The 1911 and 9 mm Parabellum. According to some, they’re two great tastes that go together like toothpaste and buttermilk biscuits, or single-malt Scotch and grape Kool-Aid.
Any 1911 purist will tell you that 1911s are intended for .45 ACP only, and the 9 mm is best confined to the realm of the soulless, striker-fired polymer pistols favored by the kids these days, along with their hippity-hop music and baggy pants and hair down to their collars.
As Shooting Illustrated Handguns Editor Tamara Keel has been known to say, “When you were a kid, and Mom hunted wild apple pie from the back of a giant bald eagle, she used a GI 1911 chambered in .45 ACP, just like John Moses Browning intended.”
In reality and when done right, 1911-pattern pistols and the 9 mm make a fine combination, with lighter weight and greater magazine capacity in the same footprint being but two of the advantages over .45 ACP.
The Girsan MC1911 SC Ultimate, imported by European American Amory, defies some conventions, but Girsan’s line of 1911 pistols feature a broad enough variety of configurations and finishes to satisfy even the most discerning John Moses Browning disciple. You can get them in Commander, Officer, and yes, even Government length in .45 ACP if that’s what you desire.
The MC1911 SC Ultimate, introduced in 2019, is an Officer-length 1911 that features a number of custom touches normally found in higher-end custom guns, only without the attendant price tag. If there’s one thing I’m a sucker for, it’s a 1911, and if there’s a second thing, it’s a 1911 that’s affordable on a paramedic’s budget.
The MC1911 SC Ultimate qualifies for both, featuring an extended beavertail, extended ambidextrous safety, enlarged grip safety, skeletonized trigger and hammer, and textured G10 grips all wedded to a forged aluminum frame. For an MSRP of $723, this is no safe queen relegated to the occasional nostalgia session at the range; it has merit as a serious fighting pistol.
The pistol shipped to me was a pre-production prototype, and one of the first things I noticed in field stripping and cleaning the gun prior to starting our review protocol, was that it uses a conical barrel that facilitates slide lockup without the traditional 1911 barrel bushing. Traditional low-profile iron sights were included, as well as an optional red dot sight.
One unique feature the pistol boasts is the clear capacity window cut into the textured G10 grips. While I’m a bit dubious as to the utility of such a feature, it did prove useful the first time I shot the gun and experienced a failure to feed on the third round. The normal “tap-rack-bang” proved unsuccessful as the gun was completely tied up; the magazine wouldn’t even eject.
A brief inspection of the gun through that capacity window revealed the culprit; the end of the magazine spring of Mec Gar factory magazine No. 6 had somehow slipped out the side of the magazine, releasing any tension on the follower and tying the mag up in the magwell. Removal of the right grip panel allowed me to finagle the spring back into the mag, eject the mag and get the gun running again.
I had issues with the front sight blade working loose under recoil, and the red dot sight included with the prototype would not hold zero. An email to EAA got a new ADE Advanced Optics RD3-009 red dot sight and a handful of new magazines delivered within 72 hours.
I spent that time letting the adhesive on the front sight blade cure, and the replacement sight zeroed easily and has held zero through the subsequent 700+ rounds I shot through the pistol. My old eyes still have a hard time picking it up a plain serrated front sight blade through the plain square notch rear sight. Flimsy sights are hardly a flaw unique to a pistol, and the first thing I plan to do is purchase a set of quality steel tritium/fiber optic three-dot sights for this pistol. In EAA’s favor, they were very receptive to my feedback on the sight issue, and promised to address the problem in the production run.
Shooting the MC1911 SC Ultimate for the rest of the test proved to be a pleasure. I love the way a 1911 points and feels, and the Officer-length Girsan was no exception. The trigger was a bit heavy for my tastes at 6 pounds, 7 ounces, but broke cleanly with no noticeable creep—perfectly acceptable for a defensive handgun. The front and rear strap of the MC1911 SC Ultimate feature checkering, and the mainspring housing is also serrated, providing a positive but comfortable grip. I had a few issues early on with my big thumbs accidentally pushing upward on the enlarged ambidextrous safety, but careful attention to my grip—which I should have been doing in the first place—solved that issue.
All chronograph and accuracy testing was performed using a Caldwell rest at fifteen yards, using a Competition Electronics 539009-SSI Pro Chrono Pal set at 5 feet from the muzzle.
The gun ran and grouped well, and digested loads varying from 92.6-grain JHP, 115-grain JHP and FMJ, 124-grain JHP and FMJ, and 147-grain JHP and FMJ equally well. There were three failures to eject and two failures to fire, all within the first 150 rounds of the 770 total fired. There were also a handful of instances where the slide failed to lock back on the last round of the magazine, an annoyance I’m reluctant to blame on pistol rather than magazines.
Overall, I enjoyed putting the MC1911 SC Ultimate through its paces. It’s an easy gun to shoot, and boasts a bunch of quality features at an easily affordable price.