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Throwback Thursday: Series Review — Metro Arms 1911 Handguns

Metro Arms 1911 Pistol

The 1911 is my favorite handgun for many reasons. I grew up in a country of revolver men, but made the acquaintance of the 1911 .45 at an early age. The rest is history, a history not important to anyone, save myself. The pistol itself — now there is a story!

The 1911, a locked-breech single-action with a low bore axis and a grip that fits most hands well, is easily recognizable. The 1911 is a great service and protection pistol, not to mention a match-winning competition handgun. The problem is, that the better class of 1911 pistols are increasingly expensive.

Initial Thoughts

The Metro Arms 1911 is affordable and has earned a reputation for good function and accuracy. The pistol features an all-steel slide and frame. The barrel appears well-fitted and the pistol features an extended thumb safety, slide lock and beavertail safety. This makes firing the pistol much easier. The blued finish is well done, perhaps it may not impress visiting dignitaries, but it is credible. The polished flats are well done. The pistol features both forward and rear cocking serrations. The cocking serrations fit the hand well and forward cocking serrations give even better leverage. The pistol features a five-inch barrel. The fit of the barrel hood and locking lugs to the slide is good.  The ejection port is scalloped for sure ejection and easy administrative handling.

The Metro Arms includes a set of high-visibility sights. The sights are the Novak Lo Mount style, the type by which all others are measured. The rear sight is slightly different than some Novak sights, but offers an excellent sight picture. The sight is tight in the dovetail and may be drift-adjusted for windage. The front post is solidly attached to the slide and rides in a dovetail slot.

My pistol arrived sighted in for the 200-grain bullet and a dead-on hold, or six o’clock hold with a 230-grain load. The original GI 1911 had small sights, but it was accurate enough for most chores if properly aimed. It fired high at 25 yards, the intention was to give the soldier a fighting chance at 50 yards.

Metro Arms 1911 Slide to Frame Fit
The Metro Classic features well designed sights.

Features and Specs

The grips are nicely checkered wood, a nice touch. The slide lock and magazine catch operate properly. The trigger is smooth enough, breaking at a clean 5.5 pounds. The hammer is a special design that looks like it has a cobweb lattice in the skeletonized hammer, a nice touch. The pistol features a properly polished feed ramp with the requisite 1/32nd-inch gap between the two halves of the feed ramp. All hollow point and flat-nose loads tested fed well. Overall, the handgun seems to have features somewhat outstripping less expensive handguns, giving competition to much more expensive options.

1911 Hammer
The lattice work in the hammer is a nice touch.

Accuracy and Reliability

The pistol is reliable, having fired 450 cartridges without complaint. The pistol has been fed a steady diet of hard-cast lead bullets and Titegroup powder. Don’t ask where I get my primers! I don’t get them, I have them, and I will be running out soon. The pistol will group five rounds into two to 2.5 inches at 25 yards.

A faster load at 1,050 fps is the Hornady 185-grain XTP and a heavier charge of Titegroup. This is a great go-anywhere do-anything defensive load and one I use often. For personal defense, the Hornady Critical Defense is a first-class loading. The .45 ACP operates at modest pressure with little muzzle flash, making it an ideal personal defense and target big bore.

The standard for the original 1911 service pistol was a five-inch group at 25 yards and a 10-inch group at 50 yards. The Metro Arms 1911 is much more accurate. Metro also offers Commander-size 1911 and the Bobcut, a pistol with good features.

Conclusion: Metro Arms

I find the Metro line useful, affordable, and reliable. The handguns are well-made of good material, reliable, and offer a good value for our hard-earned money.

What do you think of the Metro Arms 1911? Let us know in the comments section below!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June of 2021. It has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and clarity.

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 (21)

  1. Wife bought the FireStorm form me back in 2008, I have carried it as my off duty weapon ever since. I have put literally several thousand rounds through this 1911 and it has never failed me. This is by far the best hard use 1911 that I have. Not sure what they are selling for now, but bought it for $450 back in 2008. I would recommend this weapon for anyone that values durability and functionality over name brand and being pretty.


  3. At our local 45 Smith’s gun shop he started handling these a couple decades ago and the one thing he pointed out to me was the frame the slide fit and compared it with the rock island The metro arms had a very nice slid frame fit. Then the fluff and buff on the feed ram was amazing to see in a gun in this price class. mine has been a fantastic gun and I think it’s a great value.

  4. I got my Metro American Classic ‘ll. Hard Crome six years ago.i should have bought more for each of my 3 Sons. It’s my No#1 go too 45! Needless to say…..”I love it”!.

  5. nice review….ive been a student of the gun for 40+ years…..few years back if i recall correctly century was bringing in 1911s by i believe MAC…..and exactly what the other gentleman said they are as good maybe better than current colt….i also had a norinco that was as good as colt…..currently on the Turkish Tisas 1911 which again equal to colt…i would like to handle / fire the Daily field grade 1911 that are made in Italy…question…im sure the slides are forged on the Metro Arms….is the agiframe cast or forged?……the Tisas are forged frame and slide…again great read…

  6. Seams like a good reliable all around carry,one you wouldn’t mind to rough it up a little. The price is good compared to expensive 1911 that a guy is afraid to use everyday.

  7. Please remember-Metro Arms has NOTHING to do with Rock Island/Armscor. They are competing against one another.
    I carry a 5″ Govt. model in my car. It is at least 20 years old. I have owned it for about 4 years, and in that time it has never malfunctioned in any way.
    I truly LOVE the large extended safety and bolt stop. I have nicer 1911s, but carry this one.

  8. My wife heard me talking to the dealer. I had commented on the fact that I would choose my that Metro over and $1100. 1911 45 next to it. So while I was looking at the camping stuff she went to the salesman and bought it for $319.00 for my upcoming birthday. I’ve put about 250 rounds through my metro it has not let me down. It’s my daily carry.

  9. I own two Metro Arms MAC Classic 9mm 1911s. Ramped bull barrels, bomar type sights, great trigger out of the box. Stellar fit and finish. One of them is the tri-top model. Darn it I love these two.

    Full disclosure: because I shoot these competitively I replaced the sear, sear spring, hammer, and trigger with EGW parts. The guns have more than 15k rounds shot through them since early 2020. ZERO failures of any kind after these upgrades ♡

  10. Elads-These are NOT produced by Rock Island/Armscor. Metro Arms is a different company entirely, and competes with RIA.

  11. I bought a MAC Classic 2 .45 cal several years ago. It came with two magazines, one standard and one 8 round magazine. I have been looking to add magazines but I don’t know exactly what to buy. What I am looking for is the standard 7 round magazine. Does anyone know what is compatible with this hand gun? Please help. Thank you.

    1. William, your pistol is compatible with standard .45 ACP 1911 mags. You can find them here! I prefer Wilson Combat mags, but plenty of others work great too.

  12. I have a Metro Arms American Classic 2 in 45acp. I bought this firearm several years ago for $450.00. The trigger was so good, I just had to buy it. After a few hundred rounds, I started to have feeding problems. I took it a a local gunsmith to check out, and $102.00 later, I have a handgun that I trust with my life that is more accurate than my Beretta 92fs.

  13. I am no stranger to the 1911 platform, as I’ve had several over the last 20 years or so. Those were all sold or traded over time and recently found myself without a 1911 and looking to buy one. About 6 months ago I purchased the Metro Arms American Classic II in two tone finish. The full size 5” barrel version in .45 ACP.

    I paid about $630 for it from the local gun shop. I had a bad experience with my Kimber, it did not like to feed much of any ammo I fed it, including 230 grain ball. I immediately took my Metro Arms pistol home to test function and was very pleased. It fed anything I put in it with no issues whatsoever. For the price of this pistol, considering all the extra features it came with I am super impressed and will be looking for another!

  14. Bob, thanks for the review on Metro Arms. I bought the Bobcut a few yrs ago because of all the extra features, but disassembling it is a real nightmare. One has to work for a while to get the compound spring back in the slide-don’t take paper clip tool to keep the recoil spring compressed out after disassembling!! They could have solved this in 2 ways: 1. use a bull barrel or 2. a single recoil spring. This probably keeps me from using the weapon more. I also own the Govt model, and agree that it is a great gun for the money. Yes, it disassembles like a Govt model should.

  15. I bought my 1st Metro Arms 1911, Government, 4 years ago, in 9MM, which I use in competition. I’ve put over 15,ooo rounds down range & it has run without any issues. Then I purchased the 45 ACP version (Government model) & 6500+ rounds, again, it has run flawlessly. I’ve also purchased the Commander size in both 9mm & 45 ACP. For the Quality, Durability, Dependability & very affordable price, I couldn’t ask for a better 1911. I’ve run premium ammo, JHP, FMJ, Aluminum & Steel case through my Metro Arms 1911’s & they all just keep taking what I feed them & never complain.

  16. NICE – Everyone should have a 1911, in .45 ACP. I got a series 70 COLT when they first came out, and spent a rainy afternoon with several different grades of sandpaper and needle files smoothing out the tooling marks. The METRO review reads like much of the handwork was already done. Also, I changed the original sights out for a White Outline Rear, and it appears that METRO also did that. If I was looking for another 1911, I would seriously consider the METRO, based on this review. Think that. with a different set of WOLFE springs, should be no issue with getting ~1050 fps with a 185 grain load. As to price, with the current run on firearms, appears nobody is paying list price, and a “NAME” 1911 can be selling for well over list price.

  17. I just thought I might add my 2cents worth.
    As I understand it this firearm is made by the same outfit that manufacturer Rock Island Armory.
    To any detractors I would just say that I own a RIA 1911 tactical model in 9mm and it is REALLY accurate!
    And thus far having shot it quite a lot it seems to be holding up fine. Close inspection reveals absolutely no unusual wear.
    I bought this piece used appearing to have never been fired at a great price.
    My initial inspection of the gun was impressive.
    Cycling the slide felt as smooth as rubbing two pieces of glass together, no slop whatsoever.
    The trigger is adjustable but I never had to.
    It’s crisp and light without being too light.
    It feeds and fires everything, junk ammo through the best hollow points.
    I have small hands and actually like the stock grip panels.
    I used this gun for my ccw in Illinois on the shooting portion as I knew it would not let me down.
    The instructor and the entire class was impressed as I shot the x ring out of the target. Several others in the group were drawn to my choice of a 1911 as they wanted to know how come I shot so well.
    I gave credit where credit was due.
    I told them it was the pistol.
    Many had wrongly been informed or influenced that a 1911 wasn’t a good choice.
    They were all impressed and said they would reconsider, even the die hard big G shooter who initially derided my pistol in the classroom portion and subsequently had several ftf/fte in the next lane while my 1911
    chugged away without a single malfunction and again shot the pants off everything else there.
    I subsequently bought a sister to that gun in 45acp and have had similar positives to say.
    And I don’t mind the billboard on the slide, nor the fact that it’s made in the Philipines.

  18. Bob, thanks for another nice article about guns or ammo. I do not own any semi-auto pistols, but I do have to Ruger single action revolvers, and one is a Colt .45 that also shoots .45 ACP ammo with a cylinder swap. So, in my gun, there is never any feed issues! But I some some question for you, and some comments.

    First, you said that the Metro Arms 1911 .45 semi-auto pistol was relatively inexpensive, but I did not notice any mention of a real dollar cost. Can you give some ides? I suspect it is a range, depending on the source. Secondly, you did mention shooting the 1,050 fps with the Hornady 185-grain XTP, which I think would be considered a .45 ACP +P round. Is this pistol capable of shooting more powerful .45 ACP +P rounds? This Hornady round you mention produces 494 ft. lbs. of ME, but there are other .45 ACP +P that go higher: up to 524 (Magtech), 616 (Atomic), 625 (Liberty Civil Defense), and even 660 ft. lbs (MagSafe) of ME. Can it handle any of these? I own the Ruger revolver because it can shoot any .45 ACP round made, since the gun also shoots .45 LC, with an ME of at least 1215 ft. lbs.

    There is also a class of .45 ACP rounds called Super .45, which is the same .45 ACP ammo, only loaded with a very powerful charge, and these can go up to 694 ft. lbs. of ME with a 185 gr bullet (Buffalo Bore). I doubt most ,45 ACP semi-auto pistols can fire these types of rounds. All of this data comes from my ballistics file. Again, I offer my ballistics file to anyone who wants it.

    Vincent (06-22-2021)

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