Gun Test: Guncrafter Frag in .45 ACP
By Dick Jones, Gun Digest
This hardcore full-sized duty pistol is capable of shooting in extreme conditions.
My first Guncrafter gun was the CCO, an Officer-sized 1911 designed for everyday carry. The CCO was as accurate as a match gun, perfectly fitted and finished, with all the sharp edges contoured for comfort. The trigger broke like a glass rod, and through extensive shooting, functioned perfectly every time. When I received the latest Guncrafter offering, the Frag, I expected the same level of quality, and I received it.
While the CCO was a compact pistol for daily, concealed carry, the Frag is a hardcore full-sized duty pistol capable of handling extreme conditions without complaint. The Frag gets its name from the unique gripping surfaces of the grips and front and rear backstraps.
Reminiscent of the old pineapple grenade, the gripping surface is both aggressive and comfortable. The surface is deeper cut than normal checkering, yet there’s enough rounding to keep it from snagging on clothing or collecting lint as some aggressive checkering patterns do.
The front sight is another departure from the norm that’s something of a blast from the past. There’s a bright brass bead centered in the modified Patridge front sight, and the rear sight is a U-notch with a ledged surface to allow one-handed cycling of the slide against a cornered object like a doorframe.
While all guns are ultimately a sum of their parts, the Guncrafter guns are the sum of some very high quality parts.
There’s a bright brass bead centered in the modified Patridge front sight. That’s a blast from the past.
The Frag has a forged frame and slide, and features a 5-inch match-grade barrel. The hammer, sear and disconnector are made from fully machined tool steel. The slide stop is fully machined from bar stock, and there’s a single side thumb safety and a generous beavertail grip safety with a big comfortable bump at the bottom.
The magazine well is beveled, and there’s a match trigger. The slide has generous cocking serrations and is flat topped with longitudinal grooves. It’s fully dehorned and the standard version has a black melonite finish.
True to the custom pistol mindset of Guncrafter, there are multiple options for sights, the magazine well, main spring housing, the finish and other options, as well as a 6-inch-long slide version. While my test gun was a .45, the Frag is also available in 9mm.
All this reflects a truly quality pistol, but for real perfection, everything must go together in harmony. Simply assembling quality parts will produce a quality pistol, but really exceptional guns have something that’s a bit more elusive. The Frag has no tricks or gadgets. There’s no ramped barrel, no extended guide rod, no trick spring system. What makes this gun special is the precision with which everything was fitted. When you disassemble the Frag, this becomes patently obvious.
With precision fitting parts there is no slop or play in the action. Author Photo
I disassemble 1911s by removing the recoil spring cap to release the tension on the recoil spring. To do this, you depress the cap and rotate the barrel bushing. On the Frag, you instantly notice there’s absolutely no slop in the bushing. It’s perfectly fitted to both the barrel and the slide. Once out, you feel just how precisely the slide fits and slides on the frame.
With the slide off, the barrel slides back into the slide to take it out, but there’s no looseness or slop at all. Everything is precision fit and as perfect on the inside where you can’t see it as it is on the outside where you can. Without all the tricks, it outperforms other guns with the modern tricks because it’s so perfectly fitted. True Guncrafter guns aren’t cheap, but this level of quality is what you pay for.
Shooting the Frag, the impression is that everything is solid 1911, yet remarkably butter smooth. One is reminded of this even when loading the pair of Wilson Combat magazines that come with the gun. Holding the slide in one hand and the frame in the other, there is no sense of movement. The gun feels monolithic, yet when the slide is operated, it moves as on a ball bearing motion system.
I shot several boxes of Winchester 1911 230-grain FMJs through the Frag without a hint of hiccup. I also ran a few rounds of several defensive hollow-point loads without problems. Of the two Guncrafter guns I’ve tested, this has been the case.
Rapid-fire shooting at 15 yards put this group in the A-zone. Author Photo
Deliberate two-handed shooting at 15 yards yielded a ragged hole that indicates my ability to hold. Shooting rapid fire at the same target’s chest A-zone produced a snug group that was slightly left of center. At 38 ounces, the Frag is neither a lightweight nor a heavy target gun, yet it seems perfectly tuned for the hardball Win 1911 round.
Recoil is easily manageable, the gun rises but the recoil is a push, not a snap. The subdued edges of the Frag checkering pattern provide a great gripping surface, but didn’t abrade my “old man hands” at all.
I generally prefer a rectangular notch rear sight, and there are several sight options available for the Frag, but the U-notch with the brass bead worked fine. When I tested the gun extensively, the sun was behind my back but I could clearly see the sharp corners of the front sight to line up with the top of the notch. The trigger isn’t overly light, but it feels light because it’s so crisp. It reminded me of the 4 1⁄2-pound trigger that graced my old M14 match rifle, breaking precisely and feeling the same every shot.
In summary, the Guncrafter Frag isn’t a gun that will be purchased on price, but a gun that will be purchased because the owner wants the best 1911 he can get. I know there may be higher quality 1911s being made, but I haven’t tested one yet that’s better built.
The U-notch rear sight with a ledged surface allows the gun to be cycled against another object. Author Photo
Caliber: .45 ACP or 9mm Luger
Capacity: 8 + 1 as tested
Magazines: Two Wilson Combat
Barrel: 5-in. match-grade
Sights: U-notch rear with a cocking notch and semi-Patridge front with a brass bead insert
Frame: Forged steel
Slide: Forged steel with grooved, flat top
Length: 8 3⁄8 in.
Height: 6 in.
Weight: 38 ozs. empty
Options: Multiple options for sights, the magazine well and mainspring housing, the finish and other options, as well as a 6-in.-long slide version.
SRP: $3,535 in 9mm, $3,285 in .45 ACP
This article also appeared in the January 22, 2015 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine. Click here to download that issue. Gun Digest offers free downloads. Be sure to take advantage of Gun Digest’s free downloads to learn all about Gun Values, AR-15 Optics, Glock Accessories and Concealed Carry Holsters.