The Star Model B 9mm

| Handguns |
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For Those Who Prefer — “Cocked-And Locked” Carry. It’s Perfect.

After 104 years, one might think the old US Government Model 1911 would be relegated to the antique realm. We all know how that turned out, don’t we? It’s a tribute to the design genius of John Moses Browning. Even so, for some of us, it’s a problem. Factor in age, physical problems and hand size, and sometimes the felt-recoil of the .45 Auto cartridges is a bit too much.

Yes, the old fellow has been made in 9mm chambering, but the “big name” versions are quite pricey. Thanks to Century Arms, there’s an economical alternative in the Star Model B. There are some internal differences, but in its appearance and operation, it’s a GM 1911. Externally, the only difference is a good one — there’s no grip-safety. John Moses would have approved. He never liked it and it was added only at the insistence of the Army.

STAR-3

Compared to a 1911, you can see while similar, the Model B has no
grip safety and other minor mechanical differences — mostly better!

STAR-2

Taken down, the Star Model B shows classic GM 1911 construction in its
major parts, however, the trigger pivots and there is no slide stop
plunger tube on the frame, among other differences.

Star

Even during the unpleasantness of a civil war in the late 1930’s, there were three Spanish handgun makers that never let the quality slip. Astra, Llama and Star. The Star firm was founded by Bonifacio Echeverria in the early years of the last century, and lasted until December, 2000. The final blow was denial of export permits by the local government. Hence, no money.

Let’s get back to the pistol. According to the serial number, my sample Model B from Century Arms was made in 1945, at the end of World War II. The finish is an even matte blue, and it has only commercial proof marks. There’s no indication it was used by the military or the Guardia Civil, or the post-war German police.

The “double-diamond” pattern of the walnut grips adds to its classic GM 1911 appearance. The position and operation of the slide latch, manual safety and magazine release button are exactly the same. The magazine holds eight rounds of 9mm. The weight and length are very close to the 1911, and at 5″ the barrel length is identical. In cross-section, it’s a little thinner, at just a hair over 1″.

STAR-MORE-1

The Star Model B’s external extractor differs from
the Colt 1911 yet seems to work just fine.

STAR-1

This 1945 vintage Model B in 9mm showed top-quality construction
and felt somewhat slimmer in the hand than a 1911.

Minor Things

Now, the small mechanical differences. The trigger is a pivoting type, not sliding like the old GM. On this sample, average release is 6 pounds, with minimal take-up and no over-travel. Gone is the little tube-that-comes-loose on the left side of the frame. The manual safety and the slide latch have their own internal positioning plungers and springs.
The manual safety is actually stronger. The one on the old GM interposes a small tip to block the sear. The Star rolls a large steel cross-bar into a matching recess in the hammer. There’s no way this system could ever break. Thus, for those who prefer “cocked-and-locked” carry, it’s perfect.

One word of caution: European police and military often specify that issue pistols must have a full-reach, non-inertia firing pin, and the Star Model B has one. So, you must never carry it with the chamber loaded and the hammer fully down. The “half-cock” notch would also be inadvisable, as a drop could break the sear, or the sear-step on the hammer. So, empty chamber, or cocked-and-locked, okay?

At the Big Tree range, I tried the Model B with one of my favorite loads, the 147-gr. JHP from Black Hills, in deference to my eyes, I opt for 7-yard, standing these days, with a two-hand hold. That’d get the job done for me! The square-picture sights are good, and the rear one is laterally adjustable by drifting. On this pistol, that wasn’t necessary. As expected, the felt-recoil was mild.

Slow firing gave me consistent tight groups as you might imagine at that distance. Rapid-fire ones opened up a bit, of course. Reloader-friendly, the Model B tossed the empty cases into a small area, about 8′ feet to right rear. I’ll bet, with the right ammo and good eyes (!) this might be a 4″ or 5″ gun at 25 yards. Not bad for a bone-stock military auto over 70 years old!

For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/index; Century Arms, Ph: (800) 527-1252.

By J.B. Wood
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