1911 pistol has served well for nearly one hundred years, and
remains at the top of the heap in the hearts and minds of
dedicated handgunners. Some truly need a defensive weapon, and I
was once one of those. Today, that need is less apparent but I
earnestly exercise my right to keep and bear arms and to be
armed. I also test handguns to the Nth degree. I have to admit
that the modern 1911 is a much more highly developed pistol that
the one that fought in two great wars, or even the pistols that
fought a decade ago. Great advancements have been made. After a
considerable error in judgment, the United States Armed Forces
will once more be armed with the .45 caliber pistol in the near
future, almost certainly some form of 1911 pistol. This pistol
may not be as tight as some commercial 1911 pistols, but then we
can have a target pistol or a service pistol. The Army needs a
service pistol. The piece should be field stripped by hand, not
desiring a tool of any type for this chore. All the pistols
should be identical, with the ability to use the others' parts
without fitting. This means throw the disassembled pistols in a
barrel for cleaning, put them together, and go shooting. I think
perhaps the Europeans, with their pistols using carefully
matched serial numbers on the major parts, just didn’t get it.
And their pistols are not as reliable as ours.
But that is the deal with service pistols. When
it comes to a personal pistol, tightly fitted pistols can
surprise you with their accuracy, and reliability is just fine.
As long as you do not drop them in a muddy creek or allow them
to become clogged with vegetation you will be fine. If you do
not clean the pistol it will become clogged with powder as
surely as a carpetbagger gets plugged up during the Carolina
pollen season. I felt perfectly secure in using a super tight
lock up in the latest 1911 worked up on the bench. The pistol
was assembled from parts ordered from the pages of Shotgun
News, with two exceptions. The first exception is that the
piece is fitted with Kim Ahrends tactical grip panels.
There is nothing more subtle than a good set of grip panels.
First, the 1911 allows quite a bit of leeway in accessories. The
"Mister Potato Head" of pistols, the 1911 is fertile
ground for modification. The slim grip panels of the original
are ok in most regards, particularly when checkered. But the
Ahrends grips are a development that gives ideal service. The
bottom quadrant of the grips are checkered for good purchase
when firing, in exactly the correct area to do the most good.
But the smooth upper component allows the hand to quickly move
to the checkered component or adjust the grip after the piece is
in hand. If the reverse were the correct course, with the
checkering on top of the grip, then Ahrends would have done just
that. He did not. The present style and execution of the grip
panels are ideal for all around use. They are not so raspy they
may produce excess wear on clothing in concealed carry, but
offer a firm hand weld when firing heavy loads.
second addition to the piece was added at the insistence of my
friends at Cyotee Custom. This is Trijicon night
sights. A fighting pistol should offer a twenty four hour
sighting system, and this means self luminous iron sights. Night
sights consist of a glass vial filled with radioactive tritium.
These tubes are shock mounted in rubber in iron sights. The glow
you see is your own personal radioactive furnace. There are
quite a few configurations, but the standard three dot style is
acceptable. The fitting of the sights is flawless and with the
proper height ordered, the pistol was spot on when fired for
One may expect the trigger action would be light
and crisp. It is actually heavy at five pounds, but I may get to
that later. The news is the finish. Most shooters do not
maintain their pistols properly. A high grade finish does not
alleviate that responsibility, but it gives the option of having
greater confidence in the pistol's ability to survive in a harsh
environment. Cyotee Custom is a new player but talented. The
pistol was treated to a two tone ceramic base finish. This
finish is functional and has that certain look that I like if I
cannot explain why. Beginning with my first sight of a red and
black Buick Roadmaster, I have liked two tone paint schemes.
This finish has several compelling advantages beyond the visual
The finish has high hardness. Those of us who
practice rapid draws from tightly fitted leather will
appreciated this low wear advantage. But the finish also has low
friction. Finally, the scientific description of the finish
adhesion to metal is that of ‘intimate bond’. The finish
also has the corrosion resistance we demand of a space age
I took the finish to the test, holstering and
drawing the piece 500 times from a variety of Don Hume
holsters, mostly the 721 type.
The 721 features an accessible thumb break and a speed
cut in the front, making this holster among the fastest and most
secure holsters for plainclothes officers. A good sharp ten
draws a day is a good practice regimen, but I doubled and
sometimes trebled the regimen to test the Cyotee finish. There
is not wear of any type. Remember, that is five hundred in and
five hundred out, plus incidental wear in daily carry.
The Cyotee finish gets high marks - and it is
This pistol features a 18.5 pound WC Wolff
recoil spring, a Clark Custom Guns guide rod, and a Wilson
Combat Shock Buff. (Do not fit a shock buff to an original
GI type intended for defense use. The pistol will not allow the
slide to be racked sufficiently to the rear to clear a dud
cartridge in case of a malfunction. The slide window is large
enough to eject spent cases, but when travel is proscribed by
the shock buff, the piece cannot fully eject a loaded round
without dropping the magazine and angling the cartridge down. )
I have fired the piece with a number of very interesting loads,
all with perfect function. Among the outstanding loads tested
are the near .45 Super loads from Buffalo Bore. Featuring
the Gold Dot bullet, these loadings bridge the narrow gap
between +P .45 ACP loadings and standard .45 Super loads. They
are perfectly acceptable in a properly set up 1911. The Cyotee
custom pistol performed quite well, largely due to a tight lock
up and excellent sights. The Buffalo Bore 185 grain +P load not
only broke well over 1170 fps, but five shots from a careful
bench rest into a group measuring one and one quarter inch from
center to center of the most widely dispersed bullet holes.
While the pistol is quite well made and tightly put together,
not every manufacturer’s ammunition will equal these results.
The 230 grain JHP was practically as accurate, with a bit more
of a smack in the palm of the hand.
Moving to personal handloads, I elected to use a
load that has proven mighty accurate in good tight 1911s. This
is a maximum load, using 7.2 (Seven point two/seven and two
tenths) grains of Alliant Unique
powder. The projectile is the Hornady XTP, a bullet that
features a long bearing surface. Well balanced and accurate, the
XTP is a good choice for a heavy duty loading. This loading
breaks 920 fps from the Cyotee custom pistol according to the Competition
Electronics chronograph. Accuracy was good, about one and
three quarters inch at seventy five feet for five rounds. My
favorite heavy duty handload, it gives up little in performance
to the Buffalo Bore load. But, I will admit a high grade custom
maker has done a better job than I in producing top end
ammunition. Buffalo Bore offers first class products.
Handloading is time consuming and high end
custom ammunition comparatively expensive, so we wish to isolate
an inexpensive loading that gives good results in practice. Wolf
Ammunition has recently introduced both brass cased and
polymer coated brass case loads. Performance has been good, with
no misfires. The ammunition is designed with feed reliability
first in mind. I tested a number of the new 185 grain JHP load
with good results. Five shot twenty five yard groups are about
three inches to a little less, about what I expect from my bulk
handloads using FMJ bullets. This is a good resource, especially
for combat practice at moderate range. At twenty one feet,
average combat range, this load will cut one ragged hole. I was
a little surprised the milder 185 grain load functioned with one
hundred per cent reliability, but this is a bonus. The heavy
springs reduce wear with the 230 grain hardball load but allow
the use of a standard 185 grain JHP as well - and function fine
with the Buffalo Bore loads. The combination of a Clark Guide
rod and WC Wolff spring is a good one.
During the test program I used a variety of
magazines. Some were chosen for economy and others for
performance. The Wilson Combat magazine presents the bullet nose
more into the chamber than onto the feed ramp, enhancing feed
reliability with both older style pistols and the newest custom
pistol. I am certain the Wilson Combat magazines were a
significant contribution to the overall reliability of the
I am well pleased with every aspect of this
pistol. I may address the trigger action at a later date. I can
wrestle a heavy trigger off the bench but in off hand fire I am
certain a smoother trigger would be more manageable.
This is a fine 1911, with good sights and other
good features, but the finish is the big story. Cyotee Custom is
a new operation but the finish is professional, with attention
to detail that shows. The sight installation by this job is
flawless. Overall, good work and attention to detail on a custom
pistol. More than just a custom pistol, this is a
The pistol was pretty ugly before, although it was assembled and
fitted properly. This
is a case of Grandma getting a facelift and new teeth as well.
It is dynamite on good looks and long wear. We all need a little
show, but this pistol isn’t like your high school girlfriend,
all show and no go. It will get down with the best of them. I
have been brash enough for fire over 1,000 rounds of full power
ammunition in the piece without cleaning. The finish requires at
best a good wipe and it is good to go.
a good example of the 1911 and a well turned out pistol.
web site will be up soon at www.cyoteecustom.com,
or you can Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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