View Full Version : What is an Essex 1911 .45?

24th December 2005, 21:51
Hey all, I'm not quite sure if this is the right forum to pose the question I'm about to ask. Recently, I've found an Essex 1911 in the .45ACP for sale at $790 Australian (Not sure how much that is in American though). Now, I would like to know what exactly is Essex and how did they come to make the 1911? Sorry for sounding naive but hey, I have to ask, because I'm thinking of going in and give it a good look over, using XavierBreath's great article on buying an used 1911. I've tried looking all over the forum but couldn't find anything to read on for research.

25th December 2005, 10:48
Essex makes 1911 frames. I don't know if they ever made complete pistols. I'm certain someone here knows, though.

25th December 2005, 14:28
Australian $ = .728093 American(call it 73 cents),$790 Australian=$575.19 American. Essex made a fairly decent frame,but what matters here is what are the other parts?GI surplus?,commercial aftermarket or what? who assembled the pistol and so on.The gun may function OK(note here;I said OK,not correctly) a few hundred rounds down the road it may fall apart,I don't know how the gun market is in your neck of the woods,but I have always bought guns with one thought in mind,and that is,pick the best one you afford and buy one a little bit better. Look at it this way,buying a questionable gun at $800 and it turns out to be a piece of junk,you have lost $800, find a "correct" gun that is worth $900 but priced at $1,000 and you have to pay that $1,000 price to get it,you are only out $100,and you may be able to recoup that very shortly because correct guns go up in price every year.just my $ .02 worth. here's url for Essex.


26th December 2005, 08:48
Essex makes cast frames and slides. Their older stuff varied from good to junk, their newer stuff is supposedly CNC milled, quality still varies, but seems to be overall improved. Essex never made complete firearms, only parts that were assembled by gunsmiths, do-it-yourselfers, and they did make frames for some of the smaller manufacturers, none of which were high dollar type companies. I'd be real careful about buying Essex parts or firearms made from Essex parts. If the parts were correctly machined and assembled, it should be ok, otherwise.... well, buyer beware!

26th December 2005, 10:49
How are you able to buy a .45 handgun in Australia? I thought that your "we know what's best for you" government confiscated, destroyed, and banned all firearms? Just curious whether there is a loophole?


26th December 2005, 18:39
Thanks, Hawkmoon, stans, RayP. for all the timely information and advice. You stopped a naive buyer from going off the deep end. I'll give the said 'Essex' pistol a real good look-over but if it isn't worth the price tag, I'll pass on it and be patient for more 1911s to come along :D

Flcracker, our "We know what's best of you" government could have easily banned all firearms if they wanted to, but they've only banned semi-auto rifles, semi-auto and pump-action shotguns (all of these can be obtained through a special licence if you're a professional hunter or primary producer), leaving bolt-action, lever-action and pump-action rifles well alone. This is because of our SSAA's resistance against the government.

As for handguns, we're only allowed to use them for target shooting with the restrictions being; 1. The barrel in a semi-auto must not be any shorter than 120 (roughly 4.75 inches) millimetres or in a revolver, 100 (roughly 4 inches) millimetres. 2. The calibre must be less than, or up to .38. 3. The magazine capacity must be no more than 10 rounds.

However, for Western Action (or Cowboy shooting) and Metallic Silhouette, they require pistols bigger than .38 to compete well, so there's a special class of pistols made for them called Class C, which allows pistols bigger than .38 but less than, or up to .45, being the only change. To have that class on put on your licence, you have to fill out a fair bit of paperwork, with your club's endorsement and the fact that you've been participating in the Metallic Silhouette/Westion Action competition.

It isn't really a loophole at all, it's more of a geniune need/reason to purchase and use such a pistol for the competition, which is Metallic Silhouette in this case. Heck, I've tried using my 9mm 1911 and it was fun trying to knock the steel targets over but I've watched someone's .45ACP 1911 knock them over for good.

So, it was there and then I decided to pursue my dream once again, which is to own a proper 1911 in its true calibre, .45ACP. This is why I'm looking all over the forums on what everyone has to say on various manufacturers and doing my 'homework' to find a 1911 that best suits me. I hope all of this answers your questions, Flcracker, though it is a bit long-winded :D

27th December 2005, 09:06
thank you very much for clearing up that muddle for me - I wasn't aware of the exceptions to the destruction.

However, being recently addicted to duck hunting, I guess that means that unless you're a professional hunter or primary producer you are out of luck for waterfowl hunting, right?

It would be interesting to see the results of wildlife population studies over the 10 or 20 years after the ban went into effect to see if there is a population boom followed by a crash in animals that were previously kept in check by hunting.

You and your fellow shooters - keep the pressure on the hoplophobes down there - they will always be lurking for the opportunity to deny your rights even further.


27th December 2005, 18:08
Not a problem, Flcracker, out of all those 'banned' firearms, most of them were destroyed when confiscated but a select few survive to stay in ownership, through a private collection or on special licences.

Regarding duck hunting in Australia, I wouldn't necessarily say you're out of luck for waterfowl hunting. You can still pursue hunting, provided you have your firearms licence, your 'special' duck hunting licence (To ensure you don't go hunting the wrong species), your permit to hunt ducks and finally the landowner's permission. I know the government and 'greenies' love to make it difficult for us with all this paperwork but what tops it off is every state in Australia doesn't have the same hunting legislation all over.

So, duck hunting seasons will vary from state to state. Matter of fact, in my home state, Queensland, the State government have banned duck hunting all together and we have launched a petition to move against this. A seasonal ban due to the drought we're having, we have no problems with that but to ban INDEFINITELY, it simply isn't on. All it does is restricts the amount of help to keep the ducks off the farmers' properties and the farmers find it very tough now to keep the ducks in check in future seasons.

We've always argued against the 'greenies' and their stance on hunting on the fact that should we let the feral pests go unchecked without proper hunting and conservation, just doing what the 'greenies' think is best, we wouldn't have any native wildlife that's unique to Australia left. Imagine that :eek:

1st January 2006, 16:16
Just alittle more information on Essex Arms. They got their start in the 1911 business during WWII, building replacement frames and slides for Gov't arsenal rebuilds for returned or battle damaged 1911's. After the war they continued to make the frames and slides. The comment about the quality of the early efforts from Essex was will taken. With the introduction of CNC technology, the Essex products are vastly improved. I have built several 1911's with the Essex frame and they produce a fine shooter. I have seen two Essex/Essex 1911's, in fact one of them I owned. It is my opinion that they were purposefully built that way by others. I am not aware that Essex is building and marketing a completed 1911. I do believe that they are heavy into "private labeling" their products out to known 1911 builders..

6th January 2006, 09:23
Well, I've just visited the gunshop yesterday afternoon to inspect the Essex 1911 .45 and I must admit I sure had a shock when I got to see the pistol up close. The frame itself definitely was made by Essex, which was obvious by its markings on the left hand side of the frame near the dust cover and must've been a early one judging from its serial number.

Nil damage far as I could tell but jeez, the workmanship on the slide had to be the roughest I've ever seen for a pistol. It had a crude home-made adjustable sights which works and the front sight was crudely home-made as well, as it wasn't staked in place but 'welded' in place! Nothing about it tells me it's been done by a competent gunsmith or in factory. Wish I took pics but the store owner didn't allow it, which .

The finish was rough but OK, parkerised all around. I looked further over the frame and discovered whoever owned this pistol, didn't know how to do modifications right. There was this 'extended' mag release sticking out and it had its notch on the shaft way outside the frame! Although it worked rather roughly, I rather obtain a more proper one for the job.

I then checked for the pistol's function and safeties, all in OK working order. What turned me off was two things:
1) Slide to frame fit was OK, a bit of looseness but when cycling the slide manually, it was very rough, like running it over sandpaper. This could be fixed but not worth the price it was selling for.
2) The owner must've fiddled with the trigger for competition work because when I first tried pulling the trigger for a safe dry-fire, the hammer fell with only minimum pressure and that alone set off alarm bells in my head. I tried it again and same results. I have to say, that had to be the lightest trigger in any pistol I've tried and definitely of the 'hairy' kind.

So, in short, I declined on the pistol because of the 'hairy' trigger, I felt it wasn't safe to use at all and its price tag of $800 was ridiculous because its finish was very average plus the fit-up of parts being very rough. I'm sure there are other better quality second-hand 1911s out there but this Essex isn't one of them, no offense.

Thanks once again, guys for all your advice and information, it is very much appreciated, as I had so little knowledge of 1911s. I'll just have to keep looking long and hard for that dream .45 :D