Lipsey’s Exclusive High Standard Crusader Compact 1911 .45 ACP Auto Pistol


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

April 28th, 2008




Click for video! (WMV format, 3.28 MB)

For the past 100 or so years, pistol manufacturers have been trying to dethrone the .45 ACP as the king of the fighting pistol cartridges. They have introduced shorter, longer, fatter, thinner, lighter, heavier, slower, and faster handgun cartridges, but the .45 ACP is more popular now than ever. New pistols chambered for the ancient cartridge are introduced every year to shooters, both in the traditional 1911 pattern, or some variation thereof, or in the newest high-tech plastic design. The .45 keeps plugging along.

When I was a kid, I used to carry around in my pocket everyday, everywhere, a Federal Cartridge Company ballistic chart. I loved those little charts that Federal used to give away. I spent a lot of time studying the little pocket chart. One of the least impressive cartridges to me was the .45 ACP. There were modern, flat-shooting magnums listed on that little chart, and the ballistics of the .45 ACP seemed anemic in comparison. I saw little need for the .45 ACP when I could buy a good .357 or .44 Magnum revolver for half the price of a 1911 Colt Government Model. Why that cartridge and gun had not been discontinued decades earlier was a mystery to me. I was an ignorant kid.

I was almost twenty years old before I got a real hankering for a 1911 .45 pistol. I spent many hours scouring the Brownell’s catalog looking at parts to customize a 1911, and as many hours reading all that I could about custom pistolsmiths like Armand Swenson and Frank Pachmayr. Back in those days, one fully expected to spend as much money customizing and tuning a new 1911 as he spent for the basic Colt pistol. Today we have it pretty good. You can walk into any self-respecting gun shop and walk out with a 1911 pistol that is equipped with everything that it needs to be a good fighting or target pistol right out of the box. Also, the .45 ACP cartridge is no longer just loaded with a 230 grain round-nosed bullet, but is available with any configuration of high-tech hollowpoint, flatnose, or pre-fragmented projectile that one could imagine. In other words, regardless of my youthful uninformed opinion, the .45 ACP has always been a good fighting cartridge, and today is even better. The improvements made in recent decades to upgrade smaller bullets to the degree that they perform as well as did the .45, has also been applied to the .45 ACP cartridge, making it still the preferred cartridge of professionals. There are many good choices of caliber for a defensive pistol, but it is hard to argue with the success of the good old forty-five.

Just as it is hard to beat a .45, it is also foolish to argue against the longevity of the 1911 design. I cannot count, nor will I attempt to, the number of manufacturers around the world that are producing a 1911 style pistol. There are many good choices on the market, and one of them is the subject of this piece; the High Standard Crusader Compact. The Crusader Compact is a well-built defensive handgun with forged steel parts and quality assembly. The pistol is of the “Officer’s Model” size, having a shorter butt and wearing a 3.65 inch barrel. The Crusader Compact is finished in a business-like matte Parkerized finish. It has a bushingless slide with a coned barrel for a good slide to barrel fit. It has a single spring over a steel guide rod recoil spring system. This model of the High Standard 1911 pistol is available only through Lipsey’s, a distributor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. What makes this compact 1911 special is that despite its low price, Lipsey’s has had the gun built loaded up with features that usually are found only on pistols that carry a much higher price tag. This is no stripped-down basic pistol. The Crusader Compact has an excellent set of steel Novak-style combat sights that are very easy to see, and offer a good sight picture for target work. They are dovetailed into the slide, and the rear sight has a set screw to loosen to make windage adjustments. Another feature usually found only on more expensive pistols is the beavertail grip safety and skeletonized Commander-style hammer. The feed ramp is polished, and the barrel is throated to feed hollowpoint ammunition. The trigger is a good-looking partially skeletonized unit, with a crisp trigger pull that feels lighter than its measured five and one-half pounds. The short magazine still holds seven rounds, for a loaded capacity of eight, and has a base pad for positive insertion into the slightly beveled magazine well. The best feature of this little 1911 is, to me, the extended ambidextrous safety. Even today, many high-dollar 1911 pistols do not come with an ambidextrous safety. The safety on the Crusader Compact is well-designed, and is securely held in place with the slotted pin method, instead of relying upon the right-hand grip panel to hold the safety in place. The grip panels are of the fully checkered wood pattern, and offer a secure grip. The mainspring housing is flat and serrated.

Shooting the Crusader Compact for function and accuracy was done using several types of ammunition from exotic specialty rounds to high performance hollowpoints to target handloads. During the first two magazines of ammo, I had two Cor-Bon hollowpoints hang up on the feed ramp, but after that the pistol ran perfectly through many different varieties of hollowpoint ammunition, including those same Cor-Bon loads. The gun ran smoothly with everything, until late on the third day of shooting, it started to balk on my target handloads, not fully chambering. This had me puzzled, as the gun had previously fired many of that same handload without hesitation. Stripping it down, I found that as the gun got dry and filthy, its tight extractor was hanging onto the chewed-up rims of my overly-used brass cases. Some of these cases I have shot until the headstamp is no longer legible, and the crusader’s tight extractor was too tight with those old cases. Anyway, not counting those two early cartridges, the gun ran perfectly with good commercial ammunition, and when clean, also ran perfectly with my handloads. I wish that I could say that about all new 1911 pistols. There are some high-dollar pistols on the market for which the manufacturer recommends a generous break-in period. This inexpensive Crusader Compact runs quick and slick, as can be seen in the video. It was very easy to control in rapid fire shooting, and the gun shot to the sights for me at twenty-five yards with most combat ammunition. After the accuracy testing using the Ransom Rest, I plinked at numerous targets on my range such as swinging steel and small rocks, and the sights were very easy to use and properly adjusted. Accuracy with most of the high performance combat ammo was between the two and one-half to three inch range at twenty-five yards, and my target handloads performed very well, grouping consistently around two inches, with the best and worst groups fired pictured here. The Crusader Compact was a very consistent performer.

I fired several different types of ammunition for velocity from the short barrel. Velocity readings were recorded using a PACT Professional chronograph at ten feet from the muzzle, with the results listed in the chart below. Temperature was around the seventy five degree Fahrenheit mark, with low humidity at an elevation of approximately four hundred feet. JHP is jacketed hollowpoint. EPR is a specialty high performance type bullet loaded by Extreme Shock. SWC is a handloaded lead semi-wadcutter bullet. DPX is the Barnes all-copper hollowpoint bullet loaded by Cor-Bon. PB is a specialty hollowpoint bullet with a nylon ball nose loaded by Cor-Bon, called PowRBall. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second. Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Buffalo Bore JHP 185 1054.6
Buffalo Bore JHP 200 1078.9
Cor-Bon JHP 230 876.7
Cor-Bon JHP 200 930.4
Cor-Bon JHP 185 1156.8
Cor-Bon PB 165 1097.7
Cor-Bon DPX 185 1028.9
Extreme Shock EPR 185 945.9
Handload SWC 200 811.4

Even from the short barrel of the Crusader Compact, the ammunition posted respectable velocities, and all were easily controllable, partially due to the 35.6 ounce weight of the all-steel pistol. I carried the Crusader Compact on my hip in a Fobus paddle holster, which carried the pistol high and tight. It rode comfortably in that position. The size of the Crusader Compact is not much larger, but it is heavier, than a lightweight J-frame S&W revolver. Both are excellent concealed carry guns, but the High Standard needs a good holster to carry well. It is a bit heavy for pocket carry, but you get eight shots of .45 ACP compared to five shots of .38 Special with the pocket revolver, so it is a good trade.

The High Standard Crusader Compact .45 is a dandy pistol. It compares in features and quality with other pistols costing almost twice as much. I usually do not list suggested retail prices in my reviews, as these reviews stay posted for years, and prices change. Also, street prices are usually much lower than suggested retail. However, the price of this Crusader Compact, along with the list of features, makes this pistol a particularly good value. The suggested retail price of this pistol as of this writing is only $555. You can probably find one available for $500 or less. That is an extremely good value for a 1911 Compact .45 tricked out as this one is. As mentioned earlier, Lipsey’s is the only distributor carrying this pistol, but your dealer can get one you. Have him to call 1-800-666-1333, or to find a Lipsey’s dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

To order the high performance ammunition listed here, go to,, or

Jeff Quinn

For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to:


Size compares favorably to lightweight five-shot .38 Special.





Author tested the Crusader Compact for function and accuracy using a variety of ammunition types.





Smallest and largest groups fired using Jeff's favorite target handload.



Seven-yard offhand rapid-fire group using Cor-Bon PowRBall.



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Click pictures for a larger version.


High Standard Crusader Compact 1911 .45 ACP auto pistol.



Gun comes with one magazine and a hard plastic case.





Magazine holds seven shots and sports an extended base pad.



Magazine well is beveled for easy insertion.



Ambidextrous safety makes the Crusader Compact work easily in either hand.





Sights are excellent, and of the type you would expect to find on a much more expensive weapon.



Pistol strips easily without tools.



Feed ramp is polished and barrel is throated to feed hollowpoint ammunition.



Gun carries well in an inexpensive Fobus holster.



Checkered wood grips.