The rebirth of the Ithaca Gun Company is nothing short of a modern day manufacturing miracle. So many other once successful gun companies that went under at one time or another experienced new buyers who had hoped to revive those brands. Very few have succeeded, many have not. Ithaca is one of those few big success stories.
The original Ithaca Gun Company was located in Ithaca, NY. The new Ithaca Gun Company was re-born several years ago in Upper Sandusky, Ohio with new owners investing in the latest in CNC machining, while maintaining old school standards of quality. This has meant that older, more complex gun designs, such as the Ithaca M37 shotgun, could be produced at not only a cost competitive with more modern designs, but with a level of precision not possible using traditional machining methods.
Ithaca recently applied their modern manufacturing process to the 1911 .45 Automatic pistol for the hundredth anniversary of the military adoption of the original Colt .45. I was very excited by this news because Ithaca had been a well-known emergency manufacturer of the 1911 design during WWII. While the absolutely original WWII style 1911 I had hoped for from Ithaca was not to be, I must say I was NOT disappointed by the final product, and those of you interested in a semi-custom, made-in-USA 1911 for carry or duty use, should take note of the Ithaca pistol line.
I was very impressed by the first of the Ithaca 1911’s that came off the line back in 2011. I am even more impressed with this latest version, and I can tell you some upper tier members of law enforcement are also taking note of this excellent combat pistol.
In evaluating a pistol like this, I like to base my evaluation of it on one factor that I learned after starting an aircraft assault/hostage rescue training program here in Ohio. That one factor is actually a question. The question is: would I trust this gun as a hostage rescue pistol? A gun that could be relied upon to take a shot on a hostage taker — if the bearer of the pistol was up to the task — and do the job without fail. Here is a pistol that meets that requirement.
Currently, Ithaca is only manufacturing full size variations of the 1911A1, in a solid, all-carbon steel format. While CNC machining is used in a big way, the slide and frame are hand-lapped to insure a tight, yet functional fit. Some custom designs are so tightly fit, that it sometimes takes more strength to cycle the slide and chamber a round than smaller statured people would have. Not so with the Ithaca 1911 — cycling of the Ithaca, while tight, can be accomplished by nearly any shooter capable of handling a 1911 .45.
The front strap and the flat mainspring housing are both checkered in a 22 line-per-inch style that provides a positive gripping surface without adding discomfort while firing. The grip safety is an upswept beavertail style that prevents the skeletonized tool steel hammer from biting the web of the hand and the grip safety and slide release are extended. The grooved magazine release is easily accessed with the shooting hand thumb. The steel parts are finished in a rust resistant black matte — perfect for long term concealed carry. There are (thankfully) only rear cocking serrations. Sights as requested were fully adjustable plain black Novak style combat sights. A two piece stainless steel guide rod with plug is used, and an Allen wrench is needed for takedown.
I requested G10 grips on my test gun. If you have never tried G10 grips, you should. They really feel like they are gripping the hand, and not vice versa. The tacky feel helps keep the gun in your hand if your grip becomes wet, sweaty or in the extreme, bloody. G10 done in this style feels like it should hurt when fired — it doesn’t. The color of the grips are a nice multi-hued, subdued gray.
I did a quick test using an old box of PMC® 230 grain ball ammo, and a new box of Winchester® Ranger T-Series™ 230 grain law enforcement hollow point ammo. In this brief test, functioning was flawless and accuracy was outstanding. If you are looking for a very special home defense, carry, law enforcement or competition .45, look no farther than the Ithaca 1911. Prices start at $1799. You won’t be disappointed.