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Article: Umarex USA Regent 100 review

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    20th March 2009
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    Umarex USA Regent 100 review



    Umarex USA Regent 100

    Another new kid on the block

    Reviewed by Harwood Loomis for M1911.ORG


    When we were offered the opportunity by Umarex USA to evaluate one of their Regent 100 1911 pistols (a full-sized, 5-inch 1911 in .45 Automatic) we were ambivalent. Our previous experiences with Umarex BB guns and the Colt/Umarex (or Umarex/Colt) 1911-22 rimfire pistol had all been positive. But we knew that the Regent 100 was manufactured in Turkey by Trabzon, a largely unknown manufacturer; that it had previously been imported to the United States by a different importer and didn’t exactly set the 1911 world on fire; and that reports we had seen were almost universally negative. But … we are here to review and report on 1911s, so we weren’t going to refuse the offer. We just didn’t know quite what to expect.

    As so often is the case, what we learned is to not pay attention to what we read on the Internet. The Regent 100 surprised us, favorably. Stay tuned, and we’ll give you the details of why and how.


    Overview

    For starters, the Umarex USA Regent 100 is a no-frills, full-size 1911 that generally compares with entry level pistols from several other major and not-so-major 1911 manufacturers. The pistol is set up with controls and details that have become almost industry standards; this is a working man’s 1911, not characterized by “bling” or pseudo-tactical enhancements of dubious benefit for the shooter who seeks nothing more than a reliable pistol that goes “Bang” when the trigger is pulled and puts bullets more or less where the pistol is aimed.


    The Umarex USA Regent 100

    The test pistol arrived in a blow-molded plastic “clamshell” pistol case, with a foam liners die-cut to accept the pistol, one or two magazines (our test pistol arrived with one 7-round ACT magazine), a cable lock, and a small manila envelope containing the obligatory fired case (for those jurisdictions that require same). The simple fact that the foam is cut to shape is a step up from some manufacturers, who simply ship their pistols in a generic case between two blocks of egg-crate foam, or some who just ship the pistol in a cardboard box.


    The test pistol with case and accoutrements

    Also included is a minimal but complete owner’s manual and a nylon-fiber bore brush. The case itself is secured with two substantial sliding latches, and has provision for padlocking (padlock(s) not included).


    Details

    Externally, the Regent 100 does not offer anything earth-shattering. All controls are in the correct locations, and are what anyone familiar with 1911s might expect on an entry-level pistol. The frame is cut in the 1911A1 style, with the scallop relief cuts behind the trigger window. According to Umarex USA, the receiver is investment cast and the slide is CNC machined from bar stock. Although Umarex USA calls the finish Parkerized, it is pretty close to black in color, and to my inexpert eyes I would say it appears to be black oxide rather than Parkerized. Whatever it is, the finish was uniform, and the machined surfaces under the finish were all smooth and uniform.

    The slide stop is standard M1911A1 style, not extended. The trigger is probably a “medium” – at least, without resorting to detailed measurement it appeared to be longer than an M1911A1 “short” trigger, and shorter than an M1911 “long” trigger.


    Trigger window, slide stop, and medium-length trigger

    The thumb safety is not an extended version, nor is it a copy of the small-paddle M1911/M1911A1 style. It is the style that has come to be called the “teardrop” style. It’s simple, attractive, and functional. Since I am not a fan of extended thumb safeties in any style, I would even go so far as to call this a plus.


    Teardrop style thumb safety

    The hammer, somewhat surprisingly, is a wide-spur GI style hammer. Which happens to be entirely appropriate for a basic 1911 pistol.


    Wide-spur hammer!

    The grip safety does not have a beavertail; it is a fairly close (albeit not exact) copy of the military M1911A1 style grip safety. The profile of the upper curve, however, doesn’t appear quite as “fat” as on a genuine M1911A1.


    Grip safety tang

    The Regent 100 utilizes a standard recoil spring assembly, with a short recoil spring guide, a closed-front recoil spring plug, and a conventional barrel bushing. There are no fancy treatments of the barrel muzzle, just a well-executed crown.


    Conventional barrel bushing and recoil spring plug

    Grips are off-the-shelf, double diamond checkered, hard rubber panels by Hogue, complete with the Hogue logo on each side.




    Compared to a military issue M1911 or M1911A1, the ejection port is lowered, but not flared.


    Lowered ejection port

    Sights are small, upright, military style, with the narrow-blade front sight staked rather than dovetailed.


    Front sight blade is narrow, but easily picked up through the rear siight


    Rear sight. No white (or green) dots here, just basic sights that work


    Under the Hood

    Under the hood, we found that the Regent 100 uses a Colt Series 80 style firing pin safety. Other reports we have seen on the Regent 100 called it “crude” and “rough.” We were, therefore, pleasantly surprised upon removing the slide to see very little in the way of stray machining marks either in the frame recoil spring tunnel or on the underside of the slide top. The surface underneath the slide against which the disconnector head runs was machined very nicely – better, in fact, that we have observed in a few pistols costing quite a bit more than the Regent 100.


    Series 80 style firing pin safety


    Machine work in frame tunnel


    Machine work in the slide

    Slide to frame fit was tight, with no perceptible vertical play and just a hint of lateral play with the slide in battery. The same was true of the barrel bushing. There was no perceptible “slop” between the barrel and the bushing or between the bushing and the slide, yet the bushing could be turned (with a bit of resistance) and removed without the use of a bushing wrench.

    Umarex USA also informed us that the plunger tube is conventionally staked. All in all, the Regent 100 is akin to the Norinco, in that it does not make pretensions about being the finest 1911 on the market, yet it is a very near clone to the ubiquitous M1911A1.

    Take-down was completely standard for a mil-spec 1911.



    How does it shoot?

    All of the above details are of interest but, perhaps especially for a lower-price pistol, what ultimately matters isn’t how nicely polished the machine work is but, rather, how does it shoot? We gathered up an assortment of .45 ACP ammunition in varying brands and bullet styles, and headed downstairs to the range at Chris’ Indoor Shooting Range to find out just how good or how bad the new kid on the block might be. In keeping with our standard protocol at M1911.ORG, because the Regent 100 is a full-size pistol we shot for accuracy at a distance of 75 feet (25 yards) … which happens to be the maximum distance available at the underground range. One of the nice things about testing at an indoor range is that the lighting is always the same (unless the guy before us shot out a bulb or three), the temperature is fairly constant, and we never have to worry about wind. (Unfortunately, this also means we can’t blame the occasional flyer on “The wind grabbed it.”) After schlepping all our gear and ammo down to our lane (anyone who thinks they want to be a gun tester should start doing weight lifting exercises beforehand), set up our pistol rest, and started in. The accuracy portion of our evaluation was fired from a bench with a rest.

    In shooting, we found the sights to be easy to see, despite not being the latest “tactical” style. The front sight is narrow enough (or the notch in the rear sight is wide enough) to leave enough daylight on each side of the front sight to easily pick it up in the rear sight. The sights were well-regulated, which means that the pistol shot pretty much to point-of-aim (at least for this shooter). Our initial accuracy attempts yielded the following:

    AmmoBest Group (inches)Best Group (mm)
    TulAmmo 230 gr. FMJ
    1.75"
    44
    Blazer Brass 230 gr. FMJ
    2.00"
    51
    Magtech 230 gr. FMJ
    2.25"
    57
    MagTech Guardian Gold 230 gr. JHP
    1.88"
    48
    UltraMax 200 gr. LSWC
    1.50"
    38
    Cor-Bon 200 gr. +P JHP
    2.25"
    57
    Remington UMC 230 gr FMJ
    2.75"
    70
    Handloads (230 gr. PLRN w/ 5.3 gr. Win 231)
    1.50"
    38

    Although we found the accuracy to be more than acceptable, unfortunately we experienced numerous failures to return to battery with certain of the ammunition types used in the testing. There were typically no problems chambering “standard” 230-grain FMJ loads, but the lead semi-wadcutters we use to assess feeding in test pistols and also the JHP ammunition simply did not want to chamber. Readers please note: we are not talking about jams or failures to feed. The pistol fed everything we threw at it, but with some of the ammunition types the slide stopped just short of being fully in battery. In a few instances, the stoppage locked up the slide so tightly that it was necessary to remove the magazine and very gingerly use a brass rod to tap the live round back out of the chamber.

    We soldiered on to complete the accuracy testing, but we certainly had concerns about the stoppages. Until we reached that point in our testing we had been favorably surprised by the pistol, but we could hardly give it a rave review if it wouldn’t chamber JHP self-defense ammunition. Consequently, we sent an e-mail describing the problem and providing specifics of which ammunition had given us problems to Umarex USA, and we followed up with a telephone call. Umarex readily agreed that we shouldn’t try to fudge our findings, and they asked us to send the pistol back for inspection by their gunsmiths.

    A few weeks later, the pistol came back, but with nothing to indicate what had been done to it. As soon as we could, we again took it to the range and proceeded to load up a magazine with some of the Ultramax 200-grain LSWC ammunition that had been one of the “problem” selections initially. To our dismay, we again experienced severe failures to return to battery. The first round chambered from slidelock. The second round locked up the pistol. After clearing the stoppage, we reloaded the magazine and tried again, with the exact same result: the first round fed from slidelock, and the second round locked up the pistol.

    At this point, rather than fight with other ammunition types, we field stripped the pistol to remove the barrel and we then took several rounds from each box of the types that had given us problems before, and tried dropping them into the chamber (the aptly-named “plunk” test). What we found was that, out of ten rounds of each of the different types, anywhere from four to six rounds would not “plunk” cleanly into the chamber. Further, when we manually extracted these rounds, we could feel resistance; something was grabbing the round inside.

    Since all the FMJ ammunition (except the steel-cased TulAmmo) chambered and extracted cleanly, we decided that the problem probably wasn’t a tight chamber. The other suspect, then, was the possibility of the barrel not being reamed to provide sufficient freebore. We fired off another e-mail to Umarex USA and followed up with another telephone call. We learned that their gunsmith had replaced and tuned the extractor, but he had apparently not understood what problem we had encountered and had not done anything to the barrel. Umarex readily agreed to send us a replacement barrel, which arrived a couple of days later. (Without a link–fortunately, we had a supply of pins and standard .278” barrel links on hand.) Before even installing the replacement barrel we took out the ammo carrier and subjected the new barrel to the plunk test with each of the types that had given us problems. Happy feet! They all passed the plunk test, so we installed the new barrel in the pistol and headed back to the range.

    The new barrel hand-cycled smoothly, so we confess to not performing a rigorous check on lug engagement. Nothing seemed to be hanging up or “crashing,” so we felt sufficiently confident in the drop-in fit to proceed with test firing to verify functionality with the various types of ammunition that had created problems. And … they all ran through the pistol flawlessly. We felt that our diagnosis of inadequate freebore in the original barrel was correct, and a subsequent inspection on the bench with a bore light confirmed that the first barrel had essentially zero freebore.

    Judging by the markings on the pistol and the serial number, we conjecture that it was from a fairly early production run. Unless there are severe variances in production tolerances at the factory, we expect that current production pistols will have barrels like the replacement we installed, and that severe stoppages such as we encountered should not be a concern for prospective buyers.

    A comparison of the two barrels and how they chambered the same ammunition can be seen in the following photos:




    In both of the above photos, the original barrel is on the right and the replacement is on the left. How far short of fully chambering the rounds are in the original barrel can be plainly seen.

    As an aside, beyond the fact that the replacement barrel functioned flawlessly with all the ammunition types, we also found in informal testing that it was actually more accurate than the original barrel. The following photo shows the result we obtained firing a mix of all the “problem” ammo types through the new barrel. The photo needs no further comment; there are approximately 20 or 25 rounds through that large hole near the center of the bullseye:



    Evaluation

    The Umarex USA Regent 100 is a very close clone of the M1911A1, but in this writer’s opinion more tightly fitted. Our impression runs entirely counter to comments we have seen around the Internet (which is not nicknamed the “Errornet” for nothing). We found the pistol to be well machined, tight, solid, and accurate. The trigger pull on the test pistol was a bit over six pounds, which is heavier than we prefer but within specification for a military-issue M1911a1. We also found the slide release rather stiff with the supplied ACT magazine, and we preferred to chamber the initial round by using the overhand “slingshot” slide rack rather than pressing the slide lock to release the slide.

    The $499 MSRP seems to buy a very solidly made and accurate 1911. If production pistols don’t suffer the same malady exhibited by the first barrel in our test pistol, we think Umarex USA has a real winner on their hands. The Regent 100 should qualify as a bargain even at full MSRP, and could easily become the real sleeper of the 1911 marketplace.


    Acknowledgments

    Our thanks to Umarex USA for providing us the test pistol and for working with us to figure out what was behind the unusual stoppages we initially experienced. As always, we want to acknowledge Chris Dogolo, owner of Chris’ Indoor Shooting Range, for his unfailing support and assistance in allowing us to conduct our testing at his range.

    We also wish to express our thanks to Lucky Gunner, Incorporated, for providing much of the ammunition used in this test.


    Specifications

    Umarex USA Regent 100
    Model:Regent 100
    Caliber:.45 Auto
    Overall Length:8.7" (219.7 mm)
    Overall Height:5.19" (131.8 mm)
    Overall Width:1.31" (33.3 mm)
    Barrel Length:5" (127 mm)
    Sight Radius:6.5" (165 mm)
    Sights:White dot, Combat-style (non-adjustable)
    Weight w/empty magazine:39.6oz (1.13 kg)
    Magazine Capacity:7 rounds
    Grips:Double diamond checkered, hard rubber (Hogue)
    Finish:Parkerized (Matte Black)
    MSRP:$499


    You can use this this thread to discuss the review.




    Sources

    Pistol

    Umarex USA
    7700 Chad Colley Boulevard
    Fort Smith, AR 72908
    USA
    Tel: (479) 646-4210
    Fax: (479) 646-4206
    Web site: http://www.Umarex USA.com


    Range Facilities

    Chris’ Indoor Shooting Range
    2458 Boston Post Road
    Guilford, CT 06437-1398
    Tel: (203) 453-1570
    Web site: http://www.chrisindoorrange.net/


    Ammunition

    Lucky Gunner
    PO Box 32747
    Knoxville, TN 37930
    USA
    Tel: 800-317-9506
    Fax: 800-901-3309
    Web Site: http://www.luckygunner.com/
    Last edited by John; 20th January 2014 at 06:15.

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