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American Handgunner Jan/Feb 2010 - Page 22
Clint Smith REALITYCHECK TM FIRST-PERSON THOUGHTS ON SURVIVING IN THE REAL WORLD Who? The light rail, aggressive grip area and clean, nononsense lines proves form really does follow function in a good designer’s hands. T find the outline of the 1911 pistol pleasing — as well as functional. The 1911 design, although archaic in some contexts, is in a constant state of flux. The basic design is built and modified, and built again, better and more improved with each passing year. One of the more joyful things about my association with Handgunner is I get to shoot lots of different guns over the course of the year. I think the gun builders like the exposure for their products, you have an opportunity to be exposed to “what’s new,” and I get to write about guns I actually shoot. As a point of interest, over the years there have been guns I chose not to write about, most often because I simply do not like them or because they do not hold up to the claims of their builders. This is not personal, but it is One of Clint’s favorite features is truthful. This is also not to imply just because the integral lanyard hole. A nifty I never wrote about a particular model it’s but practical design feature. not a good gun. There’s simply only so much time — and room — so we’re very particular. Mr. Roy, the editor, puts up with all of us, and always backs our plays. If we say it’s a no-go, then it doesn’t go in. But this time it’s a definite “go.” And bluntly — this was a good one. I just finished shooting a very strong pistol sent to me by Alex Zimmermann from Guncrafter Industries, based in Arkansas. A full-sized 5" 1911 called the American Model is unique in that it combines two very important things in a defensive handgun — it looks good, and functions even better. Although I am at a bit of a loss for descriptive words, the pistol is really “stout” and the appearances give it sort of a Russian T34 tank look but more refined. Yet, it works like a slick Swiss watch, to overThe use the obvious. It’s one of the very few cases where whoever did their marketing pronouncement — for a change — got it correct. “The Heine Slant Pro American. A rock solid 1911, built for hard use.” And they are right. sight, night i AmericAn model GuncrAfter’s he Guncrafter name might throw you because they are often referred to by the “GI” name. These are the same people who make the popular .50 caliber GI 1911 pistols in two versions, the Model 1 standard type frame, and Model 2 light rail type frame. The specifications on the American 1911 are impressive. The .45 caliber pistol has a 5" barrel and integral light rail that mated up to my SureFire X300 with no hitch. The frame, slide and barrel are forged, while the hammer, sear and dis-connector are machined from tool steel. An alwayscritical part on the 1911 is the slide stop, and this one is machined from bar stock. The forged match-grade stainless steel barrel is mated to an extra thick-flanged barrel bushing, another critical and breakable part often due to the flange being too thin, but not here. You’d think this Alex Zimmermann guy shot one of these guns before and knows what breaks? I think so. The American wears an ambidextrous safety and it’s not overly big so it’s not in the way for the right-sided people part of the planet. The one-piece mag well has an integral lanyard loop ring, which is cool, as I like tying the pistol to me while in the outback-mode. I like the American’s solid trigger too, as the holey kind often just gather dust as far as I’m concerned. The front strap and mainspring housing are made with 15 LPI checkering and, used in conjunction with the heavy-cut shredder grips, the grasping area looks damn dangerous at first glance. In reality it’s one of the better hang-on-and-shoot systems I’ve used. The gun does not, no, nada, move in your hand while firing. The brochure states the grip “increases recoil control” and to that I would have to say, you bet! he pistol is set up with Heine ledge-type sights and tritium inserts for low light work. The flat black finish seems to be tougher than a tree knot, and yet I could not find a sharp edge on the whole pistol; a good thing for a carry gun. GI makes their own magazines and they are as solid as the pistol itself. As a nice touch, the top of the slide has clean heavy esthetic cuts befitting the nature of this durable, working gun. 22 T OnE GOOd Gun insert and ambi safety are just some of the solid features on the American. Without a doubt the Guncrafter name is correct, and the work is rock solid. I do recommend if you are considering a 1911 you take a very hard look at the guns built by Alex Zimmermann. * For more info: Guncrafter Industries, (479) 665-2466, www.guncrafterindustries.com WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY2010