Tuesday, January 12, 2010

1911 Lust!

Although they've definitely been flying under the radar, it appears that Detonics, still under the leadership of the legendary Bruce Siddle, author of SHARPENING THE WARRIOR'S EDGE, has emerged from its various legal battles with a new — and honest-to-goodness unique — Combat Master. The pic is from Bob Boyd's blog over at SHOOTING ILLUSTRATED, via Say Uncle. There's an accompanying article in SI, available on the Detonics website.

First, notice the octagonal barrel. I've got a lot of 1911s, but I have to say that's the first octagonal barrel I've run across. Next note the front sight mounted on the barrel, riding in a groove on the slide. This is an old competition trick that makes it easier to track the front sight, since it's not moving on the reciprocating slide. The new Combat Master also abandons the iconic rear sight mounted about an inch forward of the rear of the slide, ostensibly for easier Condition 2 — hammer down on a live round — carry by allowing the thumb to easily cock the hammer on the draw.

When I last talked to Bruce a couple of years back, he was showing some really slick Detonics/Wayne Novak collaborations, with a polymer-framed pocket pistol in the works.
The new Combat Master

Here's a crash history of the little gun from The Sight. I realize a lot of you wonder why some many of us obsess over this little gun with so many little 1911s around. Some of it is undeniably nostalgia...the Combat Master was the first little 1911 production gun and for years after the only little 1911 that actually worked. I had one of the original Combat Masters back in the early 1980s, and it was a superb little gun (I got rid of it only because someone offered me a stunning amount of classic S&W revolvers in trade)...I shot it in IPSC matches, even, and I don't recall it every choking. Compare that to my first-gen Colt Officer's Model, which worked only on Tuesdays and then only with hardball.

I wrote about the Detonics and little carry .45s here.

A couple of years back I got one of the resurrected Combat Masters from my friend and columnist on DRTV Jerry Ahern, who got the company back up and running until his backing money ran out. It was every bit as good a gun — maybe better, since the mags were 1911 standard and a regular 7/8-rounder could be used — but that version of Detonics ground to a halt in late 2007. 'm going to give Bruce a call today and see if we can set something up next week.

In the meantime, it's practically balmy here (above freezing), so I'm going to run to the range as soon as I finish the podcast and run some rounds through the Para Tactical Target Rifle...


kmitch200 said...

Maybe it's just the pics but what's with the funky hammer?

Anonymous said...

Even in a world gone crazy for 1911s I predict this latest Detonics will belly up like all the previous Detonics before it.

Anonymous said...

Octagon barrel? Better? Maybe, but way more expensive to manufacture than the "real" 1911 barrel system. Is it more accurate than a standard 1911 by "Brown", or "Wilson"? Will the buying public go for the higher cost of this gun, just due to the barrel? I'll bet not. Some collectors will covet it for just the unique barrel, but collector value doesn't add to the bottom line of the company. Selling a lot of guns does.
Life Member

Tam said...

"...for years after the only little 1911 that actually worked."

Maybe yours did. I sold my Seattle Detonics in disgust after a few months, :(

Anonymous said...

Ha! Ha! The legendary Bruce Siddle....LOL! That's funny right there. More like infamous. Just do a google search of his name and see how many legal battles or court cases come up. I might be wrong about this, but I think Caspian actually makes the frames for Detonics. Caspian probably also makes the slides. Detonics is at best an assembler of guns...not a manufacturer. I haven't seen one of their guns run 100% yet. The whole sight mounted to the barrel thing is a solution in search of a problem. And lastly, the fact that Michael Bane is shill'ing this 'nother incarnation of the 1911 right before the SHOT show is not lost on me. DUH!

Michael Bane said...

Hey Anon..."And lastly, the fact that Michael Bane is shill'ing this 'nother incarnation of the 1911 right before the SHOT show is not lost on me. DUH!"

Could you explain your comment to me? I don't get it. usually I'm pretty up on snarky comments, slurs and the like, but I sorta missed the point of this one.

I mean, I could understand it if Detonics had any money, which they don't, because then you could accuse me of whoring. I could also understand it if Detonics was one of my regular sponsors, which they aren't, because then you could accuse me of shilling for a company who indirectly pays me. I could even understand it if Detonics gave me a gun, which they haven't, because then you could say I sold my soul for a 1911.I suppose it's a reach, but I could sorta understand it if Detonics was a major player in the industry, which it isn't, because then you could accuse me of sucking up for some kind of long-term gain.

I still allow anonymous comments on the blog, but darn, if you're going to insult me, please do so in a way that I can understand it!

And Tam...you just didn't love yours enough!


Tam said...

"And Tam...you just didn't love yours enough!"

I wanted to. I read those silly Jerry Ahern books as a kid and knew that if I wanted to survive the Zombocalypse, I needed an A.G. Russel "Sting" boot knife and a brace of Combat Masters in a double Jackass shoulder rig. ;)

(WV: "balimedl". Legislation that messes with butterfly knives.)

Anonymous said...


Michael Bane said...

Anon...your bulb is still flickering there, brother...you still aren't making sense...you need to focus and try really hard to make your point, because so far you're still in space...we've all read the FTC rules on endorsements and we all have legal opinions on how they apply...so take off your aluminum foil hat and give it another shot!


Michael Bane said...

Tam...ditto on the Jerry Ahern books...I think I'v got a A.G. Russell Sting in black chrome somewhere in the sharp things collection...BTW, I talked to Jerry Ahern a couple of days ago...those books go on and opn and on and on...as an author, darn, I envy that!


Farm.Dad said...

I still have an original carbon steel detonics and it still runs fine with about any ammo . It is in fact my wife's carry gun . I cannot though get excited about this new version with its " features ". IMHO the path to success for the company would be to build an affordable compact .45 that works and stand behind it rather than do another " distinctive quirk " such as the " landing pad " on the first ones or the sight/barrel on this generation.

Anonymous said...

I love my little Ahearn-era Detonics CM. Won it at the Steel Challenge one year. It's a bummer the special SC engraving is so light since I may wear it off carrying it.

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"Gunner" said...

Geez folks lets give them a chance. I see a lot of negative and the guns haven't even hit the market yet.
They will be out on the market within a few months at most so lets wait to decide until we see some in depth reviews of them.

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