Firestorm Government DLX .45 ACP

Approximately three years ago, John Caradimas introduced the Model 1911 Pistols Organization E-zine to the internet. During that time, we have tested six pistols that fall into the "budget" category of guns available to the shooting public. "Budget" simply means a pistol that falls below a suggested retail price of $600. This is a somewhat arbitrary figure, but one based on current market prices of comparable new-in-box pistols. Differences in pricing are usually based on forged versus cast frames, the number of parts manufactured using Metal Injection Molding (MIM), and labor costs in the country of origin. Some of the best of these economically-priced weapons come from the Republic of the Philippines.

A relatively new player in the 1911 game is MetroArms of Manila, Philippines. Recently, I was contacted by Mr. Caradimas about conducting a test of MetroArms Firestorm Government DLX Model 1911 pistol in .45 Auto. Since I have tested five of the six pistols of this genre featured in the E-zine, I feel Mr. Caradimas recognized my familiarity with Filipino-produced guns, and the fact that I would be able to compare quality issues between this gun and those that preceded it.

In order to receive this pistol for testing, I was provided with the contact numbers of Mr. Bill Strohmenger of RSA Enterprises Inc., in Ocean, New Jersey. RSA Enterprises receives these pistols from MetroArms, and thus the distribution begins in the United States. Without Bill's invaluable assistance, this test would not have taken place.

The Pistol

Upon unpacking the pistol from the box, I was instantly surprised to find a polished blue 1911. This weapon was unique because of the addition of some features not found on previously tested guns.

Starting from the top of the slide, the DLX comes with highly visible combat sights, complete with two white dots on the rear sight, and a single white dot on the front sight. Both front and rear sights are dove-tailed into their respective positions, and proved to be secure and well-regulated from the factory.

Although the rear sights are slightly out of focus, this photograph shows the relationship between the sights, and the high visibility of the arrangement.

The slide has slanted front cocking serrations, and well as the slanted cocking serrations at the rear, and both provided a solid grasping area when charging or press-checking the weapon. The flats are a highly polished blue, with the "Firestorm" logo roll marked into the left side, and "Government DLX Model" roll marked into the right side. The slide-to-frame fit is tight, with none of the "shake, rattle, or roll" that sometimes occurs with various brands of guns.

This view, taken from the rear of the slide, graphically shows the exact tolerances of the slide-to-frame fit of the DLX.

A nice feature of this particular pistol is the use of a standard barrel bushing, spring plug, and a standard guide rod. This allows the user to field strip the weapon in the time-honored tradition of the Model 1911. Since no full length guide rod is used, no special disassembly instructions will be necessary.

The Firestorm DLX Government Model is shown in slide lock.

The frame of the Firestorm pistol is as nicely blued as the slide. Since a cast frame is used in this pistol, I tried to detect any possible flaws that might have occurred in the manufacturing process, and found none.

Looking at the frame accouterments, it becomes obvious that MetroArms had the competition shooter in mind. The slide stop has an extended shelf, as does the single side thumb safety. While not features desired by all, these two easily reachable controls prevented me from the necessity of shifting my grip on the pistol whenever I needed to release the slide, or apply/disengage the thumb safety.

The trigger on the Firestorm DLX Government Model initially had me slightly bamboozled (see "The Firing Line" below), but once I solved that single issue, I came to appreciate the control afforded by the serrated trigger face, as well as the over-travel adjustment.

The upswept beavertail grip safety shows good fit with the back of the frame, and insures no hammer-bite when the pistol is fired. A raised memory bump is present on the bottom of the grip safety, to aid in positively disengaging the safety prior to firing.

Speaking of the hammer, the Firestorm DLX has one of the most intriguing oval combat hammers I've seen. The hammer is either machined with, or has added separately, an insert into the area normally left open in every similar hammer I've encountered. Whether this is done for "show", or for extra weight, or added strength, it is quite different. Several hundred rounds of expended ammunition, as well as a goodly number of "dry fire" drills had no effect on the insert.

The front strap is smooth, and the flat mainspring housing is serrated vertically. The magazine well is not beveled, but I had no difficulty while inserting fresh magazines. The magazine supplied with the pistol is an eight round, blued ACT/MAG with a plastic base pad. This magazine functioned reliably throughout the tests, whether loaded with full metal jacket or hollow point ammunition.

The test pistol came equipped with double-diamond wood stocks, held in place with slotted screws.

While the wooden stocks on the DLX Government Model are a little crudely cut, they provide a good non-slip grip of the pistol during live fire.

The Firing Line

Fresh out of the box, the Firestorm DLX 1911 had the heaviest trigger pull I've ever experienced on a new firearm. In fact, I had to look twice to be certain I hadn't inadvertently applied the thumb safety after cocking the hammer. I own two trigger pull gauges (RCBS spring-operated and a Lyman Digital Electronic), and both devices registered over 12 pounds of pressure required to release the sear. I immediately thought "Oh boy, this is going to be a 'fun' test!"

However, past tests of Philippine-manufactured pistols involved a slight break-in session to loosen things up, internally, and I took the Firestorm outside to run a few rounds downrange. Within ten shots, my patience was rewarded! Whatever "gremlin" had been lurking inside the DLX disappeared, and the remaining test period rewarded me with a trigger pull consistently registering in the four and one-half to five pound range.

Wintertime in my part of Texas represents forty degree temperature variations, some precipitation, and winds out of the south or north at speeds approaching (or exceeding) 40 miles per hour. Testing with a chronograph can become a challenge unto itself. I did, however, manage to salvage two good days out of the testing period, and the table below shows the results.

Ammo for this test was donated by: Sellier & Bellot, Hornady and Armscor.

The table doesn't show the most important results from this test.

People aren't going to purchase a pistol in this price range for investment purposes. The buyer of a Firestorm DLX Government Model is looking for a reliable, accurate, FUN gun to shoot! While these buyers will be less concerned with finish durability than folks who purchase 1911-type pistols with the newest "super-coating", they still want their guns to look as good as they shoot. My "extended" test of the DLX showed this gun's finish to be up to the rigors of many rounds fired in a variety of circumstances, with little apparent wear. Besides the accuracy and chronograph tests, I subjected the pistol to several sessions of combat drills, qualification shooting, and some long range bulls-eye competition. Other than a surface wipe-down, and the occasional oiling of the slide rails, the DLX was not thoroughly cleaned until the shooting tests were completed. NO unusual wear or degradation of slide, frame, inner components, or external controls was noted.


My forum/internet friend Raymond Lim (from the Philippines) had advised me of the widespread satisfaction with MetroArms products in his country. He has been one of the folks responsible for "gently" prodding me along with this gun test/review. I have taken much longer than my normal time in the shooting tests, examinations, photos, and evaluation of this gun for one simple reason.

The Firestorm Government DLX Model of the 1911 is the best Philippine-manufactured pistol I've ever fired! Through well over 700 rounds of various types of ammunition, several different magazines, and a variety of shooting tests, the DLX has never failed to function reliably and accurately. The gun looked as nice at the end of the tests as it did in the beginning, which speaks volumes about the quality control that takes place at MetroArms before the pistols are exported to this country.

For a pistol which falls into the budget category, the Firestorm DLX showed no unsightly tool marks or machine "chatter" on any internal surfaces.

While there are certain features of the weapon I don't care for (front cocking serrations, as an example), these items fall into the category of personal preference, and should not detract from the overall view of the gun. I am not usually a proponent of extended controls on government model pistols, but the lengthened slide stop and thumb safety levers worked very well on this gun.

The pistol comes from the distributor in a cardboard box, with owners' manual, a fired cartridge casing, and a trigger lock.

As previously stated, this pistol represents a great product at an even greater price. I highly recommend it, and consider this gun to represent a "Best Buy" for anyone considering the purchase of an economically priced 1911.


Firestorm Government DLX .45 ACP
Caliber : .45ACP
Barrel Length : 5 inches (127mm)
Overall length : 8.5 inches (215.9 mm)
Weight : 38 ounces (1077 grams)
Finish : Deep Blue
Stocks : Checkered Wood Grip w/ Diamond Cut
Magazine Capacity : 8 rounds with bumper pad
Sights : Dovetailed Combat Sights, front and rear.
Features : Upswept beavertail grip safety with palm swell
Suggested Price : $481.95 US Dollars

Note: Recently, gun prices in the United States have increased dramatically over previous levels. Demand is high, and manufacturers are working to increase supplies. It is worth noting that examples of Firestorm pistols are being offered for sale for less than the stated MSRP, although I haven't observed an over abundance of these guns being available. MetroArms is working on this supply/demand issue.


Gun tests would not be economically feasible without manufacturers and/or distributors providing the firearms for these reviews. Mr. Bill Strohmenger, of RSA Enterprises in Ocean, New Jersey provided the Firestorm DLX Government Model 1911 used in this pistol review. I asked several questions of Bill during our initial phone conversation, and was provided much needed information. Additionally, I was able to obtain the specifications and prices from the Firestorm web site. My thanks and appreciation goes out to Mr. Strohmenger for allowing the M1911.ORG E-zine to test, review, and evaluate this weapon

It is imperative that I thank the folks at Advanced Tactical Firearms for their generous donation of Armscor remanufactured ammunition to the gun writers of the Model 1911 Pistols Organization E-zine. Without these extra sources of ammo, our tests would be much less comprehensive.

I must also thank the makers of Sellier & Bellot 230 grain full metal jacket ammunition, which was also generously donated to the staff of the E-zine. We writers have, on numerous occasions, complemented S&B ammo for its consistency and accuracy. We are very appreciative of your kind donation.

How can mere words express a business relationship with folks like the Downings? Whether I need ammunition, targets, cleaning supplies, or a fair transfer fee, Downing's Guns and Family Treasures, in Cleburne, Texas, is the kind of gun store we "old timers" fondly remember from our youth. Fair and honest prices (whether you're buying, selling, or trading), a relaxed hometown attitude, and the nicest people in North Central Texas. No "gun-store commando" platitudes or attitudes. Mr. Downing and his sons, Todd and Guy, are knowledgeable fellows, who will find the answers to questions asked by their customers, and treat you like a good friend through the whole process. My most sincere thanks go out to each of you gentlemen.

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MetroArms Corporation
4821 Daang Batang St., Moonwalk
Paranaque City, Metro Manila,

R.S.A. Enterprises, Inc.
1701 Valley Road
Ocean, NJ 07712

Tel: 732-493-5657
Fax: 732-493-1997

Web site:


Sellier & Bellot, U.S.A.
P.O. Box 7307
Shawnee Mission, KS 66207

Phone: (913) 664-5933
Fax: (913) 664-5938

Web Site:
Web Site:

Armscor Ammo

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

Phone: 775-537-1444
Fax: 775-537-1446
Web Site:

Hornady Ammo

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

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

Web site:


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

Web site: