Sustained 150 round bust through a KAC SR15 with full auto lower.
Sustained 150 round bust through a KAC SR15 with full auto lower.
Regular readers of the website may have noticed a certain piece of gear popping up in pictures for the most part of this year. The multi cam plate carrier seen in most gun test reviews is a product of High Com Security. HCS very kindly sent me the PC and the rifle plates inside it, for testing and evaluation. I have had it since last winter and have been heavily using it over the past months. This review is the first part in what will be an ongoing longer term test and review. Since buying armor is not sexy and can be a considerable investment for most gun owners, I will be wearing and using the PC and armor heavily to report on how it stands up. I hope this will help decide for some of you who are on the fence about getting armor since I think everyone who can, should have it just as much as a gun for personal protection.
If you don’t know about HCS, I will post the blurb from their website to get you filled in since they can explain it better than I.
“At HighCom we design, develop, test, manufacturer, and distribute body armor and personal protective equipment including more than two dozen NIJ compliant hard and soft armor products.
We are in business for one simple reason to protect lives from bullets and bombs. For nearly two decades, HighCom has helped to save countless lives by supplying critical security products and personal protective equipment (PPE) to America’s federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and military branches.
We stand behind our armor and are proud to say that our products are manufactured in the United States. We are constantly striving to produce armor solutions that far exceed our customer’s expectations. We know lives depend on our commitment to excellence which is why we are constantly developing innovative armor solutions.”
The carrier that HighCom sent me is the Trooper APC is Multicam and it has been excellent. The first thing I did after getting it together, was to bend over and touch toes, do some pushups, roll around on ground like and idiot and generally see if i had the full range of movement I would have with wearing anything. I did. This is the first PC I have tried that I feel like nothing about it hinders my movement. Is it comfortable? Yes. As comfortable as any of these things can be. Nothing grinds against you or sticks juts into any body parts. Sitting in a car is comfortable, laying prone is comfortable, climbing up ladders and through windows is no problem. Yes, the plates were inside the carrier during all this.
The carrier itself is made well with good stitching. Usually some of the lesser quality stuff will have some of the sub par sewing to bust and come loose. This has held up., I have sweated in it and its been soaked in rain and been in the sun for long hours and the material and colors have had no degrading.
The shoulder straps are the first I have ever used that actually felt comfortable and I could stand. Usually they dig into me and I detest them but not these. They have no imapct on shouldering a carbine/rifle for me either. The shoulder straps have a good range of adjustment to fit even the most hideous of mutant bodies.
One thing I really like is the plates go into a different pocket than the soft armor. The soft armor goes in through the bottom. The plates insert through a nice tight sealing velcro seem pouch through the top of the carrier. I really like this. The cumber bun of the carrier is familiar to anyone who has ever used a PC. Adjustable in the read and velcroed in the front for attaching under the front flap. The side of the cumber-bun will accept soft armor and the side SAPI plates for protecting you from broadsides.
Once I got the carrier fitted, I started adding a few things to it for use. I like to avoid putting a lot of stuff on my PC. I like the option of using it almost bare and putting on a chest right or TAP over it if need be. For this test, I added pouches right onto the PC to test out the strength of the stitching while I used it heavily this year. In this case, I have a double mag shingle, three pistol mag pouches and a IFAK that moves from it to a chest rig depending.
Obviously you can, and most likely will, add more stuff for whatever requirements you may have. Wearing the PC while shooting and moving around is easy and comfortable after a minute of two of getting used to the weight.
The plates ( front and rear) are the Guardian 4SAs7 model. This is a Level IV stand alone plate. You can use soft armor for a back up, (and certainly more is always better!) but this level is made to work on its own. You can also buy soft armor from HCS to add to your carrier in addition to the plates if you want it and can afford it. For those who choose to pass on soft armor for whatever reasons , you can still have more peace of mind with stand alone plates. If there is any true peace of mind that comes with the thoughts of being shot anyways.
I prefer this cut of plate but they offer various styles and types. This plate has the side angles at the top for better movement in the arms and shoulder and is curved for the body.
The 4SAS7 plates are a really great deal. Getting stand alone plates at a reasonable deal is like finding some mythological beast. It is hard to say what “enough” body armor is. Any sane person would want as much as possible, n0 matter the cost or weight but that is just not practical or feasible for most of us. If your work place doesn’t give you armor and you have to buy it yourself, this is a great deal and a a level of protection that may go a long way towards making you feel safer while offering real, serious ballistic protection up to serious rifle rounds. Plates give a peace of mind you don’t have from soft armor that will stop a pistol round, stand alone hard armor will stop most of the common threat rifle rounds. To me that is priceless.
The days of scum bags only using .25s and .38special snub noses revolvers are over. If you have a gun , and master it and you are serious about your personal protection I can not imagine why you would not have armor if you could possible afford it. I know it costs money, but it will be more useful to you than those 3 stripped lowers or that 3rd glock and 8 inch barreled .44mag wheelgun that sets in the safe. I know some one out there is thinking of how many Mosins they could buy for the price of a PC and armor, but if you take your safety and this world seriously consider getting some armor of some type at some point. Every time I watch the news and see cities being burned and looted I am glad I have spent them on all the armor I have accumulated over the years.
I you are looking for some armor to protect your body from being shot by who knows what, go check out HighCom Security. You can find about anything you want armor wise and that can hook you up with a carrier to put it in. If you don’t like their carrier options, the plates will still fit in any other brand and they are great plates at a great price. Youtube is lousy with destructive testing of the HCS plates if you want to see if the proof is in the pudding before you buy. We even have some HCS plates being shot on video here. You can find those videos using the search bar. I know armor sits around most of the time and you could buy a gun with that money and all that, but it IS important if you really understand the world is a dangerous place and getting worse by the minute. If you take your safety and responsibility seriously and don’t have body armor for yourself or a family member(s), now is a good time to start thinking about it.
I first spotted the Inland M37 shotgun when on the Inland facebook page around SHOT show earlier this year. I was intrigued instantly. So when I got to the NRA 2016 show, I made sure the Inland booth was one of the first places I stopped at. I wanted to see that M37 in the worst way. I was not let down. After just a few minutes of handling it, I asked for a T&E sample. After a month or so, the demo gun showed up.
The “trench gun “and police “riot guns” have taken off as collectibles over the decades. The Winchester Model97 being an example that is really hard to find these days. Finding original examples can be pretty tough. The combat shotguns stayed in military service a long time. From before WW1 to the Vietnam war all the way until recently. Some are well known like the M97 mentioned above , some are not as well known, like the Remington 7188 full auto shotgun.
The Ithaca M37 is an example that is well known by casual firearms historians as a police or riot model and sporting weapon of high quality. The Ithaca as a military “trench gun” is likely not as well known by many. The action of the shotgun would look familiar to a lot of hunters out there. Though the first thing you may think when seeing its action is the Mossberg 500, it and the 500 are really a simplified version of the most excellent Remington Model 31 shotgun. The M31 itself an evolution from the M17. The Model 17 designed by no less than John Browning himself.
The M31 is in my opinion one of the smoothest pump action shotguns of its time. Replaced by the cheaper to make and sell M870, the M31 action lived on in its ancestors. If you are a fan of smooth as silk shotgun actions, tracking down a M31 is a must. I consider the new Model 37 to be as smooth as the M31and I don’t give that compliment out often. If ever.
The M37 has been one of those martial shotguns talked about, and sometimes seen in places like the American Rifleman and other places that reflect back on US service arms, but not really seen very often. Thanks to Inland MFG and Ithaca, we can now own one of the more rare trenchguns from US military history.
“The Inland M37 Trench Shotgun all-American-made combat shotgun is faithful to the original from its bead sight, Parkerized finish, oiled stock, and ventilated hand guard to its hard-to-miss bayonet lug that fits the long 1917 bayonet.
The Inland M37 Trench shotgun is manufactured in a joint effort with the Ithaca Gun Company, Upper Sandusky, OH. The original steps of shotgun manufacture that was originally used by Ithaca during WWII has been carefully duplicated utilizing modern technology and CNC machining which yields components that are precise and accurately reproduced.
The Inland M 37 is based on the original Ithaca Model 37 Trench Gun which was a variation of the Browning Model 17 and features the following”:
Gauge: .12 gauge / 3″ Chamber
Barrel length: 20″
Total length: 38.5″
Barrel Choke: Cylinder Choke .730
Action: Manual Pump, Bottom Load & Ejection
Weight: 6.7 lb
The new Model 37 combat shotgun is first class in my opinion. They really did it right. After using it for several months I find it really hard to put it down. Hundreds of rounds have went through the gun this summer without a problem. Birdshot, 00Buck, 4BK, slugs, you name it. The solid walnut stock really helping make it bearable to shoot the stiffer loads. Being use to tactical shotguns of modern times with their synthetic stocks, I dreaded testing. It is still a 12, but wood stock goes a long way towards a healthy shoulder.
The Model 37 is a combat shotgun so testing was done with combat and police loads. Target below was fired with low recoil OO buck from 25 yards standing with no support. This was a bit of a warm up for the real test, to get a feel for possible recoil. Much relief was felt by all at how the gun managed to tame recoil a bit.
Above is a target with 3 slugs fired from 50 yards. No the gun did not fling them to the left. After two test rounds, the shooter got a little flinchy on the trigger. Shooting a 3″ magnum slug round from sitting is hard. Hard and painful. I sure did not want to do it, and we only had 5 rounds anyway. Even as much as the heavier solid wood stock helped, it can’t help that much. With some one more willing to eat the recoil and hold steady ,the M37 would likely hold all 3 slugs in the head of the Q target at 50 yards.
With that done, we got serious about testing the shotgun for pattern at usual distances using a variety of shot and police buck loads. The target below was one round of OO Buck at 25 yards. The large hole is from the wad hitting the target.
The next target shows a second and third shot into the same zone. Again, large holes are from wad hitting and punching through the cardboard.
Target below shows hits from 4BK from 25 yards out. The 4BK was fired into the upper chest. Bottom circled group is from standard OO Buck round fired from 35 yards. The “40 yards was written in error.
The next target is OO Buck from 50 yards out. Two rounds were fired at the target off hand standing. I know a lot of people, experts and average Joes have all kinds of things to say about what the best shotgun load is for whatever distance. Obviously it’s best to test the shotgun out with each load to determine what you want to use, in whatever situation, before generally deciding. I think if I were a full convert to the tactical shotgun as a general purpose tool I would trust this one with OO buck to make a 50 yard shot if background was not a concern. We do have video of me knocking down a steel popper plate from 60 yards with the OO buck round. Once it is uploaded I will insert it into this post.
As promised here is the video of buck fired from 50 yards. Camera lens and angle makes it look much closer but it is indeed 50 yards
The short riot/trench shotgun is a pleasure to handle. It’s fast and easy to work with and the slick action is as fast as lightning. The original M37s would indeed “slam fire” but this one will not. As I understand it, this was done at the request of Inland when having the guns put together for them by Ithaca prior to the converting to “trench gun.” I know some will gripe about this, but let it go. It’s a fact of modern America that lawyers and sue happy anti-gun activists would salivate at trying to prove the gun defective in court. For those who do not know,” slamfire” refers to the lack of a disconnector in the originals that lets the hammer fall as long as you hold the trigger back. Just like the M12 and M97 etc
The gun does have the infamous “barrel shroud”! Not to be confused with the shoulder thing that goes up. The ventilated shroud functions as the bayonet lug and sling swivel as well. It marginally protects the hands from being burned by a hot barrel. It will work for a while, but heat will transfer after enough rounds. I think no one other than a liberal can deny it looks cool. Sad to say I don’t have a bayonet to mount for your gratification. The front sling swivel is nice. Very big and tough. You can attach about anything you want to the front and rear. I originally mounted a USGI leather sling to the gun as seen in pictures, but went to the M1 cotton sling for easier use.
The Model 37 ejects and feeds from the bottom. Handy for both left and right handed users. It can take a bit to get used to if you have only ever used the M87o or most other pump shotguns out there. The gun kicks out the empties with enough force to send them about 20 yards if you turn the gun sideways while operating the action . So no worries about any fired case getting hung up.
Pictured above, I fired that gun while wearing a WW2 belt with M1911 , holster and mag pouch with a Pacific Canvas& Leather WW2 shotgun shell pouch I purchased only to be used with the M37 for the full experience. The shotshell canvas pouch holds a dozen rounds in loops in two rows.
When the gun is empty, reach down and open the flap and strip rounds out of the loops to load into the gun.
I have seen some old timers turn the gun upside down and tuck it under the firing arm while loading to maintain solid control over the weapon while moving. So I tried it out. Please no comments about how Chris Costa says to load a shotgun. I am aware. Process and gear used for nostalgia purposes only.
When loaded, got back to making it empty again.
Inland MFG has really been on a role the last few years. The M1 Carbine I tested earlier this year was a faithful reproduction that was beautifully done. The M1911A1 made by the same company equally impressed me, and you know how hard it is for a company to impress me with a 1911 if their name isn’t colt. The Model 37 is another hit with me. Inland has turned into one of mt favorite gun companies in recent times. All of us have seen a rise in demand for “retro” guns in the last ten years and while several companies make Ar15 retro models, few have offered quality reproductions of the weapons commonly used in WW2 and after leading to the AR15.
Inland has gone a long way to meet that market of retro and nostalgia. Now that easy M1s from the CMP are about to be gone and the M1 carbines being long gone, prices for originals are continuing to sky rocket. Repro guns are a great choice for those who want one of the old firearms but can’t afford or can’t find and original. Or just to have one to use hard without hurting the value.
Hopefully Inland will keep expanding its line and one day we can buy a M1903A3 or A4 new production. I would like to see Inland produce a faithful M1911 to join the M1911A1 already in production.
About 10 years ago the ARFCOM retro forum had not become the price driving monster it would end up. During that time it was still still possible to find some pretty rare parts on ebay and various places. Some of those parts could be made into a full weapon minus the lower of course. That is the goal for most of the retro builders. Ideally they want all original parts they can get to finish the gun. A lot of people manage to piece together a gun by finding all the correct parts. Obviously I am leaving out the full auto lower, but when I say all, I mean everything but that lower and whatever other parts that would risk crossing the absurd rules.
What really sticks in the craw for a lot of people, is getting 90% there. Ewww that has to burn! You get something super rare and cool and you just can not wait to post pics of it all over place at the gun prom! But. You just can’t. Get. It. All! So what do you do? Give up? Sell it all off to some other guy who still has a hope of finishing it up?
Nope. You go online and find some one who knows a guy who knows a guy and just have the parts you need made from scratch of course!.
So now we come down to the “rest of the story”. The two guns shown are of course Colt M231 post firing weapons. An oddball from a period of time where the military wanted to have something to fire from the side holes of a Bradley. You can look up the details yourself but it basically a M16 simplified down and with a really high cyclic rate meant to be used from the Bradley. There are a few variants of it but one in particular more or less stands as the standard model as far as looks and recognition goes. A guy who ended up becoming a dear friend came on the retro forum one day after ending up with a hand full of M231 parts from some auction and wanted to finish it up as it was not something being done at the time. He was really stuck on a couple of parts that seemed to be impossible to find and was out of options or ideas. I happened to wonder into that thread and after seeing the almost finished weapon, really got hot to see it completed.
I contacted my friend who is a skilled machinist about the possibility of making that part for the arfcommer. After some emails and back and forth the project was on its way.
The major hold up for the arfcom retro guy was the gas block that was also that part that hooked into the vehicle. No one could find measurements or even a picture to show it from all angles and sides. Some found some specs some where and I sent it on to my machinist friend. Just using pictures found online that no one took for the purposed of making a copy of it and eye balling it, my friend came up with a plan. Below is a picture of a real one and the fake one made up by my friend, who has made an appearance on this website a few times over the years.
Everyone has heard of the 10 foot rule or some version of it. Well most will agree that if you have never handled a M231 yourself and even if you did you likely never cared, this copy would most likely pass the 10 inch test for anyone other than people very , very familiar with it
You can see the places where the fake , faked it. Mostly this is a result of making a copy from pictures.
In this case, the length of the barrel gives it away. The real M231 upper has a slightly shorter barrel. The longer 16 inch barrel is used as the variant with stock, makes for a legal carbine. Real M231 upper with shorter than 16 inch barrel is a “Pistol” so as not to have to get into NFA laws.
The machining to make that gas block took a few months and trial and error. Some experimenting had to be done with the gas system and gas tube. A gas tube had to be cut down by the machinist and a one of a kind gas system made. We tested fired it one night and it was feeling of real accomplishment.
The gas block above is pictured in the white. The machine shop my friend worked at did not have an ability to park’ it and the owner received and and sent it off to be finished in the appropriate shade for retro looks.
it was a lot of effort to pull this off. I did not mention that I and my friend live in Ky and the owner close to the other end of the country so much phone calls and emails , shipping and a lot of effort by guys on Arfcom retro forum went into getting this thing together. It tunred out pretty good I have to say.
Of course it was all kind of a waste because a month or two after it was all completely a real completely M231 came up for auction on gun broker and the owner of the M231 bought the complete upper. If he had only waited ! It was all worth it regardless. things were learned, some one worked on something at work he was not supposed to. life long friends were made and some esoteric M16 retro parts skyrocketed on ebay ever after. Good times had by all.
Bellow I am posting some more picture of the oddities M231 parts. Most are the major parts that are a hang up for any one pondering putting one together. At the time, I recall some other machinist was making copies of some of these parts.
Today we have a guest post from sporadic contributor and quasi-Looserounds member “CJ”, about his favorite topic.
The following is repost from Hognose at weaponsman.com. Weaponsman is an excellent weapon related website that is a friend to this website and also a favorite internet stop.
The most annoying person in the world is the write-only device. You know that guy: he never shuts up, yammering on and on, and never stopping to listen, only to take a breath. As you might expect, that habit which makes everyone want to kill him in a peacetime classroom or office, makes it easy for the enemy to literally kill him in combat.
There is much to be said about stealth and silence. The first thing that we will say is this: truly silent motion across terrain is not possible. It is an ideal for which you must strive, but even Mark Twain recognized it as nothing but a literary convention, when he was beating the defenseless James Fenimore Cooper senseless in a battle of wits:
Another stage-property that he pulled out of his box pretty frequently was the broken twig. He prized his broken twig above all the rest of his effects, and worked it the hardest. It is a restful chapter in any book of his when somebody doesn’t step on a dry twig and alarm all the reds and whites for two hundred yards around. Every time a Cooper person is in peril, and absolute silence is worth four dollars a minute, he is sure to step on a dry twig. There may be a hundred other handier things to step on, but that wouldn’t satisfy Cooper. Cooper requires him to turn out and find a dry twig; and if he can’t do it, go and borrow one. In fact, the Leatherstocking Series ought to have been called the Broken Twig Series.
It was always a Cooper white man who broke the twig, because Indians were born to patient stealth, at least in his universe. (Cooper, one must remember, was no frontiersman, but a cashiered Naval Academy midshipman). The Indian, in fact, was no more capable of silent movement than a ninja, an SF soldier, or you.
It was a crushing disappointment to learn that we would not, in SFQC, learn the Indian ninja art of silent walking on dry oak leaves. Instead, however, we learned something more practically useful: how to be quieter than the other guy, and as quiet as we needed to be.
If silent movement is not possible — and it isn’t, if your enemy can’t hear you, his dogs, with their superhuman hearing, can — then moving stealthily at night requires several things:
The first two are fairly obvious: you can move much more rapidly without giving yourself away when a train is passing by, and high-pitched sounds travel poorly. (You do need to bear in mind that sound travels differently in different atmospheric conditions). The most complicated of those three principles of night movement to apply is the periodic listening halt.
Immediately after inserting, assembly, or crossing a danger area (of which more in some subsequent article), the patrol or team must conduct an initial listening security halt. While the details of the halt may vary, something like this works:
Why five minutes? You can change that time if you like, but it’s a good minimum because it’s quite a long time to be frozen in one place. Even a patient enemy, who stops when you do, will move and give his existence and position away before five minutes is up.
Active listening? That means concentrating on listening. You’re not only listening for the enemy, but also to develop a mental picture of what normal night sounds in your location are like. What are they like immediately when you stop? If you have been halted for a time, are there animal noises that come back (and that presumably stopped while you were moving)? Knowing this gives you an edge in the woods, compared to someone who doesn’t.
After the initial halt, the element leader must have a way to silently signal the element to begin moving again. If there is sufficient illumination, hand and arm signals may be effective; if not, touch signals should be used. Only in the most extreme case should a command be verbalized, and then, it should be whispered (remember, a higher-pitched whisper will travel much more poorly than a normal-pitched vocalized word — which is a good thing in a night full of hostiles).
It goes without saying that all these modes of command and control, and the listening security halts themselves, must be practiced in controlled conditions in garrison before attempting them in the face of an armed enemy. Night combat patrol operations are at the far end of a long crawl-walk-run pipeline; they’re the Boston Marathon of crawl-walk-run.
Animal and bird sounds make both effective stealth command and control means, and also excellent “cover” if you inadvertently make a sound in the possible presence of the enemy. Do a Leatherstocking and break a twig, or snap back a branch? The risk of exposure may be mitigated, if you can fake the snort of a deer or porcine species native to the area.
Once the element is on the move, further listening security halts should be executed at relatively short but variable periods. You can set these by distance or by time; it’s also helpful to be cognizant of terrain. If you have just passed through some stuff that was impossible to be truly quiet in, like dense mountain laurel or the dry leaves of an oak forest in winter, a listening security halt on the far side should be able to reassure you about the prospect of being tracked or tailed. As in all patrol technique, principles are iron but the means of serving those principles are best mixed up so as not to simplify the enemy’s counterpatrol planning.
Don’t be the foot-shufflin’, twig-snappin’, noise-makin’ equivalent of the yammering guy in the first paragraph. On patrol, the silent man comes home; the guy who loves the sound of his own noise dies from it.
Last time we took a look at the new Delta Elite 10mm pistol from Colt, we saw the refinements on the new Delta, compared to the classic Delta Elite from the 1980s. In my opinion , it is a very fine pistol. It has all of the “custom production” enhancements I want in a modern M1911, that I intend to carry and use as opposed to set in a safe.
With the new Delta being obviously configured for carry and hunting in mind, I used a variety of ammo choices in this go around. I chose some modern carry /defense loads along with ball practice/training ammo. There are still some brands and types of 10mm ammo out there I have not gotten my hands on yet and when I do I will add to this review or update. One thing I kept in mind this time, is the cost of the 10mm ammo and how likely the average buyer could find them in the local gun store. My thinking is to mix in ammo the new buyer, who is not a dedicated 10mm lover, would likely see in the same store the gun was being sold. I did mix in carry and high performance ammo that would also be encountered in a store, compared to some of the more expensive high end ammo from places like Double Tap. Lastly, I did not ignore the reality that money is tight for most people these days and most 10mm shooting is likely to be done with ball training ammo. As I said above, a future post with high performance 10mm ammo will be upcoming.
The groups shown are an average of all rounds fired from each ammo type. I fired from a bench rest with sand bags, with ranges marked on the target. Shooting was slow fire with most groups taking at least 5 minutes to complete, to give the ammo every bit of concentration and effort I had. I did fire off hand in a few instances to take a better look at how the gun and ammo combination would do in a self defense situation. The third part of this review will be shooting the Delta at longer ranges of 75, 100 and possibly 200 yards, to illustrate how the 10mm round really benefits from its higher velocity and power.
First, I want to talk about the big surprise for me. The Armscor ammo was a brand I have had little experience with. The gun loved this ammo. I have not verified its velocity or any specs on it other than bullet weight, but it was noticeably hotter than the other generic FMJ plinking and training ammo. As far as I am concerned, for now, if I want ball ammo for the Delta or for any thing, this is what I will be using, until I find some other ball ammo that shoots better.
The PPU 180 grain hollow point was not so great and felt like a medium power load. Of course the dual spring system can be throwing off my judgement on account of it working so well to tame the 10mm recoil. This group is normal for PPU ammo in my experience. I have tried PPU match and have not seen it live up to any of its marketing claims. It is nice plinking ammo though and it has the benefit of being easy to find locally.
The Federal Trophy Bonded soft point is another round I have little experience with. It shot great and would be a good choice for hunting if you are a believer in the bonded bullets from Federal. It could also serve double duty for self defense. I also fired a Federal Hydo Shock round, that shot about the same but I confess to losing the target it was shot on before I could take a picture.
The Winchester 175 grain Silver Tip hollow point. This is an old favorite of mine from back when the 10mm was in its early days in the 80s. A very good round and highly thought of at the time. It is still the first pick among a lot of people for CCW. I have had these rounds for a long time but a quick check at Midway showed me this round is still being made and sold. It has always shot very well for me and was perfectly reliable in all three (3) of the Delta Elites I have owned. The Silver Tip is pretty well regarded by a lot of people including myself and if I was not a convert on the use of solid copper hollow points, this would be a load I would stock up on for daily carry. Apologies for the blurred picture.
The Hornady Critical Duty with the flex tip shot outstanding, as the group above shows. I used this load as the “match load” standard, for accuracy and for the rest of the tests for longer range groups. Reports and testing show the round to be very effective on ballistic gel. Friends who have more experience with it, tell me it is superb. Until I settle on a solid copper HP load for this gun , this is the load I have been using as a place holder in the gun for CCW.
The S&B ball ammo seemed to always shoot 3 rounds tight and then toss the last 2. It feels like a mid powered plinking round. Which it is. Good for training and plinking. Its not too expensive but nothing special. I saw this ammo have problems in a Kimber 10mm and even a glock. If you want some ammo to plink with I would say it is ok, but understand what you are getting.
Another offering from Hornady is the XTP round. A good solid round that shots great. I would have been shocked if it didn’t.
This is a group fired off hand with the Fed American Eagle ball ammo. I fired it off hand as I had already put up the bags and my set up. I happened upon just a few rounds of this ammo. I fired it offhand and it did about what I expected from it. It is always reliable and decent training quality ammo.
Now we get to trying the ammo in a method more in line with real world self defense. This group is fired at 25 yards, off hand. I did shoot it at a slow methodical pace, to get the best out of itself and myself as I could. I fired eight (8) rounds of the Critical Duty ammo using the center of the large orange sticker as my aiming point. I think you can’t really ask for much more out of it. The group would easily fit inside a target the size of a human face or inside something the size of a human heart. This target group is one of the reasons this ammo is what I am currently using as the CCW ammo for the Delta.
For fun I took the gun out to 50 yards using the Hornady ammo. I fired this group from the bags and bench. I have to say I was pretty pleased with myself on this one! Too bad I couldn’t shoot that same level off hand at a bulls eye match. This target shows you that the 10mm is fully capable of an easy hit on a man sized target at 100 yards, which we will be doing in part 3 of the review.
Of course with the group from the bags being as good as it was, I had to try it off hand at 50. I fired ten (10) rounds off hand (though two handed) and got most of them on the target. For my excuse, I am going to admit that buy this time I was getting pretty tired. Shooting a 10mm for hours is harder work than you may think. It doesn’t have the nice soft push of a 45 ACP or childish slap of a 9mm. It starts to wear on you. I am confident I could have done better if I started this fresh.
The new generation Delta Elite is proving itself to be everything I hoped it would be. It has already over taken the place in my heart the older original version occupied. After a little over 1,500 rounds so far, it has had no problems and has all the extra touches I want. It has been my daily carry since I received it and it will be with me come hunting season.
In part 3 of the T&E of the new Delta, we will be shooting it out to as far as I can possible make a hit with it, to take advantage of the powerful 10mm round. We will be adding in some drills and training to get a handle on what a new 10mm user may have to get used to, if they are interested in moving up to a new level in power, by letting some one who has never fired a 10mm do some drills with it. Check back in the next few weeks to see that and more.
Below are some pictures sent to me by good friend to the website, Trey Moore, owner of MooreMilitaria. He is selling something that is rarely seen on the market. The ultra rare Xm148 made by Colt.
This is the Vietnam war era grenade launcher that mounts to the barrel of the M16 family of weapons. It has the X designation because it was never made standard. The M203 was the grenade launcher that was adopted by the military for use with the M16 series and is still in use today. Trey tells me there only about 6 of them on the registry.
If you have the money and want this one you can find it at www.mooremilitaria.com. You can get to it by clicking on the banner link on the right. It is certainly a once in a life time chance. For the rest of us, enjoy the detailed pictures of the system.
The Colt Delta Elite M1911 has been around since the 1980s. It was Colt and the Delta Elite that came in at the last minute and saved the 10mm round from death. While never a huge best seller it has come and gone over the years since the first models hit shelves. It did go away for a while but as recently as a few years ago was brought back by colt in its original retro form and sold pretty well. While it was a great gun and true to its original issue, it was a bit bare stock for now a days. In May of this year, all of us who wanted a Delta Elite in a more modern combat carry package without having to send the stock model off to a gunsmith, got what we had been waiting for.
The new Delta is everything I personally wanted for a long time. It has all the refinements I want in a M1911 that I plan to use for more than setting in the safe. It has my favorite Novak Combat sights. It has an extended safety, the under side of the trigger guard is cut for a higher grip. it has a competition trigger and a beaver tail grip safety and is de-horned for carry comfort in addition to other upgrades.
Before I get into a deeper look at the piece, I should add right away that I did change a couple of things as I am want to do. While I like the safety that comes from the factory and think its a fine part, I much prefer the feel and size and shape of the STI extended safety be it single or ambi. Colt used to provide the STI on its XSE and upgraded guns until recently switching to what I believe is the Wilson Combat safety. I replaced the Wilson part with my personal preferred safety.
The Next change on the gun that I make on almost all of my 1911s is a part that I have had a long standing love affair with. That is the S&A stainless steel checked main spring housing. Again, the factory has so issues and I can not fault it. I just have my personal quirks like we all do and when given a chance I can not resit making tiny changes to a 1911 to make it more my own. To see the gun in its unaltered form, I provided the link to my original first look over review of the Delta from a few months ago posted above.
Now that we got that out of the way so no one will wonder why their Delta looks different than the one reviewed here, its time to take a look.
The new Delta is standard Colt 1911 with some obvious slight changes. It comes apart just like any other Colt and Colt’s apparently millions of copiers.
The recoil spring is the new double spring system. It is the same concept as used on the USMC’s MARSOC M1911 recently adopted and also made by Colt. You can find a review of it here as well. It does not have the full length guide rode that is essentially pointless.
The recoil that results from the new dual spring was a huge surprise for me. I have had several older Deltas over the years and full power 10mm ammo is not exactly something you would want to pound yourself with all day long. But this makes it pleasant and I could barely tell a different between the 10mm ammo and 45 ACP. The lower power 10mm auto loads are very pleasant to shoot with the new recoil spring set up. This seems to be a new standard practice on most of the more combat and competition 1911s from Colt now and I’m liking it a lot so far. I confess I have not attempted to take these two apart from each other because I have no inclination to see how much of a pain it may or may not be at this point. I most likely won’t do it either until they need replacing from normal use.
The cut out for the slide release is the full relief. This is pretty common now a days but there was a time when it was not standard. It was originally done because of the cracking that would appear on the old light weight commanders after long term hard use. A crack in the area effected nothing but some anal retentive types (like the kind of guy who loses sleep over brass marks or dings on his AR15s case deflector) ability to sleep at night witohut worrying over it. Obviously it is expect especially on a 1911 in this round as it is a powerful round and some of the loads are very hot and hard on a gun.
Yes. It is the so called “series 80.” Deal with it. There is nothing wrong with that, I have been using series 80 guns for 30 some years and never had a problem. The trigger is crisp and breaks clean. Anyone who tells you not to buy a gun if it has the series 80 style safety is an idiot that can be ignored or treated like your liberal mother in law.
The barrel is standard 1911. I know some people moan and grown over this because they want to shoot rounds that are super hot. I don’t care one way or the other. I do not load the ammo to pressures high enough to need to worry about it. The hotter self defense loads from the factories work for me. In my mind, if you want that kind of performance out of your 10mm, buy a revolver or send the gun off and have it fitted with the barrel you want. I think if I was going to do that I would go ahead and go all the way and have a 40.SW and a .357sig barrel fitted for it at the same time and have the use of all the rounds. otherwise, the standard, original barrel fills all my needs.
Here is another look at the under cut. This is such a nice little enhancement that it should always bee standard on anything that is not a retro nostalgia repro. The strange thing about this is that I thought for many years it was appreciated by everyone until I mentioned it to some casual 1911s owners and they never noticed it. I guess that goes to show how far enhanced production 1911s have come since the days when this sort of thing was a custom gunsmith only feature. In my opinion, M1911s from factories and gun smiths are the better than they ever where including some of the custom guns from back in the day.
While it may only be a personal taste, I really like the new black trigger against the SS gun. I noticed this trend with the Colt Defender a couple of years ago and really like hot it contrasts and looks with the black sights .
Another change is the new grips. For years the Deltas always had the standard wrap around rubber grips. These are still rubber, but obviously do not wrap. I like the slimmer grip though all day pounding of full power ammo does make the older wrap feel pretty good. Of course the grips have the iconic Delta Elite triangle. The wrap around rubber grip with red triangle have been on the Delta for a long time. A older catalog shows some from days past below . The wrap around grips are almost an institution for the Delta but I really like the look and feel of the new grip. I have an original wrap grip that I put on it for a while to compare before taking it back off and I am sure some will miss it. Maybe Colt will offer up the older grip as a factory part at the online store for those who want it.
For those curious who want to see the older original grips, below the catalog is a picture of my ultra-rare Delta Elite Gold Cup in blued steel with original wrap around rubber grips.
If you can not wait till part 2 and the accuracy test/review, yes the new Delta out shoots the original Gold Cup Delta,and the GC Delta is Very accurate already.
The mags are the standard Colt mags. Same design used for the Super .38.
They of course are marked 10mm Auto. Thanks to Hunter at Rangehot.com. I learned that the standard magazine for 45 ACP will cycle and feed in the 10mm gun. I admit to having no idea about this but after he mentioned it to me, I tried it and could not believe I went all these years not knowing. Now, I don’t know if all mags for the 45 guns will work perfect all the time and always lock back when empty. And I would not carry 45 mags for the gun if I thought I was going to have to fight with it. But they will do in a pinch. If you are at the range and need more mags for whatever reason or you lose or destroy the 10mm mags or if you just want some more mags and can not afford the pricey purpose made mags, the 45 ACP mags will work. I tried Wilson Combat 45 ACP mags and standard Colt 7 and 8 round mags and they worked no problem what time I used them. Use that info however you want. But I recommend sticking with the purpose made 10mm mags if you are going to CCW.
On another magazine note, I have tried one other company’s 10mm mags. I picked up 4 Kimber mags from a local gun store and all 4 had problems. In my experience this is typical of kimber mags. I was not very surprised and was glad I did not pay the full price for the things. They do seem to work about 3 out of five times though. Otherwise the standard USGI 45 ACP mags work better in the gun and of course the mags that came with the pistol are flawless. I say all that to say, you can use other mags other than ones specifically marked “10mm” if you need to or are having trouble finding extras, but keep in mind the potential for mischief.
I have fired the new Delta quite a bit so far and it is everything I hoped it would be when I was first told by Colt they had sent me one before the NRA show. It feels good. It really is hard to explain but it feels really good. As we stood around the booth for it at the NRA show I heard people comment on how great it felt over and over. You’d think that’s crazy as it is a 1911 like other 1911s, just in 10mm but its true. It indeed has a lot of enhancements over all the early Deltas, and in my opinion is nicer than the nicest of the older Gold Cup Delta Elites nice as they are. It is not tricked out for competition since who really wants to use 10mm all day in 3 gun or IPSC or whatever. it is set up for carry or hunting and it is very nice. I have been daily CCWing it since it arrived and its rubber grips and de-horning make it comfortable. And the thought of the power of the 10mm and the hornady ammo is very comforting.
Part 2 of the Delta Elite review will be up soon with accuracy testing, handling and longer range shooting to take advantage of the rounds flatter trajectory and speed.
A little over two weeks ago the Inland MFG/ Ithaca Model 37 combat shotgun arrived. We have been testing it hard. This week Part 1 of the rest will be up. Until then,I posed it with some Vietnam War period items for a quick glamour shot.