Gun test: Armex Gletcher
- Credit: Archant
Tim Finley gets his hands on Gletcher’s version of a legendary pistol
There are just a few guns that have true iconic status, and the Colt 1911 is one of them. The 4.5mm steel, BB-firing CLT 1911 bears a remarkable resemblance to the real Colt 1911 with its silvery finish and brown grips.
First, to basics: It runs off a 12-gramme CO2 bulb housed in a removable magazine that also holds the BBs. The metal carriage is in the grip and is removed by pressing what would be the magazine release button on the real 1911. There is a CO2 bulb-shaped cut-out in the body of the carriage, and the bulb piercing is achieved with the ¼ CRV Allen key supplied.
The BB magazine is a linear one. It has a metal plunger with a fairly heavy magazine spring, and it does take some force to pull the plunger down with its very tiny raised button. It can be locked down under tension by tipping the plunger up, and then BBs are loaded by pushing them in the aperture at the top of the magazine. That's what the manual reads for loading, but you can pull the plunger further down to expose a gap big enough to load over the top of the plunger. A tip here - slant the magazine down on its head slightly to allow the BBs to roll to the top of the magazine as you fill it. Do not attempt to load more than 18 because that might cause the plunger to hang up on the carriage body.
To keep the same function as the Colt 1911, the guns are single-action only, so the hammer has to be cocked before the trigger sears are engaged, and the gun will fire when you pull the trigger. In order to accomplish this, you can manually cock with your thumb, or you can pull back on the moveable top slide. However, before the gun will fire it has two safety features; one is a manual safety catch at the very rear of the action, that can be operated with the thumb, and the other is a grip safety - unless a lever at the back of the grip is pressed in then the trigger cannot be activated. So, the gun has to be gripped as it would be when aiming, in order to allow it to fire.
Over the chronograph it gave me three magazines of 18 shots, 54 in total on a 12-gramme CO2 bulb, and with 4.6 grain steel BBs it produced 300fps/0.95 ft.lbs. I was expecting fewer shots because the blow-back action on this 1911 copy was very strong and pronounced, which normally means fewer shots because a percentage of the gas has to be used to move the slide back.
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Another feature on the CLT 1911 which is the same as a real 1911 is the last shot 'hold open' - when the last BB leaves the gun, the top slide locks back in the rear position. In real terms, this then allows the shooter to drop the empty magazine, by pressing the mag' release button, put in a fresh magazine and then pull down the top slide release lever on the left-hand side of the action. A right-handed shooter can do this with their supporting hand - the hammer is already cocked at this point, so you are ready to fire. That is of course if you have a spare magazine already charged and ready to go. Thankfully Armex have spare Gletcher CLT 1911 magazines you can buy.
One thing to mention with the gun having 'last shot hold open' is that the gun cannot be dry-fired more than one shot at a time, so you cannot bleed off gas from the CO2 bulb by firing the gun empty. If you want to empty the bulb you have to use the Allen key and very slowly undo the piercing screw until small amounts of gas escape.
The sights are all 1911; i.e. fixed and open with a sight base of 165mm. Range testing was done at six yards with 4.6 grain steel BBs, and accuracy was good with quality BBs, keeping under 25mm for five shots at six yards. The trigger pull 1911 was 1.7kg, which is light for a CO2 pistol.
Getting to the trigger, it is one of the few 1911 copies that actually does copy the trigger blade and operation of a real 1911 - many have a thin trigger blade. I cannot recommend this pistol enough. The CLT 1911 looks and operates like a real Colt 1911, it's well made, accurate and loads of fun to shoot.
Many thanks to Peter and all the staff at Armex for their help in the production of this article.
Points of interest
For fans of the 1911, the Gletcher ticks ALL of the right boxes; size, operation, function and the trigger is correct.
Country of origin: USA
Model: CLT 1911
Type: CO2 Pistol
Power source: 12-gramme bulb
Capacity: 18 4.5mm steel BBs
Barrel length: 120mm
Calibre: .177 / 4.5mm
Sights: Open fixed
Sight base: 165mm
Trigger pull weight: 1.5kg
Overall length: 212mm
RRP: £179.95 / spare magazines: £39.95
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