Thoughts on Para Ord 1911s?


June 27, 2004, 12:03 AM
I wanted to get the forums' opinion on Para Ordnance's lines of 1911's. I'm specifically interested in the P14-45; the double-stack single action 5" 1911 in stainless. seemed to be somewhat optimistic, but I wanted see what you guys thought of them.

The reason for my questions is grip size; I'm 6'9" and my hands are absolutely massive (9.5" span). I was told that a doublestack 1911 with hogue grips would be ideal for my needs, but I'm worried about reliability.

So what do you guys think?

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June 27, 2004, 12:17 AM
Most of the hardcore pistolsmiths I've seen posts from (Hilton Yam and Larry Vickers esp.) don't seem to like the doublestacks as far as long term durability--there apparently is a reason that FBI HRT changed guns.

Personally, I don't think that the para's are worth the money given that pretty much every part is investment cast. Why pay top dollar for Charles Daly manufacturing?

Have you tried a 5" single stack gun with a beavertail, good dehorn, arched MSH, and long trigger?

Old Fuff
June 27, 2004, 12:23 AM
While considering the double-stack guns, which are not as popular as they once were because of various problems, I'd also look into a regular Government Model with extra thick grips. Stag grips in particular look good but are often thicker then most people like. For you they might be the perfect answer.

June 27, 2004, 12:27 AM
I tried a single-stack 1911 that felt pretty good, although it did seem a bit narrow in my hands. Hogue wraparounds might do the trick, but I'm just looking at as many options as possible before I make my purchase.

Zak Smith
June 27, 2004, 12:32 AM
Double-stack 1911's dominate IPSC competition, and Paras are in the minority compared to SV and STI guns. That should tell you something.


June 27, 2004, 02:15 AM
I can't help but notice that the STI and SVI guns would require me to either stop eating, or sell a limb to purchase.

Zak Smith
June 27, 2004, 02:20 AM
Try used. It's always cheaper to buy the right thing the first time around -- you'll end up buying it eventually anyway.


June 27, 2004, 08:10 AM
As fate would have it, I looked at a Para double stack Friday
afternoon. A neighbor had it, and wanted me to give it a quick once-over
before he plunked down the cash to buy it. I noticed that, with the factory stocks that the grip circumference was very close to a single stack pistol
with thick stocks on it. I have a pair of rubber grips made by Uncle Mike's
that I don't use, but have layin' around in case anybody wants'em.

I might also suggest working within the parameters of the design by
using a long or extra long trigger for those of us who have the hands
that require it. A trigger swap is pretty simple, even if it requires fitting,
and especially so on a pistol that doesn't have any additional frame parts
such as the Series 80 Colt.

DelayedReaction...If you decide to go with a single stack, the grips are yours for the asking. PM me with an address and they'll be in the mail.
Then' it's a matter of trying a different trigger or mainspring housing to
maximize the grip circumference and tailor it to better suit your hand size.
If you don't mind an arched housing, that will help a little over the standard flat housing. If you prefer the flat housing, you might look at
the wedge design. If you need instruction for swapping out the trigger,
and mainspring housing, we stand ready and willin' to walk ya through it.

Standin' by...


June 27, 2004, 08:37 AM
I love my Para's. The double stack with a Hogue Grip as you mentioned is just right for me. It fills the hand better than single stacks. (I'm 6'5")

I don't have a problem with single stacks; doubles just feel better.

I have 4 Para's at present. Have had others. Here's my take.

The full size guns have never hiccuped....not once. (P14 and P16) I had a small problem with a P13 that changing springs fixed. LDA is nice but not for me. The plastic mag catch is junk. Replace it as soon as you buyu one. Para (and others) sell a steel one, why they don't use one in the first place is beyond me.

I've read lots of negative things about Para Ordnance on this and other forums. Doesn't fit with my expereince.


June 27, 2004, 09:47 AM
Problem with double stack 45s is finding good mags.

What Para is shipping from their "Pro Shop" on the web is $70 crap! Kimber is no better :-(

Promags generally don't work but I've got two of two good P10 Promags which was a pleasent surprise since they were only $12 each.

10 round mags are generally OK but there are lots of 10 round mags for single stack guns if you can have it hang a bit below the grip.

SV and STI are out of my price range. Do their mags work in Para guns?


June 27, 2004, 10:10 AM
I've found the factory pre-bans work ok in my P13 and LDA 13 as long as I replaced the springs. Apparently Para factory mags are undersprung. Seems to be a problem with their recoil springs as well. Many people with Para reliability problems on the 1911 board have cleared them with new, more powerful springs. If I remember correctly, the factory recoil spring for my Paras (sample slide/barrel length) is a 14lb spring while the standard (Colt and others) is 16lb. I changed out both of mine and plan to change out the springs on my Para CCW next chance I get.

Sean Smith
June 27, 2004, 11:03 AM
Having owned a P14-45, my thoughts are that nobody deserves to spend that much money to get a gun that crappy. :barf:

June 27, 2004, 11:16 AM
I am happy with my stainless 14-45. I bought it new but it was made in the mid-1990's. It is accurate, has a good trigger, has been reliable, and appears to have been well-made. Three hi-cap mags came with it. They don't look great but have worked fine. I have medium-sized hands and find the 14 grip to be comfortable since I shoot two-handed. I also have a 12-45 which has had a jamming problem, but I put stronger springs in the mags and started using cleaner ammo and all seems to be well. The trigger and accuracy are very good. Both stainless pistols are very attracitive. I tried after-market grips but they made the the grip even fatter. I decided that the original grip panels were best.


June 27, 2004, 12:57 PM
I have both a p-14 and a p-16 single action. Both are absolutely 100% reliable, very accurate, easy in the recoil department and I like them very much. With your big hands, I think you would too.

June 27, 2004, 01:39 PM
I only have good things to say about them, they are very prevelant in Canada as they are made here so I've run into lots and have had considerable experience with them. The P14 looked and shot well beside my Kimber.


Bob R
June 27, 2004, 02:15 PM
Once again you get the range of opinions about Para's. I have used a P14-45 as my primary carry since '93 or '94. It has never failed to function. I have replaced the mag springs with aftermarket, and replaced the recoil spring. This is something many people do with other makes also.

It often comes down to personal preference. How does the gun feel in your hand, etc. If anyone within 2-3 hours of Glacier Nat Park wants to try my P14 out, feel free to drop me a line. I am always looking for an excuse to make new shooting buddies.

I will stop carrying mine in several months though. I have a Delta Elite off at Ted Yost's place getting a makeover. As soon as that gets back it will be my constant companion.


June 27, 2004, 03:05 PM
I have used a P14-45 as my primary carry since '93 or '94. It has never failed to function.

Mine from that era have been great too. They had a great reputation back then and could make new hicap mags as needed to fix ones that weren't right.

Then they got away from their roots with the P12, P10, & LDA models. These appear to have lowered their reputation. Now they've got the PXT, will their reputation rise or continue sinking? I suspect if the AWB expires PO guns will get better functioning with fresh, correctly made mags.

My P10 has been fine once I adjusted the extractor tension. The original 10 round mag works great as do a pair of new 10 rnd Promags, but then they can make all the new 10 rnd mags they want for the US market.

In general, Para seems more ammo sensitive than most 1911 style guns because of short and tight chambers.

I've a Springfield P12 clone that uses P12 mags. The SA OEM mags appear to be Promag and what came with the gun were crap. I knew the gun was OK because it never hand a problem if I loaded 6 or less rounds into the mag -- but this defeats the purpose of a double stack 45 now don't it. With a lot of work on the mags I've about got it reliable enough to carry for three 12-round mags.

Kimber BP Ten II was same feed problems with full mags, fine if 6 or less. Got these reliable enough to carry quickly from my experience with the Springer wide body. This one is light and thin enough that I do carry it sometimes, in fact shot my CHL renewal with it yesterday -- flawless function.


June 27, 2004, 03:44 PM
I have seen good Para's and I have seen bad Para's. Most of the bad seem to be magazine problems. I did see one that had all sorts of extraction problems, the solution was a new extractor. I expect Para is using all the MIM parts they can to keep costs down, so the internal extractor, unless it is one of them new fangled spring loaded types, sort of like the AFTEC, will likely need replacement. I really don't think MIM was ever intended to be used as spring material and the extractor as John Moses Browning designed it is little more than a flat spring.

Sean Smith
June 27, 2004, 04:52 PM
unless it is one of them new fangled spring loaded types, sort of like the AFTEC, will likely need replacement.

There are some recent reports of those breaking, too. Oops.

June 27, 2004, 06:13 PM
I've owned several Para's, more than I'd like to talk about LOL. I started with them when it was a frame kit only, and you had to build a gun from the kit. I bought the first factory P14 I found, and still have it. I have bought and sold many more, and miss some of them terribly. To a gun they have been well made, and the factory guns have been VERY VERY good guns. Accurate, reliable and well made, not a lot more that you can ask for.

June 27, 2004, 11:23 PM
I bought a P-O Carry 12 in early April. I went looking for the C6, a single stack LDA, and the dealer showed me the Carry 12. It felt better in my hand so I bought it. After 600 rounds of various types of factory ammo and my reloads, I'm satisfied. There was no problem with any of the ammo.

The two 12 round mags, which I had to order, were a problem. One would not lock the slide back. So the dealer ordered another, which also wouldn't lock the slide. The 10 round mag and a used P12 mag both worked fine. I replaced the springs in the 12 round mags with Wolf springs and now all function perfectly.

At one range session, I did a side by side test with my 19 year old Sig 220.
The Carry 12 was a very close second.

I like the LDA trigger. I replaced the factory plastic grips with a pair of Hogue wood grips for a P 12. The gun now feels even better with the thicker wood grips.

I've carried it a number of times but it won't replace my Smith 340SC as my "always" gun because of the weight.

The factory night sights are very dim and I'm glad they came with the gun because I would not have been satisfied if I had paid extra for them.


June 28, 2004, 03:18 AM
My first handgun was a P-13. Wasn't reliable from day one...or after a feed ramp polish and throat job. Jammed with 230g hardball. I wanted to like it, I really did, just wasn't in the cards.

Looking back now with what I now know about 1911's and guns in general, a replacement of mag and recoil springs probably would have fixed it. Shouldn't have to do that though to get a gun to work. I bought it in '95 just before Kimbers hit the market, too bad I know I would have bought a Kimber instead if they sold 1911's then.

I fell for the Para hype (extra features, trusted by professionals, blah blah) I know it's just advertising and it is all the same with every company, but then I was too naive to do my homework (I thought all guns worked out of the box and gun mags told the truth :) )

The grip size wasn't overly large, though as others have mentioned, a single stack with full profile grips, maybe a long trigger and arched housing might be the ticket too. Other thoughts on reliability... I've often read that the most reliable configuration in .45ACP is single stack with a frame ramp. Para has a STEEP barrel ramp and a double stack mag...Tuner can hopefully comment as to those things being true or BS. I just know mine didn't work.

June 28, 2004, 07:29 AM
I have a Para Carry C6.45 and carry it in the winter months. I've had no problems with it except a combination of my semi-wadcutter reloads and certain mags. But with my carry ammo or FMJ it has been perfect.

June 28, 2004, 09:23 AM
Got a bad experience with Para's. The gun functioned relaibly, no failures of any kind. One day, the frame cracked. I tried to fixed it and a friend bought it cheap and said he just wanted to learn things about the 1911's. Bought my second one again (a .40 caliber this time, the first is a .45). Many shooting sessions later, got a frame crack. Bought another gun (an STi) and never looked back.

June 28, 2004, 10:39 PM
Hogue makes a "Palm Swell" grip for single stack 1911s. It is comfortably hand filling for me (9" span). Coupled with a long trigger (as others suggested) it might be just right for you and then you could have any 1911 you wanted. They make the grip in rubber (cheap) and several woods (beautiful and not too expensive). The wood grips can be had checkered or plain. Hogue has a website that shows the grip styles. Personally, I don't care for Para guns. I have owned a couple. I think there are better choices.

June 28, 2004, 11:53 PM
No P14, but I have a P12 I bought used and an LDA12 I bought new. I like them both. I have had problems with aftermarket mags, but no problem with the stock 10-round Para mags, or with pre-ban full capacity Para mags I've picked up since.

The LDA is newer and has many fewer rounds through it. It occasionally fails to feed some JHP ammo. The P12 likes anything I feed it, including LSWC ammo.

smokin'n gun
August 10, 2005, 05:54 AM
So, is para ord a reliable, decent gun or not?
I have a deal cooking with a P14 and two extra mags.
Still pondering.......

August 10, 2005, 07:58 AM
It is a reliable decent gun. It is also very accurate.

August 10, 2005, 08:21 AM
So, is para ord a reliable, decent gun or not?

Yes. You get offered a good deal go ahead and take it. They're quality guns. Only issues I ever had with my three are magazine related (new springs fixed it).

August 10, 2005, 09:07 AM
Can you shoot it before you buy it?

I was all fired up to buy a friends P14 and he was nice enough to let me take it to the range. I put about 50 rounds through it and had multiple FTFs and FTEs. In fact I never made it through a single magazine without an error and I was only loading seven rounds per mag.

I liked the pistol and it shot nice but I couldn't get past the major feed and ejections issues. I wouldn't buy one without testing it out first or having a grace period.

August 10, 2005, 11:50 AM
I currently own three Para's. One is my carry gun a P13. The only trouble I've ever had is that ejected brass was starting to hit me between the eyes. A little tuning on the extractor and that was resolved.

My other two are both P16's. One is a Limited model and the other is a standard model. The Limited is stock, but the standard was built into a full blown race gun. After a breakin period the race gun has been extremely reliable. The Limited has alwasy been very reliable.

I have used only factory mags and have never had any feeding problems with them. The race gun was VERY tight when I built it and it did take about 400 rounds to loosen up but after that it ran fine. I shoot about 1200 rounds a year out of each compitition pistol and maybe 400 a year from my P13. I am extremely pleased with thier performance.

It really surprised me to hear then number of negative comments about Para's. The owner of the local gun shop shoots them in compititon as well as do about half our club members. I've never come across any of them having issues like I'm seeing here.

I personally wouldn't not hesitate to go with another Para.

August 10, 2005, 01:40 PM
I have a double stack Carry 12 LDA that has beeen flawless. Anything I can load into the mag it will feed, shoot accurately and extract reliably. I can give no better statement about any gun. I WILL recommend the Para Ordnance Products.

August 10, 2005, 03:54 PM
I got my 14.45 ltd new for Christmas, 2003.

2500 rounds through that one so far, ZERO failures of any sort. It's completely stock, I started shooting it right out of the box.

In a land filled with $1000-$1200 1911's**, I'd say it's a good workhorse gun, and a good value.

**I don't understand $1200 1911s. I just don't. Get a milspec for $500, put a beavertail and a commander hammer on it for $100, and call it a day, for crying out loud.


August 10, 2005, 04:38 PM
My PX189S has never failed. Love the Power Extractor and ramped barrel. I have no problem with the mags, and if I did, I'd just buy some wolff springs. Hope that helps even though my para is of the 9mm variety.

August 10, 2005, 06:07 PM
I recently bought a Para P14 LDA from a local gunstore. Its their rental gun for 2 years, so there's no telling how many rounds through it.
I have fired close to 600 rounds now and I have no failure to report of any kind. It feeds HP's reliably too. So far I'm really happy with it.

August 10, 2005, 06:12 PM
Double-stack 1911's dominate IPSC competition, and Paras are in the minority compared to SV and STI guns. That should tell you something.

But the two winingest competitor are not using S_I gun. Go figure! ;)

August 10, 2005, 06:45 PM
My game gun is a P-16.

It has always functioned flawlessly. The factory trigger was pretty crappy, so I spent $135 with a smith recommended by other USPSA shooters and got back an exceptional gun. (That $135 included a guide rod, recoil spring, firing pin spring & extractor spring/tune PLUS fiber optic front sight and replacement W/O rear sight.)

Shoots a 2" group @ 15 yds freestyle.

The gun is presently a better shooter than I am. :D

August 11, 2005, 01:23 PM
that I bought "used" ( didn't have a box of 50 thru it ) from a gentleman where I work. It was about as close to NIB as you could get for a second hand semi-auto...and it came with two mags and the original plastic case. It has been my primary CCW since, sees action every trip to the range, and gets all the attention a weapon I trust my life to deserves.
I have also heard pro & con on just about every other semi-auto on the market, so as long as you test it for function and reliability, I would dare say it's just as good as a Colt, or Smith, or Springfield, or... :evil:

August 11, 2005, 02:25 PM
anyone know what mag spring to order for a Para Tac Four?

August 11, 2005, 04:23 PM
Call these guys

August 11, 2005, 05:07 PM
Will do.

August 11, 2005, 05:10 PM
anyone know what mag spring to order for a Para Tac Four?

Same as for the P13.45. Uses the same magazines. I have one (and a P13.45 also). I usually buy the extra power springs from Wolff.

From their website:

P-13 MAGAZINE SPRINGS - 13 round pre-ban magazines
Stock No. 76971 +10% XP - each.....$ 7.49
Stock No. 76973 +10% XP - pak of 3.......$ 17.29
Stock No. 76974 +10% XP - pak of 10.....$ 47.99

They also note that if you are using neutered mags, get the P12 magsprings.

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