Shot Show Preview: A first look at Hatsan’s new 1911-A1 Model Part 1
A different “spin” on loading
By Denis Adler
As a gun writer I have looked forward to the annual Shot Show for over 20 years, it is the firearms industry’s own international forum for introducing new models, not to the public, but to the industry itself and its retailers. The only way the general public finds out what is new at the Shot Show is through media outlets (internet and print media) following the show, which runs this January 23rd to the 26th at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. However, once in awhile we get a preview of what is going to be introduced, and today we get a look at the new Hatsan H-1911.
Yes, another variation of Colt’s most enduring semi-auto
This is going to be a year for more 1911s, not only for airgun enthusiasts but for centerfire and rimfire 1911 enthusiasts as well. First out of the CO2 chute is Hatsan’s new H-1911. Hatsan USA is known more for its high-performance air rifles than for air pistols, but when they dabble in the very competitive CO2 handgun market, the company usually approaches it from a different perspective. In the recent past that has translated into CO2 models that are a little out of the ordinary, like the 2017 Hatsan Riptor, an unusual looking and handling pistol that literally fell into its own niche. Tackling the venerated Model 1911, however, is something else altogether.
One expects several things from a CO2 powered 1911, first is a self contained CO2 BB magazine, the other is fully operational controls, and last, but not least, blowback action. That’s just the basic requirements. Not unexpectedly, Hatsan has not followed the norm. First, this is a non-blowback action air pistol, secondly it is a DAO, yes, a double action only design with a long-pull trigger blade. Don’t throw up your hands just yet…there’s more. The general exterior design, less the aforementioned trigger, is of the early 20th century 1911-A1 configuration with original-style sights, small hammer, small thumb safety (which works), and the checkered, raised mainspring housing. Change the trigger shape and the color of the gun to matte black and it would almost look like a WWII-era 1911. The H-1911, however, uses the same hard chromed appearance as the Riptor. Hard chrome plating is not unusual on firearms and has been used for decades, mainly for its durability. The hard chromed 1911 Longslide pictured, looks the same as the day it was done 30 years ago. So the finish on the Hatsan is not incorrect for a 1911 (though not for a WWII era model), or any other pistol, and hard chroming is still used today for handguns. However, the Hatsan isn’t actually hard chromed; it just looks like it is.
In stark contrast to the majority of its retro 1911-A1 features are the very modern looking black G-10-style grips, which give the Hatsan a very solid feel in the hand; it’s actually a fairly hefty pistol weighing 29 ounces. If you can get past the DAO trigger it begins to look like a pretty nice 1911-based air pistol. It even has the requisite self contained CO2 BB magazine, only the Hatsan is not a BB pistol, it has a rifled steel barrel and shoots 4.5mm lead (or alloy) pellets! Now that I have your undivided attention, here is the rest of the H-1911 story.
As mentioned earlier, it is not a blowback action and thus the slide is fixed but not a molded in component, it is a slide sitting on the frame rails. The barrel bushing is fixed, and the slide release is fixed, but it too, is not a molded in part, it is an actual 1911-style slide release, which leads me to think that there may be a blowback action model somewhere in the future (also there has to be some way to assemble this gun). The magazine release is designed just like an original 1911-A1 and lets the drop free magazine fall from the grip frame. The raised mainspring housing is also a separate component. It is a puzzlement; almost but not quite right. The reason is the internal operation of the pellet-firing magazine, which we will explore Saturday along with a 10-meter range test of this unusual new 1911 airgun.