Words by Brad Fitzpatrick – Photos by Mark Fingar

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There’s no group of firearm loyalists as passionate about their favorite pistol as the 1911 fan base. Despite its advanced age, this century-­old design remains popular among competition shooters and concealed-­carry permit holders, and can still be found on duty with many of America’s law enforcement. 

Today, however, there appears to be two camps within the aforementioned group of 1911 enthusiasts: Those who like the classic original — with either a blued or Parkerized finish, basic sights and walnut grips — and those who believe that John Browning’s most prolific design needs updating to be relevant. Then there is Standard Manufacturing’s Case Colored #1 Engraved. This example blends both.

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Traditionalists can appreciate Standard’s choice of double-­diamond, rosewood-colored checkered grips. Like Browning’s original, there are only rear ­slide serrations. Giving the overall pistol a vintage appearance is the bone-­and-­charcoal, color-­case hardening with intricate scroll engraving. (Even the slide stop is given this engraving treatment.) Modernists will like the gun’s extended beavertail, wide extended thumb safety and slide stop lever, skeletonized hammer, as well as the lowered and flared ejection port. But there are a lot of features about this gun that everyone can appreciate. For example, the slide-­to-­frame fit is exceptional. The trigger really is match ­grade. And if you’re interested in the metallurgy of parts, you’ll be pleased to know that the frame and slide are machined from 4140 carbon steel and that the barrel and bushing are machined from stainless. Still, it’s the color-­case hardening that catches the eye.

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“I think the 1911 is a great canvas for case coloring,” Frutuoso said. To that, I must agree. While it’s not exactly a traditional 1911 finish, it’s striking and evokes thoughts of the era that the original Colt 1911 spawned from. The mainspring housing is also classically checkered, but the frontstrap is not.

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As far as sights, this area received the modern treatment. Standard Manufacturing elected to install drift-adjustable dovetail black-on-black sights at the front and rear. From the shooter’s perspective, both have been given horizontal striations to kill glare and improve contrast when aligning them. Further, the rear sight is a Novak LoMount with a front ledge design for one-handed racking of the slide. Together, these sights are a functional enhancement to an otherwise classy pistol. 

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Given that this pistol costs just shy of two grand, I believe that Standard Manufacturing configured a smart contemporary to the 107-year-old semiauto. Serious shooters are not going to want rudimentary irons, hammer bite or a loose fitting slide and barrel.

Standard_Manufacturing_M1911_PerformanceIs the Standard a shooter? Yes, it is. From 25 yards off the bench, it produced some admirable results with an array of ammunition. And it did not have a single feeding, extraction or ejection malfunction. Its favorite fodder was Winchester’s 160-­grain Super Clean zinc-­core load, and the pistol clustered five shots just under an inch with that particular ammunition. 

All the loads tested — including target and defensive loads — produced groups that averaged sub-1½ inches, which is exceptional performance in a 1911 running on off-­the-­shelf ammunition.

Standard’s combination of quality machined components, a smooth and precise trigger and attention to detail make this #1 more than just a handsome .45 under glass in a gun store. It shoots good, too.

Fore more information, visit www.stdgun.com.

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