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American Handgunner Jan/Feb 2012 Digital Edition - Page 24
soLID ADvIce to keeP yoU AHeAD oF tHe coMPetItIoN DAve ANDersoN WINNINGEDGE Rear sight on the ls is the fully adjustable Paraordnance sight. limiTEd lOn g s l i d E I n the 1950s, the US military disposed of several thousand surplus 1911 slides by cutting them in two and selling them as scrap metal. Jim Clark, pistolsmith and bull’s-eye competitor bought them for 10 cents apiece. He used the slide parts to make long slide pistols for bull’s-eye competitors. In the 1970s and 1980s, as practical pistol competition grew in popularity, pistolsmith Jim Hoag made custom longslides in various lengths. Perceived advantages are longer sight radius, muzzleforward balance, and reduced recoil/muzzle rise resulting from increased pistol weight. Longslides had a mild vogue Para-OrdnancE PxT sa The Para-ordnance ls limited longslide is built on a high-cap frame. The ls has all the features of the modern 1911 such as long trigger, extended ambi-safety, beavertail grip safety, frame checkering and excellent sights — plus the 6" barrel and long slide. in both bull’s-eye and practical pistol competition. Developments such as optical sights and expansion chamber compensators proved more popular solutions. While longslides never became dominant in either sport, they maintain a following. It wasn’t just competitors who liked the concept. Higher velocity from longer barrels isn’t a big factor in shooting targets. Shooters who carry 1911s in the field for hunting or for defense against predators do appreciate higher velocities. Not everyone wants an optical sight; some like the longer sight radius, along with the balance, feel, and appearance. Para-Ordnance currently offers the Model 14.45 LS Limited in its PXT Single Action Limited series. It’s built on the highcap, double-stack stainless steel frame in .45 ACP. Magazine capacity is 14 cartridges (10-round magazines also offered). The pistol is well equipped with features of the modern 1911: beavertail grip safety, long trigger and an extended ambi-safety. The ramped barrel fully supports the case head. The rear sight is fully adjustable and nicely buried in the slide, while the dovetail mounted front Consistent and accusight is a fiber-optic model. rate, the Para delivered There’s a full-length guide rod and 5-shot groups like this forward cocking serrations, features some at 25 yards. love and others love to hate. The frontstrap is checkered for a secure grip. It’s a handsome pistol, and compared to standard and shorter barrel/slide lengths it feels a bit muzzle-heavy, obviously. Whether you like the feel will depend on the individual. verall workmanship appears to be very good. Machining is crisp and straight, slide flats are flat and there’s a refreshing lack of tool marks. There is little perceptible play in slide/frame and barrel fit. Safety operation is positive, magazines drop freely when the release is depressed, rear sight adjustments proved reliable. My one criticism is as usual for many production 1911s, concerning the trigger. While consistent and with minimal creep and over-travel, at 5 pounds, 10 ounces it is unnecessarily heavy. I compared velocities of the 6" barrel with those from velocity Questions O another Para-Ordnance Limited with 5" barrel, and with a Nighthawk GRP with 4" barrel, using cartridges with bullet weights of 185, 200 and 230 grains. Generally, the 6" barrel gave about 70 to 80 fps more velocity than the 4" barrel and about 30 fps more than the 5" barrel. As with every Para I’ve shot, the Long Slide was accurate. Groups from a rest (five shots at 25 yards) averaged right at 2", with a worst of 2.5" and best of 1.5". I went through approximately 350 rounds through the pistol and encountered no malfunctions. Ammunition varied from fairly light 200grain lead SWCs to 230-grain +P JHPs. Highest velocities came from Speer 185 Gold Dot loads at around 1,080 fps. smaller diameter cartridge might miss. Of course, it isn’t only competitors who appreciate a quality 1911. Shooters who want a bit more velocity, a bit less recoil, and don’t mind a bit bigger gun will appreciate the LS. Some 1911 fans just want something a little different. If the idea of a longslide intrigues you, the Para LS Limited will fill the bill. It’s about $1,399 at full retail. Where’s It FIt? I can’t say I noticed any difference in recoil or muzzle jump compared to a 5" 1911. It seems logical there would be some reduction, and the LS surely would crank out the hits in rapid fire. Something I did notice and liked was the sight picture. Most factory front sights are wider than I like, a rather “tight fit” in the rear sight notch. Because of the increased sight radius there was lighter around the sight making it faster to use with no loss of precision. I’m not sure where the LS would fit in the competition world, as different sports have different rules (and the rules change occasionally). It should fit into USPSA Limited Division. Most competitors in this division use .40 S&W which scores major and gives a highermagazine capacity, a desirable feature in high-round count stages. The .45 does have a small scoring advantage, as occasionally it will clip a scoring line a * For more info: www.americanhandgunner. com/para-ord 24 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY2012