June 22, 2005
Para Ordnance Ultimate Comp - Western Arms
This gun, loaned to me for review by Elite Airsoft, was the first Para Ordnance I had seen.
I found this model interesting as it represents one of WA's specialist target 'race guns', designed specifically for target shooting. This version is intended for the IPSC Modified class, which permits compensators, but not optic sights. In this respect it's interesting, but in some ways it is not representative of the rest of WA's Para Ordnance offerings.
In the Box
The box is slightly more full than a typical WA box, containing a generic Para Ordnance manual, a special addendum for the Ultimate Comp (explaining how to strip it down), the typical loading tool and the gun itself.
Unsurprisingly, as both are 1911 based, the box is exactly the same size as that for an Infinity.
Before you pick up the gun, the first thing that strikes you is the compensator at the front of the gun. Otherwise, the gun is much like any modified 1911 (and this is much closer to a real 1911 than the SV Infinities), with a lightweight trigger, adjustable rear sight and extended beaver tail, grip safety.
Picking up the Ultimate Comp, though, leads to another impression. This gun (especially if you've handled an Infinity) feels very light (The standard P14-45 is listed at 990g, 50g more).
At the bottom of the grip is a silver magwell and the hammer is also silver, but otherwise the gun is finished entirely in black and looks very handsome. This isn't a "Pimp" gun and is all the more stylish for it.
Metal parts include the hammer, safeties, magwell, sights, slide lock and the entire compensator.
Looking more closely at the Para Ordnance reinforces the view that this is a quality gun.
The markings are nicely engraved (with the WA ones taking second place to the Para Ordnance ones) and the grooves front and rear on the slide are well defined and cleanly moulded.
On the left side of the slide, there's the wording Para-Ordnance and on the frame below that (in quite small text) "This product is made in Japan by Western Arms Co., Ltd and Para-Ordnance", with "Trade Marks are affixed under license of PARA-ORDNANCE MFG. INC." below that. On the right hand side, the slide is marked P14.45. The frame is marked "PARA-ORDNANCE INC. FT. LAUDERDALE FL. CANADA". Just above the trigger is a WA ASGK marking and the grips bear the Para Ordnance logo.
Interestingly, and in line with the real thing, apparently, the slide lock doesn't function when the last round is fired, meaning you have to count shots or risk dry firing. I believe I read somewhere that it's possible to re-enable the slide lock, but there's no obvious indication of this in the manual.
This particular Para Ordnance has no Hop-Up. WA often delete Hop-Up from their specialised target models to increase consistency between shots and it also has a lightweight recoil spring to reduce the effect of the slide slapping back to battery on the user's aim.
The magazine looks like an Infinity style mag, but the gun feels slimmer in the hand (possibly due to the reduced checkering on the grip, especially at the front) and the magazine actually has a longer bumper at the bottom, meaning it doesn't fit into a full sized Infinity.
Down at the front of the gun, is the compensator. This is all metal (at least externally) and allows an extra 2" (50mm) of inner barrel for increased power and accuracy.
The slide lock (which will hold the slide open if pressed, but is prone to releasing under minor movement) is the same as an Infinity (it's standard 1911 size, basically), whilst the trigger (which feels like plastic) is not interchangable, although there is a small allen bolt for adjustment of some kind, presumably trigger release pressure.
The thumb safety is of a medium size and ambidextrous, whilst the hammer is quite small and comes very close to the top of the grip safety when cocked, making it quite tricky to cock from the normal grip position. At the bottom of the grip is an extended magwell which is smaller than those on the Infinity 6" and cut away at the front. The magazine release, is a small button as seen on most standard 1911s and is for right handers only.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test I was a little frustrated. I couldn't seem to get as impressive a grouping as I'd hoped for. Certainly all my Infinities were capable of tighter groups, despite the Para Ordnance's light weight slide.
Shooting with 134a gas on a cold day, which might not have aided consistency, my first attempts yielded a 2 inch (5 CM) grouping, with all but one shot in the centre area.
As with the other guns I tested on this cold October day (15C), I then decided to warm the magazines indoors for a while, getting them up somewhere near room temperature.
This time, the grouping was much worse, but I put the outliers down to my snatching shots before cooldown set in. The 4 'on target' shots were grouped neatly around the bull in a 1.75 inch (4.25 CM) diameter - Not as good as the Infinities, but certainly reasonable.
As with the other guns tested that day, I suspect with stronger gas I would have seen better consistency on target.
Finally I dropped 20 rounds into the magazine and blasted away until they ran out.
This, perhaps, showed where WA's light slide and lack of Hop-Up really paid off as all but 3 of the shots were in the dark rings or better (3 neatly surround the bull) and the outliers were only just below the majority, with a 3.25 inch (9 CM) vertical gap between the most outlying shots. This, I feel, shows the ease with which one could consistently hit a target with double taps, where the light slide has a reduced effect on the barrel, and hence aim, of the gun.
Overall, this is an interesting gun. As usual, the WA quality is present and you can't argue with the kind of price Elite Airsoft offer the Para Ordnance for (Prices started at ?101, with this model near the top of the range at ?121, when I wrote this review in October 2003).
It's certainly not the gun one would choose as an all purpose sidearm (Holstering it wouldn't be easy for one thing!), but that's not the point and other Para Ordnance models would make excellent skirmish weapons.
If you are target shooting at home, or looking for something for IPSC or AMS, though, this would make an excellent and reasonably priced choice.
For those with a hankering for optical sights, there's the Ultimate Comp Special, which has no steel sights and a scope mount as standard, but is otherwise virtually the same as this model.
Weight : 950g
Realism : ****