These new pistols offered by Eagle Imports have design features comparable to those noted in the classic FN/Browning of 1935. They are available in 9mm, but my test guns were .40 S&W and .45 Auto.
The most obvious innovation was their use of a turn-barrel locking system. This, also, has quite a history, going all the way back around 1905, Elbert Searle in America and Karl Krnka in Austria thought of It. Elbert’s became the Savage of 1908, and Karl’s the 1907 Roth-Steyr (and, later, the 1911 Steyr-Hahn). The next application was by Josef Nlckl of Mauser, around 1916, and that one became the Czech 1922. Other designs followed over the years, including today’s Boberg rendition.
Many firearm writers have, in error, referred to the turn-barrel system as a “retarded blow-back.” Nonsense. Locked is locked. There are only degrees of dwell-time. One advantage over the falling-barrel system is the axis of the bore is closer to the shooting hand. Another, and this is theory, is the bullet in the rifling resists the turn, thus adjusting to different loads.
In the turn-barrel systems of the past, an angled lug on the barrel contacted a track in the slide, the frame, or a separate frame insert. The Grand Power design is quite different. A smooth, rounded concave track on the barrel acts on a large round cross-pin in the frame. The result is a smoother unlocking, with less stress than a lug.
The Grand Power pistol design offers solid construction and modern features.
The grip-frame of the Grand Power is high-tech polymer and the rest is high-grade steel, including the frame insert holding the action parts. Even the sights and the magazine follower are steel. The sights, by the way, are excellent. Square-picture, three white dots, and the rear one can be adjusted laterally by loosening an Allen screw.
The slide latch, manual safety and magazine release are all ambidextrous. As with many European designs, the slide latch is too far forward for easy thumb operation, but it is easily tripped, on either side, with the trigger finger. Internally, there is the usual automatic firing pin block, cleared in the last fraction of trigger pull.
The firing system is selective DA/SA, and the double-action pull is smooth and quick. On my Lyman Electronic Scale the DA pull averaged 8.5 pounds. On single-action, the trigger has minimal take-up and over-travel, and the pull was 4.5 pounds. Perfect. These figures were from the .40 S&W pistol, and a later check of the .45 Auto gun showed very little difference.
The ergonomics of the grip-frame are excellent, and very comfortable for my average-sized hand. I like the straight slant of the back-strap. Up front (and no, that is not a “dust-cover!”), there is a rail for attachment of a light or laser. At the lower rear of the trigger-guard, an upward recess improves the hold.
J.D.’s test guns were identical other than caliber, a .45 Auto and .40 S&W. You have
to look at the muzzle and markings to tell them apart.
The turn-barrel locking system, here operated manually,
shows the chamber rotating.
Both of the pistols surprised me, in two ways. The first was accuracy. All groups (using various factory loads), in both calibers, were 2.5″ to 3″, well-centered in the 8” black targets. I shot fairly fast, standing at seven yards. A typical sequence had the DA first shot slightly separated from the following four, to the left (.45), or a little low (.40).
The other surprise, in both pistols, was the very mild felt-recoil, even with the CorBon and Hornady loads in the .40 S&W. I assume this effect comes from a combination of good ergonomics and the turn-barrel locking system. Whatever the reasons, it was like shooting my favorite 9mm Parabellum cartridge. By the way, the Grand Power is available in that chambering.
The suggested retail price, in any chambering, is $819. For this level of quality and performance, quite reasonable. Final note: If you are recoil-sensitive, try one of these Grand Power pistols from Eagle Imports.
For more info: www:americanhandgunner.com/index, Ph: (732) 493-0333
By J.B. Wood