by John C. Krull
Gun Week Production Manager
The argument/discussion/debate, whatever you want to call it, has been going on, at least since I’ve been shooting pistols, as to what pistol is the best in design for accuracy and reliability. From what I have read, I would say that more often than not the final answer, if there is one, comes up that John M. Browning’s design of the 1911 .45 ACP style pistol would come out ahead. In my humble opinion it is most certainly is the most ergonomic pistol ever designed. When you hold a 1911 you just naturally aim where you are pointing. I have never seen this with a Glock, an S&W, a SigSauer or Beretta or any other pistol for that matter. Many come close, but none have actually matched the perfection of Browning’s design.
Another citation as to the perfection of the 1911 .45 caliber design is the number of years that this pistol was used by our armed forces and still in many cases is being used by the Marines and several Special Ops units. Uncle Sam really goofed when the military adopted a 9mm pistol for its primary handgun.
Another example of credit being due Browning is the number of manufacturers who have copied his design with little or no changes. Some have added different sights or modified the springs, others have added an ambidextrous safety or a larger beaver tail safety, but all of them are basically following John M’s design.
At the 2009 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, while attending Media Day, I met Jim Shoemaker, VP of sales for Callis & Associates. Shoemaker introduced me to the DoubleStar (PO Box 430, Dept. GWK, Winchester, KY 40391; phone: 888-736-7725; online: jtdistributing.com) line of AR-15 rifles. He gave me a press kit which contained several sheets of information about the principals of the company, Teresa and Jack Starnes. This Kentucky-based company was born in 1999, an idea of Teresa Starnes. Her husband Jack had started J&T Distributing more than 30 years before and they were selling AR kits and quality parts for AR rifles.
Teresa’s idea was that they already had all the parts so why not assemble the rifles and sell them assembled. With the birth of DoubleStar Corp. she became the latest active female owner of a rifle manufacturing company in the United States. That was a big switch from being an elementary school teacher. Today DoubleStar sells more than 20 different firearms in their AR family.
Also in the press kit Shoemaker supplied was a copy of the DoubleStar Corp. and J&T Distributing’s 88-page catalog. It has anything you could want for an AR rifle in it and a few you probably haven’t thought about. Unfortunately for me, a lot of their items aren’t legal in the restrictive state of New York. But, that is not what this article is about; we will be covering that part a few issues down the road.
A few months ago I got a press release from Callis saying that DoubleStar was entering the .45 1911 pistol market and that they would have guns available soon. I wanted to get in on the ground floor of this so I gave them a call right away and asked for a sample pistol.
The sample arrived a few weeks later and I was immediately impressed. I’ve shot all makes and models of .45s but this one was out of the box—a gun that I knew I wanted to shoot. The gun came in a 511 (4300 Spyres Way, Dept. GWK, Modesto, CA 95356; phone: 866-451-1726) padded soft sided pistol case. This case has a zippered inside pocket for the gun and on the other side are elastic loops to hold up to 5 mags or other accessories.
The .45 has a Parkerized finish, which is very appealing to me, and what I would call black scalloped grips. They blend into the firearm really well. The gun has a skeletonized hammer and trigger and it is built tight. The frame has a milled Picatinny rail below the barrel in front of the trigger guard for the addition of a light or laser sight. The checkering on the front and back of the grip looks good and feels good and helps you to maintain a firm grip during firing.
The sights are Novak’s three-point sights with white dots. The rear can be adjusted for windage but doesn’t need to be. They are fine right where they are. While many people swear that tritium sights are the only way to go, you need to remember that tritium sights are only really any good for 20 minutes or so a day to be used in low light situations. The rest of the time if you can’t see your sights you probably can’t identify your target either and shouldn’t be shooting. So the three point dot sights work well.
I was surprised to see that the magazine holds eight rounds rather than the more common seven. And the gun works fine with my 10-round Ram-Line magazines.
No matter how good a gun looks or feels, it doesn’t matter at all if the gun doesn’t shoot where you want it. This was no problem, and the DoubleStar took every kind of ammo we could feed it, including handloaded semi-wadcutters.
We took four rounds from eight different varieties of .45 ACP ammo and an additional eight rounds of lead semi-wadcutters, put them all into a bowl and loaded them at random into the magazines. We didn’t have a single misfire, stove-pipe, hang fire or any other type of malfunction. Not only did it not malfunction, all the rounds went into a nice little 7-inch group fired from 25 feet. This was a slow fire drill shot with two hands to be ready in case of any malfunctions.
We had two types of ammo from Black Hills (PO Box 3090, Dept. GWK, Rapid City, SD 57709; phone: 605-348-5150; online: black-hills.com). Winchester (427 North Shamrock St, Dept. GWK, East Alton, IL 62024; phone: 618-258-3340; online: winchester.com) supplied us with three different loads of ammo. I had a box of 3D (PO Box J, Dept. GWK, Doniphan, NE 62832) on the shelf, so I thought I’d give that a try. (Can anybody tell me if 3D is still remanufacturing ammo? I can’t find them online at all. If any of you can help me, let me know.) On the shelf I also had a couple of boxes of Cor-Bon (A Division of Dakota Ammo Inc, 1311 Industry Rd., Dept. GWK, Sturgis, SD 57785; phone: 605-347-4544; online: corbon.com), so I also gave that brand a try. As I said before, all varieties worked as they should.
Something that I was really surprised by was that DoubleStar only supplied one magazine. I did mention that it is an 8-rounder but with any semi-auto pistol I like to have a minimum of at least three magazines, and usually like to own at least 10. The gun is pretty much useless if you lose the mags or they fail to function. This is the one and only negative thing that I can thing of in regards to this fine pistol, and it in no way is a feature of the gun itself.
We also installed a light on the rail below the barrel to see how well that worked. We had one of the Streamlight (30 Eagleville Rd., Dept. GWK, Eagleville, PA 19403; phone: 800-523-7488; online: streamlight.com) TLR-1 rail mounted tactical LED lights. It worked much better than I expected it to. I haven’t done very much shooting with a light attached to my handguns. While the light can be a big help and points where you may want to shoot, you also have to remember that while hunting for your target you may end up pointing a loaded gun at a person or object that you do not wish to destroy. So be careful.
All in all I’m quite impressed with the DoubleStar .45 in both its appearance and function. From the shooting I have done so far with any of their ARs that I’m testing, I think I’ll find the same thing there. The DoubleStar .45 retails for about $1,200.
When you are contacting any of the manufacturers I’ve mentioned, tell them that John at Gun Week sent you.