Skip to main content

Auto-Ordnance Stainless 1911: A Variant of the Browning Classic

The Auto-Ordnance Corp. Stainless 1911 is a new rendition of the John M. Browing classic. Here's a full review.

Auto-Ordnance Stainless 1911: A Variant of the Browning Classic

(Michael Anschuetz photo)

Affiliate Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases.

The Model 1911 semi-automatic pistol has endured for more than a century, in the face of countless new handgun designs, new materials (i.e., polymers), and the development of new cartridges for it. But class is as class does, and shooters can still have a Model 1911 just about any way they want it, as many firms offer the iconic arm in a dizzying array of configurations and chamberings. However, the original construction of solid steel remains a perennial favorite.

A recent version of the classic Model 1911 is from Auto-Ordnance Corp. It is constructed of stainless steel, with a couple of appropriate “polymer” parts thrown in to enhance utility. I recently received one of the new pistols for review, and it is indeed an impressive piece of firearms history: a gin-u-wine, recoil-operated 1911 that exhibits fine workmanship. Everything is nicely fitted, and I could detect neither any play between the slide and frame, nor could I push the barrel hood down when the gun was in battery.


The exterior of this new 1911 is finished in Savage Stainless Cerakote, and it not only is protective, but also is a really classy finish. The new Model 1911 has “Auto-Ordnance” on the left side of the slide. The model number, company name and location (Worcester, Massachusetts), and the serial number are on the upper right side of the frame. The pistol comes in a sturdy, hard-plastic, 10x14-inch case that is formfitted. This case should provide excellent protection if the owner has to travel by air. The owner’s manual and the obligatory safety lock are in the case with the gun, but there isn’t room for a spare magazine. The gun’s warranty is for one year to the original purchaser.

The pistol is a solid handful and weighs 38.7 ounces. It has an overall length of 8.5 inches and is 1.3 inches thick over the left-side thumb safety.

The only parts on the pistol I could find that are not metal are the VZ G10 stocks, which are attached with hex screws, and the synthetic trigger. The trigger has a small setscrew in its face for overtravel adjustment. My sample pistol’s trigger has very little take-up and virtually no overtravel, and while the trigger breaks crisply, the pull weight is rather heavy, at 6 pounds, 1.9 ounces.

Auto-Ordnance Stainless 1911 field stripped
Auto-Ordnance’s new Stainless 1911 is finished in Savage Stainless Cerakote, and it comes with VZ G10 grips and a one-piece recoil spring guide rod. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

That said, Auto-Ordnance has incorporated a number of enhancements. For one, except for the parts mentioned earlier, the entire gun is constructed of stainless steel. The frame, slide, and barrel are forged, and the sear and disconnector are machined from solid bar stock. The parts are then heat-treated for durability. The front of the slide has four lightening cuts on each side (they are decorative as well), but the barrel is not ported. The slide also has cocking grooves front and back. The dustcover does not have a Picatinny rail on it, and that’s okay with me because I think such an embellishment would be like putting power steering on a trout.

One feature on this Model 1911 that I don’t like is the one-piece guide rod. It protrudes through the hole in the recoil plug, and this makes disassembly more difficult. Of course, you can take off the entire top half of the frame in one piece, but if this were my pistol, I would install a two-piece guide rod in a heartbeat. (I also would have a gunsmith lighten the trigger pull.)

Two sight arrangements are offered by Auto-Ordnance. The gun I used for this report has a tactical-rack-type rear sight that has two small (about 0.284 inch in diameter) white dots. The notch in the rear sight is 0.164 inch wide, and it’s U-shaped to mate with the white dot in the front sight. The face of the rear sight has fine striations to reduce glare. The rear sight also has a setscrew, so it would appear to be drift adjustable for windage.

The front sight has one white dot, and it’s considerably larger (about 0.318 inch) than the dots in the rear sight, and together they make for a perfect open sight picture. Both sights are dovetailed into the slide. The front sight post is 0.157 inch wide and 0.179 inch tall. Auto-Ordnance calls this sight arrangement the “Combat Day Sights.”

Auto-Ordnance Stainless 1911 synthetic trigger
The pistol’s trigger is synthetic, and it features vertical grooves and an overtravel adjustment screw. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The rear sight is marked “N1P” and “TG-H3,” and the front sight is marked “TG-H3.” The other available sight set is the TRUGLO night sights.


The magazine release button, slide stop, hammer, grip safety, and thumb safety are finished in black. The thumb safety is a delight, as it clicks up and down with ease, thanks to its extended lever.

The hammer is skeletonized, and the extended grip safety has a deep cut out that perfectly accepts the back of the hammer at fullcock. There will be no “hammerbite” with this combination! Plus, the high-sweep beavertail grip safety has a prominent memory bump that ensures it is fully disengaged for each shot. It also encourages a uniform grip, and it did just that for me.

The 5.0-inch barrel is match grade, chambered to .45 ACP, and marked as such. The barrel has a 1:16-inch twist. The feedramp is properly dimensioned and polished mirror bright, so rounds slither into the chamber without a hitch. The mainspring housing and the front of the grip are nicely checkered at 20 lines per inch, enabling a firm grip. The stocks are VZ G10 grips.

The gun comes with one, seven-round stainless-steel magazine, and its baseplate is drilled and tapped for a pad. Of course, quality extra magazines are available.

Auto-Ordnance Stainless 1911 lightening ports
The slide has four lightening ports on each side up front that meet the four front grasping grooves.


Okay, it’s a well-made, good-looking piece of hardware, but how does it shoot? I’m glad you asked!

The hardest part of this evaluation was rounding up a supply of factory ammo.

I received some high-tech loads from Federal and Hornady. And I had a couple of partial boxes of some older factory ammo (some of which is probably now discontinued), but I shot it anyway.

Several of the new loads would spell doom for a bad guy. Hornady’s Critical Defense load has the 220-grain FTX bullet that registered 1,038 fps over my Oehler Model 35P chronograph, for a muzzle energy of 526 ft-lbs. It grouped into 2.06 inches and was the best of the “modern” ammo. The polymer Flex Tip in the hollow point prevents clogging if the bullet passes through clothing, something that can make hollowpoint bullet performance inconsistent. It is perhaps noteworthy that this Hornady ammo was loaded with Small Pistol primers.

I fired the Auto-Ordnance Stainless 1911 at 20 yards off a sandbag rest, shooting three, five-shot groups for each of the 17 loads. The overall group average was 2.24 inches. The seven factory loads averaged 2.22 inches, and the 10 handloads averaged 2.25 inches. Obviously, this Model 1911 could hold its own in a firefight.

Federal has a couple of new loads also meant for personal defense. The Syntech Defense is loaded with a 205-grain JHP that is wrapped with a tough, blue, synthetic coating. It’s a wicked-looking load. Its average velocity was 912 fps with an energy of 379 ft-lbs, and it shot into 2.58 inches. The other new Federal defense load is the Punch Personal Defense that is loaded with a 230-grain JHP. It produced an average velocity of 882 fps, an energy of 354 ft-lbs, and an average accuracy of 2.44 inches. This unique bullet breaks into three segments and the core upon impact. The core is designed to penetrate 12 to 18 inches through heavy clothing into ballistic gelatin, and the three segments create secondary wound channels more than six inches deep. This is high-tech ammo! These two loads also use Small Pistol primers.

Auto-Ordnance Stainless 1911 seven-round magazine
One seven-round magazine comes with Auto-Ordnance’s Stainless 1911. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The last factory load I tested is Federal’s Law Enforcement Tactical that is loaded with the 230-grain HST JHP bullet. It produced a velocity of 973 fps, an energy of 431 ft-lbs, and an average accuracy of 2.59 inches. This load uses Large Pistol primers.

Plus, as my faithful readers know, if it can be handloaded, I will do it. In as much as I have fired many thousands of handloaded .45 ACP rounds in matches, I reviewed my records and recreated several loads that have proven themselves in other pistols and included them in this review. These included a few jacketed bullets, but most were with cast alloy bullets. The company that made the cast bullets went through a few name, owner, and location changes, including E&E Bullets and Bushwhacker Bullets, but all the bullets I used were made on the same Magna molds and sizer equipment prior to the company going out of business for good.

The results of my shooting are shown in the accompanying chart, but in a nutshell, the test gun gobbled up every load fed it without a single bobble. There were no failures to feed, fire, or extract. Plus, the accuracy was as good as my seasoned-citizen eyes can do with any open-sighted handgun these days—and these are excellent open sights. As I mentioned earlier, the overall average of the 10 handloads was 2.25 inches.

It is customary to express a load’s power as muzzle energy in foot-pounds, and I did that for these loads. However, since the .45 ACP is used so much in many match situations, I also reverted to the good old power factor (PF) number as used in various competitive formats. Power factor is calculated by multiplying the bullet’s velocity in fps times its weight in grains and dividing the product by 1,000. The PFs of the factory loads were the highest, ranging from 184.7 to 228.4. The PFs of six of the 10 handloads were above 160, frequently used to determine major PF in some venues.

Auto-Ordnance Stainless 1911 factory-load shot groups
The new Stainless 1911 proved to be pleasingly accurate with factory-loaded ammo and handloads. It averaged 2.24 inches overall with 17 different loads.

Overall, this nice, new Model 1911 shot very well. One of the most telling characteristics of the groups I shot was that almost all were nice, round clusters, with only an occasional flyer, which I attribute to the heavy trigger or perhaps a “loose nut” shot (that’s me, the “loose nut” at the end of the grip). Due to the pistol’s weight, the perceived recoil was rather mild.

I think a full-size Model 1911 is a might heavy for everyday carry, but there’s no doubt this stainless pistol stoked with any of the jacketed-bullet factory loads would put a quick and decisive end to an armed confrontation.

The two traditional 230-grain FMJ loads I had on hand also did well. The Speer Lawman Target ammo produced an average velocity of 803 fps and an average accuracy of 2.32 inches. The other 230-grain FMJ ammo was from PMC, and it averaged an exciting 1.10 inches with an average velocity of 827 fps.

As you can see from the chart, my handloads included representative jacketed and cast bullets. The Hornady 230-grain XTP bullet was loaded over 9.2 grains of Blue Dot, and it was right on the heels of the Critical Defense factory load at 947 fps, with an energy of 458 ft-lbs. The group average was 2.62 inches. The Sierra 185-grain Full Patch Jacket (FPJ) liked a charge of 5.9 grains of Winchester Super Field (WSF) that produced a velocity of 824 fps, and accuracy averaged 2.26 inches.

The cast bullets were SWCs weighing 155, 175, and 185 grains; a 220-grain Truncated Cone (TC); and a 236-grain RN. Overall, the SWCs were slightly more accurate than the TC and RN bullets, but all would be adequate for most match situations. Personally, I am partial to the 155-grain SWC over 5.8 grains of VihtaVuori N310 at 1,045 fps. Its groups averaged 2.20 inches.

As a final “test,” I attacked my hanging 0.75-inch-thick steel plate with an assortment of leftover cast- and jacketed-bullet hand-loads. Let’s just say the plate took a beating.

Overall, this new Model 1911 shot well, and due to the pistol’s weight, felt recoil was rather mild. So, except for the heavy trigger pull and the aggravation of the one-piece guide rod, the new Auto-Ordnance Stainless 1911 is a first-rate rendition of the classic Model 1911 pistol. It was accurate and 100 percent reliable with all the ammo I tried in it. And the snazzy stainless-steel construction makes it an aesthetic standout.

Auto-Ordnance Stainless 1911 Velocity and Accuracy Results Chart


  • MANUFACTURER: Auto-Ordnance Corp.,
  • TYPE: Recoil-operated autoloader
  • CALIBER: .45 ACP
  • BARREL: 5.0 in.
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 8.5 in.
  • WIDTH: 1.3 in.
  • HEIGHT: 5.35 in.
  • WEIGHT, EMPTY: 38.7 oz.
  • GRIPS: VZ G10
  • FINISH: Savage Stainless Cerakote
  • SIGHTS: Tactical rack white-dots rear, white-dot front
  • TRIGGER: 6.12-lb. pull (as tested)
  • SAFETY: Manual thumb safety, beavertail grip safety
  • MSRP: $1,324 (day sights); $1,408 (night sights)

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

The Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun is one of the most popular home defense shotguns on the market. Joseph Von Benedikt...

Browning X-Bolt Mountain Pro

The Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun is one of the most popular home defense shotguns on the market. Joseph Von Benedikt...

Taurus TX 22 Competition

The Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun is one of the most popular home defense shotguns on the market. Joseph Von Benedikt...

Federal FireStick Precharged Loads

The Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun is one of the most popular home defense shotguns on the market. Joseph Von Benedikt...

Remington Core-Lokt Tipped

The Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun is one of the most popular home defense shotguns on the market. Joseph Von Benedikt...

Walther PDP

The Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun is one of the most popular home defense shotguns on the market. Joseph Von Benedikt...

Hodgdon Shooting Powder

The Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun is one of the most popular home defense shotguns on the market. Joseph Von Benedikt...

A World Record Attempt: Practice Round and Media Day

The Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun is one of the most popular home defense shotguns on the market. Joseph Von Benedikt...

How to Aim with Iron Sights

The Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun is one of the most popular home defense shotguns on the market. Joseph Von Benedikt...

SHOOT 101: Know Your Handgun Types

The Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun is one of the most popular home defense shotguns on the market. Joseph Von Benedikt...

Interview with Israeli Defense Forces, Part 1

The Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun is one of the most popular home defense shotguns on the market. Joseph Von Benedikt...

Custom Mossberg 500 at the Range and Live Turkey!?

Shooting Times Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Shooting Times App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Shooting Times stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Shooting Times subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now