April 2003

Philippine 1911s: Do Foreign .45s Compare To A Big-Name Pistol?

Three Armscor guns, the $350 Twin Pines, the $475 1911A1, and the $800 Medallion, try to compete against S&Ws new $900 .45 ACP and we think they come up short.

Today, the consumer has more sidearms to choose from than ever before. Manufacturers have greater technical, metallurgical, and mechanical capabilities than ever before. A wider variety of effective firing systems have been developed over the last half century alone than perhaps in all the years prior. (Not to mention alternative materials such as polymer and titanium.) But which firearm do the majority of competitors prefer, and which system is making a comeback in the elite forces of the military? The Browning-based 1911 pistol. Perhaps this is why Smith & Wesson has decided to enter the 1911 sweepstakes with a just-introduced gun, the SW1911 No. 108282, a 5-inch 8+1 stainless single action that lists for $895.

Another reason must be the desire to recapture markets that S&W previously dominated with wheelguns, such as law enforcement. When the world of blue went to the semi-automatic pistol, the company’s pistols were competitive, but they’ve recently disappeared from the holsters of many departments. The SW1911 will obviously seek to reverse that trend.

But there are plenty of other 1911 makers looking for a spot in the market. For example, we’ve been charting the progress of various firearms from Philippines-based Armscor. Though we have recommended some Armscor products, such as some self-defense shotguns in the May 2002 issue, the company’s 1911-style pistols have not been completely satisfactory, in our view.

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