Small semiautos that match the physical dimensions of pistols we tested recently - such as Para-Ordnance’s $740 P12-45 - are usually referred to as compacts or sub-compact. But when pistols of this size class are miniaturized 1911s, the tag of “Officer’s models” is hung on to them, even though they may not exactly fit the mold of the original Colt’s Officer’s model.
The Para Ordnance P12 is a particularly interesting handgun. The 1911 is immensely popular. Those who like the 1911 are seldom happy to own one or two. However, they fire most of those on the range. Some may keep a Government Model for home defense, although not for 24-hour carry by any except the most dedicated. The lightweight .45 is an answer to a real need for a concealed carry handgun. If we could find a way to up the 1911’s lightweight frame capacity, so much the better.
Some people say that all compact 1911s are trouble. My gunsmith echoed the advice of many wise old-timers when he told me, “Anything smaller than a Colt Commander just isn’t reliable enough to bother with.”