While I’m not fanatical about the 1911 pistol, I am a fan.  I carried a steel framed Colt.45 Commander™ as a duty pistol for a short time at my first law enforcement position back in the 80’s.  While on the Metropolitan Enforcement Group drug unit, I carried a Star PD .45, the first compact, lightweight 1911-style pistol on the market, as a duty pistol while working undercover.  Later, I carried a Colt 1991A1 steel frame Commander .45 as a duty pistol for several years.  Currently, my pet 1911 is a Kimber Custom Eclipse II™ in 10mm.  I am still packing the vintage 1911A1 I wrote about in a previous edition of CCR.  With the introduction of the METROARMS American Classic .45, I may have to make permanent room in my gun safe for yet another 1911.

METROARMS firearms are made in Manila, Philippines.  It wasn’t until a recent writer’s conference that I was given an opportunity to work with Filipino made firearms. Due to that exposure, the early skepticism I had about Filipino quality soon evaporated.  Depending on the manufacturer, you can get a very nice firearm at about half the price you would normally expect to pay for a similar product manufactured stateside.  And while I strongly support buying American, there isn’t any reason that someone who can’t afford a $1200 American-made 1911 should deny themselves a $600 version with the same features.

The American Classic II is an upgraded version of the base model American Classic 1911.  For $600, you get a full-size forged 4140 steel 1911 available in .45 ACP or 9mm, with front and rear cocking serrations, extended slide release and safety, skeletonized hammer and trigger, extended beavertail type grip safety with “memory type” bump, straight grooved back strap, flared ejection port, Novak style three dot sights, nicely polished and throated feed ramp and chamber, standard recoil spring guide, one seven round blued steel magazine with slam pad, and last but not least, a pair of nicely snakeskin checkered wood grips. (Say all that in one breath!)

Before you decide to carry a pistol, you need to take it out and shoot with it.  I think this is especially true for any 1911 pistol (a design that is 102-years-old).  In our modern hollow point era, your 1911 may need just a bit of trigger time in order to ensure that it runs with your ammo of choice.  This certainly isn’t a knock on the 1911 or to those who carry them; it’s just a fact of life I have experienced firsthand.  1911’s have a lot to offer.  They have big, powerful bullets that hit their targets accurately, and they conceal well, even in their full size versions.  You just need to make sure your 1911 runs properly with your defensive ammo of choice.

When I tested the American Classic II, I had time to run 100 rounds through it.  I started out with some older Speer Gold Dot™ 185 grain JHP loads (our former duty load at Union County), some Hornady XTP ™ 200 grain +P hollowpoints, Pierce Performance Ammunition 230 grain JHP loads, Federal 230 grain FMJ, and some of the last of my stash of Winchester 230 grain Black Talon™ loads.  While I had Wilson Combat eight round stainless steel magazines available, I decided to fire all rounds from the Italian ACT-MAG supplied with the American Classic since I was unfamiliar with the brand.

There were some initial instances of failure to go into battery firing the older, stubby style Gold Dot ammo, as well as the newer Pierce Performance ammo.  Bumping the back of the slide returned the pistol to battery. These failures happened four times, and then stopped as the pistol was “shot in.”  The Federal Ball ammo performed flawlessly, as did the Winchester Black Talon loads.  The Black Talon ammo also proved to be the most accurate, punching multiple rounds through the same center hole at 21 feet.  Normally I don’t do this, but I did strip and clean the gun before the test fire.  It was shipped heavily oiled to protect its blued finish.  It didn’t take long for the American Classic to hum along nicely.

Whether you’re on a tight budget or not, the American Classic II 1911 is a great gun for self-defense, concealed carry, target shooting, or plinking.

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