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Detonics Mk1 .45 and the Frankengun

In 1984 I worked for a little company in Bellevue, WA. called Detonics. They were the makers of the first mass-produced sub-compact .45, the Combat Master.  I owned a couple of these guns back in the 1980s and loved them.  I’ll be doing a post dedicated to this gun so I won’t go into too much detail here. Suffice it to say I have always regretted parting with them, and this year Linda bought me this one for my Birthday. She got it off of Gunbroker and actually got a very good deal.  We picked it up last week and I ran a box of factory ball through it to test the gun and my six magazines and it worked very well indeed. I was much more concerned with function than accuracy that time out, but it seemed quite decent. This week we took it to the range to wring it out and for Linda to shoot it for the first time. We also took the Frankengun, Linda’s beloved Kahr E9 and her Colt Junior .25.

For reference purposes: the range has a no rapid-fire rule, and they suggest you limit yourself to one round per second. When I refer to ‘rapid-fire’ in the context of my range report I mean a bit faster than that but not full-on-as-fast-as-you-can-pull-the-trigger. Maybe three rounds every two seconds.

Tuesdays are Ladies Night at Champion Arms, so Linda got to shoot for free which is always nice. We started the festivities with the Detonics.  I loaded a bunch of 200gr. HG68 LSWCs over 4.0gr. of Red Dot for the trip, and these functioned flawlessly in the Detonics 6-round magazines. I also bought two Shooting Star 10-rounders, and these were a bit less happy; on two occasions rounds failed to fully feed from these magazines. More experimentation will be needed to determine if this if the specific load or a general problem of compatibility between these magazines and the Detonics.

The gun shoots dead to point-of-aim, which is always nice. At close range accuracy is excellent, but falls off with range. I don’t think this has to do with the gun itself, but rather the somewhat imprecise three-dot sights.  Hopefully with practice I’ll learn to use them better, but I can manage to keep the rounds on paper at 25 yards at least.

Linda has always like .45s, and this one is no exception. She had no difficulty with the recoil or sights at seven yards, though she’s a bit out of practice so she tends to throw a flyer now and again. I expect her consistency will improve the more she shoots.

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Linda at 7 yards- the tiny holes are from her Colt Junior .25

Linda found the gun quite pleasant to shoot. People expect these little guns to kick like a mule, but because of the way they are engineered and the loss of velocity from the shorter barrel they are surprisingly mild; many people experience less felt recoil than they do in a full-sized 1911.

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Here’s a ten-round seven yard group I shot using one of the ten-round magazines. Linda isn’t the only one that needs to work on their consistency…

We also shot Linda’s Colt Jr. She really loves this little gun, and I have to admit there is a lot to like for such a little gun.  The tiny single action puts rounds on target like a champ.

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Linda had no difficulty putting these rounds on target at 7 yards in a timely manner…
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…and it worked for me as well.

The highlight of the trip was not necessarily the shooting though; while we were shooting the Detonics the young fellow in the lane next to us asked about it, and Linda indicated that I should let him shoot it, which I did. He was awestruck; he found it remarkably easy to shoot and really enjoyed it. This led to his buddy shooting it, then the Colt and my full-size 1911, which also amazed him. He’d never shot a well-tuned 1911 before, and he was impressed with how smooth mine is, and how easy it was to shoot.

This led to me shooting his Canik TP9v2- I love those guns and had one until Linda’s BFF fell in love with it.  I also produced the S&W ‘Steampunk Snubby’ .38 and let them have a go. They were impressed with how smooth the trigger is and loved the grips.

At least one of these fellows will be looking into a Detonics, and they both had their horizons broadened significantly.  What I doubt they appreciated was that as much as they enjoyed themselves it was just as much fun for me. As much as I enjoy shooting and modding guns, having them appreciated and drawing young people deeper into the hobby is really satisfying.

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Seven yard rapidfire with the Frankengun

Michael Tinker Pearce,  a rather belated 01 July, 2018

 

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