I was pleasantly surprised with my Elite Force 1911 A1. This is my first EF gun and despite mixed reviews of their other products it has definitely scored a point in their favor.
Philosophy Of Use (POU)
As a pistol, the EF 1911 A1 serves in the role of side arm. It does have good range for a pistol but it is by no means a primary weapon. Think running two of these will give you an edge in the field? Best of luck to you. That said, I would also recommend this pistol for a long game such as Operation East Wind where it may need to be charged for hours or days on end before being used. Where most gas guns lose gas over time, this pistol excels.
This pistol weighs in at 2 pounds, 1 ounce with a Co2 cartridge installed. This is around half a pound lighter than a real A1, which is pretty typical for current airsoft replicas. One thing to note is that the barrel on the EF replica is threaded for a mock suppressor while the real world military issued A1 was not. The rest of the external features appear to be accurate imitations of the real A1.
The EF pistol carries 14 rounds according to the manufacturer. I was able to make it work reliably with 17 rounds. The magazine follower has a nice feature which enables the user to pull it down and lock it while you load the rounds. When loaded, simply push the follower in and the magazine is ready to feed. The follower does tilt at a strange angle while feeding but I was unable to create a misfeed without introducing large amounts of dirt.
EF 1911 A1s were sold in two batches and each had 3600 units. Serial numbers ending in a number under 3600 will shoot 400 feet per second (fps) with a .20 bb and serials over 3600 will shoot 350fps with the same bb. This was done at the request of players who were unable to use their pistols where close quarters weapons are limited to 350fps. My pistol chronod in the high 380s which is just right for a 400fps gun as the fps will vary with ambient temperature and altitude.
The Co2 cartridge is changed out quickly with the included Allen wrench. When charging, be sure to tighten the cylinder all they way to prevent leaks over time. I did not find any leaks over the course of my testing and the pistol actually held Co2 as good as any other pistol I’ve owned. I found that the gun would shoot 4.5 full mags (74 rounds) on a single Co2 charge. Over the course of the testing I left the gun charged and loaded for 10 days and was still able to get a full 4 (68 rounds) mags out of that same charge. I also carried this gun in a game where the ambient temperature was between 24 and 27 degrees Fahrenheit and was able to fire one mag’s worth of bbs on that charge.
I found my pistol to be sufficiently accurate. All testing was done with Elite Force .25 bbs. The hop up is adjusted by removing the barrel from the gun and turning a wheel near the chamber. Above are my groups, both from roughly 30ft. In the field, I was able to repeatedly hit a T post at 50 feet. I would put this pistol’s accuracy on par with my beloved KWA glock.
At left is an 8.5in by 11 inch piece of paper which shows a 17 round group shot from 20 feet away while standing unsupported. For reference the black dot is just under an inch in diameter.
Ergonomics (Controls, trigger, sights, feel)
I found the pistol to be comfortable in my hand with a good balance. The safety, slide lock and grip safety all click solidly into position and have no wiggle. The hammer clicks nicely back and has a stiff spring to bring it forward. The magazine release sticks out just enough to hit easily but not so much that it is obtrusive. It also has good checkering. The magazine well has a spring which ejects the magazine once it is released.
The trigger has a few millimeters of take up and breaks rather crisply. Total trigger travel is roughly 5 millimeters which provides for quick follow on shots.
When the mag eject button is pressed, a small spring pushes the mag out of the frame of the pistol. However, the mag did fail to eject multiple times in my testing, forcing me to manually pull it from the magazine well.
Field Strip and Cleaning
The EF 1911 A1 field strips much like a real A1. The parts are easy to take apart and the gun goes back together without any struggle. There are only two springs to deal with and both are quite large so you don’t have to worry about small parts shooting off into the unknown. I cleaned my A1 with cotton swabs and a soft towel. I lubricated it with plastic safe silicone lubricant. As with any gun, lubricate where metal touches metal. In this instance the barrel, slide rails, and inside of the slide where the barrel slides. I found the slide rails to be especially important to keep lubricated on this model.
For those not familiar with the 1911 field strip, the barrel assembly comes out of the muzzle end of the slide. It does not break free from it’s lock with the ejection port and pivot out like a Glock or other polymer frame pistols.
The EF 1911 A1 comes with a 14mm reverse threaded barrel and it will accept any such threaded mock suppressor. Take care when choosing a mock suppressor as too much weight added to the barrel will prevent the gun from cycling properly. As the exterior of the gun is almost identical to a real 1911, I would not be surprised if real grips would fit on this model. This would give the end user a wide variety of grips to chose from. The sights appear to be secured in place and are not adjustable.
Extra magazines are available from Elite Force but I was not able to test them personally. However, several other milsim players that I know personally reported problems with extra magazines that they had purchased.
With a MSRP of $104.99, I find this pistol to be a great value. However, extra magazines are $44 each which is outrageous.
Durability and Reliability
One of the major advantages of Co2 guns is that they are less affected by cold than green gas guns. That said, Co2 guns are notoriously hit and miss. Due to the high pressures in the magazine they have been known to fail without notice, expelling all of their gas and instantly becoming useless. I did not experience any failures of any kind from this pistol during testing. I will continue to use it and will update this review with any significant information.
Is it Recommended?
Yes, in it’s current configuration and price point I do recommend the Elite Force 1911A1 pistol. For it’s price it looks good, is solidly built and performs well which is exactly what I look for in a pistol.
The white o-ring on my 1911 magazine gave way for an unknown reason. No matter, one quick email to Elite Force and a new magazine showed up within a week. Now that’s a warranty service I can rely on!