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Heizer Defense PS1 Review

by G&A Staff   |  August 20th, 2014 6

Heizer_Defense_PS1_FThe PS1 is touted as “the world’s most powerful small pistol,” and, given its compact size and large hole at the end of the bore, it’s quite literally a hand cannon.

Heizer’s self-proclaimed “pocket shotgun,” or PS1 for short, starts at $499. It is a tilt-barrel, single-shot, double-action-only, compact pistol intended for carry that’s capable of firing either 2½-inch .410 shotshells or .45 Colt cartridges. A PS1 capable of firing 3-inch shells will also be offered but was unavailable for this review.

The PS1 features a flat profile and very slim width, the latter measuring just over a half-inch (.665 inch). It easily slips into a pocket holster or a front slash or the back pocket of a pair of pants until needed.

Although Heizer Defense may be a new name in the firearms industry, the company really isn’t. Heizer has been in the manufacturing business for more than 50 years, with the majority of its work found in the technical aerospace and medical industries. Observing a gap in the firearms market, it made the decision to fill that gap with what you see here.

heizer_defense_par1_pocker_ar_pistol
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The PS1 is engineered and manufactured by the same machinists who design and produce products for aerospace, U.S. military and NASA customers.

The pistol has a straightforward and sleek, no-snag stainless steel barrel. The frame is built on either stainless steel or titanium; it’s the buyer’s choice. The pistol is 100 percent made in the U.S.A. In fact, all parts are manufactured and machined in Pevely, Missouri, just outside of St. Louis.

As a testament to Heizer’s design, the pistol’s reliability and longevity were tested at the factory. More than 5,000 .410 shotshells were fired through a single PS1 in just two-and-a-half days. Not a single malfunction or parts failure was reported.

“The pistol performed well beyond anyone’s imagination,” remarked Gary Ramey, GM/COO of Heizer Defense.

The double-action-only trigger system is unique in that it uses ball bearings for achieving a smooth, consistent, crisp trigger pull. At 6.1 pounds, the trigger isn’t light, but it is easily managed during takeup.

The hammer is internal, and all edges are beveled to help prevent the pistol from hanging up on a pocket’s edge or one’s cover garment during presentation from a concealed position. A low-profile, ambidextrous thumb latch releases the spring-loaded, tip-up barrel and automatically ejects the spent case, allowing for relatively quick reloads. With the push of a button at the base of the grip, a small trapdoor opens to reveal a storage compartment where small bits or two .45 Colt cartridges can be stored.

On either side of the chamber hood, small ports are notched out so a shooter can quickly glance to verify whether a round is chambered.

The PS1 is easy to disassemble for preventative maintenance. Simply open the action, press out a single takedown pin through the right side of the frame, separate the barrel from the frame, and you’re done. It can then be cleaned just as you would any pistol or shotgun of this caliber.

Shooting .410 loads is generally painless when they are fired from a traditional or youth-model shotgun; it’s perfect for beginners learning the art of wingshooting, as they won’t be distracted by recoil. When fired out of a revolver, such as the Taurus Judge or the S&W Governor, .410s packs a bit more heat. When loading that first round of .410 into “the world’s most powerful small pistol,” we have to admit that we were a little concerned about felt recoil. Those concerns were validated after pressing the trigger on Federal’s and Winchester’s popular .410 defensive handgun loads. The PS1 is shootable, but a firm grip (preferably two-handed) is required.

Guns & Ammo technical staff averaged 3.81-inch groups at 10 yards with Winchester’s 225-grain PDX1 in .45 Colt. This isn’t all that bad if you consider that only the last half-inch or so of the barrel has any rifling.

The PS1 is a good choice for a short-range, survival-type pistol, something that’s easily stowed away in a glove box, top lid of a pack or carried as a backup in a pants pocket. It would be devastating against snakes or other creepy-crawlies that present a danger while working in the field. The ability to fire a .45 Colt cartridge is a definite bonus, giving the shooter the ability to extend his range and level of accuracy.

Heizer indicates that other calibers and features are in the works.

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