Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Gun Blog .45

The pistol that ParaUSA provided for those of us who wanted to shoot a .45 ACP caliber pistol was the PXT LDA Single Stack Tac-S with a couple of add ons to make it special for this event.

As you can see ParaUSA added custom paint, adjustable rear target and fibre optic front sights, and a set of Crimson Trace Laser Grips. The dirt was my little addition to this package. These images were taken at the end of day 1, and we did not clean these pistols until the end of day 2.

When I was first reading up on this pistol and the Light Double Action (LDA) trigger system, one word kept running through my mind - "Why?"

Why take the effort to put a double action trigger assembly into a 1911 frame?

If you are determined to develop a double action 1911, why keep the grip and thumb safeties?

I was not super enthusiastic about the choice of pistols being provided to us, I really like the crisp break and quick reset of the single action 1911 pistol. But what the heck, free ammo and a weekend training with Todd Jarrett? I would of shot a Lorcin with a smile on my face if that is what it took to be a part of this adventure.

I can not remember if it was Todd or Kerby (the ParaUSA rep) who asked during our initial briefing on the Gun Blog .45 if any of us were used to shooting to reset (allowing the trigger to move forward just enough to reset it). I have worked hard to try and become proficient at a quick trigger reset on my Kimber. Well, that's all out the door. The LDA has two resets and will not fire if you attempt to press the trigger after the first reset. Todd Jarrett said that he never uses quick trigger reset, as a matter of fact he takes his finger entirely off of the trigger between shots. Todd Jarrett is a world champion who has fired literally millions of rounds perfecting his skills. Maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt eh?

So off to the range to put holes in targets.

Here is my first target. We shot spot #2 first, followed by spot #3 then two mags into spot #1. This was from 5 yards pretty much as quickly as you could get a sight picture.

Not to bad for me, especially seeing as how this was the first time shooting this pistol. You may notice that spot #2 only has 7 holes. That's where trying to get a quick reset can get you into trouble with this pistol. It was just habit. I fired the pistol and while releasing the trigger felt it reset and automatically pressed. Nothing happened. Let go of the trigger and pressed again, and again nothing happened. Racked the slide and continued on. This happened twice early on in the first day and I quickly broke my habit of the quick trigger reset. I mentioned the issue to Kerby later that evening and tried to re-create the fault with an empty firearm. Well, the one time I demonstrated it to him, the action worked as it should. Kerby thought I might have gotten off of the grip safety while trying to clear the fault, I'm not convinced that was the issue. These two faults were the only problem I had with this pistol and they both happened in the first hundred rounds or so. After that it was smooth sailing.

As you can see by the images of the pistol, we did not do any cleaning after the first day's shooting. As a matter of fact, we did not clean them until after the end of the second day. We did squirt some oil on the bushing and top of the barrel late in the afternoon of the second day, but that was it. When we started shooting, I thought my pistol was pretty dry. The trigger assembly had plenty of grease, but the rails and barrel were quite dry. The gun ran. And it ran, and it ran some more. The first consequence of a fouled and dry pistol was the slide stopped locking open on an empty magazine. This was after five, maybe six hundred rounds. Then it became harder to manually chamber a round. Just before oiling in the afternoon of the second day I needed to add a little manual assist to chamber the first round. This leads us to a lesson learned through pain. When shooting a pistol with adjustable target sights, attempting to assist the slide into battery by popping it with your palm of your hand will catch your attention. Those sights are sharp! The first thing I am going to do when my pistol arrives (yes, I ended up liking it enough to decide to purchase it) is either dehorn it or send it off to Novak's for new sights.

This is one sturdy and dependable firearm. The steel frame feels good in the hand and the ergonomics are perfect for me. As far as accuracy goes, this is one accurate commander length pistol. I saw Todd empty a magazine into one small hole at around 12 yards. I also saw Todd drop an 8" circular plate at around 90 yards. I personally dropped plates at 35 yards and all of my shoot house shots ended up in the "A" zone. How about that LDA trigger? By the end of the first day I was liking it, by the end of the third I was wanting to take it home. The take up is very smooth and it breaks clean every time.

This bring me back to my earlier questions:

Why take the effort to put a double action trigger assembly into a 1911frame?

If you are determined to develop a double action 1911, why keep the grip and thumb safeties?

I think I can answer most of my "whys" now.

This is an excellent choice for an open carry pistol. Being able to carry a 1911 style pistol hammer down and basically "cocked and locked" at the same time is an asset for anyone who open carries. I have gotten the "OMG is that thing cocked" before and being able to carry in the same state of readiness with the hammer down will avoid that reaction.

To me, the thumb safety is also a good idea. In the event that someone gets ahold of your firearm in a scuffle, any amount of time it takes them to figure out why they can't fire your gun is to your advantage. The 1911 thumb safety is an ergonomically easy device to actuate and places your strong hand thumb into proper position for a two handed grip.

The question I still don't have an answer to is why the grip safety? Seriously, the grip safety is totally unnecessary and may be the cause of problems. Todd Jarrett mentioned that all of his grip safeties were disconnected and I will look into disconnecting mine when I receive it.

This is a quality firearm. It is rugged and dependable and if it will eat an odd shaped bullet as the frangible we were shooting, I am confident that these guns will eat anything.

More opinions on the Gun Blog 45:

Say Uncle comments on his Para USA TAC S LDA.

Robb Allen fills us in on what he thought About the gun .

Don says:

"Others have written about the LDA pistol Para-USA provided for the weekend. I'm not going to get all analytical right now, because I'm out of time and my pregnant co-teacher is going to blind me with a plastic spoon if I'm late. I'll just say this: I'm selling one my guns and buying that one. If you know me, you know that's not something I do without thinking it over. More follows. ..."
Kevin chimes in with his Report from Blackwater.

Sebastian comments on the Para LDA 1911, The Good and the Bad.

Maddened Fowl offers up his opinion of Para-USA

Joe points out that the Gun Blog 45 is Cool! But it Has a Pri 0 Bug.

If you have any questions about the ParaUSA PXT LDA Single Stack Tac-S, please ask. I'll answer as I can, or get the answer for you from ParaUSA.


Anonymous said...

If you had invited me, I would have been happy to tag along.


Big Gay Al said...

While I think it is a beautiful weapon, I do not care for DAO pistols. And I always enjoy hearing the "OMG is that gun cocked?" comments. I always like to add, "Yes, and it's loaded too." :D

Ride Fast said...

You said the Para is a good choice for open carry. Does that imply a not so good choice for concealed?

Also, does it have the slide/barrel safety also?

John R said...

Ride Fast: It would make a good concealed carry firearm as well. I only mentioned open carry because no one can see you condition of carry when concealed.

As to the barrel/slide safety. I assume you are talking about the fact that a 1911 will not fire if the muzzle is pushed back. To tell you the truth, I did not think of attempting that with the LDA. I will get you an answer though.

John R said...

Doubletapper; I sure hope you can make it to Phoenix next year.

John R said...

And Senior Big Gay Al; I hear ya. I am a big fan of the single action of a true 1911, but this LDA trigger was pretty nice.

Ride Fast said...

Thought as much (about CC). Thanks!