The ATI Firepower Extreme M1911 is a robust classic gun attached to a incredibly reasonable price tag. In my short time using the firearms at the range, I have been extremely impressed by its performance minus a few small hiccups. One malfunction was due entirely to a faulty magazine and the second was a bad round. Most of the 1911 crowd will tell you not to buy cheap because you will certainly get what you pay for, but I aim to challenge that belief today. The guns coming out of the Philippines are causing a stir and for good reason I believe.
The pistol’s slide, frame and barrel are all made of forged 4140 steel; it’s a heavy gun no doubt coming in at 2.3 pounds but sturdy nonetheless. In keeping with the classic styling of the original, there’s not a lot of flash involved with this piece. It has an all matte/blued finish save for the portion of barrel exposed by the breach. The finish is durable and while superficial scratches did occur while carrying and employing it, there was no real damage to the finish. It features fixed sights and simple serrations on the rear of the slide, one feature I was particularly pleased with was that the grips were made of gorgeous mahogany and inlaid with a rather aggressive texture. It’s a 70 series design so that means no firing pin block equaling one less safety feature but a much better trigger squeeze/break in this shooter’s opinion. It comes standard with one ACT eight round magazine, safety lock and a hard case, but to be honest I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular accessory wise given the price tag.
All that being said, the gun retails for around $380 and holy crap does it perform! The pistol had several aspects that initially jumped out at me that I felt were worth mentioning. The trigger has one of the cleanest breaks I’ve ever felt on a 1911 and the reset is definitely something to write home about. The hammer, while classical in nature was incredibly tactile and easy to operate with one hand, this is probably attributed to its large surface area compared to the skeletonized enhanced hammer that is often found on more modern 1911 variants. Unfortunately this requires the old school beavertail safety to be used and while it is low profile, it does not allow as high a purchase on the gun as I would like. Next the action was incredibly smooth, upon racking the slide back I was greeted with solid yet buttery sensation; far from the gritty texture I was expecting. Attention to detail was apparent in the smallest ways, the guide rod spring was one I couldn’t let pass me by; it’s beefy and not chopped off on one end like some more expensive brands have become accustomed to doing. The ACT magazine is drop free and feeds reliably, but past experience has made me wary of the brand (a cracked lip on the top right of a previously owned mag). This gun is by no means a race horse but a hammer designed for work, it almost begs to have the file taken to a few choice locations just to recreate the rattle/reliability of an old WWII standard issue pistol.
The tolerances are not overly tight by any means but the gun ate all the ammo I could throw at it aside from one lemon of a bullet; steel cased or brass, it did not matter. The only issue I did experience was an over-expansion of a case probably due to a manufacturing defect but it did not stop the pistol from performing. The case was cleared out and the shooting continued. Recoil was exactly what you would expect from a 1911 chambered in .45ACP, powerful but not too snappy. Groups were tight if not a little low, but I hear from several other users that’s a common thing with the ATI. Personally I don’t believe in using group sizes as quantifiable data for pistol accuracy; too much room for user error and on the flip side it’s not hard to put a halfway decent group down at a reasonable pistol engagement distance for most avid shooters. Another thing I will say is that I honestly have not put enough ammo through this pistol for me to give a full and definitive review; so I would consider this as more of an initial impressions sort of arrangement. So far I am blown away by the bang for the buck though, this gun is awesome!