Currency
You are here: REDWOLF > Home

Review

Western Arms ParaOrdnance P14-45
  • Manufacturer 
     Western Arms
  • Model 
     ParaOrdnance P14-45
  • Capacity 
     25
  • Weight 
     990
  • Power 
     340
  • Power Source 
     HFC134, HFC22
  • Blowback 
     yes
  • Hop-up 
     adjustable
  • Shooting Mode 
     semi
  • Construction 
     ABS Heavy Weight Plastic, Metal

Pros

+ High power & kick
+ Uses old Hi-Cap design
+ More stylish 1911 body combined with Hi-cap performance
+ Heavy-weight slide
+ Might be able to use your Hi-Cap magazines from your Infinity SV pistol!
 

Cons

- Wish WA replicated the LDA version with double-action trigger
- No rails for accessories, though this WA's rendition is an exact replica of the real-steel version
- Will not take lower grade / rough-surfaced BBs
 

Verdict

A refreshing look for Hi-Cap pistols as we were starting to get sick of the big muscular Infinity SV models. The incorporation of WA's high powered and durable Hi-Cap mechanism into a the sleek 1911 body addresses a market for 1911 lovers who just can't quite accept the Infinity's block looks, and before had to always settle for the lesser performance in traditional WA single column 1911 models. Reasons to own one include the good 1911 style, and sturdy hi-cap internals that allow durable use of Red Gas. Don't go cheap on the BBs though!

 

In 1988, Ted Szabo's design that incorporated a high capacity frame and magazine for the 1911-type pistol was the first major innovation to John Browning's classic Government Model handgun in the 77 years since its inception. In 1990, Szabo (President of Para Ordnance) along with his partner, Thanos Polyzos, introduced the first Para-Ordnance pistol using their high capacity frame. The P14-45 was the first .45 ACP pistol with a magazine capacity of 13 rounds plus one in the chamber. Like Browning's government model the 1911, it features both a grip safety and a slide lock safety. In addition to these standard features, Para-Ordnance's focus on safety added a firing pin safety to all their pistols, including the P14-45.

Szabo is considered by many in the firearms industry as a highly gifted and ingenious designer, and Para-Ordnance's line has moved on to produce even more user friendly pistols that incorporate modern day trigger designs and safety mechanisms, as witnessed in Para-Ordnance's award winning 14-45 LDA (Handgun of the Year, 2000).

This P14-45 series pistol from Para-Ordnance is as close as you can come to getting a pistol like the one IPSC Champion Todd Jarrett used to win the USPSA/IPSC Limited Nationals in the USA (at least in terms of getting an airsoft version of what he uses). Para-Ordnance pistols are popular in IPSC since they all come standard with match-grade, integral ramp barrels that give the shooter extra reliability and safety that he must have to win. At first glance, the Para-Ordnance pistols look extremely similar to their Colt 1911 counterparts, from which their design is based upon. However, closer inspection reveals many enhancements made for improved operation - a lowered ejection port for higher reliability, and double-stack magazine for higher capacity shooting. More recent models from Para-Ordnance (including the LDA - Light Double Action) series incorporate even more innovations, including cocking serrations on the slide, single and double action trigger action, adjustable rear sights, and dovetail ambidextrous slide lock safety. While we wish that Western Arms had chosen to replicate the more recent Para-Ordnance models that incorporate the single and double trigger actions, we are happy with their decision to start with the P14-45 ; a land-mark piece and also a step in the right direction.

Metal outer barrels in silver and black
Ejection ports are lower slung than on traditional 1911 models
Finely crafted brush-finish hammer and slide lock safety

Western Arm's (WA) Para-Ordnance P14-45 comes in three different colors - black, nickel silver, and drab/black dual-tone (not available for pictures at time of review). Fit and finish is top-notch as is expected from WA. Metal parts include outer barrel (silver for the nickel plated version, black for the black and dual-tone versions), barrel bushing, front and rear sights, slide stop, slide lock safety, grip safety, hammer, trigger, and magazine. The hammer's finishing is very attractive in brushed silver, making it look very much like real-steel. The all-metal magazine is of exactly the same design as the standard high capacity magazine used in WA's Infinity SV series. In fact, we plugged it into an SV Infinity and it worked fine (although there was quite a bit of space towards the bottom of the magazine and the magazine well so it shook around quite a bit). It is capable of managing high pressure HFC22 gas safely and reliably with minimal cool-down effects - and little known to many, it also handles high pressure Red Gas properly. The Para-Ordnance logo is carved prominently on the butt of the magazine and also on the black plastic grips screwed onto the frame. These plastic grips can easily be replaced by aftermarket grips created for the real-steel version for added realism and weight.

While the P14-45 is quite hefty overall, a significant portion of the weight is centered around the double-stack pistol grip, allowing the P14-45 to stand-up on it's own on it's grip butt. The heavy-weight ABS slide is also well built with "Para-Ordnance" engraved on the side. The markings "P14-45" are engraved on the other side. Para-Ordnance company markings are also deeply engraved on the frame. Aluminum slides (black or silver) are also available with exactly the same markings.

Most Colt frame pistols including the entire WA Infinity Hi-cap series offer two safeties, one being the safety lever on the side of the gun, and the other being the grip safety (below the grip tang) that is deactivated once you wrap the palm of your firing hand around the grip. This is no different on the Para-Ordnance and all moving parts are sturdy and operate with good tactile feel. The thumb safety is on the left side of the gun for right hand shooters - we hope that in the future, WA will make an LDA version that features ambidextrous thumb safety levers. Incidentally, the thumb safety also acts as a slide stop - meaning that the slide cannot be pulled back when this lever is pushed upward to engage the safety.

Releasing the magazine is also a snap and requires a quick push of the magazine release button. The magazine is heavy enough that it free falls out of the magazine well - though care should be taken not to let it drop to the floor since the magazine butt plate (even though it is made of metal) will crack and become detached from the magazine after repeated drops.

Loading the magazine is a snap and can be done easily by pulling on the magazine floor plate with your index finger fingernail. However the floor plate is slightly recessed so unless you have at least a bit of nail on your finger, pulling it down might be a little difficult. Of course in that situation, you can always just load the BB's one by one by pushing all 25 rounds into the magazine - as you would do in a real steel magazine.

Para-Ordnance markings beautifully engraved on slide and body
Safety switch on right of gun
P14-45 is thicker than traditional single-column 1911 frame

Shooting the P14-45 is a lot of fun, though no more than shooting any Infinity SV Hicap series pistol. HFC134a works fine with the P14-45 though power and kick are visibly less than if you used HFC22. We tested the power using HFC22 and clocked 1.1 joules consistently with very little cool-down effects on the magazine. The report is loud and the slide cycles very quickly with a good solid kick that makes the gun jerk upwards in your hand. For those who desire the ultimate in power and kick though, then opt for installing a metal slide and you're good to go with Red Gas (with few other modifications required internally since the stock Hi-cap internals are so good). Of course, you could also opt for more metal internal parts for added durability though this is not an absolute must. Using Red Gas, the cycling is lightning fast, with very solid blowback kicks. Power is increased though surprisingly by not as much as we would have expected. In stock form shooting with HFC22, the P14-45 achieved approximately 340fps. Red Gas increased the power only slightly to 370fps so we wonder whether it is worth it to risk the increased durability risks.

One important note relates to the specially shaped BB retainer on the top of the magazine. This is the part that holds the very top BB in place as it awaits the air nozzle to move forward and push it onto loading ramp and into the chamber. This piece on the P14-45 is rather peculiarly shaped and almost looked like cupped hands. The result is that it takes a rather refined and smooth BB to be able to make it out of there and onto the load ramp. Our tests with some lower grade BB's caused the P14-45 to jam and not fully cycle forward into the closed bolt position (the BB stayed in the magazine and even trying to push the slide forward to force the BB onto the load ramp comes to no avail). Use of Excel, Marui, and Toy Tec BBs proved not to be a problem in our tests (all weights) so use these if you are in doubt of whether the BBs you have will work. Other than that, keeping the loading ramp and the magazine parts well lubricated with silicone ensured smooth operation throughout a full day of testing.

While the P14-45 is a brand new design externally, we must admit that WA is re-using a lot of its existing internal designs and re-applying different "shells" (bodies) to expand its product range. The P14-45's internals are nothing new and thankfully has already been thoroughly tested in the older Hi-cap models. For all of you who remember the old CQB and TAC series from WA's earlier line (which has been discontinued for over 2 years now much to the dismay of many), the P14-45 is literally your second chance at acquiring these legendary pistols with the new ParaOrdnance skin.

Discuss this review in our forum.

P14-45 uses beefy Hi-cap magazines, which are much wider than traditional WA single column magazines
First generation Hi-Cap design ensures durability
Heavy magazines allow the P14-45 to literally stand up