PARA USA WARTHAWG .45 ACP

Para’s Warthog packs 10 + 1 rounds of .45 ACP…

Para’s Warthog packs 10 + 1 rounds of .45 ACP into a short, night-sighted package that proves to be a natural for concealed carry.

The history of Para USA has been one of offering more from the M1911 platform. First, it was the high-capacity, double-stack .45 that they’re best known for, then it was the LDA double-action variant, then the longslide Super Hawg, and then other small variations, such as the coil-spring-powered Power Extractor, that have set them apart from other M1911 makers. Among their latest offerings is the short Warthog, a night-sighted variant, nicknamed the “Nite Hawg.” Like their other pistols, the stubby 3-inch barrel and 10-round capacity of the Warthog offer more in the way of performance and capacity than many would expect from a compact M1911.

Gun Details
para-usa-warthawg-45-acp-bSince the telescoping recoil spring isn’t a captive unit, nor is it the obstinate one-piece version, the Warthog fieldstrips easily without any tools.

Cloaked in a non-reflective black finish, the Warthog comes in the customary green Para USA hardcase along with an instruction manual, DVD, and logo cable lock. Two of the fat double-stack magazines come standard: one flush-fit, and another with a Pearce grip adapter that adds extra grasping surface to the front of the pistol’s floorplate. Both hold 10 rounds of .45 ACP. As for the pistol itself, we’ll start at the top of the slide and work our way down.

Sights are Para’s own with three-dot Trijicon tritium inserts. Both the front and rear are dovetail-mounted with the fixed rear sight being held in place by a healthy-sized hex-head set screw. The rear sight also has a slight forward-facing shelf near the top of the sight.

The integrally ramped bull barrel, which dispenses with the traditional M1911 busing arrangement, is one of Para’s stainless-steel match-grade barrels. While “match” means different things to different people, Para’s barrels are capable of excellent accuracy—the last Para pistol I tested averaged 1.5 inches at 25 yards from the Ransom Rest, which is unbelievable accuracy for a production handgun. The Warthog’s barrel also comes with a notch machined into the rear of the barrel hood to serve as a loaded-chamber indicator. While there’s nothing wrong with incorporating this feature into a pistol, bear in mind that a little dirt and grime in that notch will make it impossible to see that faint yellow wink of brass from a chambered cartridge. There’s no sound in the world as loud as a “bang” when you expected a “click,” (except perhaps a “click” when you expected a “bang”), so if you have any question about whether a pistol is loaded, crack the slide and do a visual or tactile check.

Until the trigger is pulled, the firing pin is locked in place with a Colt-style Series ’80 firing pin safety, and the Warthog also incorporates Para’s Power Extractor. While the extractor (along with magazines) is probably the single most important part when it comes to reliability in an M1911, the traditional straight M1911 extractor relies on its temper and bend in order to keep proper tension on the extractor hook.

However, the Power Extractor features a massive, pivoting hook that is held in tension with a petite-yet-stout coil spring contained within the shaft of the extractor.

The ejection port is slightly flared at the rear and the slide cocking serrations are Para’s distinctive shallow, concave grooves. Both the hammer and trigger are skeletonized, and the trigger has an overtravel screw that can be adjusted through a hole in its serrated face. The trigger pull, which I would estimate on the high end of the 4-pound range, broke cleanly. The take-up had a slight stack to it, but once you got to the business part of the pull, there was no creep, and no perceptible overtravel.

The thin grip panels are black plastic with a smooth border surrounding the shallow, molded-in checkering, and feature a Para logo in the center. The small hex-headed screws that hold them in place have a small rubber o-ring that slips over the threaded part of the screw and, when tightened, is sandwiched between the grip panel and the head of the screw. It’s a great, simple solution to the problem of grip screws backing out, and one that should be used more often.

The broad frontstrap has nine vertical serrations machined into it to give added purchase, and the shortened mainspring housing comes checkered. External safeties consist of a strong-side-only thumb safety with a long, extended pad, and a shortened beavertail grip safety with the beginnings of a “speed bump” on its lowermost contact area. Since many really short M1911’s omit the grip safety entirely, it’s impressive that they managed to keep a functional one in place on the Warthog. The broad magazine well is beveled only in the front, but remember, with a double-stack magazine, your most significant bevel is on the magazine, not the gun.

Load Comments
  • Manuel J Varela

    I just received my Warthog last week and the first time I shot it the slide release came out every few rounds or so. I noticed that the piece under the slide release was not tall enough to keep the lip on the slide release in place behind the slide. After paying hundreds of dollars for a faulty product I am wondering if I will be reimbursed shipping costs for service. Does anyone know?