Range Reports

Cimarron’s Wild Bunch 1911

Cimarron 1911 handgun left side

Well known for offering quality cowboy guns and period reproductions of famous firearms, Cimarron of Fredericksburg, Texas has developed an excellent reputation in Cowboy Action Shooting.

Not long ago, Cimarron decided to offer a quality 1911 reproduction of the original 1911 made from 1911 to 1918. This handgun is well fitted and finished and as I found out—offering good performance. There are other affordable 1911 handguns similar this one, so there must be a good reason for choosing the Cimarron. The primary reason would be that the pistol isn’t a 1911A1 handgun, but a true 1911.

Cimarron 1911 slide stop
A close examination shows that the Cimarron is a true 1911 without the finger relief cut the 1911A1.

Period Similarities

The Cimarron pistol features a frame without the familiar relief cut of the modern 1911A1. The trigger is the long type, and the mainspring housing is flat. The hammer, slide lock safety and slide lock are period correct, as well are the sights. The slide is marked with period style markings.

Enhanced and Modern Parts

There are differences between the early 1911 and the Cimarron not apparent at first glance. The original handguns were forged, but only spot heat-treated. The Cimarron uses a cast slide and cast frame.

The trigger action of the original pistols usually broke at six to eight pounds, but with a rapid trigger reset. The Cimarron exhibited a nice smooth trigger compression of 4.5 pounds.

Accuracy standards for the original 1911 were generous by modern standards. The standard was a five-shot 5-inch group at 25 yards. Ten inches at 50 yards was acceptable. The modern Cimarron pistol will group five rounds into three inches with quality loads, and perhaps it is a bit tighter than the original handgun.

While the 1911 as manufactured in 1911 to 1927 were great sidearms, they are presently very expensive. While it would be great sport to use an original, for most of us, the Cimarron is the best choice. It is far more available and it is more useful in terms of accuracy.

Cimarron 1911 checkered grip
From the checkering of the slide lock to the double diamond pattern grips the Cimarron 1911 shows excellent attention to detail.

The fit of the locking lugs into the slide mortise is tight. The barrel hood is also tight. The fit of the barrel bushing to the slide does not require a bushing wrench for removal, but the fit is also tight. After field stripping the pistol, a minimum of tool marks were evident. I carefully lubricated the barrel hood, cocking block, long bearing surfaces and the barrel.

Firing the Cimarron 1911 Government Issue

It is interesting to note that ammunition has come a long way as well. A period report by Phillip K. Sharpe reported excellent accuracy results with one lot of wartime production ammo but terrible results with another. The smooth trigger compression and rapid reset of the Cimarron pistol were a great help in accuracy potential. The Cimarron shows good, tight lockup. It does not rattle when shook.

I noted that the feed ramp is well polished. There are two portions of the feed ramp, one on the frame, and one on the barrel. As long as there is a requisite 1/32-inch feed gap between the two pieces of the feed ramp, you will have good feed reliability. I loaded the Cimarron magazine and also a good supply of Chip McCormick magazines for the test. The initial loads were the Winchester M1911 230-grain FMJ. This load has given excellent results in every 1911 I have used it in with a clean powder burn and good accuracy potential.

The initial firing was done at man-sized silhouettes at 7, 10 and 15 yards. The Cimarron performed well, largely due to the 1911 attributes such as a low bore axis and hand-filling grip. The smooth trigger compression certainly helped. I had a number of willing shooters along to help. Within less than a half-hour, 100 rounds of Winchester 230-grain loads were fired. There were no failures to feed, chamber, fire or eject.

Firing at close range, including one-handed drills, the pistol gave good results. A steel-frame 1911 Government Model should be comfortable to fire. I also fired a quantity of my personal hand loads using the Oregon Trail 230-grain RNL bullet. While the Cimarron is intended primarily for recreational and competition use, it would serve as well as any other GI-type .45 1911 for personal defense.

With this in mind, I fired a modest number of personal defense loads. This included the Winchester 185-grain Silvertip, HPR Ammunition 185-grain JHP, HPR 230-grain JHP and Winchester 230-grain PDX. All fed well. The pistol is well regulated for 230-grain ammunition with the lighter loads striking low in relation to the point of aim. The pistol averaged four inches for five shots at 25 yards. At seven yards, the pistol will cut one ragged hole with any load. As an experiment, I fired a magazine full of Cor Bon’s 165-grain PowRBall—designed to feed in any handgun that will feed hardball. At a blistering 1250 fps, this is a fail-safe, feed-reliable load. No problems and while recoil was there, function remained good.

The Cimarron 1911 is a good handgun well worth its modest price.

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Do you think you can handle Cimmaron’s 1911 in a Wild Bunch shoot? Share your impressions in the comment section.


About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (11)

  1. These pistols are actually made for cimarron by rock island, so your really just buying one of there G.I. models without the scallops in the frame. In range tv did a video review of the gun; the guy that bought it did swap out the hammer, grip safety, and safety lever with accurate 1911 parts. Said parts were a1 parts from RIA’s parts bin. I’d be more interested if the side was period correct instead of the larger ejection port.

    1. All of you who commented on the “billboard” on the slide… The author whited the slide to show the markings! The gun from Cimarron DOES NOT come with white markings on the slide! In fact the layout of the markings is very similar to what Colt used on the originals but Cimarron has substituted their “Cowboy” logo for Colts’ “Prancing Horse”

  2. The thumb safety is NOT period correct, and there’s a big white billboard on the left side of the slide. Are there any MIM parts?

    1. I have 2 of these I use for Wild Bunch shooting and I do not see your issue with the thumb safety? It does appear in these pictures to be larger than what I have on my guns, but the ones I have have the minuscule bump thumb safety as I have seen on original 1911 period guns.

  3. Even the Norinco Model 1911 is a faithful copy. It is reliable, too. I have had no issues or complaints with this reproduction even if it was a Chinese import.

  4. Part of the fun of participating in Wild Bunch, SASS, etc., is to try to have everything look authentic. Well… nothing says authentic like a HUGE modern logo along the entire length of the slide. What were they thinking!?!?!

  5. I have a Rock Island and 2 American Classic 1911’s
    The only thing I had to do for them to feed and cycle hollow points was to throw away the Act-Mag and use the Wilson Elite Tactical Magazines
    That is all it took, no polishing, no gunsmithing just use premium mags
    I am told that the Chip McCormick Power mags and Ed brown 8 Packs are also considered to be top notch quality. The Phillipine 1911’s are very good for the minimal cost in my opinion.

  6. You just can’t go wrong with the 1911 in any configuration. Well almost, you can’t go wrong. Stick with the original single stack mag., no fancy alloy slides and frames. John Browning was a gun design genius that designed weapons for everyone. The 1911 grip fits all hand sizes. When held correctly, not movie, gang-banger style, everything falls into place. I own a Rock Island Armory and the only improvement I would wish for, that it would fire hollow point loads, but then, 230 gr. hard ball works fine. I would like a closer look at Cimmaron’s offering. Original 1911s are so few and far between I have never seen one except in photos.

    1. @ Torminator.

      Depend’s on which Version your Talk about. The Hollywood version say’s ~1913. While the Real Wild Bunch, of the Eleven Members. Two survived into the 20th Century. “Little Bill” Raidler, died in 1904 of Injuries sustained of the years for various Gun Battles. “Arkansas Tom” Jones, was Killed by Joplin Missouri Police Detectives in 1924. ALL Other’s were Suicide by Law Enforcement (either by Marshal or by Sheriff)…

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