At fist glance, the Taylor’s and Co. Compact 1911 closely resembles the WWII-era Government models. Only three-quarters the size. The Parkerized finish, the GI thumb safety, the sights and mostly bare slide give the gun a traditional look and feel. The extended beavertail grip safety is a slight departure, but one that’s much appreciated on the hand.
Less obvious is: the bushingless bull barrel. But the glaring difference — and to many purists one that’s an affront to all that is holy — is the chambering of St. Browning’s beloved firearm in 9mm Luger.
It need not be an affront at all, especially in a compact 1911. This gun proves once again why the 9mm cartridge works so well in the 1911 platform. Doubly so in shorter barreled versions. The recoil is so soft and fast shooting it feels like cheating.
The eight rounds of 9X19 on tap in the stock magazine make for plenty of bullet. If you need more, a quick mag change awaits. What’s better, the short barrel on the already thin 1911 slide allows the gun to be carried comfortably IWB. Concealability is one of the 1911’s biggest benefits. Shorter versions of the classic make it even more discreet.
The 9mm round doesn’t lose much in terms of velocity or muzzle energy out of the shorter barrels, at least in comparison to other popular calibers. So there is that.
The Taylor’s and Co. Compact 1911 is an Armscor firearm. Truth be told, I’ve had some hit-or-miss experiences with their products. This one was a hit. It’s a fun gun to shoot/ I had no trouble turning money into noise with this great handling little gun.
The simple, traditional checkered wood grips do their job very well. Same goes for the deeply checkered backstrap and the speed bump-endowed grip safety. None of these represent a big change from what we’re used to from a full-size .45 caliber 1911, and that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.
The front strap doesn’t have any checkering or texture. You’d think it’d be a problem for sweaty hands, or shooting long strings. You’d think wrong. Maybe it was my oversized mitts, but I didn’t have any trouble maintaining a tight grip shooting 300 rounds in the Texas heat. Although my forearms were getting a little smoked by the end of it, I didn’t notice the gun slipping around one bit.
The compact 1911’s matte Parkerized finish is about as basic as it gets. There’s nothing shiny, nothing polished. I’ve seen this finish on so many Armscor and other 1911 guns made in the Philippines that I’m starting to think maybe Parkerized is their national color.
As with all things, some versions are done better than others. This one is a bit “thin,” and it shows. By the end of my testing, there was clear wear, with grey metal showing all around the controls where they rubbed the frame.
Hey, it’s a budget 1911. Something’s got to give. If I had to pick somewhere to skimp on, the finish would probably be it.
The Compact’s sights are fairly traditional: a two-dot rear and dovetail front. The front sight, however, is completely black. And dotless. Shooting the handgun in bright light indoors wasn’t a problem. Shooting at a black target, outdoors, under a cloudy, rainy sky, was . . . problematic.
On my first day\ shooting the Taylor Compact 1911 at The Range at Austin, I was pleased at how well the gun handled in fast fire. I was getting eight shots out into a seven inch circle at 10 yards in five seconds or under without much trouble.
The next day, at a private range in less than ideal situations, I had to slow down considerably to maintain that group. I was really looking for the front sight; it wasn’t lined up in the rear sight with any consistency. If this was my gun, the Taylor’s front sight would have to go.
Not much is really smoothed over or “melted” on this gun. When I first picked up the little 1911, I didn’t like the short grip. I suspected that the sharp angles at the base of the grip would be uncomfortable. If this was an aluminum framed gun, or if it was chambered in .45ACP, that would’ve been an issue. Chambered in 9mm, however, there just isn’t enough recoil for it to be a bother.
Now, just because there wasn’t any discomfort from the sharp lines of the handle in the hand doesn’t mean there wasn’t any discomfort. The shortened grip poked into my squishy old man side with a quickness while carrying and drawing from inside the waistband. I carry at the 4 o’clock position, but I would assume appendix carry would be just as bad, if not worse.
The trigger is good, but nothing to write home about. I can definitely feel some squishy slop in the pre-travel, and some grit in the brake (at about 5lbs.). Considering how well the gun performs in fast fire and off the bench, I can’t help but think a cleaner trigger would dramatically improve accuracy.
This is a good little gun, and Taylor’s & Co. is a good company/ I very much appreciated another of their JMB firearms, the Winchester 1892 made by Chiappa Firearms. But . . . this 9mm 1911 has a full-sized guide that requires a tool for disassembly. I know a lot of enthusiasts swear by a full-sized guide rod. I don’t
I have a GI guide rod in every one of my 1911s, save the STIs, which all have the STI recoil master rod and spring system. That includes a couple of pistols that’ve shot tens of thousands of trouble-free rounds. But short or long, there’s no need to require a tool.
There are plenty of tool-less options out there. Even worse: the tool wasn’t shipped with the Taylor’s and Co. firearm. Yes, of course I can bend a paperclip and make my own tool. But a whole lot of new-to-the-1911 shooters don’t know that, and they shouldn’t have to.
Worse, the pamphlet style “instruction manual” included with the gun was for a 1911 with a bushing barrel and a GI style guide rod. If a new shooter followed the included instruction manual, it would be impossible for them to service their firearm. Perhaps this is just a case of a T&E gun going out with the wrong box or the wrong information. If not, H&K have a new rival in the [lack of] customer care department.
As usual, I sprayed Rogue American Apparel’s Gun Lube into the compact 1911 prior to shooting the gun, and ran a bore snake down he barrel a few times as well.
Out of the gate, the gun had a few hiccups. Every magazine or so I’d have a not quite complete return to battery. I had to tap the back of the slide with my palm or push it with my thumb to get it to return completely. This occurred with any type of round using either the supplied Mech-Gar magazines or 10 round Wilson Combat ETM magazines.
The problem slowly went away. After about 200 rounds, it disappeared. I shot Cap-Arms 115gr FMJs, Cap-Arms 147gr XTPs, IWI 115gr Die Cut rounds, and the Remington Golden Saber 124gr+P round through the gun. After the initial 200 rounds, as long as I only loaded the prescribed eight rounds into the supplied magazines, the gun ran without issue with any round. It is, however, and eight round magazine, not an 8+1.
Chambering a round, then topping off the magazine often resulted in a failure to completely extract the round after firing, and the subsequent failure to load a new round. This didn’t happen 100 percent of the time, but it did happen quite a bit. If I used the Wilson Combat 10 round ETM magazine, no problem. I got 10+1 to run through the gun without issue. If I carried this gun, I’d carry it with the supplied magazine in the pistol, with the Wilson 10 round ETM as my spare mag.
I’ve always found the 1911 platform particularly good at taming recoil. That’s can be less true for the smaller, lighter versions. Well the Taylor & CO. Compact is smaller than a full-size 1911 but not much lighter. Weighing-in at 2.4lbs the compact 1911 is only a few ounces lighter than my Series 70 Colt Government in .45ACP. The Compact’s all-steel frame and 9mm bushing-less heavy barrel help tame the already light recoiling 9mm round. New shooters would have no trouble at all with this pistol.
This particular 1911 didn’t seem to like heavy subsonic rounds. Recoil was still light, but the group size opened up to 4”, using the Cap-Arms 147gr XTP round. The Remington Golden Saber 124gr+P round, an excellent self defense choice, scored 3 1/2”. But the 115gr loads in a few varieties were favored for accuracy, with the IWI 115gr Die Cut round leading the way with a 3” average group size, shooting 4 five round groups at 25 yards off a bag.
Taylor & Co. has been focusing primarily on Old West firearms for a while. I’ve seen them import guns with a watchful eye on quality. These seem to be their newest line. Quality-wise, the Compact 1911 isn’t quite up to par with their previous models. It’s a good gun at a good price, but nothing that isn’t already available elsewhere in a crowded marketplace.
Specifications: Taylor’s & Co. Firearms Compact 1911
Barrel Length: 3 5/8”
Grip: Checkered Walnut
Sights: Adjustable rear with dovetail blade front
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style and Appearance * * *
GI style Parkerized with walnut grips. This is about as “standard” of a finish as it gets, and is easily the common finish on 1911s going back to WWII. The finish does wear quickly, as seen around the controls during this test.
Customization * * * *
It’s a 1911, so you can do just about anything you want to it — for a price. As it sits, you can and should swap out the guide rod and front sight. You can also easily swap out the grips and fit an extended or ambidextrous safety.
Reliability * * *
Just fine after a couple hundred rounds of break in. Eight rounds in the magazine it is, 8+1 and it chokes with the supplied magazines.
Accuracy * * *
Dead average for a 9mm 1911. 3” groups at 25 yards is just fine.
Overall * * *
This would be a great project gun for anyone who wanted a compact 9mm in 1911. The basics for quality are all there, but some refinement would go a long way to making this a better gun. Shipping without a tool for the guide rod and the wrong instruction manual are unacceptable.