Shortly after the adoption of
the 1911 pistol by the United States Army, other nations began
to look hard at our service pistol. The 1911 stood alone- and
still does. Here was a semi auto of undeniably robust
construction, proven in hard testing against all competition.
The 1911 chambered a fight stopping cartridge in a semi
auto action. Only
the unsuccessful Webley .455 offered this combination,
and the Webley was ungainly to say the least.
A combination of a low bore axis, excellent human
engineering, and the ability to quickly replenish the ammunition
supply placed the Colt head and shoulders above all others. Not
inconsiderably, the 1911 was among the first service handguns to
enclose the barrel and inner workings of the piece.
The Norwegian armed forces
adopted a license built 1911 as their own 1912, but that is
another story. In Mexico, the Mondragon .45 auto featured
a rotating barrel. (Mondragon was a brilliant and largely
unheralded designer. ) The
Argentine military took a look at the 1911 and elected to obtain
a license to manufacture the pistol in their own country. Some
were purchased from Colt but the majority of Argentine
pistols are manufactured by F M A P,
a respected company that produces the modern, high
quality FM High Power pistols.
The original Modelo 1916 is simply a 1911 type. It is
seldom seen on these shores. The Modelo 1927 incorporated all
1911A1 improvements. This included improved sights, slash cuts in the frame for improved trigger reach,
an arched mainspring housing and a short trigger.
The Modelo 1927 is comparable to the 1911A1 and parts
interchangeability is generally good, with the warning that all
1911s require some hand fitting.
My experience with the Modelo
1927 is limited to three pistols, but the experience is good.
There are pitfalls in the pistol, and I think that these
must be discussed. But the gun is a good solid 1911 as long as
the particulars of the handgun are understood. These handguns
have been imported at various times as the Argentine military
replaced their aging .45s with modern 1911s.
This simply proves they are no smarter than we, although
they did adopt a High Power type 9mm I prefer to the Beretta
pistol. Lets look
at the 1927s I have encountered and their performance. This will
be a gauge for the buyer interested in such a handgun. I hope
collectors don’t spoil this market. 1927s have been
inexpensive in the past, but with the supply probably drying up
I suppose someone will yell scarce in the near future. This is
fine if you have your guns but not so fine if you are looking
for a gun. As a
shooter, the Rock Island Armory pistols are a better
choice in the price range but there is something about old
steel, especially a .45 auto, that some of us like.
Remember, these handguns may
have been heavily used and perhaps even harshly abused. Some
will show wear, while others will be arsenal refinished.
A check of the pistol is in order. Before purchasing a
1911 ( we call them all 1911s, but they are 1911A1s) it is good
to familiarize yourself with the operating procedure. Always
check to be certain the handgun is unloaded, and this means
triple checking the magazine and chamber. Set the magazine aside
and lock the safety in the "on" position, being
certain that it operates properly. With the safety on, press the
trigger hard. Then release the safety. The hammer should not
fall. Next, with the safety off,
move your hand from the grip safety and attempt to press
the trigger. The hammer should not fall. Press the slide
slightly to the rear, brining the pistol out of battery, and
attempt to press the trigger and lower the hammer. The hammer
should not fall.
My first 1927 was an
attractive enough handgun, with a passing fair blue finish. The
plastic grips have a brown tone and seem to be new production.
The pistol was supplied with an eight round magazine with a
buffer pad on the bottom. The trigger was heavy but clean at
just over six and one half pounds. Heavy even for a GI gun, but
I have seen worse. A
word on feed reliability - it is true the 1911 is intended to
feed only ball ammunition but if the magazine well is properly
squared in the frame and good quality magazines are used, the
pistol will often feed hollow point ammunition.
I found that the supplied
magazine was not feed reliable. Sometimes it would fail to feed
the first round, other times the last. It is asking a lot for an
eight round magazine to feed from full compression on the first
cartridge to almost none on the second, and I lay the eight
round magazine aside. I have a considerable assortment of Metalform
magazines and used these in further testing. The Metalform is a
first class magazine, with good construction and a feed angle
far superior to the GI types. The Metalform feeds the bullet
nose more into the chamber than off the feed ramp.
Feed problems disappeared.
The pistol fed well with
several of my ‘proof loads’.
If the pistol will not feed these it is sick! I use the Oregon Trail / Laser Cast 230 grain round
nose lead bullet over a modest charge of
Universal Clays for about 800 fps as an economy
loading. Function is good.
I also used Fiocchi
230 grain ball ammunition. While affordable,
Fiocchi is quality ammunition that I trust as a carry
load in my personal handguns. The 1927 fed, chambered,
fired and ejected several hundred of these handloads.
Accuracy was on a par with the GI guns, four to six
inches at 25 yards for a five shot group. The heavy trigger and
small sights were a limiting factor.
The second and third 1927 were
much the same, with similar accuracy.
I adopted the best version as a truck and spelunking gun,
as it proved to have a nice five pound trigger.
However, this pistol gave the only problem encountered in
breaking in the three handguns. The original grips cracked when
firing the piece! Well, they were older than I and deserved to
give up I suppose. I elected to keep a pair of 1927s and do a
liberal upgrade to see just what the pistols were capable of. It
was a learning experience. While straightforward 1911 work, we
ran into a couple of roadblocks.
The easy gun was the first. I
sent the pistol to Dixie Shooter in Spartanburg SC for
ask for Jack) I
didn’t wish to see a GI finish
but a very nice reblue of the commercial type. The good people
at Dixie did a wonderful job.
I added Pachmayr rubber grips. If you choose to do
a lot of shooting, you may find that sharply checkered wooden
grips abrade your hand. The Pachmayr grips offer at least equal
adhesion to the palm but will never abrade your hand. The
Signature line also offers a steel insert. This adds weight,
keeping the balance of the pistol in the palm while offering a
margin of safety to the enthusiastic hand loader.
This pistol turned out well. It was not really a
restoration as the internal parts were OK but the pistol looked
better than when new! The
trigger was left at five pounds. While I do not feel undergunned
with hardball ammunition, I
would be behind the times indeed not to appreciate the effect of
a good expanding .45 caliber bullet. Some modern hollow points
will not feed in the GI type pistols. I found that the Fiocchi
230 grain JHP works well in these handguns. The Cullman,
Alabama-produced Zero hollow point is used in these
loads. Velocity is a little faster than some, at 870 fps, and
the bullet opens up well in my testing with a good balance of
expansion and penetration. With the new bright blue pistol with
its nice grips, sure I shot a little better.
The Fiocchi hollowpoint would break about four inches at
25 yards, but this is a close range fighter not a target pistol.
A 1911 can be pretty loose but
as long as the barrel lugs and bushing and tight it will deliver
good accuracy. I elected to build up a second 1927 in the format
so common in the 1970s, with a speed safety and high visibility
sights. However, I
ran into a snag with this pistol.
When attempting to perform a trigger job, I found the
internal parts harder than that of comparable Colts. The 1927 is
possibly made of denser alloy than the Colt, as the pistols
weigh an ounce more on average than the Colt version. After
managing to get a decent trigger action of four pounds, the
pistol’s hammer followed the slide when dropped on an empty
chamber. No, this is not good to do, but a test of the
durability of the trigger action. In the end I replaced the
internal parts with Ed Brown parts but this was a bit
more expense than I envisioned. Still, the only thing to do was
trash my mistake. Keep in mind I am a careful experimenter with
some experience. If you run into a similar situation,
replace the parts or contact a good gunsmith. If not, you
will regret your error. Not today or tomorrow perhaps but soon.
I cannot deny the quality of the Ed Brown parts--the
results were good. With
the Ed Brown sear and other internals, the pistol’s trigger
breaks at 3.5 pounds. Very, very nice and durable.
The Kings Gunworks in
California is famous for high quality 1911 parts. Their fixed
and extended safeties are simply first class.
The King’s Hardballer sight may not be a low profile,
but it gets the job done. A considerable advantage according to
some is that the King’s offers good purchase for catching on
the belt or a pocket if we need to clear a malfunction with one
hand! I also added
a King’s beavertail grip safety. This safety makes for more
rapid depression of the grip safety and also funnels the hand
into the grip efficiently. Moreover, the bore axis of the pistol
is lowered slightly by this grip safety. These advantages added
up to a very capable handgun. At the time, good 1927s were
available for less than three hundred dollars, and my
conservative dressing up of the .45 made sense. Even today, the
King’s parts modified 1927 is a formidable fighting handgun,
well suited to personal defense at moderate range.
Think about it- the only thing we may defer to in combat
effectiveness would be a more highly developed 1911. The final
addition to the pistol was a set of Prater grips.
Somehow, these modern plastic grips seemed to fit my 1970s
style. They are practically indestructible and while I chose an
inexpensive version, Prater
grips are available in several custom configurations.
Overall my experience with the
1927 pistols has been good. The denser metal and a propensity
for more difficult fitting are concerns, but nothing we cannot
get with and get over. The pistols are comparable to early Colts
in all regards but are much less expensive. Overall,
I am pleased with my examples and hope that the 1927 will
remain available at a reasonable price in the near future.
||Group (25 yards)
|Fiocchi 230 grain ball
230 grain JHP
|PMC Starfire 230 grain JHP
|Federal 230 grain Hydra Shock
|CCI Blazer 230 grain
*failed to feed properly,
bullet set back into case
Kings Gun Works, 1837
Glenoaks Blvd, Glendale Ca
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