The lighter and easier-to-conceal compact 1911-style semi-auto has met with considerable success, and for good reason. The Para Executive Carry tested in this handgun review is a top contender in the category.
The Para Executive Carry is a single-stack 1911 with a 3-inch barrel and a lightweight aluminum frame. Magazine capacity is eight rounds in a standard-length single-stack magazine, but the ability to conceal the Executive Carry is enhanced by an Ed Brown-style Bobtailed mainspring housing.
Sights are easy-to-see Trijicon night sights, and there’s a match-grade, skeletonized trigger. The stainless steel barrel is ramped for reliability. The slide is also stainless with an Ionbond anodized mat finish that is not only corrosion resistant but also increases lubricity of the moving parts.
As one might imagine, the Executive Carry isn’t a low-recoil pistol. The full-sized grip certainly makes recoil manageable, though, and I found it to have more than acceptable accuracy for a carry gun. I really liked the full-sized grip.
The oversized beavertail grip safety has a bump on the bottom side to assist with thin-handed guys like me in engaging it, and the machined G-10 grips provide more than adequate hand purchase for fast follow-up shots.
Made for Carry
Everything about the Executive Carry is engineered for easy carry and concealing. The edges have all been melted to make it easy to carry without snagging on clothing, the sights are unobtrusive, and the rounded bobtail contributes.
The full-sized grip might create some issues for certain holster choices, but I found it more than acceptable for both appendix carry and the Galco Miami Classic shoulder system I chose for the test.
The Miami Classic shoulder rig made the perfect carry system for the Executive Carry. With the gun nestled snugly beneath my left armpit, the pistol was completely hidden, even when I was wearing nothing but a light jacket. The double magazine pouch under my right arm balanced the outfit and provided me with 25 rounds of Winchester Silvertip defensive hollow points at the ready.
The easiest way to make a great personal protection gun better is to add a laser sighting system. I chose the Crimson Trace LG-401G front activation green lasergrips.
Shooting the Executive Carry impressed me with the accuracy level that can be obtained with a carry .45. At 10 yards, ragged-hole groups were the standard.
I actually do like the modern striker-fired compact-carry guns, but there’s no substitute for the excellent trigger that can be obtained with a 1911, and the Para Executive Carry has a good one; it’s crisp and clean at just over 4 pounds with almost no backlash. I’m sure the Executive Carry was built with a little heavier trigger than the 14/45 Custom I recently tested at Gunsite, because a carry gun shouldn’t have the same kind of trigger as a match gun for safety reasons.
I expected accuracy from the Executive Carry, because last year at Gunsite I shot its little brother, the Elite Officer. Even with the shortened grip of the Officer, I managed a couple of one-hole 10-shot groups that got the attention of Para’s Daniel Cox and Travis Tomasie.
It’s a shame I can’t shoot this kind of group at race gun speed, or I’d be dangerous. Back on my range at home with the Executive Carry at 10 yards, I had no problem cleaning the plates within the prescribed 6 seconds from the Classic Miami rig or a belt holster.
The sights were easy to pick up and get back on the next plate. Recoil was certainly there, but the full-sized grip and machined G-10 grips helped make it manageable. Having put about 200 test rounds through the Para, I haven’t experienced a single malfunction.
The Executive Carry offers a reasonable capacity but still-concealable 1911 that is an alternative to the current crop of striker-fired carry guns, and that’s just the point. Both schools of thought make for a viable concealed carry gun; it’s just a matter of what you like. Ultimately, the new Para represents just how good a 100-year-old proven design can be as an everyday concealed carry gun.
Para Executive Carry
Caliber: .45 ACP
Capacity: 8 + 1
Magazines: Two single-stack magazines with base bumpers
Barrel: 3-inch stainless ramped bull
Sights: Combat-style Trijicon
Slide: Stainless steel
Length: 7.685 inches
Height: 5.5 inches without the magazine
Weight: 30 ounces
Options: Crimson Trace compatible