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1911 2011 Alpha Foxtrot Bul Armory Springfield Armory

So, What’s Next?

I’ve been thinking on what my next handgun should be.

A listing:

  • Dan Wesson (CZ) DWX (full sized)
  • Cosaint COS21
  • Bul Armory Tac 5″ or Tac Pro 5″
  • Alpha Foxtrot Romulus 5″ or Spatha 5″
  • Stealth Arms Platypus
  • Springfield Armory 1911 DS (Prodigy) 5″
  • GP Arms Patriot 4.8″ or Forza 3.10″

My budget is between $1000 and $2000.

What I really want is something I don’t already have, configuration-wise. I do not have a 5″ 1911 that is chambered in 9mm. I’d prefer it to be double-stacked. I’d prefer it to not be over $2000. I do not want another cheap 2011, either – that includes any Tisas, MAC, LFA, or Witness…basically, nothing under $1000.

The Dan Wesson DWX is something that I’m curious about Dan Wesson makes great 1911s and this is apparently a blend of CZ and 1911. They’ve an MSRP of $1999 and can be found as low as $1700, so they’re within the budget. DWXs are a bit different and I love the unique guns. The con of this gun is that they are not optics-ready, which is a bit crazy considering that it costs that much and modern guns are usually cut for an optic.

I was thinking Cosaint COS21 (it’s their 5″ duty gun) but that’s rather expensive, starting at $2600! The smaller variants are $100 and $200 less (starting at $2500 for the Commander and $2400 for the Officer variants). If I’m going to spend that much money, it’ll be on a Stacatto, so scratch Cosaint off the list, simply because they assault my sensibilities. They’re probably great guns but I’ve a budget to consider.

I was also considering the new 5″ Bul Armory TAC or Tac Pro, in 5″ length. The Tac Pro is only a bit lessexpensive than the the Cosaint COS21. The Tac is $2250. Both are out of budget, sadly. As well, Bul Armory only have 1-year limited warranties on their guns, so no more Bul Armory guns for me.

I may do another Alpha Foxtrot – they’ve two new double-stacked 1911s that are in the pipeline: the Spatha and the Romulus. The Spatha appears to be a double-stacked 1911 that is solid-framed, and the Romulus appears to be a legit 2011. The con for Alpha Foxtrot is that, like Bul Armory, they only have limited 1-year warranties, but I love their guns, so I may be willing to overlook the warranty. Of the two (pictured below), the Romulus has more of my interest. Prices aren’t listed yet but I’m thinking they’ll be in the mid $1000s.

There’s the Stealth Arms Platypus. The Platypus’ pro is that it’s highly configurable. It’s cons are that it’s not really a 2011 and that most folks have them.

The Springfield Armory Prodigy is something I’ve always desired, and it has a full warranty, will take standard 2011 mags, has a very robust optics mounting system, has a great grip module, and is very flat-shooting. Yes, they initially had problems. I haven’t heard of any recent complaints, though.

The GP Arms Patriot is not new (they also have the 3.1″ Forza, which is very like the Bul Armory SAS II UL and is priced at $1590) but is very configurable. They are a tad bit pricey, though…they start at $1950.

Outside of 1911s/2011s, I’ve been curious about the Glock 43X and Glock 48. Hell, I can get both of them, in MOS configuration.

Of them all, the 5″ Prodigy is the stand-out option. I can even get the variant that has 3 mags and the HEX optic,which will certainly already have the optic mounting plate, and it will still be reasonably priced (at around $1400). Plus, I already have two Checkmate mags and a 17 round Duramag.

I’ll also keep watch on what else is released this year, as I’ve until next spring to decide.

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1911 2011 9mm AF1911-S15 Alpha Foxtrot Bul Armory double-stack double-stacked safety

SAS II Was Returned To Bul Armory

I’ve started my Christmas 2023 vacation this week. Several things are on my agenda as far as firearms are concerned.

  1. I’ve to send my SAS II UL back to Bul Armory for them to fix an issue that I couldn’t resolve. The problem is that I can fire the gun without disengaging the grip safety. I did replace the trigger shoe with a flat shoe. That replacement required me to remove the over-travel screw, but I adjusted it properly. At least, I think I did. I’ve done the same to my other 1911s and none of the other guns are experiencing the issue. I don’t typically test to see if my 1911s will fire with the grip safety disengaged, so I don’t know why I tried it this time. BA sent me a shipping label so that I can send it back to them. I’ve boxed up the gun and will ship it out tomorrow. I’ve removed the optic and reinstalled the rear irons. I also included an empty mag (they asked for it to be sent with the gun). I’ve no idea how long they’ll have the gun and customer support is hit/miss as far as being good is concerned.
  2. I haven’t shot my Tisas Duty in a while. Someone asked in r/1911 about extended reviews of the gun. I stated that no one has been posting about the gun, other than after one range visit of shooting. So, tomorrow, I plan to visit the range with the Tisas. I went to Cabelas and found some somewhat cheap ammo. I bought three boxes of 50 rounds each. The whole reason I stopped shooting it was because 45ACP was expensive at the time. I’ll bring an extra box from home (I’ve a box of Herters JHP too). I’ve some Underwood +P too, but that’s expensive, and after a while, it actually hurts to shoot it. The jarring is pretty ruthless, at 1200 FPS. The plan is to try to shoot all 200 rounds. I’ve to remember to bring all the different mags I have.

While the SAS II UL is out for repair, I’m carrying the Alpha Foxtrot S15. I’d checked to see if the S15 would fit in my Tenicor holster (when I’d first bough the gun), but I’d never actually worn the holster with that gun. It EASILY carries. While I knew the grip was thin, it’s easy to hide – much easier than the SAS II UL’s grip. What I’m not used to is it’s heft. It’s heavier – not by a lot, but it’s noticeable.

As soon as the SAS II UL gets returned to me, I probably should ask Alpha Foxtrot to look at that gun, as the ramp frame insert sometimes moves. Once that has been fixed, I’m probably going to find a reputable place that’ll make the gun optics-ready.

I’ll update you all on the status of the Bul Armory once it is returned to me.

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1911 2011 AF1911-S15 Alpha Foxtrot ammo Bul Armory defensive ammo SAS II Ultralight training

Another 1911 Range Visit / Upcoming Training

Once again, I took the Alpha Foxtrot S15 to the range, as it exhibited some failures during my last range visit, which I believe I documented on this blog.

I also forced myself to shoot the SAS II UL this go-around, since I’ve been neglecting the gun (and I’m also carrying it).

I brought some of my open boxed SD ammo to test the S15, as I initially thought it was having issues due to bad ammo. Another culprit could have been the mag (there was one magazine in particular that was having issues). Another culprit could have been me – I’d shot the gun toward the end of the visit and I was probably getting tired (hand/wrist/arm fatigue).

Right off the bat, I got two fails to feed, with the suspect mag (I’ve marked it). I ended up stopping everything, emptying the mag of ammo, and putting the ammo in a different magazine. The failures stopped.

I’m thinking I might ask Shield Arms to replace this mag. The mag is new and should be covered by manufacturer’s warranty. It’s odd that the failures don’t always occur, though. The ammo it was choking on was Sig Sauer V-Crown 147-gr JHP.

It also failed once when shooting Remington Golden Saber 147-gr JHP. It ate 21 other Golden Sabers without issue, though.

Those were the only failures, so it wasn’t really all that bad this time around.

I’m at 623 rounds through the S15 now. The gun is uncannily accurate. It doesn’t seen to be as snappy as the SAS II UL, but it has better grip surfaces (by far). Now that I know that it’ll eat JHP without issue, and now that I’ve tested the mags, I can actually consider carrying this gun now, although I’ll keep testing it (I’m still wanting to carry the SAS II UL, too).

I’m at 661 rounds through the SAS II now. I shot 38 rounds tonight, all Herters Target 115-gr FMJ. There were no hiccups or failures. I shot all the ammo at 10 yards, quickly (since I’ve the optic installed).

I’ll be working on posting range video footage this weekend, of both guns. I have footage from the last visit but the settings were out of whack and the field of view wasn’t the best (the framing was off-center, as well).

Next week, I’ll be attending my first handgun course. The plan is to use my current carry gun (SAS II UL). I’ll be bringing my Glock 19 as a backup gun, in case they state my SAS II is too small and in case the SAS II has a breakage. I’ve other guns I can consider as backup guns but most of my guns are DA/SA and I’m more used to SAO nowadays. I’ve several striker fired duty- and compact-sized guns but I’ve no holsters for them (nor extra mags). At this point in time, the Glock 19 is my best option (I’ve extra mags and several holsters for it).

I plan to shoot Blazer 124-gr FMJ for the course (was told that I’d need 200 rounds, so I’ll buy 4 boxes of 50). Blazer is reliable for me, but so is the Herters Target, so I may buy that brand instead, although the Blazer is just a few dollars more.

I was planning on a rifle course too, but I need the time to purchase mags and magazine pouches that’ll fit my carry belt. I may have to wait until next year for that, although I can also take a rifle course by XCal. We’ll see.

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Alpha Foxtrot ammo defensive ammo SAS II Ultralight

This is how $90 of SD ammo appears…

I went to Cabela’s to get some SD ammo and was actually looking to buy Sig 365 SD ammo to test with my Bul Armory SAS II. They only had the Sig 365 in FMJ, though. I’ll keep looking for it or order it online.

Since I was there, I bought what they had, and focused on types that I haven’t shot before. I bought (from top to bottom, left to right) all 9mm, Sierra Outdoor Master in 124-gr, Hornady Custom 124-gr XTP, Federal Punch 124-gr, and Barnes Vor-TX 115-gr. Those are boxes of 25 rounds each.

I also have an unspent box of Koenig Defense 110-gr JHP (from the last time I visited Cabela’s).

I’ll be shooting these 125 rounds of ammo from the Alpha Foxtrot S15, since I’ve not tried shooting good ammo from that handgun yet. Maybe I can shoot half from the AF-S15 and half from the SAS II, since I’d prefer to be practicing shooting my current carry gun.

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9mm AF1911-S15 Alpha Foxtrot Grand Power limp-wrist P11

Summary of Range Session – 9/8/2023

I went to the range tonight because I wanted to work off some steam (been busy with work and have been stressing).

I’d been thinking about my Grand Power and recently had someone reach out to me on YouTube. She said that she has the P11 and that she’d been having the exact same issue (fails to return to battery, or FRTB), but that her husband didn’t have the issues when shooting it. She hinted that it may’ve been limp wristing that caused it.

I did a bit of research and it seems that limp wristing can cause FRTBs.

I never realized that I could’ve been limp wristing the gun. It is rather slick, with no significant texturing on the grip.

I decided to begin taking it to the range to see if I can shoot it without experiencing the FRTBs. I shot 50 (well, 48) rounds of Koenig 110-gr JHP Match through it tonight and I didn’t have any failures. Note that the gun is configured a bit differently since I last shot it — I’m using a small Hogue rubber grooved slip-on grip, which helped with getting control of the handgun. I was ensuring I had a strong grip on the gun. I’ll continue to bring it to the range, shooting 50-100 rounds from it when I can, and trying to practice good grip technique so that I’m accurate as well as not limp-wristing.

I also shot 155 rounds from the Alpha Foxtrot S15 1911. The ammo of the night for that gun was Herters Target 115-gr FMJ with a splash of Fiocchi 115-gr FMJ. Whereas I didn’t have any issues last range visit, I had 8 FTEs this range visit. I shot the same ammo last visit, as well.

The issues could be (possible solutions are below, in italics):

Bad magazine – I shot with all six mags and only one mag generated failures, so I kept shooting with it to see if I was limp-wristing and causing the failures. I shot many rounds through that mag tonight and there was only one time where I got thorugh a mag without failures. I marked the mag and will put it aside. The plan is to use the other mags next range visit – if the failures stop, then I’ll know that the mag is the problem.

Bad box of ammo – I bought 200 rounds of Herters (2 x 100-round boxes). I got through one box with only two fails to extract. The other box had five FTEs. The Fiocchi had one failure – not only did it the spent case not extract, but it was still fully in the chamber, and the slide did not lock back (it was the last round of the mag). Also, I noticed that the slide would sometimes seem to be moving a bit slower than normal after a round is fired, which is usually indicative of inconsistent amounts of powder within the case. As well, some of the ammo looked funky where the case crimps onto the projectile, as if the ammo had possible QC issues. I’ll bring some good JHP with me next range visit, to see if the issues still occur with good ammo.

Limp-wristing – I won’t count this out, since the FTEs started occurring mid session of my range visit. I tend to fatigue myself as I practice (this is normal). Next range visit, I’ll test the S15 (and the other 5 mags that didn’t have issues) before shooting any other guns.

I did have fun shooting the Grand Power again. I was accurate with it. I shot it once at 10 yards but the spread was wider than when I shoot the S15 at that range, which I initially thought was odd until I realized that the S15 has far better grip texturing. I ended up sticking with shooting at 7 yards.

The S15 is accurate AF! I spent a large amount of time shooting at 10 yards and was accurate. Not only that, there were times where I was shooting pretty fast and my groups were tight as I shot further out. And that was with irons. This gun is uncanny, but it’s really because of the front checkering on the grip. It’s going to seriously spoil me. I’m already thinking about selling all my other 1911s so that I can focus on 1911s and 2011s that have front checkering. Yes, I can get checkering added to my existing 1911s, but some gunsmiths won’t touch non-US guns and all guns that get checkering will need to be repainted/refinished.

I also now have just under 500 rounds through the S15. I’m slowly accumulating the round count on this gun. I’ve just under 1600 rounds through the GP P11.

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1911 2011 AF1911-S15 Alpha Foxtrot Bul Armory review SAS II Ultralight video

Comparison Review of the SAS II UL vs AF1911-S15

My review notes:

Initial thoughts

  • S15 is well-built
    • Has tight tolerances
      • No slide-to-frame gaps
      • No slide-to-frame wiggle
      • Nice barrel lock-up
      • Nice trigger – not laterally loose and has no creep.
        • Trigger does have some vertical play
    • Has great finish
    • Has very nice control surfaces
      • Front and rear strap checkering is very aggressive, which offers great controllability.
    • Has great shooting traits
      • For me, it offers low recoil impulse
        • Slide is heavier than my SAS II UL, which soaks up recoil
  • Sights are OK – not the best but can be worse
    • Even with irons, I can shoot this gun just as well as the SAS II UL
      • I was shooting 7 and 10 yard groups just as well with this gun as the SAS II UL.
      • Caveat – my SAS II UL has an optic, so I’m not going to be able to match it’s quick follow-on shots, especially at distance.
  • Cons of the S15
    • $1500 guns need to have at LEAST two mags
      • WTF – the cost of a second Shield Arms mag is a drop in the bucket
    • Fat beavertail is somewhat uncomfortable – it is very wide at the top, which isn’t the norm for 1911s/2011s
      • I hear that the beavertail on the previous version was wider than how it is now
        • Apparently this was a common complaint, so Alpha Foxtrot made an effort to lessen the width of this area.
          • It is still wide and can be problematic for some folks.
      • If you normally shoot a 1911 with the thumb of your strong side hand over the thumb safety, you might have an issue with the beavertail beating up the knuckle bone at the base of your thumb
      • I noticed that this may be an issue and also noticed that the thumb safety is super-stiff in actuation, so I shot the S15 without having a thumb over the safety – I had no issues with recoil making it back to that knuckle.
    • I ran into an issue when field stripping the gun after I picked it up from the FFL. I field stripped it once without issue. The second time I field stripped it, I cleaned it, lubed it, and then attempted to put the gun back together. I couldn’t. This is my 6th 1911/2011, so I’m aware of how to take down these guns and put them back together, but I was having issues getting the takedown pin back into the hole. The pin wouldn’t go into the hole of the frame. I tried it after putting the side and barrel aside – it wouldn’t go in. I noticed that the front rail module slides into the frame and saw that it was out of alignment with the frame – I had to use a screwdriver to lever it back into alignment. After doing that, I tried putting the takedown pin into the hole and it slid in. I then tried to do it with the slide and barrel and failed – the rail module had moved again, so I again used a screwdriver to push it back into alignment with the frame. I tried again to put the gun back together and was successful, but that is a concern for an out-of-the-box $1500 gun.
      • I’ll be reaching out to Alpha Foxtrot about that soon. Even with that issue, the gun still shot 150 rounds without a problem, but I don’t want to have to deal with this issue every time I have to clean the gun.
  • Comparison to the SAS II UL
    • Fitment and finisih
      • Between the two handguns, the AF has slightly better fitment
      • The AF has far better finish
        • DLC coating has that $$money$$ feel
    • Grip
      • Grip feels (and is) smaller on the AF
      • Grip texturing and checkering is MUCH better on the AF
    • Sights
      • While I’ve moved to an optic on the SAS II, I did shoot it quite a bit with irons
        • Irons on the SAS II are better
          • They can be adjusted for windage as well as elevation; the AF sights can only be drifted for windage (but have elevation adjustability)
    • Shooting
      • This is a tough one
        • SAS II UL:
          • For me, the SAS II UL talks a bit (not large) effort and/or some training to get used to it’s lightness.  It might feel snappy to folks that are used to heavy 1911s.  For how light and short it is, it should be much snappier than it is.  What snap it has can be easily managed.
          • Grip – the immediate impression for me was that the SAS II UL’s grip was not grippy.  I thought it would be a problem, but it’s not (I shoot indoors, so I’m not sure if sweaty hands will compromise grip with this gun.
          • The trigger on the SAS II is light, and may be too light for some folks to carry.  I don’t consider it a HUGE issue but I DID have two instances of premature detonation when at the range.  The first time it occurred was during the first range visit.  I’ve been trying to train with the gun to get used to it’s trigger, but at the last (and 4th) range visit, it happened again.
            • I may consider getting a sear spring adjustment done on this gun.
        • AF S15:
          • In my hands, I shot the S15 better than I did the SAS II (when considering both first range visits).
          • Grip – I immediately noticed the checkering of the front strap of the grip and thought that this is going to give me an edge, and it did.  The gun doesn’t move in my hand at all.  The SAS II moves in my hand and I’ve to constantly re-adjust my grip to short it up.
          • Trigger – the trigger on the S15 is a bit heavier but probably better for carrying.  The trigger has no creep, which probably helps with accuracy, but it’s actually noticeably heavier than the SAS II’s trigger – that’s just an observation, though, not a con.

They both shoot VERY well but are different in ways that require a decent amount of elaboration — there’s no quick way to discuss the differences.

I’m happy with carrying the SAS II for now, but that might change as get more trigger time wit the S15.

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1911 2011 9mm AF1911-S15 Alpha Foxtrot Bul Armory SAS II Ultralight

My AF1911-S15 – First Range Visit

This gun can shoot!

I took it to the range today and shot 150 rounds from it (Blazer flat-nosed 147-gr FMJ and Herter’s Target 115-gr FMJ). There were no feed/eject or firing issues.

I shot it at 7 yards then moved to 10 yards. I initially had issues – was hitting low and left of point of aim. Even when I stopped pulling left, I was still hitting an inch low. As I kept shooting, I learned how to better control the gun, and so my groups got tighter as I shot. I began to hit bullseyes.

Even at 10 yards with irons (and I wasn’t wearing my prescription glasses), I was hitting bullseyes.

It’s easy to shoot this gun well – much easier than the Bul Armory, IMO. The differences are that the S15 has great front strap and back strap checkering, which helps greatly with gripping the gun. As well, the S15’s slide is heavier, which helps with recoil management, as the slide soaks up some recoil.

The SAS II UL became a different beast altogether once I added the optic to the handgun. I’m shooting the S15 just as well, without an optic, which is amazing. Yeah, the SAS II still shoots quicker at distance, but that’s solely due to the optic. Once I get the S15’s slide cut for an optic, it’ll be just as good as the SAS II at shooting quicker at distance.

And yeah, I shot 150 rounds through one magazine. it was a pain in the ass, but I had no choice. I had no issues with the magazine (it is a gen 2 Shield Arms mag).

GT Distributors did send me an RMA shipping label and I’ll be sending them back the wrong mags they sent me…once I send them back, I’ll reach out to them and ask them when to expect them to correct their mistake…I still need (and paid for) S15 mags.

I’ll update this post with range footage sometime this weekend.

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1911 2011 AF1911-S15 Alpha Foxtrot

My Alpha Foxtrot AF1911-S15 Has Arrived!

Can’t wait to get this gun to the range – will try to visit the range either tonight or tomorrow morning.

Ordered it Sunday, received it today around 3 PM.

Comes with the one Shield Arms mag (this gun wasn’t cheap – they should think on including two mags with the gun). I ordered 3 more from GTdist.com and they arrived yesterday but they sent the wrong mags – sent me 3 AR PMAGS…WTF. So, I’ve to visit the range with one mag until GTdist.com remedies my order.

The mag doesn’t rattle within the grip, as I’ve seen in Youtube videos, which is very good.

The gun is very tight. The DLC coating looks and feels really good. I will more than likely sent it somewhere to get the slide cut for an optic, but I’ll probably do that 6-12 months from now.

It feels slim. I’ve been carrying the Bul Armory SAS II UL long enough to where this gun feels heavy in comparison, but realistically, it’s not heavy at all.

I love the grip texture (feels less “slick” than the SAS II UL).

The thumb safety is super strong, though…execessively so, IMO. Perhaps it’ll wear-in.

Trigger is super-crisp…no creep whatsoever. It’s the best trigger of any of my 1911s/2011s.

I checked the trigger pull with my Lyman gauge and got 4 lb 15 oz from an average of 5 pulls (lowest being 4 lb 8 oz).

It also fits in my Tenicor Certum 3 holster.

I’m impressed so far. Waiting for some gotcha to show itself, though.

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1911 2011 9mm AF1911-S15 Alpha Foxtrot

Alpha Foxtrot AF1911-S15 – On the Way!

I kept eyeing the AF1911-S15 even after purchasing the Bul Armory SAS II UL, so I took a hard look at it and decided to purchase it.

I bought Gen 2 version of the handgun, which also has a threaded barrel. I bought it from Battlehawk Armory. Since it only comes with one 15-round mag, I ordered three more (generation 3 mags from GT Distributors – I’d have ordered straight from ShieldArms.com, but they our currently out of stock).

Now, I could’ve waited until mid June for their optics-ready version but I’ll be out of the country that timeframe and these were currently in stock (they aren’t always stocked).

I’m excited, as this particular gun is very nice.

If I find that I want/need an optics cut, I can find a business that can perform that modification.