Legacy Sports’ Citadel .45ACP

Overall value should always be a consideration when purchasing a…

Overall value should always be a consideration when purchasing a firearm. While the market today offers many high-end pistols with value-added features, the smart shopper has to assess just how much value he gets from those features, and how much he is willing to pay for them.

citadel2.jpgJoining an already crowded field of M1911 semi-automatic pistols is the Citadel, manufactured in the Philippines by Armscor Precision International and imported by Legacy Sports. The Citadel is a no-nonsense, multi-purpose .45ACP handgun incorporating proven and accepted M1911 refinements while eschewing some unessential niceties found on costlier pistols.

The Citadel, like most of today’s M1911s (except a few retro mil-spec models), would have been considered “factory custom” just a few years ago. The pistol has a high-sweep beavertail grip safety with raised pad, a speed hammer and speed trigger, extended ambidextrous thumb safeties, a lowered and flared ejection port, lightly beveled magazine well flat mainspring housing, double-diamond wood grips, and snag-free sights. It is also reasonably well dehorned, with nary a sharp edge to catch clothing or gouge your hands. That is a lot of features for not a lot of money.

The Citadel also includes some not-so-common niceties like checkering on the flat mainspring housing as well as on the magazine release button and slide release lever, and front cocking serrations.

In assessing the utility of features on the Citadel, personal preference plays a huge role. Among the included features it must be said that many non-southpaws dislike ambidextrous safeties as they fear they may bump against something and deactivate the safety without realizing it. Also, while front cocking serrations look good, they may promote poor handling technique. You really shouldn’t place your hand near the muzzle, even to check the gun. The other included features of the pistol all do seem to enhance the gun’s handling and user-friendliness. We particularly liked the trigger and hammer, both of which were smoothly contoured, lightweight and handsome.

What the Citadel lacks are a few refinements currently coming into vogue, like a serrated topstrap and rear of slide to break up possible glare (though its matte parkerized finish really doesn’t reflect much, truth be told), a checkered frontstrap and tritium night sights.

Among absent features, we can really live without the serrations to the topstrap and rear of the slide. However, as most self-defense shootings occur at low light, tritium night sights are a good idea. Then again, the sights are a part that is easily swapped out and purchasing aftermarket sights allows the Citadel buyer to get exactly what he wants. 

Checkering of the frontstrap is really a toss-up. While checkering the frontstrap is generally assumed to be significantly beneficial, the matte parkerized finish of the gun and the checkering on the mainspring housing prevented the Citadel from feeling slippery in the hand. It really didn’t torque out of our grip, and our fingers didn’t resemble pin cushions after a day at the range.

The only significant quibble we had about the Citadel’s appearance was the finish, though. The parkerizing doesn’t appear to wear well, as demonstrated after just a few presentations from the holster.

How It Handles
Forgetting about the details and just handling the gun tells you much of what you really need to know. The Citadel feels good in the hand. It sits low, balances well and the recoil impulse is broadly dispersed. It’s comfortable to shoot and the controls are easy to manipulate and function as intended. 

There was a little take-up on the trigger, but not much. The trigger pull exhibited some mushiness relative to a top-end gun but quibbling over trigger pull on a defensive gun is like arguing over how many angels can tread on the head of a pin…pointless. A defensive pistol need only have a manageable trigger pull. No one in a gun fight ever remembers the quality of the trigger break. The Citadel’s trigger pull is better than expected and more than satisfactory for self-defense or even casual target shooting.

The sight picture was clean and precise with a post front and square-notch rear. The sight picture was not fast to acquire and there are better tactical set-ups out there, but the Citadel arrangement does lend itself to precision at the range. For that reason, we’d consider the Citadel for those looking for a casual target gun as well as a defensive pistol. The rear sight is adjustable in its dovetail for windage.

Disassembly of the Citadel was fast and simple. It uses a typical solid bushing and regular-length guide rod. All parts mate together nicely, meaning tolerances are tight enough for good accuracy yet allow for reliability and ease of disassembly/assembly.

Shooting Impressions
The accuracy assumptions were confirmed on the range where the sight picture helped the Citadel post very respectable figures for a tactical or general-purpose pistol.

In early testing there were three failures to go into battery, each with the last round in the magazine. The problem abated as the pistol broke in. The Citadel comes with two Italian-made 8-round magazines, cable lock, a test-fired cartridge case, manual and carrying case. 

With its wealth of proven features the Citadel represents a very good value in an M1911 pistol. It has all of the virtues of the M1911, and then some. If you’re in the market for a casual target pistol, a home defense gun or a carry gun, and especially if you’re in the market for a gun that can do all of those things, the Citadel should be on your short list.

For more information, contact: Legacy Sports International, 4750 Longley Lane, Suite 208, Dept. CH, Reno, NV 89502; 775-828-0555; www.legacysports.com.

Load Comments
  • slingshot

    Does citadel have a conversion for ambedex safety? I’m a lefty and love this gun.

  • Rodaz

    My full size Citidel did not ,out of the box, like my semi wadcutter reloads, the last round in most mags would not feed. After about 500 fmj and surplus hardball,it worked fine. The pistol and mags need a little break in. I shot a 92 slowfire bulleye target at 25yds, which is good for me with any pistol. The trigger is better than any entry level 1911 I’ve tried.

  • Doug

    I did a lot of research before purchasing this gun, and I was skittish with the made in the Philippines stamp. However I had a chance to shoot one that a friend owned and I was very impressed. I ended up buying the full size brushed nickel finish. It has all the features that I was looking for like the extended dovetail and skeletonized hammer and trigger usually found on the expensive 1911’s. At the range it is excellent, tight groupings, no jams and no misfires. I also put Hogue grips on. You will not be disappointed with this weapon, accurate, dependable and well built. Can’t go wrong for 600 dollars.

  • I purhased my citadel compact 1911 two months ago,it has been very accurate,no problems,I just need to know if it shoots hollow points,were they made to shoot any 45acp ammo?What year was this pistol made?I use it for my carry gun.It has been a remarkable pistol.PS Thank you.AJFERRER

  • Tracy

    Has anybody put a set of XS sights on this pistol? I see on the XS website that they sell sights for Charles Daly pistols, and since the Citadel Arms gun is the same gun (I think), it would stand to reason that the sights sold for the CD would also fit the Citadel. I sent the XS sights folks an email asking about this and will report back when they respond.

    Any info is appreciated.


  • Hitting it Harder

    Just bought this nice gun. Love the way it feels and the way it shoots. Very accurate and would depend on it with my life. One problem arose with the first range time and because of MY stupidity I came away with a bloody webbing of my right hand. There was a FTF on the second magazine and because I thought it was the last round in the magazine I thought the slide had just locked open. NEVER assume ANYTHING when firing a weapon. I had inadvertently pulled the trigger and fired the weapon unintentionally. This was MY fault and NOT the fault of the manufacturer. Ran an additional 50 rounds through it and had NO problems.

  • MikeL

    Hello All,
    Black Friday @ Gander Mountain, they had a Citadel 1911 full size and compact for sale for $449.00 each, I know 1911 either work or don’t, at this point I haven’t heard of Citadel, did a quick Google search, found fairly good reviews… Bought the compact, out the door for $478.00… Took it home, broke it down, cleaned it real good… Saturday, went to the range, put 250 federal FMJ rounds through it… To my amazement not one malfunction. No type 2’s, no type 3’s, it worked flawless… First 2 mags had a shot group of 5 inches @ 21 feet, after that we (my wife & me) were getting 3 in shot groups… Wifey was making perfect Hostage shots @ 25 feet, so proud of her !
    So with all that said… This is a great gun for the price, Wifey plans on carrying it, she likes the 1911 safety features, She knows how to keep a Glock running but doesn’t like to carry it due to the lack of a thumb safety, messy purse thing, the only mod she wants is Night Sights and smoother grips… No big deal… Wifey gets what she wants 🙂
    In closing, Pro’s: Great gun for the price, shoots strait, the weight is good, recoil & muzzle flip are minimal, the compact fits the hand real nice. Con’s: Sights need some improvement(but shoots strait).
    Sale ends 11/27/2011 at Gander Mountain…

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  • Darrell Pickler

    I own a Legacy Sports Citadel 1911 45 acp nickel polished full sized,bought brand new and out off the box and hands down was just as good if not a little better than all the higher priced 1911’s and with the cost well that was just iceing on the cake,all I can say is ,thank you guys keep up the great work were loving you here in the N . C,if any suggestions it would be this…make us a 50 cal gi conversion kit,that would be the only thing I could ask for.Bot in short thank you for giving us such a fine firearm

  • Bryan

    This gun started out as a great deal. Trouble with magazines not feeding properly, was an easy fix with Kimber Magazines. Sights were hard to see so an upgrade was attempted. Found the specs on website, found a recommended sight, called and ordered. While removing old sights, there was rust under them because the gun blueing was applied after the sights were installed. The notch for the rear sight is an odd ball and modification of the new sight was needed.

  • I own the compact model and carry it concealed as a defense weapon. I love the pistol and would like to have tritium sights on it, but in reality, most encounters are within 30 feet and sights are not that important. The only complaint that i have with this particular pistol is that it does not feed hollow points reliably, which is a problem that I can take care of with a dremel. For now I just stick with hardball ammo and it feeds just fine. I would recommend this pistol for anyone wanting a good weapon at a reasonable price.

  • Read these postings and just had to have one. Purchased a used one in Feb. 2011 and after 500 rds. glad I did, no FTF/FTE’s with 5 brands of ammo including HP’s. Mine is the Compact Version for CCW and will hold 3″ groups at ten yards. Finish is plain parkerizing black/brown but that is fine. I like the 7 rd. magazine capacity and grip feel as I have smaller hands. Easy to carry in Galco or Don Hume inside waistband holster.

  • Kevin

    I recently purchased a Citadel compact. The fit in my hand is great, but I think I need to change the grips, it bites me on the thumb a little. As in some other posts I’ve had the slide short stroking, hopefully justs needs to be broke in and soften the spring, night sights would be a good addition also. Hope to work the bugs out.

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  • Scott

    I am looking into the purchase of the Citadel but am wondering if anyone who has this weapon has used reloaded rounds in it? I would hate to spend the money on this weapon and find out that I can’t use my ammo.

  • Matt

    I have a Citadel 5″ with skel trigger and hammer have fired about 1000 rds of all dfferent ammo with no problem broke down and cleaned for the first time last night 1000 rds no cleanning not bad and was still shooting better than 3″ at 25′. Dealer ask me how i liked it? I love it best hand gun ive ever owned.

  • Dan

    I was given a a full size Citadel commerative 1911 as a Christmas gift. I have really enjoyed shooting it at the range. It has worked perfectly right out of the box. I find it easy to clean and typical in all respects to other 1911s, only somehwhat less expensive(I know what the price of this gun is). I have only used fmj rounds and I am curious as to whether or not it can cycle hollowpoints.

  • Rob Davis

    I have the same problem as Jerry Boyd’s with my officers model the slide not closing all the way. Only once in a while. As this gun is new I thought a breakin period would fix this problem. I am glad to hear it does. I have a fullsize Mil-Spec RIA and that gun worked perfect right out of the box. So I’ll give the Citadel a few more rounds before I change the springs. Also the McCormick mags are great for both.

  • David Mathena

    I bought the full size Citadel, and have put about a hundred rounds through it. It keeps up with my dad’s Llama 1911 (which he absolutely loves, by the way!), with no malfunctions at all. I’ve been sticking with GI 1911s such as offered by Rock Island and Springfield (had a used one that was defective due to the previous owner “tinkering” with the springs), mainly due to prices, and I was ready to “grow up” to a tactical model. This piece has every feature I’ve ever wanted on a 1911, except for the Chip McCormick “K” style trigger and a Picatinny rail. The best value I’ve ever seen, and seems very reliable.

  • James P Mullin

    All i care about is combat conditions reliability,give it a reasonable torture test and tell me if it still functions for quick combat hits. Jim

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  • Rob

    I have the full size citadel and love it! Over 500 rds through it already and no jams or ftf. I did however found that the act mags cracked at the top after a couple hundred rds at the range and would cause a rd not to go into battery! Picked up a couple chip mccormick and wilson 47d mags and has been good ever since. Great customer support from Arnel at Armscor he sent me two new act mags no questions asked, and believe me customer support like that goes a long way in my book. A lot of custom features for a fairly priced 1911 and I would recomend this gun to anyone lookin to buy a 1911 for the first time! Very happy with its performance and a big shout out to armscor for making a great, reliable, and affordable piece with awesome customer support that backs there product! Thanks again and take care- Rob

  • Louis

    I bought the Citadel Officer’s model for $425 recently. Looked very nice with the skeletonized trigger, hammer and beavertail safety. I have Colt’s and Kimberin full size and thought this would perform like a good knockoff. First time out I fired about 200 rounds of FMJ. No failures, ejects to the same general spot and is accurate. After another couple of hundred rounds of Hydrashoks, I put nicer grips on it, and bought nice carry gear for it. The stock grips are wood and the heavy checkering dug into my hand. Replaced with custom water buffalo grips and carry in a Galco leather holster. The included magazines looked like the same crap Colt includes, so for carry I made sure to buy plenty of Wilson Combat magazines and use the others for practice. (I do this will Colt and Kimber as well since they include crappy mags too.) Great gun….and for something you will be using, it doesn’t break the bank. It also looks like something you should have spent a lot more on if you carry it in a nice holster. Totally reliable and looks great.

  • Jerry Boyd

    I have the Citadel compact and have fired several hundred rounds through it. With the first few magazines full the slide would not always come full forward, stopping about 1/8 inch from full battery. Pushing the slide forward from the rear allowed the chambered round to fire. Problem seemed to go away after about 50 rounds. I was using SJHP. The problem did not occur at all with FMJ ammo.

    Other than the fact that the finish wears off rather quickly in places it is a tight and accurate weapon. It is comforable and easy to conceal. It has become my primary plainclothes CCW piece.

  • Cade

    was looking for a good multi purpose (home defence if it came to it, plinker, eventual carry gun) tried my brother’s double stacked stoeger cougar but I have a short fingerspan the double stacks dont sit comfortably, the citadel 1911 fs feels right at home though. no strangeness to the feeling of the grips, and very well balanced. so far I would reccomend it to anybody.

  • No range time as yet, but will load and eject FMJ with ease, however, gold dot 200gr will not load, in fact it will FTL and cause setback in the rounds (3) aNY ANSWERS out there or how to get ahold of the RIA REP IN THE STATES? manofleasure2000@yahoo.com

  • bill davis

    i owen this compact 45 and have shot 250 rounds with no miss fire or feeds, at 21 feet it has a 2.5 group for the money i love it , to carry it on the hip it is a little heavy , but with a smart carry hoster it is great great price and good shooter

  • royce

    I have an officer model in a Citadel and use it as my of duty weapoon. I had a glock 23 before but found it to wide for off duty carry. The Citadel is perfect, for my build. Also I have never had a jam for 200rds of fire. I would recommend this pistol to any body wanting a 1911 for defensive purpoese but can not afford a kimber, springfield, etc…