Last week at the gun shop I saw a pair of 1911’s in the case and I was immediately drawn to them by their price. They both were less than $600.00 each. They weren’t Colts or Smith and Wesson’s, but they did appear to have all of the bells and whistles that the aftermarket could supply for a 1911 pistol. One was all black and the other was duo-toned, with a black frame and a chrome slide. They were both full sized Government models; 5″ barrels, and had Novak style white dot rear sights, a dovetailed white dot front sight, flared ejection port, extended slide stop, beavertail grip safety, combat hammer, skeletonized combat trigger, front and rear slide skeletonized combat trigger, front and rear slide serration, and an extended thumb safety. These are some of the usual aftermarket extras that come on a vastly more expensive 1911 style pistol.
I quickly checked the serial numbers on both guns, hoping they were sequential so I’d have an excuse to add to my gun bill, but alas they were not. I started checking them for quality, and saw that they both needed to have the feed ramp polished as there were visible machining marks. Now this isn’t really a bad thing because anyone that has knowledge that buys a 1911 pistol usually has a polish and throat job done to insure reliability. I checked and saw that the hammer had intricate cobweb machining inside of the commander style hammer. This doesn’t add to anything but appearance, but it’s a nice touch for a low end pistol. After asking permission I made sure it was unloaded and cocked the chromed pistol so I could dry fire it. There was about 3/16″ travel before the trigger broke, but it only took about five pounds of pressure, and it had no over travel. Not too bad as far as unaltered factory triggers go. You can get used to this trigger break with practice, or pay a gunsmith to improve it.
I looked down the sights and saw they were the three white dot variety, which suits me just fine because it’s what I’m used to looking through. Some people like the all black sight picture, but three white dots are easy for me to pick up. I also noted that the front sight is dovetailed into the frame, so it’s easily changeable for aftermarket night sights, etc. I looked at the frame under the gun shops magnifying glass and couldn’t find any rough tool marks on it.
These two AMERICAN CLASSIC II pistols were both .45acp caliber, but when I checked the (Metro Arms Corporation) website http://metroarms.net I learned that they are also offered in .40 caliber. Both the slide and frame are made of 4140 steel with an overall length of 8.375 inches. This is a full size Government model and its empty weight of 37.28 ounces helps reduce felt recoil. I tend to like the Commander sized .45’s (4.5″ barrel length) and Metro Arms Corporations also offers 1911 pistols in this size.
The stocks (grips) on these two pistols were light colored hardwood, and close inspection showed some imperfections in the diamond cut checkering, but consider the purchase price before dismissing this as a bad thing. It’s easy to change the stocks to something that might appeal to you. When I handled the pistols I noticed that all of the controls appeared to be in the right place so your muscle memory manipulation of the controls shouldn’t be affected.
I have several Colt “O” model 1911’s, but if I were a young officer working for a progressive department that allowed 1911 auto pistol carry, I’d sure think about stuffing a AMERICAN CLASSIC II into my duty holster.
Remember; always buy what works, not just a name brand. For either a cost conscious customer, or a true aficionado of the 1911 pistol, these two American Class II pistols really deserve a second look.
Till next time shoot straight in both thought and deed, practice your gun craft often, and always support your gun rights by joining and supporting the NRA.
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