Manufacturing Co., LLC is a sister company of Connecticut
Shotgun Manufacturing Co. For those who are unfamiliar with
Connecticut Shotgun, they are makers of high-end double-barrel
shotguns for the discriminating (i.e., well-heeled) aficionado
of the finest traditional double guns ever produced. Connecticut
Shotgun was established in 1975, to cater to shotgunners who
appreciate only the finest, those avid sportsmen who think
nothing of spending five figures for the perfect gun; they
currently manufacture guns of many familiar brands, such as A.
H. Fox, Parker, A. Galazan, RBL, Inverness, Revelation, and
Standard Manufacturing has been in operation
since 2014, as the brainchild of Lou Frutuoso. We first became
aware of Standard Manufacturing in about 2015, when we heard of
their Single Action Army revolvers; we sixgunners were still
reeling at the time from the loss of U.S. Firearms (USFA), who
were making such
wonderful sixguns that even Colt had to up their game in
order to compete. The mechanics, fit, and finish of USFA sixguns
were legendary among sixgunners, and their value continues to
spiral upwards on the collector market; I myself am lucky enough
to own a good number of USFA sixguns, and I was very excited to
hear that a company called Standard Manufacturing was set to
fill the void left by USFA's demise. When we first met Lou
Frutuoso at the 2015 SHOT Show,
he had with him some samples of their SAA sixguns, and we were
not disappointed; they were beautifully made, with great
attention given to the smallest detail, and we wished Lou much
luck in getting his endeavor off the ground.
Since that time, we have had the opportunity
to test several Standard Manufacturing products: their DP-12
Pump-Action Double-Barreled 12 Gauge Shotgun in 2015; their AR
rifles in 5.56 NATO and 300 Blackout in 2016; and their SKO
Shorty 12 Gauge Semi-Auto Shotgun in 2018.
By the time the 2017
SHOT Show rolled around, Standard Manufacturing had set up a
trailer at SHOT's "Industry Day
at the Range", where we got to handle (but not yet
shoot) some of Standard Manufacturing's SAA sixguns, and we got
our first look at their equally-exquisite 1911 pistols. By the 2019
SHOT Show, Standard Manufacturing had increased their
production across the line to the point where the 1911s were finally
starting to get out there, and Jeff made it clear to Lou that we
really REALLY wanted to have a go at one. We finally got one in
for testing later that year, but Jeff was in failing health by
that time, and never got around to shooting it before he passed
away in July 2020. I finally rectified this, and discovered
that, as beautiful as the Standard Manufacturing 1911 is, it
shoots just as well as it looks. This is one IMPRESSIVE pistol;
even those to whom I have shown it who know little of such
things were impressed by its beauty and its solid feel of
To begin at the beginning, each Standard
Manufacturing 1911 pistol is machined from forged 4140 carbon
steel; no cast or MIM parts are used in Standard Manufacturing's
production. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with
cast parts, as cast parts have proven themselves over many
years, but to those who appreciate the traditional manufacturing
methods, only forged parts will suffice.
Standard Manufacturing fits these forged
parts together perfectly. Slide-to-frame, barrel-to-frame, and
barrel-to-slide fit is very tight, with no vertical or lateral
play anywhere, and the parts are hand-fitted to reduce friction,
thus optimizing reliability. Speaking of which, reliability was
100%, with zero malfunctions of any kind using a wide variety of
ammunition types, from GI-spec "Ball" FMJ (Full Metal
Jacket) ammo, to factory JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) ammo, to
cast semi-wadcutter handloads.
Machining and finishing on all parts is
impeccable; all flat surfaces are perfectly flat, with no
ripples, machine marks or polishing imperfections.
Standard Manufacturing offers their 1911
pistols in several finishes: blued, nickel plated, and color
case-hardened (CCH), with Master-grade hand-engraving available
on the blued & CCH versions. The non-engraved blued version
as tested is their base model, but there is nothing
"base" about the finish on this pistol. The polishing
is executed flawlessly, and the bluing is Standard
Manufacturing's "Royal Blue"; the quality of the
bluing and the level of polish rivals the Royal Blue finish that
Colt made famous in their heyday prior to the Second World War.
This pistol is impeccably finished, but it is as functional as a
modern-day defensive tool as it is a work of art. While it is
crafted in the finest old-school tradition, it incorporates all
the modern design touches that are desirable in a modern pistol.
The 1911's frame is checkered on the front of
the grip at 25 LPI (Lines Per Inch), and the flat mainspring
housing is similarly checkered at 25 LPI. Coupled with the
Rosewood Double-Diamond standard-thickness grip panels, this
checkering assures that the pistol will not shift around in the
hand under recoil; once achieved, a proper grip on this pistol
is easy to maintain, even in cold or wet conditions. A 45 ACP
pistol can move around quite a bit under recoil, and stressful
situations only exacerbate this tendency. It is important that
handling a pistol is not like handling a wet bar of soap, and
such treatment of the frame is the only type of "gun
control" we should ever have to discuss. The
magazine well is very slightly beveled; just enough to make
magazine changes quick and easy, but not so much that the
shooter's whole hand gets sucked up in there.
The grip safety features a graceful upswept
beavertail with a generous "memory bump", which allows
the shooter's hand to properly "ride" the thumb safety
during firing while positively engaging the grip safety. Many
shooters, myself included, often have trouble achieving complete
depression of the grip safety with the thumb resting on the
thumb safety, and this bump on the grip safety effectively
eliminates that problem.
The hammer is of a skeletonized rowel-type
design that nestles comfortably into the upswept beavertail, and
I cannot imagine a hand so large that it would find itself
pinched using this arrangement.
The trigger is a medium-length blackened
aluminum unit, which is just the right length to allow optimum
length of pull for most shooters, and has a smooth
"combat-style" face. While Standard Manufacturing's
web site specifies the trigger pull at 4.5 pounds, the trigger
on my example broke very crisply and cleanly at 2 pounds, 12.9 ounces
average, as measured on my Lyman
Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge. This is as good a
1911 trigger as I have ever felt, even on pistols costing far
more than the Standard Manufacturing 1911.
The sights are what Standard Manufacturing
calls "High Profile, Low-Mount Tactical Sights". The
rear sight is low-mounted, drift-adjustable for windage, secured
with a set screw at the top, and features a ledge to aid in
racking the slide one-handed should the need arise. The front
sight is high-visibility, also drift-adjustable for windage,
with an almost-vertical rear face. The rear faces of both the
front and the rear sight are serrated to reduce glare, and offer
a very quick and easy-to-acquire sight picture in a wide variety
of lighting conditions.
The magazine release button is extended and
finely checkered, very easy to find with the thumb (or, for
left-handed shooters, the index finger). The right-hand-only
thumb safety is extended, and grooved on top for ease of use.
The slide stop is of the familiar 1911 pattern, and is similarly
grooved on top.
A classic and subtly beautiful touch on this
example is the finish of the small parts: the thumb safety,
slide release, magazine release, and grip screws are finished in
Nitre Blue. Also known as "Fire Blue", Nitre Blue is a
very old style of bluing, whereby the parts are bathed in a
solution of sodium and potassium nitrates and precisely heated.
This style of bluing is seldom seen these days; it yields a
distinctive and vibrant blue color, which contrasts beautifully
with the deep Royal Blue of the rest of the pistol. While this
bluing treatment adds nothing to the functionality of the
pistol, the aesthetic touch it adds makes it, to me, well worth
the $89.99 upcharge. After all, especially given the extraordinary
finish of the rest of the pistol, who says one can't add a bit
of flash at a modest cost?
Another aesthetic touch that adds nothing to
the pistol's performance, but is indicative of the level of
craftsmanship involved, is that the screws are
"Regulated". For those who are unfamiliar with the
term, Regulated Gun Screws simply means that the screw slots all
point in the same direction. While this definition is very
simple, the act of achieving this regulation is anything but,
requiring the utmost skill and precision relating to the screws'
length and cutting. On the Standard Manufacturing 1911, the grip
screws and magazine release screw are all oriented along the
vertical angle of the grip axis. Regulated Screws are a hallmark
of old-school Best-Quality guns, and are often seen on high-end
double guns; such details reflect the extreme quality of the
Standard Manufacturing 1911, and reflect Standard
Manufacturing's relationship to Connecticut Shotgun.
Specifications - Standard Manufacturing
|Frame / Slide
||4140 Carbon Steel, CNC Machined from Forgings; Lowered and Flared Ejection Port and Rear Slide Serrations; Enhanced Slide to Frame Fit; Front of Frame (Grip) Checkered 25 LPI
||5 inch Stainless Steel Match Grade, Match Bushing
||High Profile, Low-Mount Tactical Sights
||Medium Solid Match Grade Trigger, Factory Spec Trigger Pull 4.5 pounds
|Average Trigger Pull, As
||2 pounds, 12.9 ounces
||Up-Swept Beavertail with
||Flat, Checkered 25 LPI
|Thumb Safety / Slide
||Fully Machined, Extended Tactical
||Rosewood Double Diamond
|MSRP, as of February
||$1,299.00 US (Base Pistol)
Upcharge for Nitre Blue (Fire Blue) Slide Stop & Wide Extended Safety Kit: $89.99
|Total MSRP, As Tested
As a "1911 Guy", when it came to
choosing a holster for the Standard Manufacturing pistol, I had
a number of choices available. Among these are appropriately
fancy rigs for a pistol of such splendor as this, but I opted
for a more practical solution, as befits a "usin'
pistol". The DEFCON
3 holster from my pal Rob Leahy at Simply
Rugged Holsters is a wonderful holster for defensive use; it
holds the gun high and tight on the belt, making it easy to
conceal, and the belt slots allow for either conventional or
cross-draw carry. Although designed for belt carry, the DEFCON 3
is equally at home on my all-time favorite chest rig, the Simply
Rugged Chesty Puller Suspension System. The Chesty Puller
rig was designed by Rob Leahy when he was living in Alaska, and
saw the need for a rig that would allow one's hands to be free,
with the pistol within easy reach, for such occasions as when
one is fishing hip-deep in water with both hands occupied by a
fly rod or such, and a bear emerges from the woods in a bad
mood. The Chesty Puller is very versatile by virtue of being
able to mount any Pancake-style holster, and it is also easily
adaptable for nearly any belt holster by the use of Simply
Rugged's Conventional Adapter, making the Chesty Puller a
perfect solution for those needing a chest-carry rig. I find the
Chesty Puller system to be the most comfortable, versatile, and
cost-effective chest holster system available.
As one might expect, shooting the Standard
Manufacturing 1911 was a great pleasure, and just plain FUN. I
consider the ergonomics of John Browning's design to be unparalleled,
and the subsequent enhancements made to the original design only
serve to make the pistol even easier to shoot, and shoot well.
The Standard Manufacturing 1911 is not only a thing of beauty, a
shining example of the gun maker's art; it is a functional
defensive tool that would serve one well in a number of
Life-or-Death applications. This is a piece of art that could
save your life, and I can think of no higher calling for an
Check out the fine offerings from Standard manufacturing:
To Buy Standard Manufacturing Products Online, Click on the GUN GENIE at Davidson's Gallery of Guns:
Buy Ammo Online at Lucky Gunner: www.luckygunner.com.
Connecticut Shotgun: www.connecticutshotgun.co.
Lyman Products: www.lymanproducts.com.
Double Tap Ammo: www.doubletapammo.com.
Armscor Ammo: www.armscor.com.
Federal Premium Ammo: www.federalpremium.com.
Simply Rugged Holsters: www.simplyrugged.com.
The Shootists: www.shootists.org.
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