As some of you know, I'm a 1911 guy. I've owned a number of them and recently settled on Nighthawk as my 1911 of choice. I bought a lightweight Talon II bobtail because I couldn't take the wait any longer on my Nighthawk Heinie PDP Commander which is still about three months out.
Well I noticed there was some play in the slide to frame fit in the front so I called Nighthawk and they sent me a shipping tag via email the same day I talked to them about sending it in. It's not a big deal, just something I'd like not to be there. So, after my Ed Brown experience, I am so pleased to own the Nighthawk that I hated the idea of being without it for a few weeks so I went and grabbed a VBOB so I could still carry a bobtailed Commander.
On to the gun. This thing is built like a tank. I would never have considered a CBOB, but after checking one of these out, I decided to give it a try. It's similar to the Ed Brown with the way the bobtail is contoured, the beavertail and the thumb safety. The beavertail is thicker and just as comfortable as my Wilson or Nighthawk and much more so for me than the Executive Carry. The bushing is EGW I believe and a good bit thicker than normal. The thumb safety is much like the Brown. it's thick, is slanted to the side and is angled so it lays level instead of slightly up like most. It snaps on and off with authority and not much travel. It's very comfortable in hand.
The gun is forged as opposed to being a cast frame like the CBOB. It's all stainless steel and has a bead blasted finish, which will soon become IonBond. It's nowhere near as flawless of a finish as Ed Brown's bead blasting, which looked almost like Hard Chrome. It feels a little less smooth to the touch, but I really don't care. It's not a show piece and it'll be getting dirty real soon.
The fit is perfect for my tastes. There's absolutely no play, but it can easily be taken down with no tools. It's not Baer tight. There's absolutely no play when it's locked up. The barrel fits tight and although it's a "match" barrel like all the other nice 1911's, the case does not fit too tight inside the bore yet it is extremely accurate for me, almost on par with the Nighthawk which has been my best shooting 1911 to date. The feed ramp is polished along with the inside of the slide where the barrel hood makes contact.
They used a standard 18 lb recoil spring and a 23 lb main spring. Along with the squared firing pin stop, this is my preferred set up and gives the best perceived recoil. Shooting rapid fire strings was easy and enjoyable. The initial take-up is short and smooth and then the trigger breaks very clean with no creep. It's a little heavier than my other 1911's. I like my triggers at a crisp 3.5 lbs and the VBOB averaged 4.5 lbs. Again, it's fine for a defensive gun and as long as it's clean, that extra pound is not a big deal. I can tweak that if needed just to have all my 1911's with similar triggers. One thing I noticed is that although it's smooth, it's not as smooth as the Nighthawk. Nighthawk, in my opinion, has one of the best triggers on the market, but the VBOB is a good bit better than other guns in it's price range, especially those from Kimber or Springfield. The reset is also above average, but a step sown from the Nighthawk.
It's nicely dehorned and instead of being rounded, it has more of an angle along the bottom of the slide. Working malfunction drills, I never hit a sharp edge and that's what matters to me.
The sights are Heinie Straight 8's with the ledge. They have a wider rear notch with a subdued yellow tritium vial with no outline in the rear and a green tritium with a bright white outline up front. I prefer these sights on my guns. They make for very quick acquisition and are easier to see than most during rapid fire. And for me, they're just as accurate as a three dot set up.
The 25 lpi checkering on the front strap and main spring housing is sharp and similar to Browns. It takes a little getting used to coming from some other 1911's, but I like it. Coupled with the VZ thin Diamondbacks which is basically like a sheet of needles, it can take a while to get used to. I prefer a standard size stippled wood or lightly textured Micarta or G10 like the VZ Gatorbacks. But, this is no big deal seeing that for $50 to $100 you can get a set of whatever you want.
The black extractor on a stainless gun is something Brown does as well. Apparently they use a carbon tool steel since it's stronger than stainless. I don't really care as long as it doesn't rotate.
Magazines snap in place with a good shove. I never load a magazine gently, so this is never an issue for me. They drop free very quickly and smooth. Mag changes are the same as a full frame gun and having less material behind the magwell makes no difference to me.
There's something about the bobtail that points very well for me and gets me right back on target with no effort. I find it points better and faster than a standard 1911. A few months ago I'd have said I'd never buy another bobtail, but I'm glad I gave the Nighthawk a try, it's led to two great new guns this month.
As expected, it ate everything I fed it. 200 rounds of White Box, 100 rounds of Federal HST and 100 rounds of Winchester Ranger T-Series (not SXT). 25 yard groups were better than expected and was on par with all the other high end 1911's. I averaged 3" to 4" groups from a rest at 25 yards. At 10 yards I had no trouble keeping plate size groups as fast as I could fire and fist sized groups as fast as I could fire at 3 yards.
I'm sure I left some stuff out, but I hope this was somewhat helpful to anyone looking at the VBOB. It's a wonderful gun and if you don't want to spend the money on the next tier of 1911, go for it, you won't be disappointed. it's a big improvement over the CBOB from what limited experience I have with that gun. It's not quite as refined as a Nighthawk or similar level of gun, but it's every bit as accurate and comfortable to shoot as the others. It's just some of the small details that aren't quite as nice, but that won't make a difference while your shooting at the range or competition, while you're carrying it or God forbid, if you are forced to use it to defend your life.
If I left anything out, feel free to mention it. I'll be posting more pics later today when I can spend some more time on it. My Nikon D3's are at Nikon Professional Services, so I have to bust out the ole Canon 5D. I hope someone out there finds this helpful!
Some comparison pics - Sorry about the dirt, they haven't been cleaned since the last trip to the range