I was recently granted an opportunity to finally get my hands on one of the Para-Ordnance Warthog pistols. I’ve always loved how these feel in the hand and I love how the 45ACP shoots in most firearms.
The Warthog is a double-stack 1911 subcompact. You read that right, it’s a double-stack subcompact 1911! It’s beefy, in this case porky, in the hand as a 45ACP. It feels very similar to the width of the Glock 30 that I used to have.
If you’re familiar with subcompacts then what I’m about to stress is something you’re far too experienced with, so I’ll take aim at those who are new to or are considering subcompacts as my target audience. Subcompacts have a comfort issue that some people simply cannot get past. That’s the fact that the short frame tends to only allow just 2 fingers on the grip. Grip enhancement products, like those made by Pearce, are an enhancement to always be considered for subcompact pistols. They tend to provide a more controllable feel by having that 3rd finger on the firearm. I’ve experienced this issue with the Ruger LCP, the M&P Shield, the Kimber Solo, the Glock 26, the Glock 30, and now the Para Warthog.
So let’s dive into this hog! Those of you with smaller hands may be instantly put off by the Warthog’s size, but don’t let it fool you. With the Pearce grip extenders or the use of 12 round Para magazines the grip length can be overcome providing an added layer of control and confidence with this hog. I have smaller hands and tend to have to adjust my grip to accommodate larger caliber pistols, the Warthog is no different. I noticed that I had adjusted far enough with the extended trigger to take the bulk of the back strap out of the web of my hand, something that didn’t help with my comfort. The result tends to be over-squeezing your grip to compensate, but I must stress that you avoid the over-squeeze as it will have negative effects upon your shooting the Warthog.
To combat this I have the Pearce grip enhancers as well as the 12 round mags. Sadly, I do not have a grip spacer for the 12 rounders and I would like them personally. Once I had my grip comfort under control it was time to shoot the Warthog. The first couple of rounds pushed to the left, something that I had expected due to my modified grip needs to accommodate the wide grip and the extended skeleton trigger. Once I realized that I needed to keep this modified grip, my groups were very consistent at 21 feet.
At 21 feet, roughly 30 rounds were put into a half-dollar sized group. A few strays occurred early on since I had been trying to figure out how to accommodate the width and trigger on the pistol. I was very pleased with the recoil of the firearm even with a 3 inch barrel. With a couple of rounds of PMC Bronze 230 grain FMJ, I actually felt the slide cycle in slow-motion. This is something that can happen with the brain during times of heightened awareness or heightened focus. I found myself thinking, “squeeze, boom, skink, thunk, click” and I realized that was my brain going through the cycling.
Now let’s back up for a second to the initial rounds. I’ve touted for several years that 1911′s tend to jam when they are dry. This thing was bone dry when I picked it up, so I went with it to illustrate exactly what happens….jamming. 1 out of every 3 rounds would jam up on this dry firearm.
I was also reminded of a quirk present in the 1911 design that some tend to forget about. As a Glock owner I suggest sling-shot loading of pistols, with very few exceptions. 1911′s are one of those exceptions. The slide stop lever is much larger on the 1911 than the one on the Glock. The 1911 tends to have rounds skip up and over the ramp resulting in a jam if you sling-shot load them. Sling-shot loading is where you pull the slide to the rear until it stops, then let go of it to chamber a round. This isn’t present on all 1911′s, some it’s the barrel design and with others it’s the recoli spring weight. I actually had a ramp override with the Warthog because of a sling-shot loading. When I went back to using the slide stop lever the problem no longer existed.
For those of you trying a 1911 that shoot non-safety or trigger-safety pistols like the XD or Glock, please be aware that you MUST train yourself to work with the manual flip safety on the 1911. Here’s a couple of training tips that can help, but I must warn you the 1911 presents inherent risks that are unique to the firearm.
Tip 1: When you load the 1911 and go to your grip, take your strong side thumb and tuck it low on the grip, then lift up as you make your grip firm and positive. I’ll try to post up a video soon on this, it’s a nice little trick an older veteran showed me on the range with his Kimber.
Tip 2: When unholstering to draw for self-defense, you can make the grab in a fashion that removes the safety prior to being unholstered. WARNING, this is inherently dangerous since the safety should be engaged until you are on target and ready to shoot.
Tip 3: When coming up-to target, you can flip off the safety and use it as a thumb rest. This is the safer option between 2 and 3. However, you’ll develop the habit of using that as a rest and if you transition to a firearm like the Sig Mosquito you’ll find that your habit will be the same, resulting in the slide stop lever becoming the release on the Mosquito. I’ve identified this with shooters before and it’s interesting to see training habits such as these transition to other firearms.
Cost: $550-750 used, $800-1000 retail, depending on features
Finishes: Black ie stainless
Capacity: 10 + 1
Night sights: Available
Trigger: Extended skeleton
Hammer: Skeleton spurred
Holsters: Leather yes, kydex unknown
Mag alternatives: 12 round mags will fit, but be sure they’re double-stack and test fit them
Mag enhancers: Pearce grips, yes
Sight alternatives: Fiber optic front