The Taylor’s Tactical division of Taylor’s & Company in Winchester, Virginia, has begun to import a 1911-style pistol equipped with an accessory rail. We hear a lot about tactical pistols these days. It seems like anything with an accessory rail is bestowed with the “tactical” label. To me, a tactical handgun is a full-sized pistol in a serious fighting caliber that is suitable for combat operations. On that basis, with two world wars and countless smaller conflicts under its belt, John Browning’s remarkable Model 1911 pistol is absolutely a tactical handgun. The iconic 1911 has earned its tactical chops, regardless of its configuration, but there are definite advantages to a rail-equipped pistol.
Police and military operators favor rail-equipped pistols because they can deploy any number of accessories. When it comes to handguns for home defense, I am a revolver guy, but an excellent case can be made for filling that role with a rail-equipped autoloader. Having your light mounted directly on the gun, as opposed to carrying a separate flashlight, allows you to use both hands to control your firearm. Or it gives you a free hand to dial 911 while still keeping the intruder covered. So, if you’re looking for a rail-equipped 1911, Taylor’s Tactical can fix you up.
The Arms Corporation of the Philippines, better known here in the U.S. as Armscor, builds Taylor’s Tactical 1911s. I have some experience with Philippine-made 1911s. Though I prefer revolvers for home defense, I carry a 1911 every day. For about five years, my regular carry gun was a Philippine 1911. The 1911 is the unofficial national handgun of the Philippines. Most of the 1911s used throughout Southeast Asia are made in that country. The Filipinos make excellent 1911s, and the gun I got from Taylor’s, officially the “1911-A1,” is no exception.
Besides the rail, the Taylor’s Tactical 1911-A1 is equipped with all the features modern shooters demand for a 1911. The ejection port is lowered and flared for reliable case shucking. Taylor’s Tactical 1911-A1 also has an adjustable rear LPA sight, and it’s a good one. It looks like a standard, Novak-style, no-snag fixed sight, but it is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. The front sight, dovetailed into the slide, is a blade with a slanted rear face. The rear sight has white dots on either side of the notch, but the front sight is all black.
The slide and frame are finished in matte black. The Taylor’s 1911-A1 has very aggressive charging serrations both fore and aft on the slide. Each set provides a good, positive grip. Personally, I prefer only rear serrations on a 1911. But lots of people like forward slide serrations, and Taylor’s could hardly stay in business if they offered features that only appeal to me.
The hammer on Taylor’s 1911-A1 is fully skeletonized, as is the trigger. The trigger is not adjustable for either pull weight or overtravel, but, on my test gun, that isn’t an issue because the trigger breaks cleanly. There is a tiny amount of take-up, but there is no overtravel. The trigger pull weight is 4.5 pounds, which I consider to be about ideal for a self-defense handgun.
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The Taylor’s 1911-A1 has an ambidextrous thumb safety with extended paddles. They are easy to hit from either side, and they function smoothly. The grip safety has a memory bump, which I find is necessary if you choose to shoot with a “thumbs-up” grip.
The grips are quite light colored, and they are checkered in the classic double-diamond pattern. The frontstrap has five deep striations to provide a little texture to help with a secure grip. The steel mainspring housing is deeply checkered. The checkering on both the wood and steel is quite aggressive. This gun sticks to your hand. I was a little concerned that, under .45 ACP recoil, it might feel like I was shooting a cheese grater, but that wasn’t the case. The checkering keeps the pistol firmly attached to your hand without ripping you up. The magazine well is beveled for easy reloads.
Internally, the Taylor’s 1911-A1 is pure John Moses Browning, with one exception. The 1911-A1 has a full-length guide rod. To be honest with you, I’m kind of ambivalent on the use of full-length rods. They don’t seem to do any harm, but I can’t say that they really do any good, either. In my 1911 rack I have several pistols with standard guide rods, and they are no less reliable than the 1911s with full-length rods. To me, it’s a solution without a problem.
Forward of the triggerguard, the frame sports a Picatinny accessory rail. As I said, the rail is handy for mounting a light or a laser, but unhandy for holstering. Most holsters for standard 1911s will not accept a rail-equipped pistol, but I’ve found that the Galco N3 inside-the-waistband holster will accommodate this pistol without a problem. But, if you are buying a rail-equipped 1911, you probably intend to use it equipped with a laser or a light, and for that, you’ll need a specialized holster.
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With rail guns I have been using a Fobus EMC tactical holster for several years now. Fobus holsters are made in Israel, where they take this sort of thing seriously. It’s made of injection-molded polymer, and the rear of this holster is wide open. The entire holster is essentially one big spring clip. The pistol is held in place by integral spring arms gripping the triggerguard and by a muzzle plug in the toe of the holster. The wide-open aft end of the holster means you can mount lights or lasers with no constraint by the holster. A snap-down, leather security strap at the triggerguard ensures that the pistol stays put until you are ready to draw. Drawing is accomplished by jerking the pistol straight back to clear the holster. The movement takes a little practice, but once you have it down, it is very fast and natural.
Taylor’s Tactical 1911-A1 proved to be a very accurate weapon. I tested it with two varieties of Black Hills .45 ACP ammunition as well as with Federal Hydra-Shok jacketed-hollow-point (JHP) rounds, and it shot all of them well. I started with Black Hills’ 230-grain full-metal-jacketed (FMJ) ammunition. Shooting the Taylor’s Tactical 1911-A1 from the 25-yard bench with the Black Hills full-patch ammo consistently delivered 2- to 3-inch-diameter groups. The velocity from the 5-inch barrel averaged 809 fps.
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Switching to Black Hills’ 230-grain JHP ammunition boosted the average velocity to 889 fps. The accuracy at 25 yards was about as good as it had been with the full-patch load. Five groups I fired from 25 yards were each barely 3 inches across. The best group I shot with the Black Hills JHP load measured 2.75 inches in diameter.
The final ammunition I tested with the Taylor’s Tactical 1911-A1 was Federal’s tried-and-true, 230-grain Hydra-Shok JHP load. The Hydra-Shoks turned in the best group of the day with one group that was 1.5 inches across. The largest group was 3 inches in diameter, which was the same as with the other two types of ammunition we tested.
In the end, the pistol performed reliably and turned in tight groups. Taylor’s Tactical 1911-A1 has the features many of today’s shooters want, and it has the accuracy shooters demand. (Note: The Taylor’s Tactical 1911 is now shipped with a Green Fiber Optic front sight).
For More Information
Taylor’s & Company http://www.taylorsfirearms.com 540-722-2017
Galco Gunleather http://www.galcogunleather.com 800-874-2526
Fobus Holsters http://www.fobusholster.com 267-803-1517