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Thread: Your Thoughts on Para Ordnance 1911's?

  1. #1
    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    Question Your Thoughts on Para Ordnance 1911's?

    I went to the gun shop to browse today and saw a Para Ordnance P12 for sale. I really like the feel of it and REALLY like the 12+1 round capacity of .45ACP.

    I like 1911'a overall, but really dislike the 7 or 8 round magazines.
    Its my opinion that in this day and age when you may encounter multiple attackers and they will most likely have high capacity magazines, that 7 rounds just isnt enough firepower, even if it is .45. But again, thats just my opinion.

    Currently, my every day carry pistol is a Sig Sauer 229 in .40 and it serves me very very well. But Im looking for a new toy I guess.

    I have heard some people say that they "heard" of problems with PO pistols, nit every one that has said that was always speaking from second hand information. Never actually seeing it.

    So, I would like to hear your thoughts and experiences on PO pistols. Specifically the high cap models. And what does teh recoil on a smaller .45 compare too?

    Thanks!

    Here's a pic of what the P12 I looked at is like:


    Last edited by Sig229; 02-20-2012 at 07:04 PM.
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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    I don't have any personal experiences with them but I have heard good things in general. Their "lifetime warranty" is supposedly questionable though. You may want to check out this thread.

    http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/sh...ad.php?t=99537
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    Picked up a GI Expert in Nitride finish a couple weeks ago. It has 250 rounds through it and has been getting better each time I shoot it. I ran into some feeding issues during the first 150 rounds or so but they've been getting less and less. I picked it up with the intention to modify it and learn about 1911s. It's not the greatest gun I've shot but for $500 it works pretty well.

  4. #4
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    As the unofficial OCDO Para Ordnance Evangelist, I will chime in first.

    I own a custom-built Para S-14.45 Limited that was built for me by Novaks. It is, without a doubt, one of the finest guns I've ever owned.

    I use it for EDC when I am in jurisdictions where OC is allowed. I use it for USPSA competition. I trust my life with my Para. And I would suggest that you can do the same.

    Para makes GREAT 1911s. Their double-stacks are a little onthe thick side in the grips, and are difficult to find third-party grip panels for, but they are utterly reliable, made to high specifications, and are competition-accurate and reliable right out the box. (of course, a little custom work never hurts!)

    I have shot the GI-Expert (single stack) version of the Para and it shoots just like a Colt.

    I've shot every model in the "P" line--P-14, P-12, P-10, both SA and LDA, and they are all fine guns.

    The complaints that most folks have with Paras comes from two time periods in the company's history. First, when they were just making receivers (and people were fitting them with their own uppers) there were (as you can imagine) a lot of cobbled-together hack jobs that were not reliable, and the gorillas that made them blamed Para.

    Second, during the period when Para was moving their entire manufacturing operation to Charlotte NC from Canada, there were some pistols that left the factory that weren't quite up-tp-spec. Para has addressed these issues, and provided (and continues to provide) excellent customer support for their customers.

    One of the great things about double-stack all metal 1911's is that they have VERY low perceived recoil--even the compact and sub-compact models. Compared to a Glock 36, the Para P-10 is a dream to shoot. Compared to a single-stack compact 1911 like Kimbers, the P-12 and P-10 are like a completely different gun. All that extra ammo, the bigger all-steel mags, and the extra weight of the all-metal frame present a lot of mass against recoil, and they are just MUCH more comfortable (and accurate) to shoot.

    You DO need to hold them correctly though. Some people have FTF or FTE issues with subcompact .45acps (regardless of make or model) and 99 times out of 100, this is due to "limp-wristing". Smaller grips are harder to hold securely, and if you don't hold fast to a sub-compact 1911 (or any sub-compact .45acp) it won't cycle reliably.

    If you want a Para, I would STRONGLY suggest you borrow or rent one and shoot it. Then buy one. You won't regret it. They are made to a very high standard of fit and finish, come from the factory almost competition-ready (in my experience) and are utterly reliable for EDC.

    They are almost 100% parts-compatible with the standard 1911. The only parts that have to be custom-engineered for Para are the grip panels (because of the shape of the double-stack frame), the trigger (the trigger bow must be wider to clear the magazines), the mag release, and of course the magazines. Everything else--slide, barrel, internals, slide stop, safety, beavertail--are drop-in compatible with standard 1911 parts, so you can customize your Para just like any other 1911.

    If you want one, get it. You won't be disappointed.
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
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    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    I don't have any personal experiences with them but I have heard good things in general. Their "lifetime warranty" is supposedly questionable though. You may want to check out this thread.

    http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/sh...ad.php?t=99537
    Thanks for the link. That was a very good read!
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

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    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post

    If you want a Para, I would STRONGLY suggest you borrow or rent one and shoot it. Then buy one. You won't regret it. They are made to a very high standard of fit and finish, come from the factory almost competition-ready (in my experience) and are utterly reliable for EDC.
    Thanks a lot for the info and advice!
    Unfortunately, I dont know of anyone in my area that owns a Para or anyplace that rents them. You're right, I should shoot one before I make the purchase because I have never owned any 1911 before . I have shot plenty of them, but never a Para 1911.

    During the Spring and Summer months I usually visit Baltimore (my hometown) at least once a month.
    If you ever feel like it, Maybe we can meet up. I'll buy the .45 ammo.
    I know thats a little much to ask someone, so only if you are cool with it.
    If not, I completely understand.
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

  7. #7
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sig229 View Post
    During the Spring and Summer months I usually visit Baltimore (my hometown) at least once a month.
    If you ever feel like it, Maybe we can meet up. I'll buy the .45 ammo.
    I know thats a little much to ask someone, so only if you are cool with it.
    If not, I completely understand.

    Stay in touch, and PM me the next time you are in town. We'll arrange something...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sig229 View Post
    And what does teh recoil on a smaller .45 compare too?
    Given Dreamer's statement that it is easier to control than a compact Kimber and that my Kimber Ultra Carry II (aluminum frame, stainless slide, 3" bull barrel) is no problem to control, it can't be a big deal. The Kimber is my wife's favorite gun for the range to pop 50-100 rounds through.

    As for what a smaller 45 compares to, since you are familiar with Sigs, I would say the Kimber doesn't have any more muzzle flip than the P228 with WWB but does push back in the hand more.

  9. #9
    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    Stay in touch, and PM me the next time you are in town. We'll arrange something...

    Thanks, will do!
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

  10. #10
    Regular Member 09jisaac's Avatar
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    My brother in law bought a Para. He walked into a gun store with only one thing in mind a "double stack 1911" and didn't care any more than that. And that is all he got. He paid $900 or so dollars for a gun that he hadn't even heard of until then. He didn't even get to hold or see the gun until it arrived (it was paid for and his by then).

    Gun I shot (Fullsize 14+1 Limited?):
    The trigger pull is heavy (compared to other 1911s)
    The machining is poor- They left a burr on the inside of the slide that chewed the barrel bushing up.
    The grips stand too wide (compared to other 1911s)
    The company shipped him a 10rd mag and wanted, he said, $40 for the 14rd magazine that was suppose to be shipped with it.
    Was reliable for a 1911. 100rds with no issues.

    What I have heard others say:
    The oversized extractor has to be made by para, and it is a weak point
    Finish is poor
    Customer service is a joke


    My suggestion: If you want a 1911, get a 1911. Not the bastard son of a 1911 and a high capacity. If you want a high capacity gun then get one that was designed for that, not one that was retrofitted to sorta, maybe, work.

    The bold is 2nd hand info, everything else is 1st hand.
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    Big Hawg

    I picked up a Para Big Hawg after searching for a hi-normal-capacity .45acp gun. It was my third 1911 at the time and I had a Springfield and Colt.

    The Para had feeding issues and reading the manual and emailing the customer service said that 400 rounds of breakin was needed and that it did not like Blaser Brass. Since I had just acquired 1000 rounds of Blaser Brass I wasn't overly happy. With that information I cycled 800 rounds through it mostly remmington and federal. It continued to have the same issues. I tried a heavier spring which had no affect and finally returned it to the factory for servicing. While I liked Taurus policy that they pay for shipping for guns within the first year of purchase I didn't mind too much paying for shipping.

    They had the gun for a month and replaced the grip safety (no idea why) and polished the feed ramp and put one magazine through it and returned it to me. I ran a couple hundred more rounds through it and still had a few feeding issues. After a few hundred more it seems to be working fine but there will always be that nagging question in the back of my mind of whether it will function properly "this" magazine.

    With the issues I have had I don't recommend Para. I know Dreamer has had great results but he had Novak build and refine his. I think it is ridiculous to require 400 rounds of breakin let alone 800-1000 I had to for mine. No other gun I own has had any such issues out of the box including Taurus.

    With all that said, I still have the Big Hawg and love the features. It is very accurate, fits my hand, hi-cap 1911. It looks great and feels great. I have considered selling it but have so much invested in it at this point I may keep it. The other thing I don't like about it is the full length guide rod. I prefer the gi guide rod and spring cap for ease of breakdown. I hate having to use a tool to break any gun down.

    If you are looking for a higher capacity .45acp gun check out the FNP-45. Some don't like the size of the grip but I love mine. Other than the FNP-45 I carry a H&K USP which is 12+1. I know the XDm and Glock are 13+1 but I love me some H&K. :-) My only complaint for the FNP-45 is there is no Blackhawk SERPA holster for it yet after waiting two years. I finally bought a Desantis holster for it.

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    I have a P 14 Limited and never had any problems.
    Goes bang every time I squeeze the trigger and
    shoots fairly small groups.....only thing that would
    make it better would be if it was a 10mm.
    Life is tough, its tougher when your stupid.

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    Regular Member Dr Phil's Avatar
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    I have a GI Expert ESP and love it. I can't speak for the double stack, but I know Todd Jarrett and other successful competitive shooters use Para. It had a few hiccups the first time out to the range, but after 150 rounds I had no problems. Para recommends a 500 rd break in period anyway. The only complaint I do have is, as mentioned earlier, the finish. The "Para-Kote" is rubbing off around the corner of the slide from being holstered. This is after about 6 months of keeping it in a holster almost daily. It doesn't bother me so much, I think of it as mostly a carry gun, so the "battle scars" are not an issue for me. If it gets bad, I know a guy who will Duracoat it for me for cheap. After all, it was a $550 1911...

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    Regular Member 09jisaac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Phil View Post
    Todd Jarrett and other successful competitive shooters use Para.
    And I once watched a "2011 Chevy Cobalt" set a 10.5 wide national record at an eighth. What I am getting at is in these competitions they're just in name, not in product. The original gun might have been made by Para, or para parts, but after that it bares little resemblance to other Para guns.
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    Regular Member Dr Phil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 09jisaac View Post
    And I once watched a "2011 Chevy Cobalt" set a 10.5 wide national record at an eighth. What I am getting at is in these competitions they're just in name, not in product. The original gun might have been made by Para, or para parts, but after that it bares little resemblance to other Para guns.
    While you have a point, I still believe there's a reason he's not out there shooting a tricked out Rock Island Armory...Either way, I still maintain it's a great gun for the price. It's not a Wilson Combat, but it's solid and eats whatever ammo I have run through it so far. However, my experience is only with the GI Expert model, so YMMV.

    To the OP, also do a little research on sub-compact 1911's in general. From what I've read, the 3" 1911s as a whole have cycling issues due to the .45 ACP round combined with the shorter barrel. I love the 1911, but if I were to ever get a compact one it would be chambered in 9mm.
    Last edited by Dr Phil; 03-05-2012 at 05:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Phil View Post
    While you have a point, I still believe there's a reason he's not out there shooting a tricked out Rock Island Armory...Either way, I still maintain it's a great gun for the price. It's not a Wilson Combat, but it's solid and eats whatever ammo I have run through it so far. However, my experience is only with the GI Expert model, so YMMV.

    To the OP, also do a little research on sub-compact 1911's in general. From what I've read, the 3" 1911s as a whole have cycling issues due to the .45 ACP round combined with the shorter barrel. I love the 1911, but if I were to ever get a compact one it would be chambered in 9mm.
    Anecdote incoming.
    YUP. I spent ~1000 dollars on one of the first short barrel kimbers . . . same issue. I have the full size hi cap PO and its flawless.
    Last edited by Xulld; 03-05-2012 at 06:43 PM.

  17. #17
    Regular Member 09jisaac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Phil View Post
    While you have a point, I still believe there's a reason he's not out there shooting a tricked out Rock Island Armory...Either way, I still maintain it's a great gun for the price. It's not a Wilson Combat, but it's solid and eats whatever ammo I have run through it so far. However, my experience is only with the GI Expert model, so YMMV.

    To the OP, also do a little research on sub-compact 1911's in general. From what I've read, the 3" 1911s as a whole have cycling issues due to the .45 ACP round combined with the shorter barrel. I love the 1911, but if I were to ever get a compact one it would be chambered in 9mm.
    I think Wilson Combat makes .45 acp ammo specifically designed for the short barrels. I am not saying that you want to feed it Wilson only but it probably wouldn't make for bad carry ammo.
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    Regular Member Dr Phil's Avatar
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    Is it a lower powered round? I think then you'd run into the issue of the recoil spring being too heavy. IDK, I just remember reading an EXTENSIVE review/explanation of the problems of short barreled 1911s (I think it was from a guy on The High Road) and swearing off compact .45 1911s. He went through multiple scenarios of adjusting the recoil spring, lightening the slide, and using different ammo. All signs pointed to cycling issues.

  19. #19
    Founder's Club Member Jim675's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 09jisaac View Post
    I think Wilson Combat makes .45 acp ammo specifically designed for the short barrels. I am not saying that you want to feed it Wilson only but it probably wouldn't make for bad carry ammo.
    The short-barelled ammo uses a faster powder so that there's not such a performance hit from the shorter barrel. It also lowers muzzle flash of unburned propellant and Speer claims their bullet is finished differently for feeding reliably.

    http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/15833-5.html

    It doesn't make a short 1911 any more intrinsically reliable, just tries to make the most of what it is.

  20. #20
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 09jisaac View Post
    And I once watched a "2011 Chevy Cobalt" set a 10.5 wide national record at an eighth. What I am getting at is in these competitions they're just in name, not in product. The original gun might have been made by Para, or para parts, but after that it bares little resemblance to other Para guns.

    Not entirely true. The guns that Todd Jarrett uses in "Stock" class are Para's, and they have to be, by USPSA regulations, quite literally box-stock. They can have trigger jobs and you can replace the sights, but that's about it as far as customization and tweaking...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
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  21. #21
    Regular Member 09jisaac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    Not entirely true. The guns that Todd Jarrett uses in "Stock" class are Para's, and they have to be, by USPSA regulations, quite literally box-stock. They can have trigger jobs and you can replace the sights, but that's about it as far as customization and tweaking...
    You can have the throat/slide polished and a trigger job. Those can potentially really change the feel/handling/reliability of a gun. I don't want to take a gun straight from the gun store to a gun smith to have it where it would shoot reliably or smooth.

    USPSA 2004
    ISPC: 19.1 Modifications to them, other than minor detailing, are prohibited.
    USPSA: 21.4 Action work to enhance reliability (throating, trigger work, etc.) is allowed.

    I am not saying he didn't get a production model and put it straight into competition. And I am not saying that para is a bad gun. I am just saying you cannot accurately say that a manufacturer is producing quality goods just because someone famous uses their product.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 09jisaac View Post
    You can have the throat/slide polished and a trigger job. Those can potentially really change the feel/handling/reliability of a gun. I don't want to take a gun straight from the gun store to a gun smith to have it where it would shoot reliably or smooth.

    USPSA 2004
    ISPC: 19.1 Modifications to them, other than minor detailing, are prohibited.
    USPSA: 21.4 Action work to enhance reliability (throating, trigger work, etc.) is allowed.

    I am not saying he didn't get a production model and put it straight into competition. And I am not saying that para is a bad gun. I am just saying you cannot accurately say that a manufacturer is producing quality goods just because someone famous uses their product.
    Very true, you also cant say from a personal anecdote that a weapon is unreliable. It takes the kind of data collection that we end users just do not have. My own para, rocks, that is all I can add to the conversation but it is just a single anecdotal account.

    On that same field I have had several different branded short barrel 1911's give me feeding problems. For me a full size or commander at the smallest is the best options.

    It would be interesting if we had some survey data on these factors.

  23. #23
    Regular Member 09jisaac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xulld View Post
    Very true, you also cant say from a personal anecdote that a weapon is unreliable.
    No, I am not saying that they are unreliable. The para I have held/shot was a very reliable gun what I shot it. But the trigger was unnecessarily heavy, the slide had very noticeable machining marks and a huge burr and para shipped the wrong magazine with it. When you buy a gun you expect the whole package. Reliability is important but not so much so that I would forget about everything else. Many guns are pushing 100% reliable, why settle for just that.
    No man alive can beat me in a fair fight: It's not fair to chase a man down and beat him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 09jisaac View Post
    No, I am not saying that they are unreliable. The para I have held/shot was a very reliable gun what I shot it. But the trigger was unnecessarily heavy, the slide had very noticeable machining marks and a huge burr and para shipped the wrong magazine with it. When you buy a gun you expect the whole package. Reliability is important but not so much so that I would forget about everything else. Many guns are pushing 100% reliable, why settle for just that.
    Yea I would have been very upset to recv a new weapon in that shape any brand.

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