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Ray-Vigo
Cyberguns Colt M1911A1 Metal Spring Pistol

Specs:
Replica of the Colt M1911A1 pistol (1924-present) with trademarks
Ft/Sec: 270-280 with a .12gr bb
Sights: static ironsights: notch-type
Mag Capacity: up to 50bbs in the mag tank
Weight: about 1.4 lbs
Length: about 8.5 inches
Availability: Pyramyd Air, $27.95 as of Jan. 2009.
You get: pistol, 1 magazine, some .12gr 6mm bbs, instructions


Background: The M1911 was the US Armed Forces' mainstay sidearm for many years. It was adopted in 1911 as the Colt M1911 pistol. It fired a .45 ACP round, with the magazine holding 7 rounds maximum. The total load could be increased to 8 if a round was retained in the chamber along with a full magazine. The M1911 was modified slightly after WWI in response to ergonomic concerns that came out of the war. The refinements did not reach the core inner workings of the gun. The slightly modified gun was designated the M1911A1 and went into mass production in the 1920s. During the latter part of the 1920s and into the 1930s, the gun M1911 and M1911A1 were popular as self-defense weapons as well as with gangsters and certain lawmen. During the WWII it was the standard issue sidearm for most U.S. forces and served with distinction. The gun would continue to serve with the U.S. Army and other forces through the 1980s, when it was phased out. It continues to serve with certain special forces units right up through today, however. The gun remains popular today with collectors and enthusiasts. Licensed versions and copies have been produced by a variety of companies over the years.

First Impressions:

The pistol comes in a small box with a styro-cutout form inside the box. The box includes the gun, a small bag of bb ammunition (6mm .12gr), a magazine, and an anti-moisture packing packet. The outside of the box has is glossy and has a picture of the gun, the specs, and a WWII image in the background. The packaging is adequate, though impractical for regular use. The styro-cutout form is tightly fitted, but tends to shred a bit when taking the gun in and out. A decent case is a good idea here. The box isn't bad and the packaging should protect the gun well enough to get to you intact. Rating: 8/10





Appearance:

The pistol matches the basic M1911A1 configuration. The only special addition to the standard is that this particular gun represents a Parkerized finish (as opposed to the usual blued). The finish looks alright and is, as you would expect, a dull medium gray. The checked grips are plastic and basic brown. They look fine. The trades are spaghetti-type lettering in a lighter shade of gray. The Colt logo is depicted, along with the patent dates. They look respectable, but nothing special. The orange tip mandated by federal law is present, and is held in place only by the mated halves of the frame. It could be removed easily, but is present here as out of the box. I only wish they'd done a blued gun rather than a Parkerized one. Rating: 8.5/10



Finish:

The Parkerized finish appears to be basic factory spray paint. It can, and will chip and wear with age and use. The finish, however, is even and has some durability. It does the job and looks the part. I was not overly impressed with it, but not disappointed either. The grips actually look nice and approximate the real thing nicely. I had feared it would have very cheap, slippery plastic grips, but the plastic used is actually pretty good. The finish can be touched up somewhat effectively by mixing roughly even proportions of flat black and white. It wouldn't be hard to touch up bare spots if you wanted to do so. The gun has a fair degree of heft, as it's metal.



The halves of the gun are mated via basic metal screws. However there are no screws near the hollow handle (where the magazine goes in). The gun displays a fair degree of play and separation of halves there. This aspect was quite disappointing-- it would have been nice of them to sink a couple small screws into this area just to sure up the halves. It wouldn't have taken much, but the manufacturer failed in this regard. Rating: 8/10 (decent finish and quality, but the play in the handle is disappointing)



Function, the safety:
The gun has a basic thumb safety on the left side of the gun. The safety is pointed and mates to a notch in the slide. When the safety is on, the hammer and slide cannot move. The safety is similar to the real M1911/M1911A1, but has the annoying habit of slipping into the "safe" position if you're not careful. This is especially true for a lefty shooter, since the larger part of the hand will bump up against the thumb safety when firing. The real gun has it, and it is simulated well here. My only wish is that they had made the thumb safety a bit harder to move.

The gun also has a palm spring safety. The top of the grip is has a large, rounded grip. When in the unused position, the trigger cannot be pulled, even if the thumb safety is off. I find this safety mechanism more helpful than the thumb. If functioning, you can only fire the gun if you squeeze the palm safety. I like this system, and it is fairly effective and realistic. Rating 8.5/10 (the palm safety is great, the thumb safety o.k. I guess).

Function, Magazine:
A single magazine comes with the gun. The front of the magazine has the usual slot/hole for the bb to transfer to the chamber. It also has a slide spring and edge for moving the spring. The back of the mag has a sliding door where bbs can be poured in. The mag can be loaded two ways: by loading the bbs individually into the mouth of the mag. The other method is to fill the tank and close the trap door, then to move the magazine slide to the bottom position and then to shake the bbs from the tank into the active part of the magazine. I prefer the former method, as I usually load only 7 rounds at a time. The magazine slides up into the handle smoothly and "clicks" down into position well. A small button on the left side of the gun by the trigger releases the magazine. Rating: 9/10


Function, Cocking the Spring:
Cocking the slide is fairly smooth and gives a definite "click". I've not had the slide jam. However, the slide must be fully pulled back. It is possible if pulled back most, but not all of the way, that the gun will chamber the bb and set the hammer, but not actually cock the spring. The result is a firing malfunction where the hammer falls, but the bb doesn't go anywhere. Cocking the slide again ejects the first bb from the barrel (it just rolls out) and chambers a second bb. This happens every so often, but is not too common. Cocking the gun produces a nice metallic sound similar to the real M1911/M1911A1. It isn't too hard to cock, but it does put up fair resistance. The knurled slide side sections help. Rating: 8.5/10

Function, Firing and Accuracy:
The firing operation is simple enough: make sure you squeeze the handle to depress the palm safety and then aim and pull the trigger. The ironsights are functional and basic; I like them. The trigger pull is definite and crisp. The gun has the added bonus of a functioning hammer: cocking the slide also cocks the hammer. When the trigger is pulled, the hammer falls and the gun fires a bb. This was a pleasant surprise, even if it is just a secondary addition to the gun. As an aside, the hammer can be "dry dropped" by squeezing the palm safety with the thumb safety off and then cocking just the hammer (without cocking the slide). When the trigger is pulled the hammer falls but the gun does not fire. It makes the familiar click you'd get when you try to fire a gun that is out of ammo. The functioning hammer simulates the real Colt. The accuracy isn't bad, even with .12gr bbs. The hop up does add a fair degree of spin up. The groupings are fairly tight, considering the gun's price. It's not great, but it passes muster from close range with .12gr bbs (under 30 feet). Of course the accuracy is better with .20gr. Rating: 9/10



Closing remarks:
This is one of those guns that is fun to operate and does a decent job simulating the real thing, but I think falls short of being a full-on battle gun. It makes a great practice partner and a fun historical addition to any collection, and for a good price. But the trade off is that it really can't compete with full gas blow back pistols. Cybergun does make a gas version of the M1911A1, but it sells for significantly more money. I would gladly recommend this gun as a practice vehicle or a fun plinking gun, but I wouldn't rely on it as a primary battle weapon in any situation. If you're particularly good with spring action pistols, it might make a workable secondary sidearm, but if you haven't totally mastered spring pistols, I would avoid battle use.

Overall Grade: B+

It does its job, it's fairly solid, but it does have its issues. It's far from perfect, but it makes a nice addition to a WWII or a "Gangster Era" collection and makes a fun practice partner.
CMP
Talk more about gun function and performance. Also, try taking pics with the slide pulled back, field strip (if any), shot of internals etc.
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