Thursday, July 22, 2010
Citadel CS 1911 review
In an effort to make my gun reviews more helpful, I'm going to try a bit more structure in the presentation of information. So bear with me, as the new format might have a few kinks that will need ironing out. I consider the Citadel a carry gun- as such, I will compare it to other carry guns in its class- specifically my Original Colt Lightweight Commander in Stainless.
Initial Prep / manner of testing
With almost 200 rounds through the citadel, I feel I have enough of a feel for it to give an initial review. Shooting was spread over 3 range visits with no cleaning between them. The gun was broken down, cleaned, and lubricated upon purchase. I also inspected the fit between the internal parts. Anything that seemed unnecessarily rough received 50 strokes with fine steel wool (my standard fluff and buff procedure). That's it. Lube was shooter's choice red grease. No additional lube was added between range visits.
Ammo fired was a mix of factory and reloads including:
Remington 230gr FMJ factory
WWB 230 gr Personal defense factory
230gr Gold Dot reloads
200 gr LSWC (H&G 68) reloads
215gr LRNFP reloads
230gr LRN reloads
230gr TC reloads (Lee truncated cone design, actually 237-240 gr)
200 gr LSWC (lee design, not a true H&G 68 clone)
Distances ranged between 7 and 25 yards, with 25 yards getting most of the trigger time.
chamber after all rounds fired to see carbon buildup
Accuracy / Shootability
7 yard accuracy was 1 ragged hole with all ammo tested. POI with 200 gr stuff was just below POA at that range. The gun seemed calibrated for 230gr ammunition.
at 25 yards, rounds were fired at a swinging NRA rimfire sized chicken. My best was 5 out 8 on the steel. For comparison, I'll go 10 out of 10 with my Ruger Mk II with iron sights, and 7 out of 8 is my personal best with a full sized government 1911 for centerfire handguns. As such, I would rate the shootability of this gun as very high. The sights don't snag and are easy to see, and appear to follow the novak design. I did paint the front sight post with flourescent orange nail polish to make it a bit more visible, but other than that the gun is entirely unaltered.
view of the painted sights
The feel of the pistol is good. The grips look a bit rough, but they are textured enough to give the pistol solid purchase in the hand during firing, but not so much as to be rough against the body during carrying. I've had problems with 1911 grips in the past being either too grippy (as is my experience with many rubberized grips) preventing smooth draws and increasing snags or in grips being too rough in texture, causing pain against the body during everyday activities while the gun is carried. It was so annoying, that I switched the grips on my Commander to a smooth walnut grip. The grips on the citadel might stay a while though, as they don't seem to give me fits like other styles have in the past.
comparison of the grips- also note the CS comes with a long trigger, as well as a memory pad on the grip safety
Wow. The trigger on this gun is LIGHT. Almost too light for my taste. I actually had an accidental double tap during the first range session as I adjusted to the new pull. Take up is minimal, and the break is actually pretty smooth. Overall, it produces a very easy to shoot gun that is enjoyable to get range time with.
The chamber on this gun is tight. Some of my reloads would not fit without the use of a lee FCD. That is something to be aware of before purchasing. To test ammo fit, I removed the barrel and 'dropped' my reloaded rounds into the barrel while holding it perpendicular to the ground. Once I used the FCD, all ammo dropped freely into the chamber.
The gun feeds ammo very, very well. Better than my colt and as well as my mil-spec or my American classic II. In order not to burn through my JHP stash, many rounds were hand cycled instead of fired. No setback was noticed (the colt will give some JHP hellish setback as it smashes them haphazardly into the chamber, such was not the case with my citadel)
rounds which were hand cycled (in addition to the above ammunition which was fired)
Hornady 230gr TAP
Winchester 185 gr Silvertip
WWB 230 gr Personal Defense
El Dorado Starfire 230gr JHP
Remington Golden Saber 185gr
the only ammunition that would not cycle was 185 gr Gold Dots. In defense of the gun, none of my 1911s will feed that load (which is a shame- its great ammo). for comparison, my colt will only handcycle:
Hornady 230gr TAP
WWB 230gr Personal Defense
Remington Golden saber 185gr
No FTF, FTE, or other issues were noted during my initial test. I am glad I did do an ammo drop into the chamber though before firing (see above paragraph on reloads). Had I not taken that first step, I doubt the test would have went so smoothly.
the CS has a flared ejection port- though it doesn't really look all that lowered. also note the straight MSH.
Carryability (not a word, but work with me here)
The gun is heavy. judging by feel, the citadel cs is heavier than my colt LW commander. however, that extra .75 inches off the front and 1/2 inch off the bottom do make throwing the CS into an appendix carry holster noticeably easier. The hammer doesn't poke me as much as the ring hammer on my commander, and no aggressive textures rub up against my body. despite the weight, I would say the gun carries easier than the colt.
note the shorter barrel and grip frame
another angle - also note the novak style sights on the front and rear- no trunion front for this guy!
Overall impressions/cost/final thoughts
By me, the guns sell for about 550 to 600 bucks, when you find a shop that has them. I traded in some old stuff with mine, so my price isn't really a fair judge, but the sticker on these guys is usually under 600 with some haggle room in there as well. I'm very pleased with the gun, and its performance. I'm hesitant to say it will usurp the colt as my go-to carry piece, as I hear the springs can get finicky with these officers sized guns; however, I remain optimistic.
the gun fits easily in my largish sized hands.
at this point- I'm giving this gun a 'buy' rating. If you are in the market for a 3.5 inch 1911, check the citadel out. They are made in the Philippines (I believe at Armscor) and are well built guns. The fit and finish seems good- and the slide to frame fit, as well as the blending of the extractor and rear of the slide to the frame is all excellent. The bushingless design seems to work on this shrunken platform, and the gun already comes with the reverse plug which seems to be such a popular upgrade form some other guns in this size category.
the gun has a FLGR, bushingless, design.
as a final point, my gun fed and fired fine from the 2 included ACT 7 round mags, and full sized magazines as well. The gun was tested with the officer sized 7 rounders, full sized ACT 8 round magazines, and a mix of 7 round mags from metalform, springfield armory, surplus, and colt knockoffs.