Tell me about Auto Ordinance 1911 pistols


October 30, 2007, 02:50 PM
Tell me about Auto Ordinance 1911 pistols. I was looking for a Springfield Mil-Spec but being unable to find one I put down a deposit on a AO 1911A1. Are these decent pistols?

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October 30, 2007, 04:44 PM
The correct name is Auto Ordnance (ordinance refers to laws passed in your city), just FYI. Anyway, they have been making 1911 clones for a while but they are not known for their quality and reliability from years past.

I was looking into buying one of them in the early 80's when a Marine Gunny told me not to do it unless I was willing to spend more money making it work the way it should. He was our range master and firearms instructor so I listened to the wisdom of his word. But that was years ago...lately I have not heard anything good or bad about their products. Their guns could be better made now....but then again....

You should have posted this question before you bought the pistol...
(Sorry, if I sound like I'm lecturing you, but really, why ask now?)


October 30, 2007, 06:16 PM
Spelling aside it is my understanding that Kahr makes them now FWIW. Its not too late to change my mind as the deposit is refundable. They also had a Rock Island Armory GI 1911 as well. Side by side though the AO appeared to be better quality. All I'm looking for is a no frills (I hate forward seration, rails, and extended beaver tails on 1911s) GI45 that won't set me back a small fortune.

Ron James
October 30, 2007, 07:32 PM
Kahr has improved the quality of the AQ

October 30, 2007, 07:32 PM
The older Auto Ordnance 1911's were pretty rough, and quality seemed to be very spotty. Ones that I looked at were poorly finished, inside and out, and I felt that they would probably require a lot of parts replacement/fine tuning to get them up and running. I have not seen any of the newer Kahr built ones, but I would be willing to bet that Kahr is probably turning out a better product than AO was.
I believe the older AO's used parts from Europe, possibly Italy, to assemble their 1911's with. The Rock River, and I think the High Standard 1911, are built in the Phillipines; Springfields are made in Brazil. I think for a no frills 1911, you can't go wrong with any of the newer made guns.

October 30, 2007, 07:39 PM
I had one of the early AO 1911's and it worked fine. Fit and finish were not all that great.

October 30, 2007, 09:39 PM
Glockfan I just finished up correcting my rough draft on an article of the m1911A1 Kahr built A-O pistol.
I will post a link when the article is up if you are interested but just so you know I went through 400+ rounds of various ammunition with no failures using a different magazine. The supplied magazine fed ball perfect but did not love JHP or SWC. Using Colt Checkmate magazines the A-O fed flawless without a cleaning and accuracy was pretty good.
Kahr bought A-O from Numrich in West Hurley, New York in 1999 and I believe they really improved upon the quality. I suspect you will like your new pistol.

October 31, 2007, 12:27 PM
I bought a brandnew Auto Ordnance 1911 A1 in the late 1980's.

Wasn't too good. After firing 1 box of 50 ball ammo through the pistol, went to clean it and could not remove the slide/barrel assembly.

Took it back where I had bought the gun, and the gunsmith there beat the top end off with a leather mallet! The pistol had peened itself inside pretty bad. Appeared as if the frame was dead soft!

I got my money back and bought a Norinco 1911A1. That gun was really pretty decent, excepting the magazines, which were cheesy.

I have never heard of another AO 1911 having that problem. May have been just a random event, but pretty much spoiled the brand for me.

I might buy a Kahr made pistol, but wouldn't touch an older Auto Ordnance 1911. Although, in all fairness, several guys I know own AO 1911's and have had great luck with them.

October 31, 2007, 11:18 PM
Well at least the single individual who has any experience with the Kahr 1911s has something good to say about it. I'm also interested as I'd like a non-bastardized American-made 1911 and apparently I'm only one of the very few.

November 8, 2007, 09:44 PM
Here is my review of the Kahr built A-O pistol for those interested.

November 8, 2007, 11:27 PM
Experience with AOs varies widely as you have seen in these replys. I have a Kahr built AO (frame and slide) with Wilson Combat barrel and fire control parts which has over 13,000 rounds on it and it is still in fine shape. In addition, I recently installed the AO barrel from this older gun in a Les Baer/Colt hybid that I built and that barrel is delivering superb accuracy. For the money I think you will be fine with the AO.

November 8, 2007, 11:31 PM
I have an Auto Ordnance receiver I bought in 1984.
I used a bunch of National Match parts to build up a pistol on this receiver and still have it.
I have since rebuilt the handgun at least three times and it has fired something in the neighborhood of 50,000 rounds, the receiver is still in good shape.

I agree with other posters that complete handguns made by Auto Ordnance are not the greatest, the small parts are generally substandard, but the receivers, slides and barrels are pretty good.

I also agree that Kahr Arms has made improvements in the pistols.

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