March 30, 2018
By Joel J Hutchcroft
Auto-Ordnance's GI-style Model 1911BKO is a serviceable .45 ACP pistol with a great retail price. It lists for just $588.
The 1911BKO (Black Oxide Finish) comes with a 5.0-inch barrel that is not ramped but is throated. The barrel bushing is the standard solid style.
The carbon-steel slide has rear grasping grooves and a smooth, rounded top. The ejection port is not flared but is slightly lowered.
The sights are military style, with the front blade staked into the slide and the rear dovetailed. The ramped front sight has fine horizontal serrations going all the way down. Sight radius is 6.5 inches.
The grip safety has the slightly longer spur of the military Model 1911A1. The thumb safety also resembles the military 1911A1 style, which, of course, is not ambidextrous.
The grip frame frontstrap is smooth, and the arched mainspring housing is serrated in the fashion of the original military Model 1911A1. The bottom of the grip frame is slightly beveled.
The 1911BKO's grip panels are checkered brown plastic and resemble the plastic grips that were standard military issue on Model 1911A1s beginning around 1939.
The slide lock resembles the military Model 1911A1 style, but it's not an exact replica. The magazine release button is slightly extended, which was not found on original military Model 1911A1s.
The trigger is solid, and its face is serrated. It's not the same as the standard trigger on the military Model 1911A1. The hammer is not exactly like the military 1911A1 style, either, but it is shorter than the original Model 1911's.
Magazine capacity is seven rounds, and the pistol comes with one blued-steel magazine. The magazine's baseplate is drilled and tapped, and the follower is rounded. That's not the military style of baseplate or follower. The military magazine had a "flat-shelf" style of follower, and the baseplate was not drilled and tapped.
The 1911BKO's black oxide finish is similar to the military Du-Lite black oxide finish that was used on Singer and some Remington-Rand, Ithaca, and Union Switch & Signal Model 1911A1s, but it is different than other more familiar original military finishes, including high-polish blue, dull blue, brushed, brown, and Parkerized finishes.
Another aspect of the Auto-Ordnance Model 1911BKO that departs from the original 1911A1 is that it utilizes an internal Colt Series 80 type of firing pin block. This type of mechanism uses a vertical spring-loaded plunger in the slide to block the firing pin from moving until a lever located in the frame and actuated by the trigger pushes the plunger up, allowing the firing pin to move forward for ignition.
The owner's manual states, "For proper functioning, we recommend the use of 230-grain .45 ACP ball ammunition only." I disregarded that recommendation and fired the 1911BKO with ammo ranging in bullet weight from 185 to 230 grains and with FMJ and JHP bullet styles. All loads functioned perfectly.
At a distance of 25 yards, all of those loads produced five-shot group averages that measured 4 inches or less. The tightest group average in the 1911BKO was 3 inches, and it came with the SIG SAUER 200-grain JHP ammo.
The 1911BKO resembles one of the great military pistols of all time. It isn't 100 percent authentic to the grand old Model 1911A1, but it's darn close.