My review of the Para-Ordinance Warthog
Para’s Tiny 1911
What can I say about Para-Ordinance that has not already been said? Writers’ frequently wax-poetic about the quality and reliability of Para’s pistols. It is hard to argue the success of Para, having won four consecutive Gunny awards from the venerated editors of Guns and Ammo. Now, with the introduction of the Warthog, Para is taking a serious stab at the CCW market, with which the esteemed readers of this magazine are most concerned.
The problem has been that to make a 1911 that was concealable you lost capacity. For example, Kimber’s fine Ultra Carry II is limited to 6+1 rounds which is the same as or less than some revolvers. In the not so distant past we had to sacrifice stopping power to have a pistol that could be concealed while having a capacity greater than a revolver. With this in mind I started my search. I was looking for a gun with stopping power, concealability, and capacity; this was no short order.
Most of us know the virtues of the .45ACP as a cartridge and the 1911 style pistol which is world renowned for its stopping power. The limitation when thinking about concealed carry has always been its size and weight. Most of us would prefer not to carry a full-sized 36 ounce 8.5 inch long GI .45. I will bet that we would all like to carry the stopping power afforded by such a pistol though.
Many of us have had to scale back our expectations when it came to our concealed carry weapon. If you live in a particularly hot environment this is even more likely. For this reason NAA and Kel-tec owe their success. While their guns are extremely concealable the cartridges that they fire leave a lot to be desired. The .32 and the .380 just do not pack enough punch to provide much comfort. The .25 is an even poorer choice. As Massad Ayoob has been known to say “The .25 is what you carry when you can’t carry a gun.”
After much searching and refusing to trust my life with anything less then a .40 S&W I found the Para-Ordinance Warthog. I was already familiar with Para as I am the proud owner of a P14-45. I was already in love with the 1911 style of pistol, and in my mind nothing provides a better first shot than the single action auto.
Keeping in mind the aforementioned criteria, it is obvious why I chose the Warthog. This pistol has it all. It has the single action trigger, the high capacity 10 round magazine, and the concealability I was seeking. The Warthog is chambered for .45ACP a round known for its stopping power. Para also installed a match grade trigger and a spurred competition hammer. This provided not only greater accuracy but aesthetic appeal.
The history behind the 1911 is often over looked and is the story of a great man, John Moses Browning. The US Army learning from experience in the Philippines decided their .38 revolvers were not sufficient to stop a man. They put out a request for an autoloading pistol in .45 caliber. Browning having developed an autoloading pistol in .38 caliber decided to adapt it to meet the Army request with a 230 grain FMJ of his own design. After a grueling 6000 round torture test the contract was awarded to Colt and John Moses Browning over the offering by Savage Arms. Thus began the obsession that we in the United States and really the world over, have had with this classic combat pistol.
Today, what we refer to as the 1911 is actually the 1911A1. After World War I some minor changes were made, the most obvious being the enlargement of the grip safety’s dovetail. This prevented the painful pinching of the thumb that was common. Other feature changes were an enlarging of the front sight, shorter trigger, arched spring housing, and longer hammer spur. These changes were made to add greater reliability and combat effectiveness.
What Para has done was improve upon an already grand design. The Warthog has an extended manual thumb safety and an internal firing pin safety. Para has also updated this pistol with their new Para Power Extractor for increased reliability. Para has coated the Warthog with Para’s Para-Kote black matte finish and added 3-dot sights. The Warthog is beautifully accented with stainless steel magazine release, slide release, hammer spur, and grip safety. There is no doubt the Warthog is a sexy pistol unlike its animal namesake. For those of you who have to have it all Para now offers the Stealth Warthog. The Stealth Warthog, commonly referred to as the NightHawg, is the same platform as the Warthog, but with the addition of tritium night sights and all parts are coated in the non-reflective Para-Kote. I chose the Warthog specifically because the stainless steel accents looked so much better to me.
The Warthog is a well balanced pistol that feels very natural in your hand. While the grip is shorter than a standard 1911, even my big paws can get a good grip on the gun. The Warthog has the feeling of a much larger gun yet is supremely concealable. In my testing I carried the Warthog in a Bianchi Model 82 for the Colt Officer 1911. I found that this setup provided the security of Bianchi’s Auto Retentiontm concept with the quick access of a standard open top holster. While wearing a loose T-Shirt or a light jacket the Warthog disappeared with nary a worry of printing. With an inside the waistband holster this pistol would disappear in all but the most skin tight of clothing.
The biggest question I hear is “How does it shoot?” I am happy to report that the Warthog shoots like a dream. I am a huge fan of 1911 style pistols, but even I had questions as to how a 24 ounce 1911 would handle. For my testing I used Winchester White Box 230 grain FMJ, PMC 230 grain FMJ, and Speer Gold Dot 200 grain +P GDHP. All the ammo cycled perfectly, without a hiccup. While 250 rounds is hardly a torture test it gave me a good idea of what to expect from this little beauty. At ten yards the Warthog was giving me groupings of 1.5” consistently. While that will not win you the IPSC National Championships, it will do a great job in a defensive situation, for which the Warthog is intended.
The sights on the Warthog are standard 3-dot low mount sights. These provide an excellent sight picture and allow for a quick aim when unholstered. The ejection port on the Warthog allowed spent casings to be extracted effectively and the shells shot about 6 feet to the right rear. This speaks to the power of the new extraction system that Para has dubbed the Para Power Extractor. I found that this diminutive pistol extracts better than my P-14 with the standard extractor.
Recoil was also a concern of mine when I purchased this gun. Would the diminutive size of this 1911 make the recoil of the .45ACP unbearable? Somehow the Para engineer’s have overcome this, to provide the Warthog with a recoil signature well below expectations, and only slightly greater than its bigger brother, the P-14. Muzzle flip was greater than a full sized .45, this is to be expected and it is controllable. Once fired it is quick to get back on target for a follow up shot.
The takedown of this pistol requires no tools and is accomplished with ease. The recoil spring is reminiscent of the captive spring design of my Springfield Armory XD 9 subcompact. There is no need to deal with a barrel bushing as with your average 1911 style pistol. The recoil spring plug snaps into the slide and can be removed with your thumb. The only tricky part in the takedown and the reassembly is that the slide must be held back with your hand while you remove or reinsert the slide stop. This requires some hand strength and a grip I refer to as the “Vulcan death grip”. Once you have done this a time or two though it really isn’t a problem. Disassembly takes about 15 seconds and reassembly takes about double that.
Overall the Para-Ordinance Warthog is a concealed carry 1911 with sex appeal. In the past, concealablity meant the sacrifice of stopping power, but with the Warthog that sacrifice is no longer required. Para has given the concealed carry community a no compromises pistol with the size of a Chihuahua with the bite of a Doberman Pincer, and in a concealed carry pistol what more can you really ask for?
So the next time you are in the market for a concealed carry weapon, I urge you to take a look at the Para Ordinance Warthog or Stealth Warthog. These two pistols provide options that were not available in until recently. One thing is for sure, this is not your grandfather’s 1911.