May 2006

Full-Size 1911s, a Fresh Crop: We Choose the Para-Ord SSP

The handsome Para-Ordnance SSP asks, “Why pay more?”, and we reply, “Why indeed?” We prefer the SSP over the Sigarms Revolution and STI’s Lawman in a head-to-head .45 ACP bout.

In this review we will evaluate three 1911 45 ACP pistols relatively new to the market. Each one was manufactured by names first associated with pistols other than the single-stack Browning design. For instance, Para-Ordnance is a Canadian firm most famous for introducing high capacity to the 1911 by enlarging the receiver to house a double-column magazine. STI International is known for its modular design melding a polymer grip to a set of rails to produce a high capacity pistol also fed from a double stack magazine. Sigarms has been making a single stack .45 for many years, the P220. But the P220 is closer to Browning’s BDA design, operating with a traditional double-action trigger. Sigarms’s single-action gun, the GSR Revolution, costs $1,049 and this puts it squarely between the $1,344 STI Lawman 5.0 and the $899 Para-Ordnance SSP.

We began our tests by removing the top ends of each gun and making sure they were properly lubricated. All three guns were function fired with a variety of ammunition left over from other tests, then loaded with at least 200 rounds of a handload featuring the 200-grain lead-swaged bullet from Precision Bullets ( that offered molybdenum coating to minimize deposits. Alliant Power Pistol smokeless powder was the propellant, ignited by Winchester large primers. We recorded accuracy data at an outdoor range from a 25-yard bench rest with this round plus three factory loads. They were 200-grain +P Speer Gold Dots, Federal’s 165-grain Hydra-Shok JHP rounds, and the Atlanta Arms and Ammo 185-grain JHP match ammunition, ( This is the same load used by the United States Army Marksmanship Unit, (AMU). Our test team members believed that any full-size gun in this price range should deliver five-shot groups measuring approximately 2.5 inches or less and run without any problems. Let’s see how these new .45s did when examined by our critical group of shooters:

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