by Miguel C. Gil
Any marketing man worth his salt knows the importance of a name in product branding. Executives of Chevrolet supposedly learned this the hard way with the dismal sales of the Chevy Nova in Latin-America during the 1960’s. Little did they know in the beginning that Nova or “no va” meant “no go” in Spanish! While some say that old story is little more than a salesman’s myth, it puts a good point across.
There is an enduring trend in the firearms industry of giving intimidating or “macho” names to defense-oriented guns in an apparent bid to appeal to the masculine crowd. But Metro Arms Corporation (MAC) has taken a different direction in its sub-compact 1911 clone—which it christened the Amigo or friend. MAC’s branding approach may be taking into consideration its growing market in Spain. But Amigo is also well understood by gun buyers in the United States and, of course, the Philippines.
The MAC Amigo is yet another Philippine-made 1911 clone that is loosely based on the general specifications of the Colt Officer’s ACP. Another way to look at it is that it is a “chopped” 1911-style pistol that is chambered for the popular .45 ACP. The Amigo is an all-steel pistol with an empty weight of about 32 ounces—which departs from the current industry trend of using lightweight alloy frames in sub-compact 1911s.
MAC’s latest catalogue lists the Amigo as having a 3-inch barrel. However, upon personally inspecting the pistol, we will wager that the actual barrel length is closer to 3 ½ inches. In keeping with contemporary designs, it uses a heavy trumpet-shaped bushing-less barrel. A single heavy-duty recoil spring encircles the pistol’s full-length guide rod located under the above-mentioned heavy (bull) barrel.
The Amigo comes with all the upgrades that one would expect from a 21st century 1911 pistol. It comes standard with Novak-style rear sights that have been contoured to be free of sharp edges. Those rear sights line up perfectly with the gun’s dovetailed front sights by way of a three white dot set-up.
Other standard features include an extended three-hole trigger, a skeletonized hammer with the MAC logo carved inside the hole and a beavertail grip safety with a “memory grove.” Other niceties such as ambidextrous thumb safeties and checkered front straps can also be had as extras. Surprisingly though, MAC does not bevel or flare the magazine well of the Amigo.
The fit and finish of MAC pistols are always done to high standards based on samples we have examined in the past… the Amigo being no exception.
MAC has been manufacturing the Amigo for the last two years or so. Customers have had a choice of blued, hard chrome or black chrome finishes for their pistols. What is really news here is that the Amigo can now be ordered in Cerakote finish, as well!
MAC vice-president for operations Jessie Salientes described Cerakote as a “high-tech” gun finish that is highly resistant to wear-and-tear as well as exposure to the elements. It is applied to the gun’s surface in liquid form much like paint… and then baked in an oven until it permanently hardens, Salientes explained.
The resulting product is an aesthetically appealing matte olive drab (sometimes called Army green) pistol. But it was explained to us the Cerakote also comes in other colors such as flat dark earth and desert tan.
In Home Defense Journal’s (HDJ) second tour of the MAC manufacturing facility in Barangay Moonwalk, Paranaque City (suburb of Manila) last December 17, Salientes allowed us a peek at the Cerakote application process. Team HDJ members could only stay a minute or two because the process released nauseous fumes. The time was sufficient, however, for us to see that it was a laborious process which required dedicated equipment.
Cerakote does not come cheap because a pistol thus finished is Php 10,000 (US$ 244) more expensive than the same model pistol in basic blued finish.
MAC’s CFO Jing Sian ordered the company’s in-door shooting range opened on its scheduled maintenance day especially for HDJ’s testing session. We were given the opportunity to give several MAC 1911 variants a moderate work out—and our reports on the other guns are forthcoming. But let us first look into the little crowd-pleaser—the Amigo.
The very first round we fired from the Amigo failed to completely cycle the pistol resulting in a stoppage. The slide did not completely close even as the second round managed to chamber. A light tap of the palm shut the slide but the same thing happened after the second round discharged. The range master opined that either we were shooting with a limp wrist or that our high thumb hold was impeding the slide’s movement. Curiously, no such problem surfaced when we shot MAC’s other 1911s.
Whatever caused the initial stoppage, it completely vanished after we fired the third round. The Amigo shot flawlessly even as we switched shooting hands and shot it using different holds. The two other Team HDJ members likewise sent plenty of rounds downrange with no hint of a stoppage whatsoever. We all decided that the initial problem was caused by the tight tolerances of this brand new pistol that had just popped out of the production line.
It is generally accepted that all new 1911s require a break-in period. At least 200 rounds are needed to break them in, according to some sources.
Play: Notice the lack of muzzle-flip on the Amigo even during rapid firing. Its controllability allows this Team HDJ member to keep his sights levelled on the target. (Video by IGG)
What truly impressed us upon firing the Amigo was the very moderate perceived recoil. Shooting this sub-compact pistol felt little different from shooting MAC’s full-sized 1911s. Perhaps this perceived tameness is attributable to its bull barrel coupled with a full length guide rod while its larger brothers, in comparison, sported the standard barrel and guide rod set-up. Whatever the reason, the Amigo was as enjoyable to shoot as any .45 caliber pistol could be!
The Amigo is obviously not intended to be a target pistol but rather a serious defensive gun for close quarters. Still, our tests proved that it does not want in the accuracy department! Firing offhand, it was not hard to put all shots in the head-area of the silhouette target at 10 meters. That’s more accuracy than you will ever need from personal/home defense gun!
Your MAC Amigo will undoubtedly become your best friend if ever you run into criminally-inclined individuals!
SRP of MAC Amigo (Cerakote): Php 38,000 (gun only w/ two 7-round magazines)
(Blued finish): Php 28,000 (gun only w/ two 7-round magazines)