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Metro Arms American Classic Commander: https://americanclassic.com/commander-series.
Editor’s Note: We here at GunsAmerica have a taste for the finer things. We’ve shot our fair share of high-end single-actions. I personally get euphoric when handling guns that embody the best of American craftsmanship–the type of guns that get better the close you look. The Metro Arms 1911s we’ve seen don’t fit into that category. From across the room, you won’t find fault. Get close, and you’ll see tool marks and mold lines. While this would be an utter embarrassment on a $3,000 1911, it isn’t on a $500 gun–at least not one made of metal. And the guns work. They work reliably well. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t have bothered with this Commander. You can check out our other review here. When it comes to “cheap” 1911s, these guns are hard to beat.
The American Classic series from Metro Arms is imported by Eagle Imports. Eagle is probably best known as the importer of Bersa. The Bersas, like good Marxist revolutionaries, are made in Argentina. The Metros are made in the Philippines. For a number of years now there have been some very nice and lower priced 1911s coming out of the Philippines. The best known being the Armscor made Rock Islands.
Why the Philippines? Rumor has it the Americans left behind some tooling when we were wrapping up our big mid-century Nipponese ass kicking, and some skilled 1911 armorers, and the tradition has been building ever since.
In the realm of budget 1911s, the American Classic stands out for the “extras” they come with. I am not talking about the other stuff in the box, I mean the stuff on the pistol its self. These are not the standard 1911 A1 copies typically associated with Filipino 1911s. They’ve got more in common with the contemporary 1911 we’re all familiar with on this side of the Pacific.
Here are the numbers on the American Classic Commander
- Caliber: .45 ACP, 9MM
- Overall Length: 7.5”
- Barrel Length: 4.25”
- Height: 5.5”
- Width: 1.25”
- Weight (empty): 36.9oz.
- Frame: 4140 Steel
- Slide: 4140 Hammer Forged Steel
- Single Action
- Novak-Style Rear Sight
- Dovetail Front Sight
- Flared Ejection Port
- Extended Slide Stop
- Beavertail Grip Safety
- Combat Hammer
- Combat Trigger
- Front & Rear Serration
- Extended Thumb Safety
- Throated FORGED STEEL Barrel
- Front & Rear Slide Serration
- Checkered Hard Wood Grip w/ Diamond Cut
- 8-rd/9-rd Magazine w/ Bumper Pad
- Finish: Deep Blue, Hard Chrome, & Duo-tone
I have already mentioned this is a budget 1911 but I have not mentioned what these are selling for on purpose. Take a closer look at the specs I listed above and the pictures. There are a lot of extras on this pistol. Novak sight, beavertail, trigger serrations to name three that stand out. All of this (and more!) can be found for around $500 bucks. That is a heck of a lot of pistol for $500 bucks.
If there is one place that the Metro Arms lacks it is in the fit and finish department. Neither of these are bad per say, but do not expect to find the same level of polish that you would on a Colt. To keep the price this low, something has to give.
The fit of the slide to frame is great. The bushing and all of the other parts that the fit has to be right on a 1911 to work seems to be done correctly. I put 500 rounds through this American Classic and did not find any wear on the lugs, slide or frame that would indicate the pistol was not made to spec. That part, the important part, of the fit is great and how a 1911 is supposed to me made.
The finish is well applied and looks good. There are some tool marks visible on the outside of the pistol. I expect to see some of them on a 1911 in this price range. They are not bad by any means and will not effect function. The inside of the Metro is clean where it needs to me with tool marks visible in areas that doesn’t matter for function.
No it is not Made in Mexico. Metal Injection Molding. Parts made with this process get some hate and, when they are not manufactured correctly, they deserve the hate. However, correctly made MIM parts should work just as well as ones machined from stock. There are MIM parts on the Metro. At this price point you expect them. It is the MIM parts that let pistols like this sell for this price. Even a lot more expensive 1911s and other firearms have MIM parts on them. They are here to stay until someone comes up with something better and cheaper. Look at the pictures of the review gun. There are still some mold lines visible on the thumb safety and hammer. On a more expensive 1911 I wouldn’t expect to see the mold lines and they are a bit distracting here. To me, this is the biggest part on the American Classic that says “cheap gun”.
The American Classic Commander works like a 1911 should. In the 500 rounds I put down the barrel, I had one stovepipe. That stovepipe was probably my fault, too. A long day at the range shooting for this review (and a couple .357 revolvers) left this guy with a fatigued wrist. I am 99% sure I limp-wristed the Metro. So other than the one failure that was my fault, the Metro functioned flawlessly.
Like with most everything on this pistol, the Metro Arms shoots better than most 1911s in its price point. Is this the most accurate 1911 I have ever shot? Nope, but it is better than some. This is also not a target model. It has a Novak style rear sight that doesn’t lend itself to precision work. See the targets in the photos for what I and another shooter were able to wring out of the American Classic. I should also admit that I shoot full size 1911s a lot better than I do Commander sized ones. I do not believe that the 3/4 of an inch difference in barrel length is the culprit, I believe it is a balance thing and my muscle memory. 90% of my 1911 trigger time is behind full sized ones. Or maybe it is all in my head.
This is a solid commander sized 1911. Metro Arms offers a lot of bang for your buck on this pistol. There are a few fit and finish issues and the mold lines left on some parts does bother me some. But that is being a bit nit-picky. The American Classic Commander works and shoots like a champ, and that is what really matters, right?