The Guncrafter Model 4 in the potent .50 GI is a high-class 1911 that’s big on performance.
I’ve heard the statement a thousand times, “I carry a .45 because they don’t make a .50.” I like .45s, but that statement is getting a bit old. Now I have a great response: “Sorry, but they do make a .50.” In fact, Guncrafter Industries has been making the .50 GI now for a dozen years. Just slightly shorter than the .45 ACP, the .50 GI case measures .530 inches in diameter. It has a rebated rim, so it would use the same shell holder. A .45 ACP round sits nicely inside an empty .50 GI case. Yes, it’s an imposing round to see, in case you were wondering.
I’ve tested two other Guncrafter guns in the past, both chambered for the clasic .45 ACP round. The CCO and Frag models I tested were as close to perfect as pistols get, with match-level triggers, super slick actions, and ragged-hole accuracy. They didn’t sport high-tech features like full-length guide rods or bull barrels, but they functioned perfectly and shot tiny groups with any ammunition.
The finish is a pleasant and functional matte black Melonite. It provides a classy look and lowers the coefficient of friction while hardening the surface of the parts. It’s also extremely rust resistant. Every Guncrafter gun I’ve tested has been more than the sum of its parts. Choosing the right components is important, but fit and finish are at least as critical, especially with 1911s, where exacting fit produces both accuracy and reliability.
The relationship between the metal parts is impeccable. The slide is smooth and has no lateral or vertical movement, a perfect mating of slide to frame rails. The thumb safety, grip safety and mainspring housing are a perfect fit and are gently melted to remove any sharp edges that contact the hand.
Shooting the .50 GI isn’t much different from shooting hot defensive loads in a compact 1911. The extra weight helps with the added power. Fully loaded with 230-grain copper hollow points, the Model 4 Longslide weighs 54 ounces. The gun’s weight and carefully matched recoil spring with full-length recoil spring guide helps keep recoil smooth. You won’t forget the factory loads (purchased from Guncrafter) have about 30 percent more energy than a defensive .45 ACP load, but you won’t be uncomfortable. Recoil is a strong push—no feeling of slamming or peaks.
While the .50 GI is certainly capable as a defensive round, I imagine the extreme penetration of most of the available loads might be a liability. Should one choose to use it for defense, the 185-grain copper hollow point would be the right call. With a muzzle velocity of almost 1,250 feet per second (fps), the solid copper hollow point expands into a perfect four-pointed star when fired into ballistic gel.
Accurate, powerful, reliable, beautiful, OK, where’s the down side? Well, there are a few. First is the availability and price of ammunition. Currently, .50 GI is available from Guncrafter Industries. Pricing runs from about $30 for a box of 20 300-grain FMJ loads, to about $50 for a box of 20 copper hollow points. While this seems a lot for the FMJ loads, the price of the hollow points is only about 40 percent more than quality .45 ACP defensive ammunition. I suspect most of the .50 GI guns won’t see daily use as high-volume shooters, so maybe this isn’t a big factor.
This isn’t a pistol for everyone, and I suspect that’s part of the appeal. It’s a quality piece of equipment, unique in many ways, and it performs as designed. Guncrafter Industries isn’t trying to build guns for everyone; they build guns for a certain demographic, and from what I see of the Model 4, they’ve come pretty close to the center of the target.
Guncrafter Industries Model 4
Type: Semi-auto, single action
Caliber: .50 GI
Barrel: 6 in., match-grade, bull
Weight: 45 oz. (empty)
Trigger: 4 lbs.
Sights: Wilson Combat adjustable rear, Trijicon Tritium front
Finish: Matte black Melonite
Magazine Capacity: 7 rounds
Manufacturer: Guncrafter Industries
This article is an excerpt from the September 2016 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.