THE ORISKANY ARMS 500FP IN 10M AUTO IS A GREAT ALL-AROUND PISTOL FOR OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
THE ORISKANY ARMS 500FP IN 10M AUTO IS A GREAT ALL-AROUND PISTOL FOR OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
There is no one firearm that is perfect for every situation. That’s especially true when selecting a handgun. Some are easier to conceal, some offer more power, some have higher ammo capacities, some are lighter in weight, and some are easier to shoot well.
That being said, when it comes to a handgun for off-pavement adventures, I want one that’s as versatile as possible. It must be able to do many things well, but it is not a specialist.
Specialists might include a tricked-out pistol for competition, a micro gun for deep concealment in an urban setting, or a long-barreled revolver if a handgun was to be my primary weapon on a hunt. An all-around handgun might not excel in any of those areas, but could be serviceable in them all.
One gun I’ve been testing recently that seems to fill the role of an all-around outdoorsman’s handgun very well is the Oriskany Arms 1911 500FP in 10mm. But to understand why, we should look first at what I expect from such a gun.
Let’s get this out of the way before we get into particulars. Any handgun I choose must be well-made, completely reliable, accurate, and I must be comfortable with it enough be able to shoot it reasonably well.
The handgun must be effective. I want my handgun capable of taking large game, as well as dangerous critters of both the man and beast varieties.
It must be easy to carry. Remember, this is an all-around handgun. So, I might be carrying it on a hike, around camp or as a secondary firearm to a long gun on a hunt. And I might carry it concealed if stopping in town when everyone gets fed up with my camp cooking.
WHY A 1911 10MM?
There are several reasons why a 1911-style pistol chambered for the 10mm Auto cartridge is a good choice. First, the 1911 is probably the most customized and accessorized centerfire handgun of all time. There are lots of standard and custom parts available. Many gunsmiths specialize in the 1911 pistol if you want something extraordinary. Holsters of about every design are made for this handgun too.
The single-action operation of the 1911, when done right, provides a crisp, relatively light trigger pull with short travel, which is an aid to good practical accuracy. Because the design has been around for so long, good manufacturers know how to build them right.
It’s a safe pistol. Yes, safety with any pistol dictates that you don’t point it at anything you aren’t willing to destroy and that you keep your darned finger off the trigger until you’re ready to do so. The 1911 features a manual thumb safety, a grip safety, a half-cock hammer notch and – on the Oriskany Arms pistols – a passive internal firing pin block safety.
The 10mm Auto cartridge might be a bit snappier than some might choose for everyday carry, but the increase in power is significant over many other semi-auto cartridges. That makes it a good choice for field use against game or wild things intent on eating you. The weight of an all-steel 1911 helps to offset the effects of the recoil.
Because a 1911 in 10mm typically holds eight rounds in the magazine, I probably won’t have to worry when traveling with this handgun if I should pass through a jurisdiction that’s enacted laws limiting magazine capacity.
MY CUSTOM PISTOL
Oriskany Arms builds the best 1911 for the money in my opinion. This is the third pistol I’ve purchased from the company, so I have considerable experience with them. These American-made pistols offer custom touches and personal attention for about the price you’d pay for a mass-produced pistol from some other companies. And they’re about a third of the price of pistols from some high-end 1911 shops.
The company has been in business for a decade and makes pistols in three different sizes. For an all-round outdoorsman’s gun, I’m focusing on their 500FP pistol – a full-size 1911 with a five-inch barrel.
You can choose between their Traditional model with basic features or their Tactical model with tritium night sights and frame with accessory rail. The best option in my view, however, is the Custom 1911. Start with either rail frame or rounded frame and Oriskany Arms will build your 1911 the way you want it with lots of available options.
For my pistol, I started with a rounded frame, no rail. I wasn’t anticipating putting a light or laser on a pistol that might see some duty as a hunting sidekick and more woods use than anything else.
I chose fiber optic sights for high visibility in deep woods settings. Specifically, I chose two green fiber optic dots for the rear sight and a red fiber optic for the front. These are Novak sights and they’re good ones. I opted for checkering on the front strap for a more sure grip in inclement weather.
Also, I opted for a Burnt Bronze Cerakote finish that protects the metal and looks good too. I kept the black polymer grip panels. I’ve found them to be secure and comfortable on my other Oriskany Arms pistols. I can always swap them out for some custom grips if I ever want to get fancy.
Standard with this pistol were the skeletonized hammer, extended beavertail grip safety, and adjustable three-hole trigger. I kept the slide stop the standard, short length; I’ve never had any trouble operating this type and I’ve found that extended slide stops are more likely to be activated inadvertently.
The single thumb safety on the left side of the frame is an extended one compared to a Mil-Spec 1911A1. It’s easy to reach without being obtrusive. As I’m right-handed – mostly – I decided against the added expense of ambidextrous safeties. I kept the standard magazine well too as I won’t be using this pistol in competition.
The more familiar you are with a handgun, the better. Having owned and shot my share of 1911s, I felt comfortable with this Oriskany Arms pistol. The trigger was good. I measured it at about 4 ¼ pounds. I immediately found the highly visible fiber-optic sights to my liking. When these types of sights were first introduced, I worried that they might be too fragile. Many years and many guns later, I’ve yet to break any. The enhanced sight picture I get is worth the worry anyway.
I set up a swinging plastic gong target at about 15 yards and did some shooting unsupported to put some rounds through the gun. Then I backed up to about 25 yards and shot from a rest. I fired 180-grain full-metal-jacket cartridges from SIG Sauer, Remington, Federal, and American Eagle (also by Federal).
“These American-made pistols offer custom touches and personal attention for about the price you’d pay for a mass-produced pistol…”
Five-shot groups were in the 2-to-2 ½-inch range when I did my part. I also fired some jacketed hollowpoints, including Speer Gold Dots, Hornady Critical Duty, and Federal Hydra-Shoks.
The pistol ran flawlessly with all ammo; there were no malfunctions of any kind. These 180-grain factory loads tended to hit a bit high, so I quickly learned to take a 6-o’clock hold with the sights. Initially, the rounds were impacting about three inches to the left. I loosened the set screw, nudged the rear sight to the right slightly and locked it back down. That’s all that was required to remedy that.
Recoil wasn’t an issue. No, shot-to-shot recovery wasn’t as fast as it would have been with a 9mm, but this all-steel pistol really handled quite well. No one will call you “Flinch” after shooting a couple hundred rounds through this gun.
MORE RANGE TIME
In these days of high prices and ammo shortages, I’m a bit more deliberate in my expenditure of ammo down range. But I can’t wait to get out there with this pistol again, because I know I can do much better with it. The Oriskany Arms Custom 1911 500FP is an excellent gun at a fair price. And because I ordered it exactly the way I wanted it from the start, I’m a very happy handgunner.
MANY HOLSTERS AVAILABLE FOR THE 1911
Because I own other 1911 pistols, I was set when it came to holsters for this Oriskany Arms handgun. I have two nice leather holsters – one inside-the-waistband (IWB) and one belt holster – both from Savoy Leather. I have an Alien Gear chest holster that’s great when hiking or hunting. It leaves my belt free for other gear and it doesn’t interfere with the shoulder straps from my daypack. I have a compact Alien Gear IWB synthetic holster too.
I also have a Fobus paddle holster that I often wear around camp in the evenings after I remove the chest holster. Those five give me lots of carry options. Typically, however, I’ll carry in the chest holster or on the belt when I’m in the woods and switch to an inside-the-waistband rig when traveling or stopping in town.
Model » Oriskany Arms 500FP
Type » 1911-style semi-automatic pistol
Chambering » 10mm Auto
Barrel Length » 5 inches
Weight » 38 ounces (empty)
Capacity » 8 plus 1
Frame and Slide » Carbon steel
Grips » Polymer
Sights » Novak fiber optic (tested), 3-dot white standard
MSRP » $850 for base pistol; $1,250 for Custom pistol as tested