By Miguel C. Gil
We first took notice of the products of Shooter’s Arms Manufacturing (SAM) well over a decade ago. The small company’s product line consisted mostly of 1911 clones and a few small-caliber revolvers, if memory serves. At that time, SAM’s 1911s were not visually appealing enough for our tastes but we did take note of the fact that they were very affordably priced.
Upon closer examination of their earlier production 1911, we found the general fit of the gun’s major components to be passable. The quality of its finish, however, left much to be desired from an aesthetic point of view. We noted the unevenness of the stampings, serrations and the surface in general. The quality of the gun’s finish seemed commensurate to its bargain price tag.
But at the firing range, we were pleased to discover that even SAM’s earlier models were both reliable and sufficiently accurate. They did the job for which they were intended. That is more than anyone can ask from an economy priced gun or any other product, for that matter.
We fast-forward to 2012 as we evaluate one of the Mandaue-based (suburb of Cebu City) gun manufacturer’s latest offerings—the SAM Titan in .45 ACP.
The Titan is best described as yet another sub-compact 1911 clone that is based on the general specifications of the Colt Officer’s ACP. It is, however, updated to contemporary standards in that it utilizes a trumpet-shaped bushing-less heavy barrel with a full-length guide rod below it.
The Titan also departs from the original Officer’s ACP in that it has a slightly shorter barrel (3.125 inches as against the Colt’s 3.5 inches). In this respect it is more akin to similar offerings by Kimber. Like most modern sub-compact 1911’s, the Titan uses a dual recoil spring set-up to better absorb the .45 caliber recoil.
Other standard upgrades of the Titan include Novak-style fixed rear sights, Commander-style hammer and a three-hole extended trigger. It also comes from the box with a nicely throated and polished feed ramp as well as a flared magazine well.
It is worth mentioning that SAM marketing representatives have been harping about the firm’s acquisition of new CNC machines and other production equipment, in our recent conversations. This is clearly reflected in the marked improvement in both the fit and finish of their guns today as compared to the earlier models we handled all those years ago.
The Titan was no exception. It was evident that the gun’s matte blue finish was done to a much higher standard than what we expected from SAM. No tool marks or any other unevenness in the linear features of the gun’s surface were immediately evident. It was a modestly handsome little piece.
The SAM catalogue lists the all-steel Titan as weighing 0.85kg or a hair short of 30 ounces. It has an overall length of 6.93 inches and a height of 4.96 inches.
While it is indeed compact, the Titan is still large enough for most shooters to get a full grip. Getting a good grip on your gun is necessary for accurate shot placement—especially if it kicks vigorously.
It should also be noted that the shortened barrel does indeed result in decreased velocity when compared to the same round fired through a standard 5-inch barrel. But published ballistic data indicates that the drop in velocity is not too significant (around 100 fps loss) and will probably not detract from the suitability of compact 1911s as a personal/home defense gun. This means that the standard 230 grain .45 ACP ball load may still achieve around 700 fps in the Titan and other guns like it.
The management of SAM gave Home Defense Journal (HDJ) the opportunity to fire a few rounds in an improvised range inside their Edsa sales office located in Barangay Crame, Quezon City. Establishing the pistol’s reliability and accuracy was impossible in such a limited firing session. But we were impressed by the Titan’s general handling qualities and by the fact that recoil seemed surprisingly manageable despite its diminutive dimensions!
HDJ looks forward to more comprehensive and insightful tests of SAM products in the near future. We only hope that SAM management will indulge us.
SRP of Titan (blued): Php 24,000 (gun only w/ two 6-round magazines)