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Old April 15th, 2008, 02:07 PM
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Default Gun Review: Para Ordnance S16.40 LTD

My Para Ordnance S 16.40 LTD (photography by NineseveN)

http://briansguns.com/paraordnances1640ltd.html



The following is my opinion and experience on the Para Ordnance S16.40 LTD. The story of my purchase of this firearm is as much a story about my experiences as a beginning IPSC shooter as it is a story of anything else, so I will begin there.

I joined Pitcairn Monroeville Sportsman’s Club last March and, at that time, introduced myself as a hunter who occasionally shoots. I began to shoot trap at the club as well as attend the meetings. I quickly got to know guys like Roland and SteveD and decided to give the Thursday night “ipsick” practices a try. I bought a couple of 10 round mags, a mag holder, and a Serpa holster for my CCW (Sig P220R) and came out to try this “new” type of shooting. Like many others, I was hooked from the first night! I shot my Sig every Thursday night through May and June. Once I began to compete in matches, I realized that I was shooting the wrong gun. Shooting the P220R gave me two choices as to which class to compete in. I would be at a disadvantage in both of them. I could shoot “production class” against all the 9MM striker fired guns with low recoil and smooth trigger-pull or I could shoot “L-10 class” against full-out Frankengun 1911’s with single-action first shots and triggers as smooth as a baby’s bottom. In addition, the cost of the big .45ACP ammo was beginning to bite. At this time, I was not yet reloading. 200 rounds per week hits the budget pretty hard!




Right around this time, I became friends with a guy who we all know as Lycanthrope. If ever there was a shooter more willing to share knowledge, I have not met him. I had the opportunity to shoot Lycan’s STI Edge in .40 and just fell in love with the 1911 platform chambered in .40 S & W. The grip angle, the trigger, the sight radius, the lack of recoil: I was smitten with all of it. As soon as I returned home from that day’s shooting, I began to research “limited class” 1911’s. It became immediately apparent to me that the STI 2011 firearms were the industry standard. There were a few other brands with significant presence in that class and Para Ordnance was the leader of that second tier. I found that the STI firearms were not as overpriced as I had heard and that a tricked-out Edge in .40 with holster, mags, and all the goodies would run me right around $2K. Those kinds of dollars were just not an option for me at the time. I looked into the Para Ordnance pistols and found that I could purchase a 16.40 LTD, with all the goodies, for about $600 less. I felt a little more comfortable with that kind of purchase, so I set about doing my in-depth research on the company and its products.



Again, I went back to Lycanthrope with questions, ideas, and places to look for reference materials. As usual, he was incredibly helpful. I made the decision to purchase the S16.40 LTD in early June and found the deal I was looking for on Gunbroker within two weeks. I purchased the gun and four mags from a dealer in New Mexico for $1,100. During the transit time, I ordered all of the additional goodies needed (in my mind) for competing: outer and inner belt, 5 mag holders, Uncle Mike’s kydex holster, mag well, and base pads for the mags. Everything arrived on the same day. I was off to GunRunnersofPA’s place to pick up the gun.
I left GRoPA’s place and immediately headed off to the range. I enjoyed shooting the gun from the first time I pulled the trigger. As my first 1911, shooting this gun was very refreshing. The .40 S&W cartridge, combined with the heavy 40 oz gun, made recoil very manageable. The longer sight radius afforded by the 5” barrel made target acquisition and sighting much easier. The bright red fiber-optic front sight didn’t hurt any either! I would be remiss if, at this point, I did not provide you with some specifics on the gun.



Caliber: .40 S&W
Capacity: 16+1 (21 + 1 with base pads)
Barrel l: 5” Bull
Guide rod: Full length
Length: 8.5”
Height: 5.75”
Sights: Adjustable (W+E) black Para competition rear, Fiber-optic Para competition front
Receiver: Stainless Steel
Slide: Stainless Steel



Back to our story! I really thought that I shot a lot before I bought the Para. Man, was I wrong. I enjoyed shooting this gun so much, that I was running nearly 2K rounds a month through it. I had found a cheap source for Ultramax Lead 180Gr cartridges and was buying them by the thousand. Everything was going great until my second match with the gun, when the extractor claw sheared off. At this point, I had shot about 5K rounds through the gun, more than most pistols shoot in a lifetime. As a beginning IPSC shooter, I had not yet learned the value of having tools and spare parts in the truck at all times. Lesson learned! The following day, I called Para and spoke to a very nice gunsmith who promptly mailed me a new extractor claw at no charge. I replaced it on the gun with no trouble, thanks to a joint Lycanthrope/SteveD slide disassembly course I had taken the previous week. Now I was back shooting.

I always thought that skateboard tape was ugly, until I tried it. It might be a little rough on the hands, at first, but that stuff provides a great gripping surface. I applied it to my magwell, front strap, and magazine base pads. It really helps with achieving a good grip when you are in a hurry or your hands are sweating. I recommend it for any competition gun. Other than the magwell, mag bases, recoil spring, shock buff, and grip tape, I have not altered the S16.40 LTD in any way. I have also replaced the fiber optic a few times. I guess some folks would say that those alterations make it a Race Gun. I will concede that the gun is faster than I will ever be. Any shortcomings on the range are no doubt me, and not the gun.

I decided to start reloading .40 cartridges, so that I could build a load for the Para that would both make Major power factor, and shoot softer than factory loads. A little additional accuracy would be welcome as well. I switched over to a 14 lb (from 18 lb stock) recoil spring and have been running 4.3 grains of Titegroup and a CCI small pistol primer behind a Rainier 200 grain FMC bullet. The recoil is less, and the accuracy is even better than with factory loads. At this point, I have a few more than 10K rounds through my S16.40 LTD. This gun is still tighter than most 1911’s out there. She is just getting broken in!



In review, I would like to make a short list of the Pros and Cons (IMO) of my Para Ordnance S16.40 LTD.
Pros:
Most gun for the money in a race-ready .40 1911
Accurate, reliable, fun to shoot
Standard 1911 profile means that many parts and accessories are easy to find

Cons:
Less competition parts and accessory availability than STI.
IMM Extractor claw seems to be a weak link (so far so good on claw #2)



It is my opinion that the pros vastly outweigh the cons. I recommend the Para Ordnance S16.40 LTD to anyone considering “Limited” or “L-10” class IPSC shooting.

I welcome questions and comments regarding this gun and my experiences with it.

http://briansguns.com/paraordnances1640ltd.html
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Last edited by BearTitan; February 21st, 2011 at 01:21 PM.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 02:26 PM
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Default Re: Gun Review: Para Ordnance S16.40 LTD

I love a good story, yours was no exception. I really liked your Para, it's a damn purty gun for being so abused.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 02:39 PM
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Default Re: Gun Review: Para Ordnance S16.40 LTD

Yeah I have a Para LTC 4.25 inch barrel. I am on love with mine also, I have about 600 rounds through mine and it just keeps getting smoother. The only mod I have made as mine is for carry are the Houge rubber monogrip. I love them, it was some serious traction at a small price. I do truly love my Para and would buy another one in a hurry!!! Yours is a hell of a lot nicer then mine, very nice looking racer.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Gun Review: Para Ordnance S16.40 LTD

Great Review BT! My PT1911 is jealous just from me reading this!
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Old April 15th, 2008, 03:31 PM
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Default Re: Gun Review: Para Ordnance S16.40 LTD

good review...........
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Old April 15th, 2008, 03:55 PM
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Default Re: Gun Review: Para Ordnance S16.40 LTD

Know what looks cool on a Para......?



Sorry....being tax day, I thought you may have had a return....

Good review.

Lycanfrankenparathrope
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Old April 15th, 2008, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: Gun Review: Para Ordnance S16.40 LTD

Like I need money to spend money! You know me better than that. My Tax return has already been turned into two AR's!

Lycan, what would cuts and machining like that cost from Gary?
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Old April 15th, 2008, 04:01 PM
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Default Re: Gun Review: Para Ordnance S16.40 LTD

great review bear!

thanks for posting it.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: Gun Review: Para Ordnance S16.40 LTD

Great review Bear. As you know, I like Para's also since I shoot IPSC Limited class with an older P16.40.

Ed
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Old April 15th, 2008, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: Gun Review: Para Ordnance S16.40 LTD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lycanthrope View Post
Know what looks cool on a Para......?



Sorry....being tax day, I thought you may have had a return....

Good review.

Lycanfrankenparathrope
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