February 1998

Astra A-100 Carry Comp: Worked Well, Average Accuracy

People who own .45 ACP pistols like the edge this caliber gives them over lesser rounds such as the 9mm. Another way to get the edge is by having a compensated pistol. A properly-designed compensator reduces a handgunís felt recoil, resulting in improved control and faster follow-up shots.

Most compensated .45 ACP pistol are designed for competitive shooting, so there arenít very practical for defensive use. However, European American Armory offers a pistol that is suitable for this type of work. It is called the Astra A-100 Carry Comp.

This $534 model is a standard A-100 equipped with a single-port compensator that screws onto the gunís 3 1/2-inch barrel. It features a double action trigger, a frame-mounted decocking lever and a 9-round magazine.

Our Astra A-100 Carry Compís workmanship was very good. Its steel frame had a matte blue finish, while the slide had a polished blue finish. The barrel was left white. Most moving parts had only a little play. The blued steel single-column magazine, which had a removable floorplate and a black plastic follower, was well constructed. The checkered grip panels were made of black plastic and covered the sides of the frame only.

At the range, this pistol digested 200 rounds of various commercial ammunition without a hitch. The slideís movement was smooth, and retracting it required only a normal amount of effort. The magazine slid readily into the magazine well and dropped freely when released.

In our opinion, the compensator did a good job of reducing recoil when using high velocity ammunition with light bullets, such as Winchester 185-grain Silvertips. However, it wasnít very effective with lower velocity ammunition with heavier bullets, such as UMC 230-grain ball.

The A-100 Carry Comp was muzzle heavy, but not overly so. Pointing and target acquisition were satisfactory. The grip felt good in the hand and was long enough to accommodate even the largest hands. Slide and hammer bite was prevented by the well-designed tang on the back of the frame.

Location and operation of this Astraís controls were similar to those of a Sig pistol. Right-handed shooters could readily manipulate each of them with the thumb of their firing hand.

The trigger had a 4-pound single action pull and a 12 1/4-pound double action pull. Our shooters felt the sights, which were screw-adjustable for windage, provided a clear, easy-to-acquire sight picture.

The A-100 Carry Compís accuracy was decidedly average, but its group sizes were very consistent from load to load. The best five-shot average groups, 2.70 inches at 15 yards, were produced with both Winchester 185-grain Silvertips and UMC 230-grain ball. Federal 230-grain Hydra-Shoks were good for 2.73-inch groups.

Winchester 185-grain Silvertips produced an average muzzle velocity of 989 feet per second, generating 402 foot-pounds of energy. Federal 230-grain Hydra-Shoks were good for 917 feet per second and 430 foot-pounds. UMC 230-grain ball managed 861 feet per second and 379 foot-pounds.

Bottom Line: The Astra A-100 Carry Comp was reliable and handled well for our right-handed shooters. We think it is worth considering if you need, or think you need, a compensated carry gun. But, finding a holster for it may be difficult.