Friday, October 30, 2015

1911 Compensated Roto Barrel Review

1911’s are like the ARs of the handgun world in terms of modification.  It’s the good ol’ American handgun that everyone makes a part for, every part can be replaced, and almost every firearm manufacturer makes their own version based off the famous and iconic design.  Like many others, I was looking to do a little something, something to my 1911.  I decided to look at threaded barrels.

Most threaded barrels I came across were $200 or more.  Then you would have to pay even more for whatever else you wanted to add to the barrel.  When looking around, I stumbled upon SACRO, Inc.’s website and found some budget options.  In the options was a compensated one piece 1911 Roto barrel for under $100.  The reviews looked great, but my research online told me what you would expect to hear: “you get what you pay for,” “these are crap,” and so on, and so on.  I decided to see for myself.

The barrel showed up very quickly.  Right out of the packaging, I noticed the only cons that this barrel has: machine marks and an okay finish, and no barrel link or barrel link pin.  The lack of link and pin was mentioned on the website, but it was something I overlooked.  That’s an extra cost, and an extra trip to the gunsmith if you can’t do it yourself, so not too terribly bad.  The finish is whatever to me.  I’m putting it in a Taurus PT1911 that I used to carry, it will only be a casual range toy, and it’s under $100.  To me, it doesn’t really matter, so long as it does not start rusting.  I suppose one other con may be that you get what you get: the compensator on it is not removable or replaceable, but you are buying this for this, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

My research pointed at the fact that these Roto barrels are not technically one piece.  They are multiple parts soldered together.  In theory, that would hinder long term and high round count reliability.  So far, I have not had any issues, so I can’t really say I’ve had any personal experience with it.

Installation (after you get the barrel link and barrel link pin in place) can be an absolute bitch the first couple of times, especially with a full length guide rod.  The whole one piece thing gets to be a pain in the ass.  After you figure it out and do it a few times, it’s easier to install.  Once in, the fit is solid.  No modifications were needed.

The weight it adds is really insignificant in my opinion.  I don’t shoot competition or anything.  A 1911 is inherently heavy.  This adds some weight, but nothing too bad.

When I got to the range, I performed two tests with each barrel (stock and compensated barrel).  The first test was a muzzle rise test to see how many degrees of flip I got from each one.  The second was an accuracy test at twenty feet.

Keep in mind that I don’t shoot 1911s all the time.  This was my first handgun purchase years ago, but the cost of .45 ACP doesn’t allow me to shoot it much.  So, I’m not a pro.  When I shoot my 1911, I shoot low left.  Not sure why, and I am sure there is some science behind it (like thumbing, squeezing too hard, etc…).  When I shoot other 1911s, I generally don’t as much.  So it could be a bit of me, or the firearm.  With that out of the way, moving on…

Below are some pictures of the targets.  The first one was with the stock barrel.  I was aiming for the bullseye.  It was an OK grouping, and everything went consistently low left.  The second was with the compensated barrel, and I was aiming for the top nine (not the bullseye) so I could have a different point of aim.  These were my absolute first shots using the barrel, and aside from one flying off to the left eight, the grouping was much tighter, and shot just to the left instead of low left.

The muzzle rise test was actually pretty surprising.  I felt something in the hand, and obviously there was a difference on paper, but I wasn’t sure if there was a change.  After reviewing the range footage, I saw there was a big difference.  The first picture, with the standard barrel, had a muzzle rise of about 27 degrees.  With the compensated barrel in picture two, I was getting about 23 degrees.  It seems like a small difference, but it obviously makes a difference, and I’m sure with an expert, both numbers would be smaller.

All in all, I am pleased with the barrel from SARCO, Inc.  After you get your barrel link and barrel link pin installed, it should drop perfectly into your 1911 (at least your PT 1911).  Here are some pros and cons.

Compensated Roto Barrel Pros and Cons:
  • Low price
  • Reduces muzzle flip
  • Tightens grouping
  • Easy to install after practice

  • Finish and machine marks
  • Lack of barrel link and barrel link pin
  • One piece (you get what you get)

If you want a little better performance out of your 1911 that you can actually feel and notice, and don’t want to break the bank, look into one of these barrels from SARCO.  They work, they are (relatively speaking) inexpensive, and they don’t require modification (from what I experienced).

Want more reviews like this?  Let me know in the comments below!  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!  Thanks for stopping by!


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