Custom-Quality 1911 45 ACP Semi-Auto Pistol from Standard Manufacturing

by Boge Quinn

photography by Boge Quinn

February 1st, 2021

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Match barrel & bushing.





Thumb safety (top & 2nd from top), magazine release (3rd from top & 4th from top), slide stop (5th from top), and grip screws (bottom) are Nitre blued.



Rosewood "Double Diamond" checkered grip panels.



Front of grip (top) and mainspring housing (bottom) are checkered at 25 LPI.








Standard Manufacturing Co., LLC is a sister company of Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Co. For those who are unfamiliar with Connecticut Shotgun, they are makers of high-end double-barrel shotguns for the discriminating (i.e., well-heeled) aficionado of the finest traditional double guns ever produced. Connecticut Shotgun was established in 1975, to cater to shotgunners who appreciate only the finest, those avid sportsmen who think nothing of spending five figures for the perfect gun; they currently manufacture guns of many familiar brands, such as A. H. Fox, Parker, A. Galazan, RBL, Inverness, Revelation, and Connecticut Shotgun. 

Standard Manufacturing has been in operation since 2014, as the brainchild of Lou Frutuoso. We first became aware of Standard Manufacturing in about 2015, when we heard of their Single Action Army revolvers; we sixgunners were still reeling at the time from the loss of U.S. Firearms (USFA), who were making such wonderful sixguns that even Colt had to up their game in order to compete. The mechanics, fit, and finish of USFA sixguns were legendary among sixgunners, and their value continues to spiral upwards on the collector market; I myself am lucky enough to own a good number of USFA sixguns, and I was very excited to hear that a company called Standard Manufacturing was set to fill the void left by USFA's demise. When we first met Lou Frutuoso at the 2015 SHOT Show, he had with him some samples of their SAA sixguns, and we were not disappointed; they were beautifully made, with great attention given to the smallest detail, and we wished Lou much luck in getting his endeavor off the ground.

Since that time, we have had the opportunity to test several Standard Manufacturing products: their DP-12 Pump-Action Double-Barreled 12 Gauge Shotgun in 2015; their AR rifles in 5.56 NATO and 300 Blackout in 2016; and their SKO Shorty 12 Gauge Semi-Auto Shotgun in 2018. 

By the time the 2017 SHOT Show rolled around, Standard Manufacturing had set up a trailer at SHOT's "Industry Day at the Range", where we got to handle (but not yet shoot) some of Standard Manufacturing's SAA sixguns, and we got our first look at their equally-exquisite 1911 pistols. By the 2019 SHOT Show, Standard Manufacturing had increased their production across the line to the point where the 1911s were finally starting to get out there, and Jeff made it clear to Lou that we really REALLY wanted to have a go at one. We finally got one in for testing later that year, but Jeff was in failing health by that time, and never got around to shooting it before he passed away in July 2020. I finally rectified this, and discovered that, as beautiful as the Standard Manufacturing 1911 is, it shoots just as well as it looks. This is one IMPRESSIVE pistol; even those to whom I have shown it who know little of such things were impressed by its beauty and its solid feel of obvious craftsmanship.

To begin at the beginning, each Standard Manufacturing 1911 pistol is machined from forged 4140 carbon steel; no cast or MIM parts are used in Standard Manufacturing's production. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with cast parts, as cast parts have proven themselves over many years, but to those who appreciate the traditional manufacturing methods, only forged parts will suffice.

Standard Manufacturing fits these forged parts together perfectly. Slide-to-frame, barrel-to-frame, and barrel-to-slide fit is very tight, with no vertical or lateral play anywhere, and the parts are hand-fitted to reduce friction, thus optimizing reliability. Speaking of which, reliability was 100%, with zero malfunctions of any kind using a wide variety of ammunition types, from GI-spec "Ball" FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) ammo, to factory JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) ammo, to cast semi-wadcutter handloads.

Machining and finishing on all parts is impeccable; all flat surfaces are perfectly flat, with no ripples, machine marks or polishing imperfections.

Standard Manufacturing offers their 1911 pistols in several finishes: blued, nickel plated, and color case-hardened (CCH), with Master-grade hand-engraving available on the blued & CCH versions. The non-engraved blued version as tested is their base model, but there is nothing "base" about the finish on this pistol. The polishing is executed flawlessly, and the bluing is Standard Manufacturing's "Royal Blue"; the quality of the bluing and the level of polish rivals the Royal Blue finish that Colt made famous in their heyday prior to the Second World War. This pistol is impeccably finished, but it is as functional as a modern-day defensive tool as it is a work of art. While it is crafted in the finest old-school tradition, it incorporates all the modern design touches that are desirable in a modern pistol.

The 1911's frame is checkered on the front of the grip at 25 LPI (Lines Per Inch), and the flat mainspring housing is similarly checkered at 25 LPI. Coupled with the Rosewood Double-Diamond standard-thickness grip panels, this checkering assures that the pistol will not shift around in the hand under recoil; once achieved, a proper grip on this pistol is easy to maintain, even in cold or wet conditions. A 45 ACP pistol can move around quite a bit under recoil, and stressful situations only exacerbate this tendency. It is important that handling a pistol is not like handling a wet bar of soap, and such treatment of the frame is the only type of "gun control" we should ever have to discuss. The magazine well is very slightly beveled; just enough to make magazine changes quick and easy, but not so much that the shooter's whole hand gets sucked up in there.

The grip safety features a graceful upswept beavertail with a generous "memory bump", which allows the shooter's hand to properly "ride" the thumb safety during firing while positively engaging the grip safety. Many shooters, myself included, often have trouble achieving complete depression of the grip safety with the thumb resting on the thumb safety, and this bump on the grip safety effectively eliminates that problem. 

The hammer is of a skeletonized rowel-type design that nestles comfortably into the upswept beavertail, and I cannot imagine a hand so large that it would find itself pinched using this arrangement.

The trigger is a medium-length blackened aluminum unit, which is just the right length to allow optimum length of pull for most shooters, and has a smooth "combat-style" face. While Standard Manufacturing's web site specifies the trigger pull at 4.5 pounds, the trigger on my example broke very crisply and cleanly at 2 pounds, 12.9 ounces average, as measured on my Lyman Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge. This is as good a 1911 trigger as I have ever felt, even on pistols costing far more than the Standard Manufacturing 1911.

The sights are what Standard Manufacturing calls "High Profile, Low-Mount Tactical Sights". The rear sight is low-mounted, drift-adjustable for windage, secured with a set screw at the top, and features a ledge to aid in racking the slide one-handed should the need arise. The front sight is high-visibility, also drift-adjustable for windage, with an almost-vertical rear face. The rear faces of both the front and the rear sight are serrated to reduce glare, and offer a very quick and easy-to-acquire sight picture in a wide variety of lighting conditions.

The magazine release button is extended and finely checkered, very easy to find with the thumb (or, for left-handed shooters, the index finger). The right-hand-only thumb safety is extended, and grooved on top for ease of use. The slide stop is of the familiar 1911 pattern, and is similarly grooved on top.

A classic and subtly beautiful touch on this example is the finish of the small parts: the thumb safety, slide release, magazine release, and grip screws are finished in Nitre Blue. Also known as "Fire Blue", Nitre Blue is a very old style of bluing, whereby the parts are bathed in a solution of sodium and potassium nitrates and precisely heated. This style of bluing is seldom seen these days; it yields a distinctive and vibrant blue color, which contrasts beautifully with the deep Royal Blue of the rest of the pistol. While this bluing treatment adds nothing to the functionality of the pistol, the aesthetic touch it adds makes it, to me, well worth the $89.99 upcharge. After all, especially given the extraordinary finish of the rest of the pistol, who says one can't add a bit of flash at a modest cost?

Another aesthetic touch that adds nothing to the pistol's performance, but is indicative of the level of craftsmanship involved, is that the screws are "Regulated". For those who are unfamiliar with the term, Regulated Gun Screws simply means that the screw slots all point in the same direction. While this definition is very simple, the act of achieving this regulation is anything but, requiring the utmost skill and precision relating to the screws' length and cutting. On the Standard Manufacturing 1911, the grip screws and magazine release screw are all oriented along the vertical angle of the grip axis. Regulated Screws are a hallmark of old-school Best-Quality guns, and are often seen on high-end double guns; such details reflect the extreme quality of the Standard Manufacturing 1911, and reflect Standard Manufacturing's relationship to Connecticut Shotgun.

Specifications - Standard Manufacturing 1911 Pistol

Caliber 45 ACP
Finish Royal Blue
Frame / Slide 4140 Carbon Steel, CNC Machined from Forgings; Lowered and Flared Ejection Port and Rear Slide Serrations; Enhanced Slide to Frame Fit; Front of Frame (Grip) Checkered 25 LPI
Barrel 5 inch Stainless Steel Match Grade, Match Bushing
Sights High Profile, Low-Mount Tactical Sights
Hammer Enhanced Machined
Trigger Medium Solid Match Grade Trigger, Factory Spec Trigger Pull 4.5 pounds
Average Trigger Pull, As Received 2 pounds, 12.9 ounces
Grip Safety Up-Swept Beavertail with "Memory Bump"
Magazine Release Extended, Checkered
Mainspring Housing Flat, Checkered 25 LPI
Thumb Safety / Slide Stop Fully Machined, Extended Tactical
Grips Rosewood Double Diamond
MSRP, as of February 2021 $1,299.00 US (Base Pistol)
Upcharge for Nitre Blue (Fire Blue) Slide Stop & Wide Extended Safety Kit: $89.99
Total MSRP, As Tested $1,384.99 US

As a "1911 Guy", when it came to choosing a holster for the Standard Manufacturing pistol, I had a number of choices available. Among these are appropriately fancy rigs for a pistol of such splendor as this, but I opted for a more practical solution, as befits a "usin' pistol". The DEFCON 3 holster from my pal Rob Leahy at Simply Rugged Holsters is a wonderful holster for defensive use; it holds the gun high and tight on the belt, making it easy to conceal, and the belt slots allow for either conventional or cross-draw carry. Although designed for belt carry, the DEFCON 3 is equally at home on my all-time favorite chest rig, the Simply Rugged Chesty Puller Suspension System. The Chesty Puller rig was designed by Rob Leahy when he was living in Alaska, and saw the need for a rig that would allow one's hands to be free, with the pistol within easy reach, for such occasions as when one is fishing hip-deep in water with both hands occupied by a fly rod or such, and a bear emerges from the woods in a bad mood. The Chesty Puller is very versatile by virtue of being able to mount any Pancake-style holster, and it is also easily adaptable for nearly any belt holster by the use of Simply Rugged's Conventional Adapter, making the Chesty Puller a perfect solution for those needing a chest-carry rig. I find the Chesty Puller system to be the most comfortable, versatile, and cost-effective chest holster system available.

As one might expect, shooting the Standard Manufacturing 1911 was a great pleasure, and just plain FUN. I consider the ergonomics of John Browning's design to be unparalleled, and the subsequent enhancements made to the original design only serve to make the pistol even easier to shoot, and shoot well. The Standard Manufacturing 1911 is not only a thing of beauty, a shining example of the gun maker's art; it is a functional defensive tool that would serve one well in a number of Life-or-Death applications. This is a piece of art that could save your life, and I can think of no higher calling for an inanimate object.

Check out the fine offerings from Standard manufacturing:

To Buy Standard Manufacturing Products Online, Click on the GUN GENIE at Davidson's Gallery of Guns:

Buy Ammo Online at Lucky Gunner:

Connecticut Shotgun:

Lyman Products:

Double Tap Ammo:

Armscor Ammo:

Federal Premium Ammo:

Simply Rugged Holsters:

The Shootists:

Boge Quinn

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Lowered & flared ejection port.





Magazine well is slightly beveled for quick mag changes.



Pistol includes two all-steel seven-round magazines.



Simply Rugged DEFCON 3 holster on Chesty Puller Suspension System (top), Double Defender mag pouch (center).