Gun Review: Para USA PXT Single‑Action 1911 Limited

04/12/13 3:02 PM | by

If you like Para USA’s general line of guns, you will really like the Limited models. The general Para quality is good, but the extra attention to the fit and finish of the Limited guns is about as good as I’ve found outside the custom shops. It’s the little things that you notice: extra large, ambidextrous safeties, a crisp trigger you can adjust to your own preference, match-grade barrel and a nicer bushing, and the large, fully adjustable rear sight and high-visibility fiber-optic front sight.

The Para PXT Limited.

The Para PXT Limited holds a 14-round magazine. (Photo credit: Gun Broker)

It’s also a good-looking line of guns. The stainless steel finish is very forgiving — mine still looks mostly new, after years of solid use. Mine doesn’t have the matte black detail in the front and rear slide serrations, so I can’t vouch for how well that holds up — but I like the way it looks. The standard black grips and backstrap also hold up well, and can easily be replaced with custom versions if you wanted to personalize your gun.

Para may consider this an “all purpose” pistol, but I think of mine as a target/range gun, not really suitable for defensive purposes. It starts out heavy at a full 40 ounces, and when you add in 15 rounds of .45 (or 19 of 9mm, or 17 of .40) that’s a lot of weight to lug around. Also, the large, thumb-friendly safeties are too large for carry purposes, and the sharp edges of the sights are just waiting to snag on a holster or clothing.

The Para PXT Limited.

The Para PXT Limited has six different variations.  (Photo credit: Gun Broker)

That extra weight does really help with making this a fun shooter, though. Particularly with .45 ACP, standard pressure rounds are little more than a gentle shove — making this my preferred .45 to use when training new shooters. Or just going out to do some target shooting myself. The 5-inch match-grade barrel is very accurate, more so than I am. I haven’t had a chance to try the long slide version, so can’t speak as to whether the extra inch of barrel/sight radius makes a difference or not.

Of course, the extra weight can wear a shooter out, particularly someone who is fairly new to the sport. I suppose I would have to mark this as a “dislike.” The pistol has a double-stack feature, which means it can hold more ammo but the grip is very fat — fine for my hands, but not for everyone. If you have medium or smaller hands, do yourself a favor and get the single-stack version.

The Para PXT Limited.

The Para PXT Limited sights are nice, but sharp. (Photo credit: Gun Broker)

I’ve not had any problems with ammunition. Both the older and newer ones I’ve handled have worked with everything I put through them. With the full-sized barrel you can just stick with standard pressure, 230 grain bullets which are easy to find and inexpensive (relatively speaking!) for ball ammo.

Although Para has had some spotty issues with quality control with some of their models in the past, I’ve never heard of any problems with the “Limited” series — what you would expect from their top-of-the-line. Prices vary, but you can find a Para PXT Limited for $500-$900 range.

Bottom line: while I always suggest actually shooting a model of a gun before you buy, if you know you like the 1911 style, then you could buy a Para USA Limited with a very high degree of confidence that you are getting a quality product with no known issues.

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