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Old 10-22-2004, 07:49   #1
horge
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Range Review : Armscor Practical FS 1911 .45 ACP

Range Report and Evaluation

I decided on an Armscor Practical Series fullsize 1911 in .45 ACP, after failing to obtain a GI model: Squires Bingham had acted in very bad faith, utterly wasting over two months of my time, and so I sourced my unit instead from Starfire in Pasig, which provided the Practical Series unit for pickup in just a bit over 6 weeks, including a 1 week computer meltdown at FED.

The Armscor Practical comes in a hard black plastic case with eggcrate-foam padding.
Band of Glockers
Bundled with the pistol were two 8-round magazines, an instruction manual with line drawings, and an AFAD gun-safety pamphlet. 1 year warranty form. No bushing wrench provided (or needed). Starfire threw in a 10-pack of XTP's on discount, with the admonition to break the pistol in with FMJ only.

The pistol sports a skeletonized 'combat' hammer, skeleton trigger, upswept beavertail, ambidextrous extended thumb safety, and Novak-style no-snag rear sights. Both rear and front sights are dovetailed into the slide. The duotone configuration involves a blued slide with broad rear and forward traction grooves (aka serrations), blued safeties and a 'stainless steel' frame.

On first inspection, I was disappointed with the unit. The inspection card indicated fitting and testing a month ago at Armscor in Marikina, suggesting a very new pistol. Unfortunately, it seems the parts used in assembling this pistol were a mix of old surplus and rejects. Many of the non-stainless internals were coated with veneer of fine rust, particularly the trigger 'stirrup'. The recoil spring guide rod was stripped of blueing. Most of the fine rust came off with oiled rag wipes. It was not some orange grease or preservative. It was rust. Cycling revealed some grittiness, and a rather creaky recoil spring.

The stainless frame --apparently the only part bearing a serial number by the way, is a dull grey-white finish. Even this 'stainless' steel frame had a spot of rust, right under the manual safety detent ball, concealed by the grip panel. The slide stop itself had corrosion breaking out through the blueing. The frame's ramp, was not polished --being the same dull finish as the rest of the frame. I am actually unsure if it is indeed of a stainless steel, or merely ordinary steel plated with a dull chromium alloy. The chromed barrel interior had tiny pits on both the lands and grooves.

The logo on the slide was actually crooked, and wearing off. This affair seemed to be a baked-on logo and may be too easy to remove. Note the legs of the M in Armscor. Check the slidestop for corrosion:
Band of Glockers

I felt the plastic grip panels had too many sharp edges, and frankly, the 'black' of it all appealed little to me. We went off and bought ourselves some local grips, made of ebonywood ('kamagong'), priced anywhere from 150 to 250 pesos (3 to 5 US dollars) each:
Band of Glockers

It was hard to find 1911 grips that don't have these pimpin'-funky 'gold' medallions set into them. All the grips we got were also for the GI configuration, and had to be relieved a bit for the ambi safety. Anyway... here's how the piece looked with wooden grips, and I think it's an improvement.
Band of Glockers

Stripped and cleaned, lubed and checked, with better-looking grips on... it was off to the range, with a box of Armscor FMJ. The first five magazines were a bonanza of break-in failures, mostly FTF: maybe that ramp was just too nasty at the start, and maybe the mags were themselves stiff... but hey, that's what breaking-in supposedly involves. The trigger could've used some work --but then maybe that was just the fine rust on the trigger 'stirrup', beginning to come loose... hehe. I disliked the ambi safety --it seemed excessive: those long levers seem to actually get in the way of things. However, they were a feature of the model, and I had signed up for them.

The pistol shot low, and I learned to cover the target with the front sight. By the ninth magazine, things started settling down, and I ran some quick freehand Mozambiques on a fresh target board at 10 meters
Band of Glockers
Pitted barrel or no, it can shoot.

For all its weight, the thing points naturally for me.

I think with more breaking in, it can be a servicable weapon.
It is for me, however, too heavy for quick, real-world defensive transitioning, at least for my small frame. The natural ROF, as dictated by recoil and my muscles, is also sluggish. My wife won't use it: too big and heavy. Thus, our diminutive Bersa Thunder 380 still has pride of place in our defensive lineup.

I'm going to have that ramp polished, and the trigger tweaked.
It couldn't hurt to get a new extractor, and that rusted slidestop needs to go. Waitaminnit --see? For all my complaints, I want to work on the thing. There IS something to this pistol....

It's quite possible Armscor sends proper product overseas, leaving Filipinos with crap.
It's shootable crap, and for all my whining, I did enjoy blasting away with it towards the end of my session. 'Potential' is the sizable silver lining to this cloud, and really: tweaking/customizing a 1911 is half the fun of owning one, right?

I just keep wondering how great this pistol would have been
if it hadn't seemed to be so-obviously assembled from junk.
I would hope the export units (Armscor and RIA) are better made, and furthermore hope that one day, the local Filipino consumer of firearm products is shown some respect and care.



hth

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Last edited by horge; 10-22-2004 at 08:34..
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Old 10-22-2004, 08:20   #2
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Thanks Horge! How much was the unit all in?
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Old 10-22-2004, 08:27   #3
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Would you still have bought the pistol had you seen it like this beforehand?

Well, personally, if you can manage to overcome the initial glitches of FTFs by breaking in, I think it's an okay value for a 1911. It is, after all just a tool. Another route, though more costly and predictably more frustrating would be going the "semi-custom" route. Just purchase the main components (receiver, slide, and barrel) and purchase the parts of your choice individually.
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Old 10-22-2004, 10:05   #4
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horge,

^6 i too feel the urge for a 1911...and then i saw dogman's rifle;3

if in the future, i'd go for an armscor hicap, i won't mind the f...ked up aesthetics and rusted parts since its next stop would be to a gunsmith like col. bayang for some reliability work and parts replacement. just like mc_o's. but....i won't be mcolikot;f

i guess that's part of the joy and satisfaction of owning a 1911, its like a race car;z
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Old 10-22-2004, 17:14   #5
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Hi.
For all my complaints, I guess I have a relatively-inexpensive pistol that works. From a little distance, it looks good too. What ticks me off is that I SAW an Armscor on display in Sugarland (Houston) TX in 2002, this same Practical Duo Tone FS, and it was so much prettier, great finish, smooth cycling, with wood grips. Compared to that, this felt assembled from reject parts.

PMMA97,
The unit in duo tone cost P20,000, while
license fees, requirements and expedition was another P5,500...



I guess my complaints are mostly aesthetic...but 25K is not a trivial amount of money. Whole families can be fed for several weeks on that much.

It's not wrong to expect good quality in what I pay for, and while it is functional, 'quality' is not a word that comes to mind when I consider this thing. It's also not wrong to expect fair treatment, compared to the treatment given foreigners, and from a Filipino company at that. Compared to the export units I've seen, this thing was a disappointment.
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Old 10-22-2004, 19:40   #6
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hi horge! congratulations on getting your first 1911. The Armscor 1911 is a fairly decent base for a custom 1911. Remember, I used the Imperial Defence Ranger from PBD as base myself for the 1911 STI Ranger Clone. And imho, it is worse compared to the armscor.

The factory mecgar SS mags are excellent. If you look at Novak's website, it sells 1911 mags made by mecgar. They just have the logo engraved on the mag body. If you plan to put a magwell, the plastic basepads of the mecgars need to be shaved to fit.

Your frame is not stainless but is hard chromed. Armscor blued slides are dull but you can polish it up some. The classic 2-tone look is elegant but I personally lean towards an all black pistol. Anyway, refinishing isn't that expensive. PBD can have it blackchromed for you.

Tuning the trigger is the logical first step to smithing work and it is fairly easy to adjust yourself if the sear and hammer hooks were fitted correctly. Anyone of the PBD smiths can do it for you. Change the trigger. Armscor triggers are crap. the bows are unequal in thickness and length and they tend to twist. Replace with a quality aftermarket trigger like an sti, ed brown or videki.

Where'd you get the wood grips? Looks excellent on the pistol!
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Old 10-22-2004, 19:51   #7
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Hi Horge,

The CD 2 tone I bought 2 years ago started out pretty much like yours. It just takes a little TLC and a lot of patience.

BTW, where'd you get the grips?
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Old 10-22-2004, 20:00   #8
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Hi EC!
You know, this 1911 purchase is all your fault, actually --your STI Ranger clone thread got me all hot and bothered for it...
;f

Thanks for the info, malmon!
I got the grips from the security-guard supply shops near Camp Crame along EDSA and along Boni Avenue here in Metro Manila; this place where the cheapest steel handcuffs used to be PhP75 apiece, but now are up to PhP220...hehe. Parking's a real challenge though, it's hot/dusty in the afternoons, and you really have to sort through all the merchandise to find undamaged goods. Cheap holsters belts and magcarriers too. There are wooden grips for revolvers, 1911's, Beretta M9's, and Llama's.



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Old 10-23-2004, 03:59   #9
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hi horge congrats for your new 1911 purchase!;z hope to see more range reports and good reviews also maybe afetr 2-3 months.

just got a wild imagination about some rusty small parts installed in your firearm. is it not possible that while on the "FED warehouse" new small parts are being replace with old since small parts don't have the serial # identical to those on the frame? just a wild theory roaming around my head.;Q

or maybe it really comes from the factory itself. since we are not able to inspect the "exact unit" prior of sending them to the FED for their corresponding inspection & license issuance.

nevertheless your firearm is a good shooter out of the box.(base on the picture you had posted)but i think it's not about the "pana" but it's more to the "indian" that the credits should go to.
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Old 10-23-2004, 05:33   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by mikol
just got a wild imagination about some rusty small parts installed in your firearm. is it not possible that while on the "FED warehouse" new small parts are being replace with old since small parts don't have the serial # identical to those on the frame? just a wild theory roaming around my head.;Q
And that wild theory of yours just became mine. Bummer.

Not at all far-fetched. If their generals can purloin millions of pesos, then a few brand-new firearm parts swapped from warehoused pistols would be almost be legal within its walls. What are the chances that this have been done in the past? Or the chances of it being done at present?
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Old 10-23-2004, 06:01   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alexii
And that wild theory of yours just became mine. Bummer.

Not at all far-fetched. If their generals can purloin millions of pesos, then a few brand-new firearm parts swapped from warehoused pistols would be almost be legal within its walls. What are the chances that this have been done in the past? Or the chances of it being done at present?
well... i am not trying to corrupt the minds of the BoG's out there. i was just merely trying to make or establish a situation in order to come up with some answers to some questions running inside my not so genius mind.

after all we can still bring the unit to the store after we got it and show them the bad parts. maybe with any luck, they will change those parts and give it to you over the counter without any cost. (if they are the ones putting this things;Q );g
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Old 10-23-2004, 08:56   #12
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Band of Glockers

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turned out to be a beauty, didn't it? ;f
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Old 10-23-2004, 09:38   #13
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Thanks for sharing your review, horge

I'm seriously considering getting an Armscor myself, a 9mm this time as base for a future open gun. I could use your observations to determine if I shall have been 'conned' to owning a 'frankengun' of mismatched/ill-fitted parts. Thanks again
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Old 10-24-2004, 04:10   #14
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hi horge,

i also notice onething in your firearm. why is it that the slide stop installed in your firearm is the "military type" when infact the full size practical series should have the "extended slide stop" as it's standard. the "military slide stop" as i know is the standard feature of the commander size practical series.

or maybe you specefied to the gunstore that you want it that way rather than the extended slide stop. but nevertheless that's just the thing i notice which is not on their standard feature. see below the specs of armscor as per their website;

**M1911-A1-45 FS2T**
" Cal. 45 ACP, full size, 8+1 capacity, extended slide stop, extended ambidextrous safety, double slide serration, extra power (3XP) firing pin spring, 2-tone ( stainless frame, blued slide )"

just my 2 cents bro!
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Old 10-24-2004, 06:40   #15
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At last! You got the unit home. Congrats! Better stock up on springs (ISMI is great) and get a new extractor (Ed Browns work well). great shooting too.
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Old 10-24-2004, 08:14   #16
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Congrats on the purchase, dre. One of these days magkaka-single stack din ako uli. As a matter of fact, I still have my old kydex rig for it. ;f

Anyway, with FTF's here's what you can do if you're up to it.

1. Polishing the ramp and inside the chamber is a good start.

2. Hit the edges of the chamber with 400 grit sand paper. Do it lightly, you'll only need to smoothen the sharp edge so it won't shave brass.

3. Hit the disconector rail with the the same light sand paper treatment just to smoothen it. Carefully break the sharp edge nung disconnector and breech face junction (the one that makes initial contact with the disconnector head on return battery.)

4. Polish the inside of the mags lip. That way it ammo being chambered will not drag.

More info here.

Good luck.
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Old 10-24-2004, 17:20   #17
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mc_o,
I fluffed and buffed it both prior to and after the session, but I was afraid to use sandpaper: I might take away too much metal.
So, I used superfine steel wool --this stuff feels more like cloth fiber, though less fine than cotton. It breaks up through use though, and the stray fibers were a problem until I whipped out a magnet to pick them all up. (best to do this on a dry, oil-free pistol, hehe)The pistol chambers even sharp-angled JHP real easy now.


mikol,
While the theft/swap scenario at the FED warehouse is all too imaginable... in this case I am inclined to suspect that this is all Armscor's/Squires' lack of diligence. I suspect that Armscor is scrabbling for parts because all the good stuff goes overseas. Maskipaps na lang ang local units.

Sa Squires pa lang, e....
I ordered an Armscor GI last GunShow in July, I'd even asked that day for solid confirmation that the unit existed, already assembled, and waiting for me --and I was given the SN. I gave my downpayment and should have gotten the unit in "two-weeks-only" from Squires Bingham.
So I waited, calling them up weekly for updates.

Several weeks of excuses later ("...baka next week na, sir. Be patient..."),
Squires changed tack and told me that my downpayment was insufficient,
and so my order had not yet even begun processing!!

Despite all I had been told over the phone, "nasa testing na" daw, "nasa Chief na", "Release na lang" etc...
puñeta naman oo.


Heto pa...
They quickly added: If I liked, I could place a new order
and get my pistol in just "two-weeks-only", all over again.
~1


I'd had enough of Armscor at that point.
I thought I'd buy the Imperial Defence Services Ranger 1911A1 (from Sheffield England, but made in Vietnam) like the one that EyeCutter customized, but I wanted the parked version with military rollmarks --the ones at PBD had giant commercial marks. I remembered seeing theparked/mil ones sold at one booth only nung GunShow... Starfire. I went to them and they advised me tha quality-wise (haha) Armscor na la'ang... Tukayo ko pala yung kausap ko, ayan tuloy... I wound up getting a Practical from them.

Anong Division nga ba puede ang ganitong 1911 sa IPSC?
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Old 10-24-2004, 18:30   #18
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horge: sa Standard Division, Single Stack Category. Go get them partner!

bonus lang if you get the unit from PBD, lifetime free servicing from the other pbd smiths!
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Old 10-24-2004, 18:39   #19
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Quote:
bonus lang if you get the unit from PBD, lifetime free servicing from the other pbd smiths!

is this true? E di dapat sa PBD na lang ako kukuha ng Armscor 9mm hicap pag nagkataon. Malaki matitipid sa mga pa-tweaking lang...

Pero mukhang wala silang Armscor, o baka pwede namang gawan nila ng paraan. Para bang sa auto supply, kahit anong pyesa meron, kukuha nga lang sa mga katabi, basta't wag ka lang aalis.

Yan ang ideal customer management, imho...
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Old 10-24-2004, 22:56   #20
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di ba meron kang peter stahl? yung barrel mo ba ramped or unramped? if it's ramped. all you need is an upper assembly plus magazines and you're good to go!
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