Auto Ordnance 1911GCH

Color-Cased Tribute to an Icon

Eye of the tiger! Brindle stripes make the Auto Ordnance 1911A1 superbly functional art.

The email from GUNS editor Brent T. Wheat was short and to the point. “Tank, I’ve got an assignment for you. It’s kind of a rush job. Don’t let us down!”

The “rush job” concerned Auto Ordnance’s new rendition of John Moses Browning’s slab-sided classic, for those of us wanting an affordable option for owning a “GI-issue” 1911A1. Holding it brings to mind our troops fighting for our freedoms with this WWII-era version of the 1911.

This year Auto Ordnance has honored our iconic .45 ACP service pistol with a beautiful new finish.

Controls are traditionally checkered, ensuring slip-free functioning.

Colorized Classic

There’s no better way of showing respect for an original “old warhorse” than giving it a face-lift of sorts with the time-honored heat treatment method of color case hardening. The look is fitting for a fighting pistol, accenting the rugged simplicity of the big-bore autoloader without being gaudy.

Expertly performed by Tyler Gun Works, the CCH technique involves heat-treating steel for a specific purpose, leaving behind a beautiful array of mottled colors. The brindled swirl of colors is worthy of this great pistol.

Breakdown is traditionally “GI 1911.”

More than Good Looks

Beneath the stunning surface of each gun is the Auto Ordnance “GI” 1911A1. This all-steel shooter replicates its original ancestor. While looking like the original, the improved, precision-machined 5″ barrel is the catalyst for making this pistol more accurate than the originals ever dreamed possible.

Gorgeous double-diamond checkered wooden grips are stylishly carved with a large “US” logo, along with “Model 1911A1 US Army” roll-stamped on the slide. A traditional dovetailed drift-adjustable rear sight is matched with a barleycorn front for a battle proven sight system.

The hammer, magazine release and thumb-safety latch are traditionally checkered, providing slip-free friction and stylish good looks. A beavertail grip safety, along with thumb safety and firing pin block make this pistol perfectly safe for concealed carry or home protection. The Auto Ordnance 1911A1 is functional art, which unleashes your patriotic emotions with each shot.

Black Hills 135-gr. HoneyBadger ammo consistently shot 2" groups at 25 yards.

Frigid Firing Session

“Hey Brent! It’s a um … Tank. I’ve got the gun and I’m up in Pennsylvania, and it’s … a … kinda cold up here! The wind-chill is going to be around 25-below-zero all week. Think I … um, could get an extension for this project?” I nervously asked the former SWAT sniper turned editorial despot over the phone.

“Suck it up buttercup! We need it in 3 days max!” So, off to the range I go …

(Editor’s Note — I actually gave him three-and-a-half days.)

Thumbing a fat 230-gr. military ball ammo into the blued steel 7-shot magazine, I think of all the grizzled veterans reaching for their .45s in a last-ditch effort to save their skin during some intense battle.

The mil-spec trigger is surprisingly good for a factory firearm, having an average of 5 lbs. 11 oz. on my gun, after 10 measured trigger-pulls with my Lyman gauge.

Shooting in sub-zero weather with a 20 mph wind had me thinking of what the soldiers in the Siege of Bastogne experienced during WWII. I know, jumping out of a heated truck, shooting for 30 minutes and then jumping back in is a sorry comparison. But it was cold!

My cousin’s farm has a makeshift range consisting of steel swingers set up at various distances along with a shooting bench. Being a casual, but rather chilly range test, I shot the Auto Ordnance with elbows on table. It’s not the steadiest method, but better than off-hand.

My hit average on 10″ steel plates at 50 yards was 6 for 7 (I always managed to miss one). This was a fun “warm up” (ha!) for paper punching at 25 yards.

With frigid temperatures, my runny nose produced “snot tusks” of Boone & Crocket proportions, making me look like a prized walrus any Eskimo would proudly harpoon.

Besides ball ammo and various handloads, I also had Black Hills HoneyBadger 135-gr. ammo and assorted 230-gr. JHPs. Groups of 2.5 to 3″ were the norm and the HoneyBadger ammo was the most consistent when shooting at the 2″ Birchwood Casey targets. I lost no fingers to frostbite and found the gun performed without a hitch on the frozen tundra.

The Auto Ordnance 1911GCH ships with one 7-round steel magazine and has an MSRP of $1,327. It’s a gorgeous commemoration honoring the brave men and women who fought so valiantly for our freedoms.

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