Reviewed By: Lee H on 10/07/2008
Rating: [4 of 5 Stars!]
As with any 1911, there is a mandatory 300-500 round break-in period before the gun will be reliable. Para recommends a 300-round break-in, but I had consistent jams up until ~450 rounds. During the break-in, only 230gr +P, 200gr +P, and 185gr +P would cycle effectively. I was never able to run through a full magazine of 230gr standard pressure ammo without a jam. This is due to the extremely stiff recoil spring that would only allow the lighter/higher pressure bullets to fully cycle the action. Once the break-in was complete, only 230gr standard pressure ammo would reliably cycle as the spring had softened up and lighter/higher pressure loads would ram the slide back too quickly and cause jams. After the break-in period, the Hawg is reliable for carry.
The factory installed Trijicon night sights glow brightly and are quickly acquired in dim or no light conditions. The gun was very accurate right out of the box, although I did need to move the rear sight over a hair to get it hitting POA at 5-7 yards. The covert black finish on the gun is not very durable, and in two months of somewhat consistent holster use, there was considerable wear on the finish. One might consider duracoat or gunkote to keep the finish looking nice.
The trigger is set ~3 pounds and is EXTREMELY smooth. It pulls consistently and breaks like glass. With a proper weaver grip, doubletaps were fairly easily attained by the end of the break-in period. Be sure to use a proper 1911 grip with the firing hand thumb on top of the safety. Some users report feeding issues with the factory magazine springs. Brownells sells a 3-pack of Para P12 magazines that are designed for the 12-round mags, and are stiffer than the springs used for the 10-round mags. Once installed, capacity will drop to 9+1. A tenth round can still be pushed into the mag, but expect a jam after firing the first round. If you have larger hands than a mouse, order the Pearce grip extension for the spare mag that has a flat bottom baseplate.
Recoil is harsh for someone not accustomed to shooting a larger caliber in a 3" barrel. However, the recoil is a swift rearward push instead of intense muzzle climb that is common with 9mm and .40S&W. A rock solid 1911-style weaver grip will tame recoil well. If you plan to carry lighter/hotter loads, be sure to test them for reliability, as well as practice occasionally with them to train yourself to manage the difference in recoil. Also, be prepared to clean the gun AT LEAST every 100 rounds as it gunks up very quickly.
In all, a great gun. Para did a good job with the 3" .45ACP, which is known for unreliability. Expect consistent FTFs and FTEs during break-in, but also keep in mind that ALL 1911s are unreliable until broken in. Para, like Kimber, builds their guns to exact tolerances, and a full break-in is necessary to loosen the internal parts enough to cycle 100%. If you want a defensive handgun that's 100% reliable out of the box, consider purchasing a Glock, S&W M&P, Springfield XD, or Walther P99/P99c. The 1911 does not make a great first-time handgun, but for the enthusiast, it is a blast to own. If you're not familiar with the 1911 design, please do some research and learn about their characteristics, parameters, and quirks.
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