|Home - Volume 2 (2007) - Issue 1 (Winter '07) - Pistol Review: Para-Ordnance PX1445S Gun Rights|
Para-Ordnance PX1445S Gun Rights Pistol
A Gun Test by Frank Ettin (Frank, )
I sit up and take notice when a major firearms manufacturer does something concrete to protect our gun rights. And now Para-Ordnance is offering two special models in good old .45 ACP —one a single stack and the other a "wide body"— and is donating $25.00 to the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action for each one sold. Of course, there's still the question of whether the gun is worth buying. Well I got to shoot one of the wide bodies, and I found it to be a fine, accurate and reliable pistol —well worth considering. Here's the story.
Para-Ordnance was good enough to lend M1911.ORG a PX1445S GR (Gun Rights) for review, and in due course it arrived at Reed's Indoor Range in Santa Clara, California. So I showed up there bright and early one morning loaded down with ammunition, camera and other assorted gear. Remember, no other publication has printed a review of this pistol so far, another first for M1911.ORG.
I was anxious to try out a Para-Ordnance. I've looked at them from time to time and shot one I rented at a range some years ago, but this was my first chance to really wring one out. That's a little surprising since I'm a big fan of the 1911, and Para-Ordnance is a well known name in the 1911 world. Para-Ordnance entered the 1911 market in the late 1980s producing a kit consisting of a redesigned frame, with appropriate internal parts and magazines to which one could fit a standard 1911 top end. The result was a high capacity 1911. The kits hit the market in 1989 and immediately became popular with custom gunsmiths and IPSC competitors. Para-Ordnance began producing complete pistols in 1990. Most recently, as most shooters know, they've introduced their Light Double Action (LDA) fire control system and a line of single stack 1911s.
The PX1445S is the standard Para-Ordnance full size (5 inch barrel) high capacity model in stainless steel with the new Power Extractor; standard bushing type barrel; a one piece, beavertail grip safety; full length guide rod; black polymer grip panels and a black plastic, flat, checkered mainspring housing. And as all Para-Ordnance Pistols, it includes Para-Ordnance's lifetime service policy. It's a handsome gun with nicely polished flats on the slide and other surfaces with a gently bead basted, glare free finish.
Many will be pleased by the contour of the grip safety, without the now ubiquitous "speed bump" but raised to assure engagement. I especially like the look of the nicely machined, wide rear grasping grooves.
Fit and finish were top drawer. The slide racked smoothly without play and the barrel locked up tight. The trigger broke crisply at 5 lb. 10 oz. (average of ten pulls on my Lyman electronic gauge). The trigger was a little heavy for my tastes, but they will often ease up some with use. And I'm not a fan of triggers under around 4.5 lb., except for specialized applications. The Para PX1445S GR also boasts a ramped barrel with a chamber that fully supports the cartridge case, and a series 80 type firing pin safety.
The hole in the top of the barrel hood is supposed to be a loaded chamber indicator. It no doubt comforts some firearm impaired government types, but we know that: (1) all guns are loaded; and (2) the onlyproper way to verify the status of a gun is to physically open the action, visually or tactilely inspect both the magazine area and chamber. We do not rely on any loaded chamber indicator.
The above photograph shows both the cutout in the frame for the ramped barrel and, in the upper right, the frame components of the firing pin safety. The slide contains a piston that will not permit the firing pin to move forward unless that piston is raised out of the way by the lever in the frame. That lever is actuated by the trigger being pressed.
The Para PX1445S GR comes with a fixed rear sight contoured so as to not catch on a covering garment if carried concealed. The rear sight has horizontal groves to reduce the risk of reflection and two white dots to speed acquisition.
A unique feature of this model, and its companion single stack version, is a fiber optic front sight.
With the fiber optic front sight element, the sight just jumped out at me and was very quick to pick up. I'd previously found that fiber optic sights didn't provide any advantage in low light or indoors. But this one used by Para-Ordnance was different. It provided a bright red dot even indoors, and I suspect it would be just the ticket on overcast days or at dusk. The pistol comes with an extra red fiber optic element and a yellow one, if that color works better for you.
The Para PX1445S GR isn't a small gun. It's a Government model size pistol with a five-inch barrel and the added bulk of a frame widened to accept high capacity, double stack magazines. According to Para-Ordnance specifications, it weighs in at 40 ounces, is 8.5 inches long and 5.75 inches high. I measured the trigger reach to be 2.75 inches and the width (measured across the grips even with the magazine release) at 1.33 inches. Now that's not much more than the 1.3 inches one of my single stacks measures at the same spot, but the Para-Ordnance is a good deal more square around the grip and therefore feels boxier. I have small hands, so it was a handful for me. But with the short trigger it was still manageable. The grooved front strap helps as well.
The trade-off for the larger grip is more ammunition. If you live in a state without its own magazine capacity restrictions, the standard magazine will hold 14 rounds of .45 ACP. Of course, here in California I was limited to ten round magazines. But, with the wide body's cavernous mouth and the taper of the magazine at the feed lips, you really don't need to worry overly much about beveled or add on magazine wells.
The one piece, full length guide rod allowed the pistol to be field stripped in normal 1911 fashion, but a bushing wrench is pretty much a necessity. After ensuring that the pistol is unloaded, using a bushing wrench, the recoil spring plug is depressed and the bushing turned about a quarter turn clockwise. The recoil spring plug and spring may now be removed out the front, the slide pushed back to permit the slide stop to be pushed out. The slide and barrel can then be slid forwards off the frame, the bushing turned counterclockwise and removed, the guide rod taken out from the back and the barrel pull forward out of the frame.
Of course with any pistol, pretty is as pretty does. And this roscoe did right pretty thank you very much.
All in all I put about 200 rounds of assorted ammunition through this Para-Ordnance, and it never missed a beat. Not only that, but I shot it right out of the box —no preliminary cleaning, lubrication, anointing or anything else. I opened the box, took the gun out, loaded it and shot it. So much for break in. (I do believe in giving any new gun a thorough shakedown, on the order of 1,000 rounds, before using it for any serious business, just in case there's something that requires attention.) Of course I did inspect it before hand, and I did observe that it was appropriately lubricated. If it had looked dry, I would have dealt with that first.
Below is a table showing chronograph results and well as accuracy with four different brands.
In addition, I shot some Winchester 185 grain JHP Silvertips and some Hornady TAP 230 grain JHP +P. I just didn't have enough to put the gun through the whole testing routine. But they worked just fine too.
Some discussion of the accuracy tests may be warranted. I was shooting indoors in less than perfect light off an improvised rest, i.e., a rolled up sweater. And, as mentioned previously, the trigger was a little heavy for me. So considering the circumstances, I'm satisfied that this is an accurate pistol.
Here are the groups for the Armscor (upper right) and MagTech (lower left).
And the PMC (top) and Winchester (bottom)
I also did some drills at 7 yards. These were quick pair and single shots from the holster. The Para PX1445S GR performed beautifully and was very controllable in quick firing exercises.
It did seem to have a tendency to shoot a little to the right of point of aim for me. But that would be easily corrected by drifting the rear sight a bit.
The Para PX1445S GR came nicely packaged in an attractive green, plastic clamshell case that can serve as a gun case for transporting the pistol. The gun come with two magazines (14 rounders where legal), a bushing wrench, lock (as required in many states these days), extra fiber optic elements for the front sight (including instructions), necessary allen wrenches,
a test target (at 10 yards),
An inspection check list and instruction booklet,
and a coupon good for a discount on NRA membership.
The case also proclaims that we folks who live in California, New York and Massachusetts are out of luck.
But George Wedge at Para-Ordnance told me that the Para PX1445S GR is in the process of being approved for sale in California at least. Since this is functionally an existing, approved model, the approval process is somewhat streamlined and the post-January 1, 2007, requirement that all new pistols have a magazine disconnecter would not apply.
This is a fine quality, reliable pistol. At an MSRP of $1125 (and a possibly lower street price), it's a good value. And the $25 that Para-Ordnance sends the NRA-ILA to protect our gun rights each time one of these guns is bought by a distributor is very fine icing on the cake for all of us.
I'd like to thank George Wedge and Para-Ordnance for the loan of the pistol.
My thanks to President Martin Tuason and Sales Manager Ivan Walcott of Advanced Tactical Firearms International Corporation, for supplying the Armscor ammunition used in this evaluation.
My Competitive Edge Dynamics Millennium chronograph performed beautifully, and the available infra-red sky screens worked perfectly indoors. My thanks for a well designed and made instrument.
Jim Reed and the crew at Reed's Indoor Range have been very helpful. They graciously consented to accept delivery of the gun and return it for me. They have also made their excellent facilities available. This review would not have been possible without their assistance.
Model: Para Ordnance PX1445S Gun Rights
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Advanced Tactical Firearms
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|Home - Volume 2 (2007) - Issue 1 (Winter '07) - Pistol Review: Para-Ordnance PX1445S Gun Rights|