Welcome to M1911.ORG
The M1911 Pistols Organization Forums Site


John needs your help
Please read this message.


Sponsors Panel
If you intend to buy something from the companies advertising above, or near the bottom of our pages, please use their banners in our sites. Whatever you buy from them, using those banners, gives us a small commission, which helps us keep these sites alive. You still pay the normal price, our commission comes from their profit, so you have nothing to lose, while we have something to gain. Your help is appreciated.
If you want to become a sponsor and see your banner in the above panel, click here to contact us.

Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Colt Offices ACP by Western Arms

THREAD CLOSED
This is an old thread. You can't post a reply in it. It is left here for historical reasons.Why don't you create a new thread instead?
  1. #1
    Join Date
    29th May 2004
    Location
    Athens, Greece, Earth
    Posts
    28,076
    Posts liked by others
    204
    Blog Entries
    2

    Colt Offices ACP by Western Arms

    While I do like the full-size 1911s as much as the next guy (or gal) here, I have an unsatisfied love affair with the shorter ones, especially the Commander-length, 4.25" barreled pistols, but also the smaller, 3.5" Officers-size ones. Unfortunately, the Greek laws do not allow us to own any pistol with a barrel smaller than 4", so the small pistols are totally out of my reach.

    A while back, when discussing airsoft with my new friend Mike (the owner of one of the few shops in Europe which import Western Arms pistols and parts, Elite Shooting Center), I mentioned to him a Western Arms Colt Officers model I've found in a Hong Kong site. Unfortunately, that particular model is one of the cheaper ones that Western Arms offers, and according to Mike it wouldn't satisfy me, although it is an SCW3 pistol. Then, one day, I discovered a frame/slide kit that was made for this exact pistol. Mike agreed that with that kit, the Officers might be a worthwhile gun, so I asked him to get me the Officers and the kit.

    The pistol and the frame/slide kit arrived in the same package as my M4A1 rifle (a review of that airsoft rifle will be posted here soon) so I don't have the box the pistol comes in. Somehow I believe it will be the late, brownish cardboard box that WA is using for its recent offerings.



    When I first touched the Officers, I was pleasantly surprised. It felt quite nice in my hand. It's nowhere near being the heavy-weight champion of the airsoft 1911s (at 760 gr according to my el-cheapo kitchen scale, 790 gr according to Den Trinity) but still being small, the limited weight doesn't seem to be as prominent a disadvantage as on full-size 1911s weighting the same) but still it didn't felt awkward. Another interesting thing I noticed about the pistol, as soon as I fired a couple of BBs through it, was that it had a noticeably heavier trigger, than the other WA 1911s I've tried (whose triggers are .... hairy, to say the least, so I liked the somewhat heavier trigger pull of this one).

    Some remarks (based on the looks of the pistol):

    + : I liked its blue finish.
    - : I hated the silverish hammer used on it. Why on earth did they installed a silver hammer on such a nice, traditional looking blue pistol??
    + : I liked the high-profile, 3-dot sights the pistol comes with. Elegant and functional simplicity.
    + : I liked the grip safety used, the Commander, scalloped spur safety.
    + : I liked the tear-drop thumb safety.
    + : I liked the traditional looks of the pistol. Vertical rear cocking serrations, no front ones, round Commander hammer instead of the more modern oval ones.
    - : I wish the pistol had a checkered magazine release instead of the serrated one.
    + : the grips are some of the best wood repro I've seen on an airsoft pistol. Add the golden Colt medallions they come with and you have some excellent grips.

    Some more issues:

    - This is the second pistol I see, which comes with a weird slide stop. Typically, all the slide stops I've seen on the WA pistols had a slot, just like the real ones, which allows the slide stop notch wall to go in it when locking the slide. Well, not this one. This one does not have that slot. I've first seen such a slide stop, on another WA pistol I have here, the Novak Next model (more on another review shortly), which had some curious features, one of which is the non-locking slide stop. According to WA, that's the way Mr. Novak build this gun (I am not sure Wayne Novak would build a pistol with a non-locking slide stop and a thumb safety which does not lock the slide, but hey, that's what WA says). On the Officers, the slide stop does lock the slide but only because the slide stop notch on the slide is machined throughout, without any material left on the inside. So even though the slide stop does not have the slot for the slide's wall to go into it, it still moves up and it still locks the slide. Why they did it this way, differently from their other pistols, is anyone's guess. I haven't the foggiest idea!

    This is how the slide is machined to allow the slide stop to move up, even though it has no slot cut into it.



    And here is the weird slide stop, with no slot.



    - Another issue is that the front sight is secured in the slide by a tiny cylindrical tenon, which seems to be staked a little. Nothing like you would expect on a real pistol, no widened part of the tenon shows inside the slide, so I have to assume that this is going to be a problem area I need to address.

    OK, since the decision has been made to have this pistol customized with a metallic frame/slide kit, I didn't bother taking any pictures of the original pistol and proceeded directly to disassembling it. When I had all the parts out, I checked the frame/slide kit that I got with it.



    This is a Prime frame/slide kit and it came with grip screw bushings, new plungers and a separate plunger tube, which mounts on the frame with two tabs, which are inserted in corresponding openings. Then the plunger tube is pushed forward and locks in place. I added a drop of crazy glue to each of the two tabs, just to be safe. I also added some blue Loctite on the grip screw bushings, to make sure they'll not become loose. Finally and in order to rectify the mushy feeling of the thumb safety, I replaced the flimsy plungers spring that came with the gun, with a real one.

    I then turned my attention to the slide. As I imagined, the front sight could not be secured on the new slide, so a drop of crazy glue was used to take care of that matter. The rear sight went in without a problem (it is secured on the slide with a couple of screws from the inside) and the blow-back unit was transfered from the old slide to the new one without an incident.

    Then I tried the slide on the frame.

    Well, it didn't even go on. Actually it did go on for about 1 cm only and got stuck. The frame needs to be fitted to the slide, so out came the files and I started working on the rails. After about 4 hours of work, the slide could move through the entire length of its travel without any binding. Now I know why custom gunsmiths charge you the money they do.

    Here is the end result.



    No, that scratch inside the cocking serrations was NOT done by me!



    As you can see, this is a sweet little pistol. The silverish hammer has been replaced with a blue one from the Novak pistol (I think I am going to use that Novak pistol, as a spare parts depot, I do not think I'll ever get used to its crazy features), as well as the short trigger with the long one from the same donnor (eventually I went back to the short one, it felt better in my hand on this pistol). If only I could find a black chamber for the barrel, I would be a very happy camper. The pistol looks very "stealthy" as it is, with only that barrel chamber being silverish.

    Check the very nice-looking grips with the Colt medallion. They are plastic of course (and filled with heavy material on the inside) but they look so much like cocobolo that you could fool an expert.




    The Novak pistol donated the checkered mag release as well.

    Also, the magwell is slightly bevelled which makes mag insertion easier.



    Sights are the taller, high-profile ones used on contemporary Colt pistols.



    The front of the muzzle is very much like the one of the real pistol, showing a large-opening barrel bushing and a slotted recoil spring plug. Interestingly enough, the plug has a colar at its rear edge, thus you could call it a "reverse plug". Something Colt should have done in the original pistol, instead of relying on a small protrusion to hold it in place.



    The pistol comes with a flat-based magazine, holding 19 rounds. WA is to be commented for creating a special magazine for this pistol, they could have used the Wilson one they use on the Wilson SDS (http://forum.m1911.org/showthread.php?t=8173), which has a bumper pad at the bottom, but instead they opted to create a new magazine with no bumper pad which fits perfectly the ... concealment duty this pistol is mainly used for.

    The pistol strips to its basic components very easily, just like a real 1911.



    In the picture above, you can see how the rails had to be filed in order to fit the slide on the frame.

    As you can see, WA seems to like shock buffs, they include a red one in this pistol.



    Overall, I like this little pistol very much. It conceals easily (what am I saying here???? this is not a real 1911, right? Well, for those who like to practice airsoft in their back yard, it is important) and it works like a champ.



    The frame/slide kit didn't add any significant weight to the pistol, however with their dull finish they added a lot in the looks department. The pistol now looks even more realistic than before.

    Accuracy-wise, the Officers showed the typical accuracy of Western Arms pistols, or to be exact it is a little less accurate than I expected. Groups in the 3-4 inches are normal if the shooter does his part. I guess the short barrel has something to do with the slightly worst accuracy (when compared to other WA pistols I've tested). I do all my testing at 10 meters so this is a typical group I've obtained with the little pistol.



    Power-wise, again nothing extraordinary. The BB punched a clean hole on the side of the Coke can and dented the opposite side, but didn't penetrate it. I think I would invest in some extra power magazine valve on this one, and some heavier springs. I would like to see this pistol getting a little more powerful and now that it has a metal slide and frame, I do not have to worry much about damaging it.





    Overall, I do not know if it is because of the fact that I never owned a real, small 1911, but I do like this pistol a lot. Compact, and relatively light, it is perfect for those occasions I carry concealed in my .... garden.

    Accuracy: 4
    Upgradeability: 4
    Training Capability: 5
    Realism: 5
    Quality: 5
    Power: 2

    Overall: 25

    Note on Gas

    With all Western Arms pistols, you are supposed to use the HFC 134A gas. Using Green gas in them, will cause problems, premature wear etc. HFC 134A is giving slightly less performance (lower BB speed), when compared to Green Gas. Green Gas should not be used in unaltered pistols made in Japan, like the WA ones.

    With the above warning noted, I have to admit that I am testing all pistols using ... propane. Green Gas is in reality propane, with a little silicone oil added, to lubricate the pistols. So instead of paying for Green Gas, I bought a canister of propane, like the ones sold in US for the camping stoves, or flame torches, and a special valve adaptor, which allows me to use the much cheaper propane instead of Green Gas. In this site, you can read more on this issue:

    http://www.airsoft-innovations.com

    The reason I am ignoring the manufacturer's recommendation, as far as gas is concerned, is two-fold. First, I want to have consistent environment for all the tests (some of the pistols we'll test here use HFC 134A, some use Green Gas), and second it's plain difficult to find HFC 134A in Greece. Also, I plan to upgrade all the standard pistols (like this one) so that it is safe to use Green Gas (and thus propane) with them.
    John Caradimas SV1CEC
    The M1911 Pistols Organization
    http://www.m1911.org
    Last edited by John; 13th September 2008 at 04:37.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    15th February 2006
    Posts
    1,002
    Posts liked by others
    3
    Great review, and a nice pistol, John!

    Regarding gas, if you recall, I have a Tokyo Marui HI-CAPA 5" stock pistol, and my friend has a TM HI-CAPA 4.3" that he converted to use a steel slide, barrel liner and high pressure valve. After 8 months using propane, mine works fine, and his does not. It functions, but not reliably. He feels that it would have been better to use the stock pistol, and replace parts only after they break. His opinion is that the stock TM plastic parts are better then the metal replacement parts he installed.

    So, upgrading to use propane may not actually be necessary.
    - MacEntyre
    Per Ardua, Infensus, Sine Politico
    Haec manus inimica tyrannis

  3. #3
    Join Date
    7th June 2004
    Location
    Western Washington
    Posts
    3,043
    Posts liked by others
    13
    Colt put polished hammers on their blued guns for many years. Both my Commander and my Delta Elite are blued overall, with the sides of the hammers polished bright. I think the "silver" hammer is correct for a 1980's OACP.
    "A grip safety is just another excess moving part. I have never known one to prevent an accident, and moreover, it is difficult to postulate a circumstance in which it might." Jeff Cooper

  4. #4
    Join Date
    18th September 2007
    Location
    Berkeley, CA
    Posts
    36
    Posts liked by others
    0
    Nice review, and Prime bodies are notorious for requiring more extensive fitting than PGC or Shooters Design. Also the cheaper series of Western Arms are called the Magna Tech series and all utilize the SCW3 internals, but couple that with an ABS slide and frame, rather than the Heavy Weight material used in the full house guns. Heavy Weight is still plastic, but with suspended metal particles to increase weight and feel.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    29th May 2004
    Location
    Athens, Greece, Earth
    Posts
    28,076
    Posts liked by others
    204
    Blog Entries
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by MacEntyre
    So, upgrading to use propane may not actually be necessary.
    The reason I upgraded this one, was not because I wanted to use propane, I just thougth it would add some more weight to it, by using a metal frame and slide. At the end, there was no weight benefit, but it sure looks nicer! LoRL

    Quote Originally Posted by RickB
    I think the "silver" hammer is correct for a 1980's OACP.
    I guess you are right, but the silver hammer didn't look ... correct to my eye. I love the stealthy looks on a gun (even if it is only an airsoft one).

    One more thing concerning the use of propane etc.

    One of my oldest airsoft pistols, is a Para Ordnance P14-45 that Ted Szabo has offered me as a gift (God rest his soul). It was one of the first PO pistols made by WA, not an SCW design or anything. I haven't used this gun much (compared to my other pistols) since I prefer the single-column 1911s, so it was a surprise for me to see that its slide has developed a longitudinal crack, parallel to the slide axis. The wierd thing was that the crack was above the disassembly notch, when typically you would expect it to be around the slide stop notch where it receives all the pounding.

    So, one of the least used pistols has developed a crack. Was it due to propane? I do not think so, as I said this gun was shot way less than my other pistols. On the other hand, my most-often used pistols seem to be perfectly OK with a steady diet of propane. Go figure!

    Oh yes, since I treasure this pistol very much (Ted Szabo was a beloved friend), I have replaced its slide with a metal one and it is now proudly displayed again in my airsoft collection shelf.
    John Caradimas SV1CEC
    The M1911 Pistols Organization
    http://www.m1911.org
    Last edited by John; 19th December 2007 at 02:58.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    1st December 2007
    Location
    Muskogee, Oklahoma
    Posts
    618
    Posts liked by others
    0
    Nice although, airsoft? Come on man,LOL
    ‘‘The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose.’’

    — James Earl Jones, Actor

    Xd 9mm
    Glock 22
    Hi Point c9
    Magtech 151
    Llama IX-A

  7. #7
    Join Date
    29th May 2004
    Location
    Athens, Greece, Earth
    Posts
    28,076
    Posts liked by others
    204
    Blog Entries
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Constantine-1911
    Nice although, airsoft? Come on man,LOL
    Well, I guess I should be satisfied, at least I now have an Officers size pistol, even though it's not a .... .45ACP one.
    John Caradimas SV1CEC
    The M1911 Pistols Organization
    http://www.m1911.org

  8. #8
    Join Date
    1st December 2007
    Location
    Muskogee, Oklahoma
    Posts
    618
    Posts liked by others
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by John
    Well, I guess I should be satisfied, at least I now have an Officers size pistol, even though it's not a .... .45ACP one.

    Yeah I know what you mean, i thought about getting a blank firing Desert Eagle to see how it feels: weight and all.
    ‘‘The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose.’’

    — James Earl Jones, Actor

    Xd 9mm
    Glock 22
    Hi Point c9
    Magtech 151
    Llama IX-A

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  



Sponsors Panel
If you intend to buy something from Brownells, please use their banners above. Whatever you buy from them, gives us a small commission, which helps us keep these sites alive. You still pay the normal price, our commission comes from their profit, so you have nothing to lose, while we have something to gain. Your help is appreciated.
If you want to become a sponsor and see your banner in the above panel, click here to contact us.

Non-gun-related supporters.
Thank you for visiting our supporters.