January 2006

Small .45s for Concealed Carry: Light DA Versus Single Action

Para Ordnance scores a hit with its CCO LDA pistol, but a similar, previously tested DA gun sells for hundreds less. Springfield Armory’s Micro proves finicky with some test ammo.

A lot of shooters still like a small, concealable .45, but they wonder about simplicity in operation: i.e., should they stick with the tried-and-true single-action 1911 cocked-and-locked formula, or go to a double-action trigger? In this test we will look at two competing ways to conceal and deliver the .45 ACP using a smaller-sized handgun, and also see how two new guns stack up against a previously tested gun of similar size and operation.

Our fresh test products were the Springfield Armory Micro Compact LW Bi-Tone Operator, a traditional single-action 1911 greatly reduced in size from a full-size gun, $1,247. The second gun was a Para Ordnance CCO CWX745S, $1,049, a full-time double action.

We collected using a 15-yard sandbag rest, but we also tried rapid repeat fire to gauge how the guns would work straight out of the holster, looking in particular at how the difference in the triggers would affect accuracy, rapid fire capability, and safety. To test the guns, we shot self-defense loads from Winchester (185-grain FMJ and 230-grain SXT JHP rounds) and 200-grain TAP FPD hollowpoints from Hornady.

Also, we evaluated these products from a historical perspective, gauging how they fared against a top-ranked gun we’ve already tested and liked. If the new guns offer performance equal to or better than what we’ve already seen, then they’ll get our nod here. If not, we’ll tell you what guns are better buys, and why.

Here’s what we found:

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