Norinco 1911 A1 Review


I had the opportunity ( and pleasure ) of handling and shooting a Norinco 1911 – so come along with me as I wring this old darling out…

What is a Norinco???

Norinco was started in 1980 – an enterprise group engaged in both products and capital operation, integrated with research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and services. They are in the China 500 ( think fortune 500 ) – they started by producing small arms and have grown into a massive company today – over 275000 folks work for them.

There is a lot of stuff on the web about them as well as their own web sites out there – they even have an English language  version – here and now today – lets just go with they are big.

A lot of their small arms started showing up in the early to mid 80’s – remember the sks rifles – $59.00 bucks apiece if you bought 3 or more and you cleaned the cosmoline – those were fun times.

They got themselves into a sideways situation with the US – ended up with a trade embargo in 1993 and most of it ( the small arms ) dried up. You saw a lot of the 1911’s in gun stores and pawn shops through the late 90’s and early 2000’s – but that supply has pretty much dried up. You run across them occasionally but they are not just common anymore. Come on Bruce – enough Barbra Streisand – tell us about the pistol!!

This particular pistol is a loaner from a private collection and its actual designation is a mouthful ” M-1911A1-P, Government Model version with Mil-spec (USGI) M-1911A1 clone; with the Phosphate finish” – the hell you say – snort down several shots of your favorite non carbonated adult beverage and try saying that three times. Researching this piece I am pretty sure the sights were an upgrade and possibly some internal pats were upgraded as well.

The Norinco 1911’s were bought by the crate load by custom pistol builders in the 80’s and a great many of the “race guns” that were used in competition used the Norinco as a starting point. One of the primary reasons for this is the steel rockwell tests out about 30% harder than Colt’s.


I cleaned prior to shooting – grubby is an understatement….


As far as shooting – straight forward government model 45 – one of life’s simple pleasures – the trigger smoothed out with shooting – I did NOT strip the frame or slide and detail clean – not my pistol and I really did not want to screw something up – although it is a clone , so parts availability is not an issue – and detail cleaning is not a cheap date! Everything got several soak and scrub cycles with Hoppes  and then with CLP – and it really cleaned up nice.

I put several mags through it just to get a feel for it – folks I am not a 1911 pattern shooter – I don’t even own one – so lets see how it did – the first picture was three magazines at seven yards – bring it up into the target picture and when the sights are where you want – dump the mag – first mag was bottom of the black  (or six o’clock hold )- second was center – third was top of the black ( or 12 o’clock hold ) – and this was not truly “aiming” per say – again just bring it into the target picture and dump the mag ( it was a FUN time to be had at the range )


Thinking about it , I believe that was four mags – one low – two center – one high – and a big grin on my face. There is just something about 1911’s that just appeals to me. I mean to say – a big  (230 grain!) old ugly piece of lead rumbling down range at about 750 FPS – Baby put on that party dress!!!

This next one is Jacques shooting – two mags at 7 yards – damn can that kid shoot!!


and Jacques shooting slow fire at 25 yards


Now I realize Jacques is not really a “kid” – however his eyes and reflexes are a lot ( A LOT!) younger than mine.

Really good time at the range with the old Norinco. I wish now I would have picked a few up over the years when they were readily available and inexpensive – hind sight is generally 20/20 . . .

If you run across one and it is reasonably priced (used gun prices being reasonable or not is an entirely different issue – dependent upon way too many things to address in this post ) grab it is my recommendation – it is a clone so parts availability is good – either mil-spec or upgrade parts – about the only things to be aware of is signs of peening on the locking lugs – that would denote timing issues – although chances are if the link wore enough to cause timing issues and the pistol was subsequently still being shot it failed catastrophically and is long since scrap – and rust issues – surface rust is one thing but pitting drastically affects values – as with any other used firearm – condition is king – but they will most times clean up nice and make good shooters.

Thanks go out to the owner of the Norinco for the loan – might do several more out of the collection time permitting and the owners are willing!

And thanks to Jacques for taking his time to wring this pistol out a little to get an idea of the actual accuracy potential. Yes folks he is that good – and if you don’t realize it he does teach shooting skills and has an instructor or two available  – if your skill set is not where you think it should be or you want to build on that skill set – trot your happy ass up to the INNER10 and get with those folks and you will see an improvement in your skill set.

Have Fun! – Run the Gun! – and Remember – Fish Heads are Cheap!!

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