Home - Volume 2 (2007) - Issue 4 (Fall '07) - Pistol Review: Auto Ordnance 1911A1

Auto Ordnance 1911PKZ SE

A Gun Test by Hunter Lee Elliott (Hunter, )

A little while back John contacted me about testing the Auto-Ordnance 1911A1 WWII for our e-zine. I contacted Frank Harris with Kahr Arms immediately to get the details. After a little time a Kahr built Auto-Ordnance showed up at Jim's Guns in Raleigh waiting for me and some range time. It is worth mentioning that the name Auto-Ordnance has undergone changes of ownership. A few years ago the brand was owned by Numrich Gun Parts Corp. West Hurley, New York. Quality of Auto-Ordnance firearms under Numrich's stewardship is generally regarded as questionable. Kahr Arms bought Auto-Ordnance in 1999 and, from what I understand, the quality was improved upon.

Detail Strip

This Kahr-built Auto-Ordnance uses the Colt Series 80 firing pin safety. With that in mind this pistol detail strips as any other Series 80 equipped Government Model (though notice the extra long firing pin spring).

According to Auto Ordnance the pistol's frame is cast while the slide is barstock and the barrel is a one-piece item. The pistol finish is parkerized.

First Impressions

The supplied magazine is a little different then what I am used to seeing but as for the rest of the pistol, other than the Series 80 firing pin safety I believe it to be a good 1911A1 reproduction.

The barrel bushing fit was snug but not so tight that a bushing wrench was needed to remove.

The thumb safety looked correct for an original 1911A1, and engaged and disengaged positively.

The arched mainspring housing with correct lanyard loop.

The short trigger was a little heavy but broke clean.

The ejection port along with the barrel hood.

Also period correct hammer and grip safety.

The small GI sights worked well for me.

The vertical cocking serrations.

The left side rollmarks on the slide are a nice touch.

Factory magazine on the right with an odd looking follower as well as an old magazine I used that fed JHPs and LSWCs perfect.

Initial Range Trip

The first morning out with the A-O was a day tailored made for a range trip. First up was getting the velocities over my CED chronograph. I set up the range table about ten feet from the muzzle, applied a little CLP in the sweet spots, and got to it.

I started out with Winchester 230gr FMJ using the factory magazine. Function with the 230gr ball was without incident. Next up was Hornady 200gr TAP JHP. The factory magazine did not like JHP (in all fairness the manual clearly states that 230gr FMJ is the recommended ammunition).

I had two misfeeds using Hornady 200gr JHP with the factory magazine with the void of the hollow point resting against the feed ramp. I then incorporated eight round Colt Checkmate magazines and an old seven round magazine I have had many years and function from then on was again without incident.

The pistol has some heft to it and the trigger is somewhat heavy but breaks clean. I went through 165 rounds that morning and aside from the two misfeeds from the factory magazine there were no more problems. I did make it a point to run a few extra JHPs through the pistol using a different magazine and I am confident it was a magazine issue. When I got the A-O home I noticed the front sight had loosened up just a shade. I took the slide off and tightened the tenon with a punch and added a drop of red Loctite.

Second Range Trip

Fall is approaching and the weather is getting nice so with a fair amount of excitement I woke up Sunday morning looking forward to shooting the Auto-Ordnance 1911A1 and getting deeper into the test. I met with my mother that morning for some sausage and gravy biscuits before she accompanied me to the range. I began with the pistol uncleaned and another dose of CLP to the slide rails.

I ran 50 rounds of Winchester 230gr FMJ through the factory magazine and function was flawless. I then switched to the Colt Checkmate magazines to the test with more jacketed hollow points and my homecast LSWC. I ran another forty various JHPs through the A-O and 145 200gr LSWCs with no failures. That brings my total round count to 400 rounds.

Third Range Trip

One last outing to finish up the test and to get another opinion from my shooting buddy Clint. Still dirty from the previous range trips I did manage to get some CLP where it counts before live fire commenced. A few magazines of Winchester White box, handloaded 230gr FMJ, and 200gr LSWC brings the round count to 435. Clint did the majority of shooting on this outing and he liked the pistol. There were no more failures using my magazines and the front sight gave no more trouble.

Ammo donated by:


Admitting to broadening my horizons, I liked the Kahr-built A-O 1911A1. As you all know very well by now, I am a dyed in the wool Colt man and I wondered how this pistol would wring out. I knew a man who owned an Auto-Ordnance Government Model before Kahr bought the company. Though I never shot the pistol I did have the chance to look it over. It appeared to be well built but the owner complained of unreliability. This is not the case with this pistol. I have heard when Kahr bought Auto-Ordnance they improved their line of firearms. I have a Kahr-built Thompson 1927A1 and it is a well built rifle, and I believe this to be a well built pistol.

One fact that needs mentioning again is that the instruction manual recommends for proper function shooting only .45 Automatic 230gr full metal jacketed ammunition through the A-O. I did have good results with a more traditional follower when using other than ball rounds. Really the only thing I did not love about the whole setup was the factory magazine.

I have dealt with Frank Harris from Kahr several times during the test and he was very helpful. When I called and left messages he called me back promptly. I would say that testing this pistol and dealing with Kahr has opened my eyes to their line of pistol.

Something else I would like to mention, I am currently teaching my mother how to become proficient in more than just her carry pistol. I have taken advantage of my tests to introduce her to other firearms. She did get the chance to shoot this pistol during the second range trip and did well with it. It may seem odd to some folks for including my mother but I believe everyone should have an understanding of firearms and with that knowledge maybe some incorrect firearm myths will be dispelled.

Just to add a little flavor to the review here are a few pictures of my 1927A1 Kahr built Thompson along with the 1911A1 with some old .45 Automatic rounds. I really like the Thompson but feeding a fifty round drum magazine on a regular basis you should plan on investing in a progressive press or stock in the ammunition division of Winchester.

I spoke with Frank Harris at Kahr and I have decided to purchase this pistol for myself.


Model 1911PKZ SE
Weight: 30 ounces
Overall Length: 7 "
Barrel length: 5"
Width of slide: .915"
Width of grip (including stocks at magazine well): 1.240"
Trigger pull: 6 pounds (average pull from a Lyman mechanical gauge)
Magazine capacity (.45 Automatic): 7 rounds
Twist: 1 turn in 16 inches.
Sights: front blade, drift adjustable rear notch
Finish: Parkerized
MSRP: $627


I want to thank:

Frank Harris at Kahr Arms for making this happen.
Jim, owner of Jim's Guns in Raleigh, North Carolina
Steve Johnson of Hornady Manufacturing
Ivan Walcott of Armscor
Tom Beliveau, Gunsmith in Wendell North Carolina.
Clint (my range partner)
Barbara Elliott (my mother and newest range partner)

You may discuss about this pistol, ask questions or in general discuss about this review, in this thread in our Forums Site:




Auto Ordnance Corporation
P.O. Box 220
Blauvelt, NY 10913

Phone: 845-652-8535
Fax: 845-735-4610

Web site: http://www.autoordnance.com/


Armscor Ammo

Advanced Tactical Firearms
150 N. Smart Way
Pahrump, NV 89060

Phone: 775-537-1444
Fax: 775-537-1446
Web Site: http://www.advancedtactical.com

Hornady Ammo

Hornady Mfg. Co
P.O. Box 1848,
Grand Island, NE 68802-1848

Phone: 1-800-338-3220
Fax: (1) 308-382-5761

Email: webmaster@hornady.comm
Web site: http://www.hornady.com


Competitive Edge Dynamics USA
P.O. Box 486,
Orefield, PA 18069-0486

Orders: (1) 888-628-3233
Phone: (1) 610-366-9752
Fax: (1) 610-366-9680

Email: info@CEDhk.com
Web site: http://www.CEDhk.com

Home - Volume 2 (2007) - Issue 4 (Fall '07) - Pistol Review: Auto Ordnance 1911A1