2008-06-27 / Sports

Semi-automatic pistol has quite a history

John Johnston

Para produces this double-action 1911 design of the .45-automatic pistol. Since the adoption of the John M. Browning designed, semiautomatic pistol by the U.S. Army in 1911, never has a gun been more copied, improved and customized. The .45 ACP round was used to duplicate the man-stopping power of the .45 Long Colt in a semi-automatic pistol.

During the Philippine-American War, U.S. troops found the revolvers issued to them in .38 Long Colt did not have the stopping power of the .45 Long Colt. During World War II, more than 1.9 million of these 1911 pistols were produced.

Law enforcement has had a love-hate relationship with the 1911 design. In order to carry the pistol ready for action, it needs to be in a cocked and locked condition. This means the round is in the chamber, the hammer cocked and the safety on the slide engaged.

Another safety built into the grip has to be depressed by the shooting hand in order for the pistol to be shot. This design is perfectly fine for officers who have practiced the actions needed to safely draw and fire the weapon.

John Johnston is a retired sergeant detective who served with the Austin Police Department for 25 years. He also was a licensed gun dealer for 25 years. He now lives in Lampasas County and can be reached via e-mail at olsingleshot@gmail.com Over the years, there have been many accidental discharges with the 1911 design pistol, thus law enforcement agencies have shied away from allowing their officers to carry this pistol.

In the 1990s, Para Ordinance designed an innovative change to make the 1911 safe to carry by anyone, even with a round in the chamber. It is called the LDA (light double action). Para produces a very accurate 1911 that is double action only.

I have shot a lot of double action pistols over my lifetime, but this has to be the best factory double action I have ever used. It is a two-stage trigger, meaning there is a little light slack that you take up at first (7 pounds), then you hit the breaking point, and it only takes 5 pounds to fire the pistol.

It reminds me of the customized PPC S&W revolvers I have owned and shot. As far as accuracy goes, it is just as accurate as my topof the-line Kimber.

Quite a few law enforcement agencies are issuing or allowing officers to carry the Para LDA. The LDA comes in many styles, finishes and sizes to meet just about everyone's needs.

Para also makes quality single action 1911s and double stack 1911s that can carry up to 15 rounds.

Like all quality-made 1911s, to break these pistols in they need to be fired about 500 times. This is due to the tight tolerance of the machining used to keep the accuracy level, for which Para is known.

The Para LDA pictured is the full size "SSP" model made of stainless steel with three dot combat sights. Note the absence of a hammer. There is a very small hammer that comes back when fired, but the pistol can only be fired double action.

Return to top