In early 2019, Auto-Ordnance released a commemorative pistol to honor our current Commander in Chief, Donald J. Trump. As he is the 45th president to hold office, it only made sense to customize the most iconic .45 in history, the 1911. When I set eyes on it earlier this year at the SHOT Show, I knew immediately that I wanted to do some work with it. I guess Combat Handguns figured it would take a boisterous New Yorker to truly appreciate this pistol and every one of its well-thought-out details. In a New York minute, I snatched up the assignment and ordered up a sample.
When it finally arrived at Long Island Gun Source, co-owner Heather begrudgingly handed it over. As she slid it across the counter, she warned her husband and co-owner Cliff, “If Frank doesn’t keep it when he’s done, I’m going to.” I left the store and headed to one of the most anti-American institutions in the country, the New York State Police Pistol Permit Bureau. Here my Trump 45 picked up its next two admirers: a pair of female state troopers. For a guy who the mainstream media swears is loathed by women, this tribute to his legacy is going three for three. It’s too bad I didn’t have one of these when I was in college! Anyway, now that my firearm was no longer “undocumented,” I headed straight home to start my evaluation.
The commemorative Trump 45 starts life as a 5-inch-barreled Thompson Custom 1911. Already a highly polished piece, this beauty is refined and emblazoned with everything that makes the current presidency so tremendous. Stainless steel was chosen as the main finish to add flair yet still remain classy. Offsetting the shine is a well-controlled border consisting of a deep black Cerakote finish that wraps around the entire gun.
The front and rear slide serrations also carry the same darkened matte accents and make it easy to cycle the handgun that made America great the first time around. Auto-Ordnance teamed with Outlaw Ordnance for the fine custom work. You’ll find “Donald J. Trump” and the seal of the president’s office engraved along the right side of the slide and frame. On the left side, there’s a meticulously detailed engraving of the White House and the man himself with the iconic words “Make America Great Again” cut alongside them.
The Auto-Ordnance Trump 1911 comes with a seven-round magazine. Although the only person alive who would consider this high capacity is Michael Bloomberg, GIs found that it holds enough to win two world wars. The included magazine has a unique convex follower that helps with feeding. This undoubtedly was done to assist in cycling hollow points, which at times can prove to be more unreliable than a call to Hillary Clinton when taking enemy fire.
Under the Hood
Yanking the slide back to check the chamber, I noticed the full-length guide rod that further increases reliability and even reduces muzzle flip by a hair. At the back end, I noticed the comforting feel of the web of my hand snugging up against the extended beavertail. This enhancement keeps me from getting pinched nearly as well as deleting emails off of a server. When wrapping my fingers around the grip, I noticed the checkering in the front that not only looks gorgeous but helps you maintain a firm grip even if you have notoriously small hands. The checkering extends all the way around to the laminate grip panels, complete with Auto-Ordnance emblems.
The pistol points naturally, and the controls are exactly where they should be. I would’ve liked to see an ambidextrous safety, but I guess I’m just a dreamer. The trigger and hammer are both skeletonized to reduce weight and lock times, and the former employs a setscrew to restrict overtravel. After a few dry fires, I used my Lyman trigger pull gauge to measure the trigger’s clean break at an average of 7.13 pounds—a little heavy, but a good shooter wouldn’t call it stiff.
After gathering up four different types of ammunition, I headed east to the last pocket of Republican occupation in New York to arrive at the range. Weather conditions were absolutely perfect—not a cloud in the sky and not a whisper of a breeze. After setting up my targets at 15 yards, I took a knee and fired groups with each flavor of ammo while supporting my wrists on a Caldwell rest. I started with the Russian steel-cased Wolf 230-grain FMJ rounds. The fixed, low-profile sights were spot-on. And although Russian ammo can be dirtier than election campaign commercials, it ran very well and even produced respectable accuracy.
Next, I tested Hornady’s 230-grain XTPs and Federal’s 210-grain Hydra-Shok Deep rounds, which cycled without issue and delivered terrific accuracy. Last up, I fired 185-grain hollow points from Aguila. The recoil from these rounds was refreshingly mild. They would make great practice or defensive rounds for those who are sensitive to recoil. My groups with this load were a little wider than the others, but the accuracy wasn’t deplorable.
For the rest of my range session, I shot up a plate rack and just generally pissed away the rest of my ammo like it was a government budget. During my extended field test, I noticed smooth transitions and excellent recovery, just like the current economy. After exhausting my ammo, I packed up and headed home to (gently) tear down this gorgeous piece of functional artwork for a cleaning and inspection.
Real News: Auto-Ordnance Trump 1911
Back on the bench, I disassembled the Trump 45 the same way you would any other 1911. I started by ensuring it was empty by removing the magazine and checking the chamber. Next, I depressed the recoil spring plug and rotated the barrel bushing. After removing that and the recoil spring, I slid the slide back and aligned the takedown notch to remove the slide stop. That done, I was able to slip the slide off and remove the barrel and guide rod. Let’s just say that even Browning thought this was a few too many steps.
Once it was field-stripped, I saturated all of parts in liberal tears—I mean cleaning solvent—and wiped them down with an appropriate rag. I used the same bacon-scented cleaner on the exterior, as it’s safe for all finishes. The match-grade barrel only required a light scrubbing before the entire pistol was ready for reassembly and lubrication.
My testing time with the Trump 45 1911 ended with a phone call to the good people at Auto-Ordnance to ask how much I owed to keep the gun. While I had them on the phone, I asked if they had any plans for a Hillary Clinton tribute firearm. To my surprise, they did indeed try to get the idea going, but after two attempts, it was obvious that people just didn’t want it. Shocker!
All in all, the commemorative Trump 45 pistol not only looks terrific but shoots exceptionally well for a “fancy” 1911. I found the attention-grabbing aesthetics to achieve exactly that from the moment I picked it up at the shop, as I found myself the envy of not only the men but the ladies as well. When considering the collectability and quality of this piece, the $1,199 price tag is more than reasonable. You don’t exactly need to trade real estate to own one—and that, my friends, is not fake news. For more information, visit auto-ordnance.com and chattanoogashooting.com.
Auto-Ordnance Trump 1911 Specifications
- Caliber: .45 ACP
- Barrel: 5 inches
- Overall Length: 8.5 inches
- Overall Weight: 39 ounces (empty)
- Grips: Checkered laminate
- Sights: Front and rear dovetail cut/low-profile iron sights
- Action: SA
- Finish: Stainless
- Overall Capacity: 7+1
- MSRP: $1,199
Auto-Ordnance Trump 1911 Performance
- Aguila 185 JHP: 2.46
- Federal 210 Hydra-Shok Deep: 1.18
- Hornady 230 XTP: 1.69
- Wolf 230 FMJ: 1.75
Bullet weight measured in grains and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 15 yards.