To find something special and unexpected, one must wander off of the beaten path. Once the sound of the crowd is behind you, growing ever fainter until it is no longer heard, you can begin to hear your own thoughts. This is true of nearly every aspect of life, and it seems an appropriate way to begin to talk about the Lionheart Industries Regulus pistol.
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Lionheart handgun history – Battle proven reliability
Lionheart Industries is a gun maker I consider to a ‘boutique’ brand. Their approach to the Lionheart Industries Pistol is both unique and derivative, taking design and function from here and there – putting them together, and then adding their own twists.
The history of Lionheart Industries goes back to a company called Daewoo of South Korea. The DP-51 was a military and police sidearm in Korea that was imported to the U.S. by Lionheart Industries and with some modifications, sold as the LH9 series.
Where are Lionheart pistols made?
Regulus & Regulus Alpha systems are 100% manufactured in the USA. The LH series pistol was developed by the old Daewoo Firearms plant.
Meet the Lionheart Regulus Pistol
Lionheart Industries new model – the Regulus – is an American domestic gun from start to finish. All design and manufacturing is done in the United States. That’s great news if “Buy American” is your mantra – not so great if “a penny saved is a penny earned” is more your style.
Like the LH9 before it, the Regulus is a very well-built handgun. The frame is made of ultra-lightweight aluminum alloy. The handle has G10 grips with deep, large diamond checkering. Front and back straps have textured cuts that serve as both grip friction and aesthetic design elements.
The pistol trigger guard is still a bit on the smallish side and narrows as it moves forward. Larger gloved hands might find this a snug fit. Ahead of that is a good length of 1913 spec mounting rail.
The shape of the grip is reminiscent of vintage S&W or SIG semi-autos, a shape that I confess I like very much. On the rear is an ambidextrous safety which helps shooters of both dominate hand. The safety is not terribly wide and taper quickly going frontward – but a few repetitions will train your thumb to use it without much problem. The slide can be fully operated, as can the hammer while the safety is engaged. This is the most effective type of safety design because it allows the user to fully load or unload the weapon with the safety engaged.
Sitting atop the aluminum frame is a slide made of hard, tool-grade steel. Wearing a matching Cerakote finish it blends perfectly with the frame. Serrations are deep and fairly wide and are cut into the front as well as the rear of the slide for operator convenience. The top is very nicely milled in a diamond checker top strap to reduce glare – and to make the gun look fantastic.
Inside is a stainless-steel barrel with an elegant black finish and the Lionheart Industries symbol milled into the barrel hood. As tested, the pistol has a threaded barrel, which adds nearly a ¼-inch to its barrel length and includes a very nicely ornamented thread protector. Total barrel length measures in at 4.3 inches.
The Lionheart Industries Regulus Alpha model includes a Novak style rear sight that has a full blackout adjustable rear and a front sight that contains a Tritium® night sight rather than fiber optic sights found on other models.
That Trigger Tho!
One of the most unique features of the Lionheart Industries handguns is the “Double Action Plus” trigger system. Just like a traditional double-action trigger, the trigger can be used to full cock the hammer (action one) and then release it (action two) to drop the hammer and strike the firing pin. As with nearly all such mechanisms, each subsequent shot will be in single action because the reciprocation of the slide will re-cock the hammer.
Same-old, same-old, right? But there is an interesting twist with the Lionheart Industries design. Once fully cocked, the hammer can be manually pushed forward to its rested position. The trigger shoe is also moved forward to its initial position. But, the hammer spring remains under tension! This creates the third (or “plus”) hammer forward function – allowing the user to pull the trigger and hammer back to the single action position with nearly no resistance at all. This allows you to quickly prep the typical double action trigger to make ready for a shot or to follow through in one motion for a very crisp and light first shot. There could easily be a case made for “duty mode” carry of this pistol with the hammer pre-cocked and reset and the safety engaged.
I’ve mentioned the similarity to older pistol models, back when double-action/single-action trigger was the standard of the day, and the Lionheart Industries Regulus Alpha has ergonomics that are so akin to that era that it might be difficult to pick out from that group if blindfolded. To me, that’s what a gun should feel like in the hand. A nicely arched backstrap fits the shape of the grasping hand nicely. Controls are where they are expected to be and they function well.
Beautiful, finished, and well fitted
The finish on the gun is Cerakote®, available in several colors (shown here in Elite Sand). The finish is very nicely applied, without that “house paint” look that inferior coating jobs can produce. This is a theme in general for the entire gun – fit and finish are excellent, with no noticeable tool marks or cosmetic flaws of any kind.
The G10 grip panels are well designed and nicely cut. They provide more friction than the previous Lionheart Industries LH9 series grips but resemble the same pattern.
What comes in the box?
Regulus Industries pistols are delivered in a soft-sided carrying case that is well suited for range trips and storage. The case zips open into two halves, with a padded pouch for the pistol (which is delivered in a sealed plastic bag). Elastic loops hold the two provided magazines with room for more. A cleaning brush, lubricant, bore brush and rod, and test-fired cases. And of course, there is the obligatory gun lock and the user’s manual. Certainly more accessories are include than is typical.
Shooting the Regulus
Of course, the real test of any manufacturers handgun is shooting it. Small ergonomic problems can arise during recoil that went unnoticed when handling the gun empty. The function of the controls like mag release and slide stop/release will be tested. And then of course, there is the function of the gun – does it exhibit any malfunctions, or does it seem to need a break-in? Last but not at all least – how well can I shoot it? Part of that means accuracy, and part means interaction with the pistol’s operation.
In every category, this handgun is a shooter! I anticipated a good range day because I know it’s a quality gun – but I was not expecting it to be as good as it turned out to be. From first shot to last, it was a blast to shoot.
I discovered that I was able to consistently hit 6” steel plates at distances between 12-15 yards with ease. There was never a hint of a malfunction of any kind, and the controls operated exactly as they should.
The slide-to-frame fit is slightly loose on the Lionheart, a testament to low production runs. But this does not seem to adversely affect its ability to shoot nice groups. Off-hand shooting produced a 20-round group that was the size of a small fist on paper.
Just my opinion
As I stated upfront, I think the Lionheart Industries Regulus pistols are in the boutique category, and that is in no way an insult. Cookie-cutter mass production is nice, but now and then it’s fun to look past vanilla on the menu and treat yourself. They’ve sold me, I’ll be a customer for years to come.
The Regulus blends nostalgic design with modern manufacturing and state-of-the-art materials and finishes. It looks like a well-preserved sidearm from 1990, but it adds a fascinating trigger system, modern sights and grips, and very good ammunition capacity – all in an all-metal package. And on top of all that – it is a shooter! I almost felt like I couldn’t miss a target at the range with the Regulus – and that doesn’t happen every day.
The price as tested is $1,149. There are about a half-dozen models of the Regulus to choose from, all of which have the same basic construction. If you’re looking for a handgun that strays from the “me too” path – this is one that you put on the list.
For more information: Lionheart Regulus
To purchase one for yourself: See Trusted Sellers on GunsAmerica.com
Author’s note: Some confusion on my part regarding the model of this specific pistol may result in references to both the Alpha model and the Combat model. Clearly, it is marked “Alpha” on the frame, but it has the threaded barrel and suppressor-height sights of the Combat. The MSRP listed is for the Combat model. Please be sure to check the Lionheart Industries website or contact them for details as needed.