Test Driving Korth’s PRS and Sky Marshal at SHOT Show 2015

When Korth announced its PRS along with this great video a bit over a year ago, I was certainly intrigued. However, a fixed-barrel 1911 with a semi-locked, roller-delayed blowback action also seemed like a bit of a gimmick born out of an engineer’s wet dream as a showcase of talent. I also assumed the price would be astronomical. When we saw Korth at the SHOT Show range day with a PRS along with the new Sky Marshal, a 9mm revolver that doesn’t require moon clips, we knew it was hands-on time . . .

As you saw in the beginning of the video, 9×19 rounds drop smoothly and easily into the Sky Marshal’s cylinder. I’m pretty sure they’re headspacing off the case mouth like usual, but at the same time when you work the extractor it does engage the rims and confidently ejects the empty brass.

DSC01897The revolver itself is quite tiny, with a bit of a funny look due to the super short cylinder. On the right side, the Sky Marshal sports a bunch of picatinny rail estate for your accessory needs.

Image courtesy www.korth-waffen.deDespite my own feelings that it looks awfully tacticool and therefore aesthetically like something you’re more likely to see out of a lower-end manufacturer, it’s definitely a Korth. It’s oh-so-darn smooth. The cylinder inserts like hot butter into Rosie O’Donnell’s mouth, and the double action trigger pull is unbelievably light and smooth. Everything about it is tight and precise and smooth as silk. It kicks a fair bit for a 9mm because it’s so light, but it was still a pleasure to shoot.

What surprised me most is an MSRP in the $900-something range! That may be a record low for a Korth (at least adjusted for inflation and such).

And then we get to the PRS:

DSC01899

From photos online I thought it looked a bit silly with a taller-than-normal slide for a 1911 — Korth had to make space for all of the roller locker shenanigans. The thing is like a dang Swiss watch inside (check out that previously-linked video).
DSC01896But it feels like every last one of those parts was hand polished and fitted, along with every other part on the pistol. It’s easily the smoothest 1911 I have ever felt. A lot of that is the fact that there is no real lockup, so there’s basically no initial resistance to overcome when you rack the slide (assuming the hammer is cocked). The recoil spring did not feel very stiff at all, so pulling back on the slide was as easy as [eating] pie and as smooth as a greased mirror.

Considering how light that recoil spring is and the fact that the blowback action seems only barely delayed, I can’t believe it didn’t feel like the thing was beating itself to death upon firing. It was smooth and gentle, though, and it did not feel to me like the slide was impacting the frame with undue force. I can’t exactly explain this, but I can say that it was accurate, controllable, refined, and quite impressive.

My only complaint would be the trigger. It seemed too light and a little bit wobbly. The break was fine, just soft. As the rest of the pistol feels like indestructible billet, the trigger just stood out as feeling fragile in comparison. Too dainty, maybe.

MSRP is apparently $3,000. Not cheap, obviously, but it’s literally half or less of what I expected to hear. For those who enjoy fancy mechanical watches with lots of complications, I’m not sure how you’re going to prevent a PRS from living in your safe eventually. As I’m a bit of an engineering geek myself and my expectations were exceeded with the PRS, plus the possibilities for barrel accessories as seen in Korth’s PRS video, I’m going to have a hard time staying away from this thing myself. Even if it’s literally worth more than the car I drive. It would probably be pretty chummy with my HK P7, though.

Img courtesy www.korth-waffen.de

 

 

comments

  1. avatar Heretical Politik says:

    Like a 1911 but with a fixed barrel and roller locking system? That makes no sense.

    1. avatar Jeremy S says:

      Makes no sense that they built it, or my description makes no sense? Basically, the frame is all 1911. I believe everything about it works exactly the same as a 1911. There might even be 100% parts interchangeability (grip safety, main spring cover, grip panels, magazines, entire fire control group, safety, slide stop, etc). But then on top of the frame is all new fangled roller locker insanity.

      1. avatar Heretical Politik says:

        No, your description makes sense. And if they want to build it, whatever; it’s just those are two entirely different operating principles. It’s like putting a Mercedes motor in a Corvette… sure you COULD do it, but I’m not sure what’s been created could still be called a Corvette, or even “like a Corvette” (since you’ve ripped out it’s heart).

        1. avatar Aaron says:

          Mercedes are for old men. Corvettes are for old men with toupees.

          Just kidding. Sort of. But the new Vette actually looks like something interesting.

  2. avatar Tom in oregon says:

    Like butter into Rosie’s mouth.
    I snorted.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Same here…

      I was going to razz on Jeremy that I could have been just fine without *that* image seared into my brain…

      1. avatar Jeremy S says:

        “engineer’s wet dream” 100% a-okay with you guys. Rosie O’Donnell eating butter, not so much.

  3. avatar stateisevil says:

    Who buys this shit?

    1. avatar ShaunL. says:

      Ted Nugent will and if I win the lottery……

      Maybe I should start playing.

  4. avatar DrewN says:

    I’m glad they are nice on the inside, because those are some pig ugly firearms.

  5. avatar DMB says:

    I won’t mind owning a standard 1911 styled like that

  6. avatar SigGuy says:

    So we’ve got a delayed-blowback 1911 and a gas retarted semi-auto, what’s next? The short-stroke gas pushrod pistol with a rotating bolt?

    1. avatar Jeremy S says:

      I hope you take this in jest, because I’m not trying to insult you SG, but there are certain words that I think are particularly funny when people misspell them, and “retarded” is one of them 😉

      …and actually your “what’s next” comment describes the Desert Eagle’s action pretty closely!…

  7. avatar JWM says:

    didn’t charter arms make a 9mm wheelgun that didn’t use clips? I like the idea of a 9mm revolver without the clips. 9mm is cheaper than .38. Makes for more practice. And in a revolver you could load cast lead bullets and not sweat reliability issues.

    As for the 3 grand almost 1911. Meh. St. John the Browning delivered unto the world the perfect 1911. Why muck about with perfection?

    1. avatar Drew says:

      Right, the same way Chevy delivered the perfect V8. Both machines support an aftermarket unparalleled by anything on earth with every part being available in countless variations. That sounds great but it hardly supports the idea that the originals were remotely perfect. In fact it seems they both have decades worth of flaws being corrected.

      1. avatar JWM says:

        Just cause we Americans like to tinker doesn’t mean the basic design was bad. We do it cause, ‘Murica.

    2. avatar Jeremy S says:

      Was that perfect 1911 the original one from 1911, or the 1911 A1 that improved upon it and replaced it in 1924 just two years before JMB’s death? Or is it the perfect ones that dominate the market with extended beavertails, slightly larger grip safeties, larger thumb safeties and mag releases, thinner grips, undercut trigger guards, sights that are actually usable, enlarged ejection ports, more usable slide serrations, etc???

      1. avatar JWM says:

        Both. In 1911 and then a few years later the blinged out model came along. In that time period can you think of a single better weapon for a mass produced and issued service weapon to be issued to college men and uneducated grunts alike?

        As for all those other improvements you mentioned. Once again, ‘Murica.

        For the record. I’m not and have nevcer been a huge fan of the 1911 in any of it’s guises. I just recognise its place in history.

        I’m also not a fan of the AR. Doesn’t get me a lot of respect from the ‘Murica’s rifle crowd.

        1. avatar Jeremy S says:

          If it can be improved upon then and improved upon ever since, there’s no reason to treat Korth’s changes as something other than more of this continual evolution… or at least an attempt to make an old design even better. It certainly isn’t blasphemous if one accepts the myriad other improvements that have been welcomed with open arms onto the 1911 platform, and if it was perfect in the first place JMB wouldn’t have improved upon it himself and the A1 wouldn’t look like an antique compared to 99% of the 1911s that have sold commercially for the past 30 years with beavertails and the rest of your “standard upgrades.”

  8. Wait, Korth 9mm no-moonclip revolver for $900 MSRP? Where do I send my money?

    1. avatar Jeremy S says:

      Exactly. I’m not sure how familiar most folks are with Korth, as they’re sort of obscure in the U.S. and they’re really never anything you would ever encounter on the shelf at your LGS or notice on the shooting range. Their revolvers usually just look like normal revolvers. However, if you ask anybody in the world who really knows firearms “who makes the best revolver in the world?” they’re going to say Korth. They might follow that up with “or maybe Manurhin” but 99% of ’em are going to say Korth without hesitation. Then a significant gap down the scale for a distant third place maybe you start getting to “production” pieces like Colt Pythons, Dan Wessons, etc. But Korth has had the rep of best revolver in the world for many decades and it isn’t marketing hype. The Sky Marshal may look a bit ridiculous (IMHO) but it’s a Korth and if it’s generally available and feels like the one I shot and MSRPs at $900 then it’s a hell of a deal.

      And in my opinion, the same goes for the PRS. I know $3k is super expensive but you can easily spend that on Wilson, Baer, Nighthawk, and lots of others and those names don’t carry the kind of meaning that “Korth” does. I honestly expected the PRS to run double this price.

      And I also realize, yes, it’s like $10,000+ over/under shotguns where the vast majority of the market (me included) thinks, “who buys this shit?” But at $900 and $3,000, I was really surprised to see how “accessible” these are with the Korth name on them. It would be like a $2,000 Caesar Guerini. And I only put two mags through the PRS (the first one is the one on video) but I was impressed. It isn’t every pistol that I can pick up without ever handling or seeing it and just start plugging steel with it like that. That part of the range was ~8″ round steel targets at ~15 yards and the thing was dead on.

      1. avatar VSN says:

        I’ve heard of them thanks to Life-sized Potato on youtube.

      2. avatar RenegadeDave says:

        I may have missed it but what is the PRS chambered in?

      3. avatar GOT12 says:

        heard it described this way, a timex keeps time just fine only a few buy the rolex

        the new korths are almost in my price range

      4. avatar Ben Owens says:

        If your question “Who makes the best revolver in the world?” is limited to double-action revolvers, then your citations of Korth and Manurhin make sense. However, throw us old single-action revolver guys a bone, willya? Freedom Arms revolvers are the most accurate and best-built in the world; I know this from experience, having seen many 1 MOA groups shot at 100 yards with FA revolvers. From what I read (I have no personal experience with them) the Picra revolvers will run with the FAs. At distances over 100 yards, I’d rather use either of them than any Korth because they are not only more accurate but can be had in chamberings more suited to long-range work.

        That being said, the two Korth firearms in this post are now on my bucket list. A smooth, reliable 9mm snubby is just too useful to ignore, what with the thousands of rounds of 9mm lying around my house. The PRS, though, really floats my boat. It’s a usable, all-around iron-sight pistol for carry and fun but that doesn’t make it worth the money. What hooked me was the ability to simply plug in a longer barrel and add an extension with an Aimpoint attached. That gives me an instant conversion to a Bullseye pistol. Since the frame is all 1911, I can even ship it off to my favorite gunsmith for a roll trigger job. Then, when I want to carry it in a holster, off comes the extension, switch back to the shorter barrel, and I’m ready to go. The only thing that could make it a more perfect 1911 (conceptually; only time will tell if the execution is good enough) is if they’d put out their own .22LR conversion kit.

        Has anyone run the PRS on a Ransom Rest for 50-yard accuracy numbers? The best custom gunsmiths can turn out reliable 1.5″-at-50-yard 1911s. I’m crossing my fingers that this pistol can match that, out of the box.

      1. avatar JT says:

        And get a POS.

  9. avatar Aaron says:

    Sehr interessant. Those wily Germans can over-engineer anything, even a 1911. It probably runs like the best 1911 ever, right up until it breaks.

    Still, if money was no object, I’d buy a bunch of Korth guns. They just look so interesting.

  10. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

    Charter Arms makes the Pitbull revolver in 9mm and .40S&W. I tested both and they were unreliable, inaccurate and exhibited poor workmanship.

    http://www.yankeegunnuts.com/2012/09/12/first-impressions-charter-arms-pitbull-40sw/

    http://www.yankeegunnuts.com/2012/10/07/charter-arms-pitbull-9mm/

  11. avatar Model66 says:

    Looks like a Glock made it with a 1911 and 9 millimeters later this popped out.

  12. avatar Chuck in IL says:

    I rather like the looks of the PRS.

  13. avatar Rambeast says:

    Sweet baby Browning. The engineering on this thing…

    I do believe I will be saving up for one of these.

  14. avatar Aerindel says:

    Why would anyone want a 9mm revolver WITHOUT moonclips? Moonclips are the whole point of a 9mm revolver. Hell, I’ve had my non moonclip revolvers modified to take moonclips. This is the stupidest thing I’ve seen in a gun for a long time. Its like modifing a 1911 to NOT take magazines and use stripper clips instead. Its a step backwards.

    1. avatar Jeremy S says:

      It still works with speed loaders. If I’m out on the range, I’d rather just fill the cylinder than have to fill moon clips first, some of which can be a PITA. If you’re carrying it for self defense, there are multiple speed loader options that give you that ability to drop in a full cylinder’s worth of rounds in one shot.

  15. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    For $3K, you’d think they could time the grip screws.

  16. avatar RenegadeDave says:

    If I were spending 3K on something 1911 esque, it’d be for a Wilson Combat or a Nighthawk 1911. The concept is novel, sure, but it appears to have the same limited capacity of a single stack, doesn’t “do” anything a regular 1911 doesn’t do, it just does it differently, with an admittedly less than ideal trigger. On a 3k gun, the trigger mechanism better be darn near ideal so that the only reason to change it would be for length or preference.

    1. avatar Jeremy S says:

      To be fair, it may be ideal for you or somebody else. I just thought it was a little light and gentle compared to the slab sided billet ‘industrial’ look and feel of the pistol. It was crisp and nice and such, it just felt a little out of place and more like it belonged on a .22 target pistol or something.

  17. avatar RenegadeDave says:

    Gross, have you looked at the Korth website? The 5″ barrels look like you just buy a frame extension and slide extension you bolt onto the end of the 4″ slide / Dust Cover. Woof.

    http://www.korth-waffen.de/index.php?id=87&L=1

    1. avatar Jeremy S says:

      It’s in their video too (the one linked at top), along with a suppressor that matches the rest of the profile. Not gonna lie, I think the extensions look cool. Because of the height of the slide, I think it looks better with a longer slide to sort of visually slim it out. I’d rather just have that all one-piece with the dust cover extended to the muzzle, but the extensions come close.

  18. avatar gregory says:

    Both look like turds!

    1. avatar JWM says:

      I don’t know what’s in your diet but I’ve never left anything even remotely resembling either one of those in the bowl.

      Maybe you should make use of your obama care and see a doctor. 🙂

      1. avatar DBM says:

        JW,
        Not talking about the Super Hornet. They fixed all of the problems they had with the Hornet however the big differences are the cost per unit, upgrade/replacement costs and the fact that the Hornet at least could perform its mission. The F-35 is a peice of junk that not only can’t do its job. Its to expensive and slow and doesnt sarry enough ordnance to be much help. And I can’t help but wonder if the anti radar coating on it will peel off of it when flying through sand or rain like it does on the F-22.

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