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Old February 1, 2012, 03:29 PM   #1
abercasten
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Para GI Expert vs. Ruger SR1911 a Budget Review

Here’s the a comparison between the Para GI Expert and Ruger SR1911 I wrote for some guys at work. It took a little while to write, so I thought I'd post it here for those who might be interested.

Fit/Finish: ___>>

Finish: Ruger comes standard for now in a matt stainless steel. Para comes either stainless same as the Ruger, or with Paracoat, which is another name for Krylon. Cheap ****, but it works as long as you don’t touch your gun.

Slide to frame: Both are good, the Ruger has only a slight bit of side to side play, the Para has the tighter slide though with almost no detectable play.

Grip: I like the checkered mainspring housing of the Ruger, as it feels more grippy/comfortable to me than the vertical serrated Para. It’s also made of steel instead of the plastic Para uses. Ruger has the beautiful cocobolo checkered grips, while the Para has plastic. Both feel about the same to me. Ruger has a slightly more comfortable grip safety thanks to its full beavertail and “Speedbump” at the bottom, the Para has a minimalized grip safety that has a much less generous tail, and no “Speedbump” or whatever the bump at the bottom is called.

Safety: Para has the standard type lever, Ruger has a nice but not necessary extended safety lever.

Hammer: Both have skeletonized hammers, the Ruger has slightly more aggressive grip to it, maybe from lack of wear.

Trigger: The Ruger has more cut out of its skeletonized aluminum trigger, and it also has a set screw to adjust for overtravel. The plastic Para trigger just has 3 holes drilled in it, no frills.

Magwell: Definitely Ruger did a better job with the magwell opening, with deeper and wider beveling than the Para, free of tool marks as well.

Sights: Para uses 3 dot GI style as per the name, Ruger uses 3 dot Novak sights that have a slight advantage(0.5”) in sight radius.

Function:___>>

Reliability: Both fired several hundred 185gr and 230gr ball round nose flawlessly, no jams or malfunctions of any kind. No hollow points tested unless you care to donate them.

Trigger: Para wins by a small margin. No creep, crisp 3 lbs. Ruger has very slight creep and breaks closer to 4 lbs. Neither has much if any overtravel.

Factory magazines: Both Para and Ruger magazines run great, no problems. Ruger does have a small raised dimple in the middle of the follower that makes getting the first round loaded a bit of a hassle. I’ll probably just sand them off smooth.

Accuracy: Both are very accurate, but the Para’s better trigger lends itself to better free hand shooting for those who don't keep practiced up. From rest both are equal.


In conclusion, it's a tossup depending on what you want to pay for. The Ruger uses some nicer parts than the Para, but the Para is refined where it needs to be to be an accurate, reliable gun. Both I believe, are an excellent value for your money.
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Old February 1, 2012, 04:10 PM   #2
mayosligo
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Have you compared either to the new Taurus 1911?
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Old February 1, 2012, 04:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abercasten
Para comes either stainless same as the Ruger, or with Paracoat, which is another name for Krylon.
Krylon is discount house enamel paint. Para's Paracoat was never an enamel paint, it was a high-grade polymeric firearms coating of the same type as KG Gun-Kote and Lauer Weaponry's Duracoat. I actually know who supplied the coating to para, but I'm not allowed to say ... and it doesn't matter, because Para has changed finishes and and any comments about Paracoat are now irrelevant.

FWIW, I have a couple of all-black old-style Paras that were made in the mid-90s, around the start of the old AWB. I shoot both in competition, and neither of them shows any appreciable wear. I read a lot of complaints about the durability of Paracoat, and I have to say I think a lot of it is undeserved criticism. I know my experience doesn't support the complaints I read.
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Old February 1, 2012, 05:44 PM   #4
abercasten
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I know, I know, the jab about Paracoat being like Krylon is a bit stretched.
However, it is for me, the least effective coating I've had to deal with in my collection of firearms. Like I said though, if you buy a stainless this point is moot. I've not had the pleasure of trying out the new Taurus 1911, I hear good things about them though.
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Old February 1, 2012, 10:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abercasten
I've not had the pleasure of trying out the new Taurus 1911, I hear good things about them though.
I don't.
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Old February 1, 2012, 11:03 PM   #6
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I heard positive reviews of the taurus but I've heard enough bad ones to keep me from ever buying one. I've heard lots of good about the ruger. It's been over a year since I searched but I also read good things about the magnum research 1911.
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Old February 1, 2012, 11:42 PM   #7
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The Para GI expert was a close second behind the Ruger.

They are supposed to be very accurate from what I have read, but the use of the plastic parts does not sit well with me. I don't mind and do have plastic guns, but not my first 1911.

No, it is going to be all metal and it is going to be a Ruger.


Thanks for the review. It makes me want the Ruger even more.
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Old February 2, 2012, 09:50 AM   #8
abercasten
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It's not a bad choice either way you go, each company just has a different philosophy about how they design and make their guns. I glad we have these choices available to us, thank God for capitalism!
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Old February 2, 2012, 09:58 AM   #9
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They're both great. No winner. You could write for a gun magazine.

j/k
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Old February 2, 2012, 06:29 PM   #10
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Didn't the Freedom Group just shut Para down?
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Old February 2, 2012, 08:29 PM   #11
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HKGuns
Didn't the Freedom Group just shut Para down?
No. They just purchased Para USA from the family of the late Ted Szabos, who founded the company. The deal was only inked about 48 hours ago -- Para will continue in full operation.
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Old February 2, 2012, 08:44 PM   #12
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Thanks, one of the guys at work said they bought them to close them down. I guess he had bad information.
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Old February 2, 2012, 09:24 PM   #13
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Para has earned its bottom of the barrel 1911 rep IMHO. That are better now than they were 2 or 3 years ago but if you are looking for a low end 1911 Para offers nothing that RIA doesn't offer at a lower price point. With the exception of assembled in the US.
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Old February 2, 2012, 09:35 PM   #14
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I owned a GI Expert. It came new, out of the box with wear to the Paracoat finish...the box being hard plastic similar to a drill box didn't help that.
The mags supplied came with soft plastic followers similar in feel to Tupperware...they could literally be pushed right through the feed lips. I experienced a few jams in the first 150 rounds using the OEM mags.
Para recommended several hundred round "break in" before they wanted to hear about jams.
Registered for warranty online with Para...never received any acknowledgement that I had done so....a year later, I start getting sales come ons from Para.
By then, I had sold the GI Expert due to some of the issues I read about like breaking slide stops, spring tubes and bushings.
It was accurate and reliable (reliable with aftermarket mags) while I owned it.
Was glad to replace the " made in USA" Para with a Norinco.
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Old August 19, 2013, 06:17 PM   #15
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What parts are plastic on the para? I'm looking at one now in my price range, and I'm curious if the para expert would be a good first 1911. Looking for something relatively inexpensive, but not cheap.

Btw, sorry to dig up an old thread. Just researching the para on google and saw this discussion, figured it would be better than starting a new one.
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Old August 19, 2013, 08:29 PM   #16
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So far Para about 6-650, Ruger 8-980, while some have come to trivialized weak point of what they will settle for in a 1911 are purist, or have the cash to submit to their every desire. The Para is fine I started with my expert and moved up to an Para Elite Pro and I am still very happy with Para. No I do not shoot competion nor buy my firearms to impress other or to hear ooh's or aah's I just don't care. What I do care is I am willing to buy what I afford at the time and prove it to myself as the arms I have are not safe queens nor do I care that finish has rubbed off if was carried again it is not to impress just to please me.
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Old August 19, 2013, 08:33 PM   #17
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One more item its not a Les Baer, but again neither is the cost....
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Old August 19, 2013, 08:55 PM   #18
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Para GI Expert vs. Ruger SR1911 a Budget Review

I recommend you take a real strong look at the Springfield Range Officer and recommend the same to your buddies at work.
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Old August 19, 2013, 09:12 PM   #19
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Quote:
So far Para about 6-650, Ruger 8-980
Your a bit off on the Ruger.I just bought the SR1911 CMD and paid $649 for it.While some people are gouging them into the ~$800 range some shops are keeping them under 7.
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