By David Tong
Editors Note: AmmoLand has previously reviewed the Metro Arms 1911 Pistol, with positive results, but it always good to have another look from a fresh set of eyes as in this bonus review of the Metro Arms American Classic II Pistol.
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Metro Arms is a Manila, Philippines based manufacturer of the 1911 handgun, distributed in the USA by Eagle Imports. They currently occupy a pricing schedule in the lower end of the spectrum (by 1911 standards). The subject of this article is one of their five-inch “government models” in .45ACP.
As many manufacturers of the famed 1911 pistol have done, the receiver is manufactured from a high-carbon steel precision investment casting. It showed no untoward tool marks either inside or out, and these would have been obvious under the polished hard-chrome plated finish.
Metro Arms American Classic II Pistol
The Metro Arms American Classic II's slide is machined from a similar steel or bar stock. Both are held to tight tolerances via CNC finish machining. Indeed, the barrel and bushing to slide fit, including the barrel’s hood in the breechface, the fit between the link lugs and slide stop pin when in battery, and the slide to frame fit, are all quite consistently good.
Another nice touch is the properly ramped and polished frame and barrel feed ramp area. (see image below) The rear of the barrel sits properly forward of the frame ramp to ensure good feeding, and indeed there were no malfunctions of any kind during my testing.
“Minor” parts including the barrel bushing, slide stop, thumb safety, grip safety, sear, hammer, disconnector, mainspring housing, and magazine release appear to be made from the metal-injection-molding (MIM) process as a cost saving. While MIM has been criticized in the past, most manufacturers these days use them even for critical parts.
While I would prefer an arched mainspring housing and a shorter trigger because that is what I am used to after thirty-plus-years, the marketing trend is to the flat and long variety.
The well-fitted match-style trigger of the Metro Arms American Classic II has an over-travel stop, set properly to avoid sear drag as the hammer falls. This hammer is of the skeletonized “Commander” type with a larger than stock lightening hole for faster lock time. The slide stop and safety levers have longer serrated paddles to ease their use under stress.
The rear of the trigger guard has been undercut beneath the magazine catch, to allow for the highest possible hand position; this to slightly lower the bore axis and reduce muzzle flip on recoil. (image below) The very thin tang on the widened “beavertail” grip safety does the same thing.
A recent range excursion with the Metro Arms American Classic II Pistol provided five shot groups between 2.5” and 3.25” with four different types of ball and JHP ammunition, shot from a benchrest at twenty-five yards. These are pretty good results for an all-steel 1911 that sells for the same MSRP as a Glock with its manufacturing economies kept in mind.
The Metro Arms American Classic II Pistol is also quite attractive. The sights are of the now nearly de rigeur three-dot variety, and they are both dovetailed for easy replacement for night sights with tritium elements. The rear sight’s design appears to be a variation of the Novak “ski-slope” shape, which may help matters in this regard.
The pistol’s exterior surfaces were flat where they were supposed to be, curved where they were supposed to be, and properly chamfered or beveled where the surfaces are separated. While this seems to be a small cosmetic matter, some pretty big names omit this nicety, and you might find that your hands and holster can suffer for their lack.
The standing breech, extractor bevel, and locking lugs of both barrel and slide were all also properly finished and require no fettling for proper smooth function. Racking the slide felt better than some thirty-to-eighty-year-old Colts I’ve owned.
The stocks appear to be a form of Philippine mahogany wood, finished in a fish-scale pattern. They provide a good feel, being neither too thin nor too fat. I would wish for some fine machined checkering on the front strap and mainspring housing, but at the price point this is not a huge issue.
The company, Metro Arms, also offers a number of other models, including match quality versions with adjustable sights, more carry-oriented ones with rounded mainspring housings and frames with Commander-length slides, and a variety of surface finishes.
After having sampled many of the competitively-priced 1911 manufacturer’s wares over the past decade, including some that are far more well-known, Metro Arms products stand out. Accuracy-wise, the test example proved nearly as good shooting as a Colt I reviewed earlier, while being priced at about fifty(!) percent less at MSRP.
It appears that the buying public has come to recognize this, as well. My local stocking dealers have had their pistols on standing backorder for several years. Their reputation is building, and I believe for good reason. The Metro Arms American Classic II Pistol offers great value for the money, let alone at a lower price point than most makers of the venerable design.
Their website is www.metroarms.com.