Reviewed By: William F on 07/07/2012
Rating: [4 of 5 Stars!]
I had never heard of Chiappa (pronounced See-ah-pa) Firearms before I saw the listing here. Kept coming back to this listing mainly cause the faux supressor was sexy as hell and I was looking for a 1911 frame that ran .22LR. Ordered it, and have had both a lot of fun and some headaches with it.
First, this critter is the same weight and build as a Government 1911. For those of us older guys who were ISSUED a .45 while in the employ of Uncle Sam, it feels natural in your hand. Until you pull the trigger. Then you realize your second shot isn't heading to the moon. It tracks right back on target with a minimum of adjustment. Also, it disassembles just like a Gov't. model. No new tricks to learn!
The 1911-22 comes with a built in slide-mounted safety lock, with a two-prong "key" to activate the safety lock. No need for an external trigger lock to comply with the new federal Child Safety law requirement. It also has the normal thumb safety, but does not have the "lemon squeeze" safety like the old .45's did.
The bottom of the frame is pre-drilled with three holes (not sure if they're tapped) and I think that's for the installation of an accessory rail for a flashlight or laser.
The faux supressor isn't a supressor at all, but a barrel extension. It's rifled, so basically it gives you about 4 more inches of barrel, plus something to hold on to if using in a tactical situation. Looks cool as hell, too. It does make it a tad nose-heavy, though. Another drawback is that it doesn't holster very well while sporting the extension. Neither of my holsters will accomodate it while the extension is installed. I imagine if you had a holster with an deep barrel well or just an opening at the bottom, it might work. But I also imagine that drawing it quickly might be problematic. Also, I could not tell any difference in accuracy with or without the extension. If you're wanting to make the extension available to be installed quickly, you can leave the threaded adapter on the barrel, but it DOES extend about an inch past the slide and bushing. meaning that the exposed threads could be damaged easily. My overall opinion: Leave it off. It doesn't affect the noise, and apparently doesn't affect the accuracy. Also, the adapter can be used to install an optional muzzle brake/compensator. In my opinion, putting a compensator on a .22 is like putting a muffler on an electric motor. WHY?
The trigger pull was a little stiff at first but after a few hundred rounds it's settled down and now is smooth as silk. Don't know the exact weight of the pull but it's very comfortable.
When it came to range testing, the stock front sight WAS a little high (they send it that way so that the individual shooter can customize it) and the rear sight was difficult to see. But it shoots tight little groups, and seems to like everything from CCI Stingers to Remington subsonic rounds. I removed the original sights and put the orange optic sights (they come with the kit) on, and WOW. Dead on, there's a poor B27 target with its guts chewed out hanging on my wall.
Now the headache part. The magazines are polymer, not metal. Empty magazines drop out of the well MOST of the time under gravity power. A charged mag (or a recently emptied mag that you're trying to combat swap) will NOT drop out. You have to give them a little help. Apparently charging the mags makes them bulge a tiny bit. Wish they were metal. I'm thinking a little work with some emory paper might solve that problem (I don't think that I got a defective mag; I bought 3 extras (total of 5) and they all exhibit that behavior).
Headache #2: After the test firing, I went to disassemble and clean it. The guide rod cap and spring came out quite nicely; the barrel bushing, however, did NOT want to come out. After much cajoling, prying, and use of pliers, I finally did get it to come out, but at the cost of buggering up the exterior of the bushing. I think the matte finish applied to the weapon made too tight of a tolerance for easy removal. I removed the finish at the lugs and now it still doesn't just fall out like a government model does, but a slight uplift does get it out. It didn't seem to affect the performance of the weapon; I returned to the range after cleaning and reassembling, and proceeded to put fifty rounds into the head of a B27 during a rapid fire/mag change drill (still had to pull the empty mags out, haven't emoried them yet LOL). The good news is that I contacted Chiappa and they are sending a new barrel bushing free of charge. We'll see if that one wants to stick, too.
The set includes:
-Chiappa 1911-22 Tactical .22LR in Matte Black finish
-2 polymer 10-round magazines
-Safety key for integral child-safe feature
-Tactical extension (faux supressor)
-Threaded extension adapter
-Threaded barrel cover (for when the extension is not being used)
-Novak tactical sights (installed)
-Target sights (one orange and one green front sight, one orange rear sight with set screw)
-Wrench to remove barrel adapter and barrel cover
I would have given the Chiappa 1911-22 five stars, except for the mag and bushing problems. I already enjoy this pistol, but once everything gets dialed in, I think I am REALLY REALLY going to enjoy this pistol. All the fun of a .45 at .22 prices.