Auto-Ordnance WWII 1911A1 Parkerized reviewed

Auto-Ordnance WWII Parkerized reviewed



This Kahr-built Auto-Ordnance 1911PKZSE is a revisiting of the old M1911 pistols from 1911-1923. It is close to the original pistols with a few changes made to revisit the design. According to Auto Ordnance the pistol’s frame is cast while the slide is barstock and the barrel is a one-piece item. The pistol finish is parkerized.

First Impressions

The supplied magazine is a little different then what I am used to seeing but as for the rest of the pistol, other than the Series 80 firing pin safety and a different front strap it is not a bad reproduction



The barrel bushing fit was snug but not so tight that a bushing wrench was needed to remove.


The thumb safety looked correct for an original 1911A1, and engaged and disengaged positively.


The arched mainspring housing with correct lanyard loop.


The short trigger was a little heavy but broke clean. It is nicely serrated.


The ejection port along with the barrel hood. People who know me know I get a little beside myself when I see the .45 Automatic cartridge referred to the .45 ACP, technically that is incorrect but it is so widely used I am not going to make too much of a fuss.


Also period correct hammer and grip safety as well as vertical cocking serrations.


The left side rollmark on the slide is a nice touch.



Factory magazine on the right with an odd looking follower as well as an old Check-Mate seven round magazine with the dimpled follower and hybrid lips.


Detail Strip, note the inclusion of the Colt Series 80 style firing pin safety.


As shipped with all the paperwork, cable lock and spare magazine.

Initial Range Trip


The first morning out with the A-O was a day tailored made for a range trip. First up was getting the velocities over my CED chronograph. I set up the range table about ten feet from the muzzle, applied a little CLP in the sweet spots, and got to it.

I started out with Winchester 230gr FMJ using the factory magazine. Function with the 230gr ball was without incident. Next up was Hornady 200gr TAP JHP. The factory magazine did not like JHP (in all fairness the manual clearly states that 230gr FMJ is the recommended ammunition).

I had two misfeeds using Hornady 200gr JHP with the factory magazine with the void of the hollow point resting against the feed ramp. I then incorporated eight round Colt Checkmate magazines and an old seven round magazine I have had many years and function from then on was again without incident.

The pistol has some heft to it and the trigger is somewhat heavy but breaks clean. I went through 165 rounds that morning and aside from the two misfeeds from the factory magazine there were no more problems. I did make it a point to run a few extra JHPs through the pistol using a different magazine and I am confident it was a magazine issue. When I got the A-O home I noticed the front sight had loosened up just a shade. I took the slide off and tightened the tenon with a punch and added a drop of red Loctite.


Second Range Trip

Fall is approaching and the weather is getting nice so with a fair amount of excitement I woke up Sunday morning looking forward to shooting the Auto-Ordnance 1911A1 and getting deeper into the test. I met with my mother that morning for some sausage and gravy biscuits before she accompanied me to the range. I began with the pistol uncleaned and got right to it.

I ran 50 rounds of Winchester 230gr FMJ through the factory magazine and function was flawless. I then switched to the Colt Checkmate magazines to the test with more jacketed hollow points and my homecast LSWC. I ran another forty various JHPs through the A-O and 145 200gr LSWCs with no failures. That brings my total round count to 400 rounds.

Third Range Trip


One last outing to finish up the test and to get another opinion from my shooting buddy Clint. Still dirty from the previous range trips I did manage to get some CLP where it counts before live fire commenced. A few magazines of Winchester White box, handloaded 230gr FMJ, and 200gr LSWC brings the round count to 435. Clint did the majority of shooting on this outing and he liked the pistol. There were no more failures using my magazines and the front sight gave no more trouble.


Admitting to broadening my horizons, I liked the Kahr built Auto-Ordnance 1911A1. As you all know very well by now, I am a dyed in the wool Colt man and I wondered how this pistol would wring out. I knew a man who owned an Auto-Ordnance Government Model before Kahr bought the company. Though I never shot the pistol I did have the chance to look it over. It appeared to be well built but the owner complained of unreliability. This is not the case with this pistol. I have heard when Kahr bought Auto-Ordnance they improved their line of firearms. I have a Kahr-built Thompson 1927A1 and it is a well built rifle, and I believe this to be a well built pistol.

One fact that needs mentioning again is that the instruction manual recommends for proper function shooting only .45 Automatic 230gr full metal jacketed ammunition through the A-O. I did have good results with a more traditional follower when using other than ball rounds. Really the only thing I did not love about the whole setup was the factory magazine.

I have dealt with Kahr Arms several times over the years with a few gun tests and they have always been very helpful and build a solid, affordable firearm.

Something else I would like to mention, I have been teaching my mother how to become proficient in more than just her carry pistol. I have taken advantage of my tests to introduce her to other firearms. She did get the chance to shoot this pistol during the second range trip and did well with it. It may seem odd to some folks for including my mother but I believe everyone should have an understanding of firearms and with that knowledge maybe some incorrect firearm myths will be dispelled.

Just to add a little flavor to the review here are a few pictures of my 1927A1 Kahr built Thompson along with the 1911A1 with some old .45 Automatic rounds. I really like the Thompson but feeding a fifty round drum magazine on a regular basis you should plan on investing in a progressive press or stock in the ammunition division of Winchester.


Model 1911PKZ SE
Weight: 39 ounces
Overall Length: 7 ½”
Barrel length: 5″
Width of slide: .915″
Width of grip (including stocks at magazine well): 1.240″
Trigger pull: 6 pounds (average pull from a Lyman mechanical gauge)
Magazine capacity (.45 Automatic): 7 rounds
Twist: 1 turn in 16 inches.
Sights: front blade, drift adjustable rear notch
Finish: Parkerized
MSRP: $627


Kahr Arms
Tom Beliveau, Gunsmith in Wendell North Carolina.
Barbara Elliott (my mother)

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3 Responses to Auto-Ordnance WWII 1911A1 Parkerized reviewed

  1. Dwight December 19, 2019 at 7:56 am #

    I served in the military and I carried a M1911A1. I wanted a weapon as close to the original design as possible. Your review helped me to pick AO. It is a good pistol and I recommend it.

    • Hunter Elliott December 20, 2019 at 6:32 pm #

      Thank you Dwight, and thank you for your service.


  1. Desert Eagle 1911G review - March 2, 2015

    […] In addition to Magnum Research, Kahr Arms also owns Auto-Ordnance and already markets 1911 pistols under the Auto-Ordnance brand. I spoke with Kahr Arms’ marketing department what the addition of the Desert Eagle 1911 to the corporate family meant in terms of marketplace “positioning.” The answer was, “The DE1911G and DE1911C are loaded with features and are targeted towards a different customer than our Auto-Ordnance 1911PKZSE, which is a no-frills, mil-spec 1911A1.” You can read about the Auto-Ordnance 1911 by following this link. […]

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