Gun Review: Carolina Arms Group “Trenton” Custom 1911

    Carolina Arms Group is a new company that opened for business in May of 2015. My introduction to this custom 1911 company was during the 2016 SHOT show. I’ve spoken with the owner, Mark, in person and on the phone numerous times.During our conversations it became very clear just how dedicated Mark, Dustin and the other team members are in making the best 1911 available. of course that’s a tall order with other custom gun makers like Wilson and Nighthawk. These guys are mostly military veterans and are very aware of what it takes to overcome a challenge and make a great product. All of the employees are 1911 guys and bring a lot of years of experience to the table with the 1911 platform.

    Black Tactical Trenton with PVD coating.

    Black Tactical Trenton with PVD coating.

    This video interview will give you an idea of how dedicated Mark is as he talks about the materials and crafting of the Trenton:

    If you don’t watch the entire video let me cover the materials used and the extent CAG goes to insuring the parts are of the highest quality. The slide is made from a billet while the frame is forged. All parts are wire EDM made. The fire control group which is the sear, hammer, ejector and strut are also Rockwell tested for the appropriate hardness. I checked this by disassembly of the pistol and locating the dimple on each part as a result of that form of testing. The slide and frame are hand lapped and fitted. The Kart National Match barrel is hand fitted to the slide as well as hand fitting the barrel and the bushing.

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    In this photo you can see how closely and how uniform the fit of the beavertail is to the frame. The space between these two parts is minimal but still works smoothly.[/caption]
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    The hammer is also highly polished and the edges smoothed. In fact all the corners have been conservatively smoothed on the sights and slide. The accuracy of each CAG 1911 is guaranteed at 1.5 ” at 25 yards.

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    Forged Frame & Slide – Hand Lapped For Smooth Fit
    Patented Kart Precision National Match Barrel & Matched, Hand-Fit, Machined Bushings
    Custom Chain Link Machined Main Spring Housing & Front Strap
    Machined Wide Ride Beaver Tail Grip Safety Blended To Match The Frame
    Extended Thumb Safety For Better Control & Comfort
    Wire EDM Hammer, Sear & Disconnector
    Adjustable Aluminum Trigger
    Machined Slide Stop
    Custom VZ Grips
    Crisp 4-Pound Trigger Pull
    1.5″ Accuracy @ 25 Yards Guaranteed
    Extended Thumb Safety For Better Control & Comfort
    Range Bag With (2) 8-Round Magazines
    Caliber .45 ACP
    Height 90º To Barrel 5.50 Inches
    Weight w/ Empty Magazine 42 Ounces
    Length 8.7 Inches
    Frame Material Carbon Steel
    Slide Material Carbon Steel
    Barrel Twist Rate 1:16 LH
    Recoil Spring 15 Pounds
    Trigger 4 Pounds

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    Every handcrafted 1911 pistol built by Carolina Arms Group is machined to exact tolerances and is meticulously inspected for precision and accuracy in our Mooresville, N.C. factory.

    All Trenton 1911 pistols are stone-lapped, hand-filed, and fitted, then tested for accuracy in a ransom rest. Finally, our quality experts hand-fire them for feel and function.

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    We only build heirloom quality 1911s that we would be proud to own. Our handguns elevate our shooting performance, protect our families, and will proudly be passed along to the next generation.

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    Where did the name Trenton come from? The name selected for the CAG 1911 comes from the battle immediately following Washington’s crossing of the Delaware. You can read the particulars of the battle here: Battle of Trenton

    Let me cover my experience with the Trenton over the few weeks I had it to test. When I first opened the included cordura range bag I gave the 1911 a good once over wiped it down and lubed it. The fit and finish are excellent. The slide has no play and feels smooth as glass when you rack the slide. When checking the slide to frame fit it was about as close to perfect as possible. I always check the rear of the slide where it meets the frame to check for uniform and even, cuts and fit. Another check I always make is how well the beavertail is mated to the frame. This 1911 beavertail is fitted as close and as uniform as any I’ve seen. These two areas are often neglected and poorly mated. The barrel hood and barrel bushing are another two areas to check. The bushing was well fitted and while snug was easily removed by hand. The barrel hood and slide lock securely with no play. All of the internal parts have been closely fitted and polished. The trigger is smooth with little takeup and a short reset. Trigger pull as measured was right at 4 pounds crisp.

    Shooting on the range went well and confirmed the guaranteed 1.5 inch group at 25 yards. This was measured with a ransom rest. Hand firing showed the sights to be well regulated at the factory with 230 grn. ball impacting at point of aim at 15 yards. Of the 500 rounds fired I only had one round that failed to fire. I put this round in another 1911 I had at the range and it failed to fire as well. The round was an aluminum case 230 grn. ball. Otherwise the Trenton fired everything I ran through it from duty ammo of 185 grn. +P to the standard brass cased 230 grn. ball ammo in several brands. I was very pleased with the performance of the CAG Trenton.

    The Trenton comes in black with a PVD coating, all stainless and a two tone blue slide and stainless frame. The just released model is called the “Veteran Carry” which is a Commander sized 1911 with a bob tail.

    Veteran Carry

    Veteran Carry

    Check the Carolina Arms Group for additional information. Custom options are available. the MSRP for the base model is $3800.

    Phil White

    Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m retired as associate editor since December 14th 2017. My replacement is my friend Pete M email: [email protected] you can reach Pete for product reviews etc.


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