help, which was good.
Disassembly was not a problem, but reading the instruction manual led me to believe I could throw all the loose parts in a briefcase, shake it around, and the gun would come out fully reassembled. It took four hands, a screwdriver, an Allen wrench, a pocketknife and the disassembled guts of a ballpoint pen to get the gun back together.
Here's why I had to disassemble the gun in the first place.
The Patriot's firing pin is an unusual design, sort of like a hollow steel pencil with springs inside and out. Shortly into the testing session, the firing pin seized up with the slide--the end result being that each time I pulled the trigger, instead of the firing pin being cocked back inside the slide, the whole slide came back and then slammed forward, with no corresponding bang.
This was a bit disconcerting. After freeing up the firing pin with a scientific technique called brute force and putting a bunch more rounds downrange, the problem seemed to resolve itself, which leads me to believe it was caused by metal burrs inside the slide, which eventually got polished smooth.
The owner's manual recommends against the use of +P ammunition, a warning we heeded, and against hollowpoints because of feeding concerns. However, this is a pistol designed to be carried discreetly and used for personal defense at close range, and hollowpoints are the ammo of choice for doing that. So we made sure to test the pistol with several types of jacketed, non +P hollowpoints as well as FMJs.
The Patriot sports a ramped barrel, and I didn't have any problems getting rounds to feed. I had some extraction problems, but they seemed to be tied to specific aftermarket magazines--the expensive ones. Go figure.
The front sight is one piece with the slide. The rear sight is set in a dovetail and is adjustable for windage, but I found that the pistol hit point of aim at all distances we were shooting: 50 feet for accuracy testing and 10 yards and closer for speed work.
The Patriot .45 is not a pleasant gun to shoot due to its combination of potent caliber and light weight. It is designed to be carried a lot and shot a little, but I found that if I held the small grip tight I didn't have any problems putting holes where I wanted them to be, even with the heavy trigger.
In certain situations, the Patriot's combination of small size and big oomph could prove to be just the ticket.