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« Range Report: Smith & Wesson 686 (.357) | Main | Range Report: Agulia .22 Colibrí »

November 22, 2003

Range Report: Para-Ordnance LDA (.45)

At a glance, the Para-Ordnance LDA looks like most 1911-style autos, but there's a difference. The 1911 design was single-action only. The LDA ("Light Double Action") is double-action only (DAO). After each shot, the hammer returns to the de-cocked position, like a revolver.

Para-Ordnance LDAThe "Light" part of the name is no joke. Figures I've seen quoted in the press indicate a six pound trigger pull, and that seemed about right for the example I shot. Six pounds isn't a hair trigger or even a target trigger, but that's the point - with a medium trigger weight, accidental discharges are less likely. The trend in law-enforcement is towards double-action or double-action only designs to reduce liability.

At six pounds, the LDA's trigger is still lighter than most revolvers, which makes sense. A double-action revolver's trigger has to turn the cylinder and cock the hammer. With an autoloader, the trigger just has to cock the hammer. (Don't ask me why the LDA's trigger is lighter than most regular double-action pistol triggers. That I can't explain.) The trigger action is smooth, with a definite two-stage pull.

This was the full-sized model with a five inch barrel and double-stack magazine. Larger models (like the one pictured here) are available in high-capacity versions with as many as 14 rounds of .45 caliber. Para offers smaller models with shorter barrels and grips, and single-stack magazines that allow a thinner profile. The smallest versions also have flush, de-horned hammers for snag-free concealed carry.

So how does it shoot? Not bad. Not quite as accurately as the last 1911-style .45 I shot, a Kimber. That could be because of the DAO design, the double-stack magazine, or the fact that the Kimber was brand new and this rental model had been fired quite a bit.

Of the three possible factors, I'm leaning towards the double-stack magazine being the main culprit. Jeff Cooper is convinced that a single-stack design is the only reasonable approach for .45 caliber that products satisfactory results. I've noticed that I shoot guns with large magazines and consequently large handles less well. That may be one reason I've never taken to Glocks. I'd like to try one of the single-stack LDAs to test the theory.


Posted by Les Jones