Ithaca Gun Company’s Precision 1911 .45

Ithaca Gun Company’s Precision 1911 .45

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.

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29 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. Super all around – sure glad that they are back in business!
    Wonderful news – made this old gunsmith smile!!!

  2. What a surprise to know that Ithaca Gun is still in business. I used to drive past the plant in Ithaca every day to work at Cornell. Then to find that it had moved to Ohio was another surprise. I moved to Ithaca from Toledo, Ohio.

  3. Read the article about the new Ithica 1911 pistol and was all excited until I saw the price. WOW.
    Anti gun laws woun’t be needed as the prices on most guns and all ammo are becomming out of reach of the ordinary worker and senior retired persons.
    RC Mammen

    1. That’s right, they need to move out of New York and lower their prices.

      1. They have been in Ohio since 2005.

      1. Read the last sentence in the write up.

  4. Just bragging a little, I own a original US Army 194? Ithaca 1911A1 and it is a fine shooter.

    1. Me, too! I was lucky enough to find a collectible (appears unfired) of the same vintage… no shooting it for me, unless…
      Anyway, it cost less than the new ones. Guess I was pretty lucky after all.

  5. Wish I could afford one of these, but they’re more than my monthly disability check of $1120.60. Is there anything comparable at a lower cost ?

    1. I purchased a America Classic “Commander” a few months ago for $650.00. It feels as tight as a Remmington 1911 for a lot less. Check it out and compare for yourself. Also it has a lifetime warrenty.

    2. earlier this year I bought a Turkish made Tisas 1911 A1 – very tight and nicely manufactured … solid gun … got it for $399 at …. Has never malfunctioned and is as accurate as anything

    3. The lowest priced 1911 out there is made by Rock Island and sells for about $500.00. Not a bad gun by any means. I would suggest getting one of those 80% frames, do the paperwork for the federal government, then find a friend with a milling machine to complete the frame. It is easier than you think.The rest is buying all the other parts for about $200.00 to $250.00. Just put it into a search engine and call it “80 percent 1911″ and they will pop up.

    4. Check out Rock Island Armory. They are made in the Philippines, but are very well made and shoot well. I got mine with skeletonized trigger and hammer, ambi-safety and Novak style sites for less than $500.

      Not “Made in the USA”, but they are fine pistols. And Armscor (the parent company) is doing a lot more of their manufacturing in the US.

  6. My first gun was an Ithicagun. A nice shooting little .22 single shot lever. Can’t wait to make my next gun an Ithica .45! Probably going to take more than one dinner and bouquet for my wife though. Might have to spring for some syrah too!

  7. I went on a tour of the Ithaca plant in Upper Sandusky. I live close. After seeing the 1911’s made and the craftsmanship being performed I had to have one and one of their earliest. I fired the first six shots at a chunk of wood aiming at the pith center offhand at 21 feet. I ended up with 3 holes that I covered with a silver dollar. Could have used a 50 cent piece. When I later split that chunk of wood I have 4 slugs stacked and welded together. Gun was pricy but well worth it and worth the wait to get it.

  8. I bought my first Ithaca gun in Japan, in 1966 while in the USAF. It was an Ithaca SKB, 12 ga., over/under with modified cylinders (Skeet gun), with 26″ barrels. What a beauty. I had it silver inlaid on the action (duck and pheasant), and scroll work on the action and trigger guard. I watched the little old Japanese gun smith with a chisel and small hammer hand engrave that gun. It cost me $118.00 and $50 for the silver inlay and engraving. Today it’s worth about $4500!

  9. love to have this gun to go with my others,but i want as long as this co. is in new york

  10. For a well made 1911 at an affordable price, don’t overlook Armscor out of the Philippines. Same kind of tight fit using modern equipment.

  11. I have a 1944 Ithica 1911. It was my grandfathers. I’ve had some work done on it shoot it/carry it today.

  12. Thanks’ again Scott for another awesome Gun Review , and it look’s like Ithaca has done their homework on this 1911 , I am a 1911 Freak and this really look’s and sound’s like a nice Firearm at a good price range , to me I like the full size over all the choped up 1911’s that was the orignal design was a full size and they just function better cycle better I may end up with this Ithaca 45 ACP to add to all my other 1911 ‘s and trust me I have a collection of them Thanks again for this Great Review –Jeff Hayden

  13. Hope they make it in 22, 9mm, 10mm, 40 & 45 ACP. I have a Les Baer in 45 ACP and love it.

  14. Maybe a little later after some practice producing this pistol. Ithaca will decide to make the WWII style U.S. Army 1911A1 .45 exactly as it once did. It’s a possibility. If you’d like to see a WWII style 1911A1 from Ithaca ,write Ithaca and let them know.

    1. Ithaca had a fifty-unit run of MIL SPEC 1911’s very early on, several of which were retained so I understand for company personnel. I was able to acquire one from an Ithaca stocking dealer. Unique, but not as nice/practical as the regular production units.

  15. I love good 1911’s but, when are we going to see some reasonable prices? $1800? I’m sure it’s a great piece but, I’m thinking I could get a nice basic Kimber and a Glock 30s with some cash left over for extra magazines, holsters and even some ammo for the same price. You’d think with such a basic 100 year old design that by now we’d be able to churn out reliable 1911’s at $800 a pop. At the very least.

  16. I picked up a used one with one mag and no box for $1000.00. It had some holster wear but is in excellent condition. It is getting ceracoated now and a solid short trigger. It is a great 1911.

  17. I wish you would make an exact repro of the WWII model. I have always wanted one.
    I am originally from W. Danby, just south of Ithaca. Many friends and neighbors were employed at Ithaca Gun Co. During and after WWII. Our neighbor, across the street was an inspector.
    I believe the factory building is still there. I think it would be a great tribute to make it a museum and tell the story of the fine Ithaca Guns.

  18. How the heck the working stiff afford one

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