Para-Ordnance Para Carry C6.45 LDA
My brother-in-law loaned me his Para-Ordnance Para Carry C6.45 LDA (Light Double Action) pistol to review. He is in law enforcement and has been using this pistol to qualify for years. I thought this would be a great opportunity to check out a pistol that has seen some real field service. Normally the loaned guns I have reviewed have been nearly new, but in this case you can see that this pistol has been concealed and carried for years. Look past the wear and tear character of the pistol and look at the basic features. Throughout this review you can click on a photo which will bring up a higher resolution image so you can see more details.
Para-Ordnance no longer manufacturers this exact model of pistol. The closest current production Para-Ordnance pistol to match the C6.45 LDA is their PTX LDA Carry pistol shown below.
You can see there is a great deal of similarity between these two pistols. Based on the Para-Ordnance specifications, each has the following specs.
Since I don't have the newer version to compare directly, this review is going to focus on the original Para Carry C6.45 LDA which hit the market back in 2001. At that time, the Para-Ordnance LDA (Light Double Action) had only been out for about 3 years. With this now nearly the year 2011, I would say that Para-Ordnance believes this pistol to be a hit since they are now carrying 5 basic variants of this original pistol which include options such as stainless, black, alloy frame, and 9mm. Back in 2001 the C6.45 LDA was claimed to be the smallest .45 caliber DAO (Double Action Only) pistol on the market. Honestly I'm not sure if it still is today, but what I can say is that it is small and feels good in your hand. I can see why the combination of the Light Double Action, Double Action Only, caliber and size made this a real choice for those in law enforcement.
By looking at the first photo in this review and the following series of photos, you should get a good feel for the detail of this C6.45 LDA pistol. The length all depends on how you measure the pistol, but I measured it to be about 6.63" in length from the front of the barrel, parallel to the barrel, to the bottom rear portion of the grip which is about 1/8" longer than the specs. For the height, I got 4.75 just like the specs state. On the left side of the pistol is the slide release, magazine release and safety.
Based on these two photos, you can see that the width of the grip is of that of a single stack which is appealing to the 1911 supporters. The pistol holds 6 rounds in the magazine.
The sights are of a 3-dot configuration and you can see that real use over the years has dirtied the rear dots on the sight. Also you can see the spurless hammer.
One of the key features of this pistol is trigger pull. The Light Double Action has a clean crisp feel as that of a good single action, but with a longer trigger pull. I measured the trigger pull to be at 6.5 pounds. If you have never shot one of these pistols, it does take a little training to learn how far to release the trigger before taking the next shot. When you release the trigger after firing, it must pass through two distinct clicks before you are ready to fire the next shot. I recommend viewing the video at the Para-Ordnance website for a great explanation of this feature.
This pistol weighed in at 1.92 pounds (30.72 ounces) with the magazine installed but empty. This was a little over the 30 ounces they advertised.
Disassembly of the pistol was simple. You move the slide back until the disassembly notch aligns with the slide stop and then remove the slide stop lever. The slide assembly can then be removed from the frame. Then you can remove the recoil spring and guide from the slide assembly. Next you remove the guide bushing and then the barrel.
For range testing, I used Remington Golden Saber 230 Grain Brass Jacketed Hollow Point and Federal Premium Law Enforcement 230 Grain Hydra-Shock Jacketed Hollow Point ammunition. I started off at 7 yards shooting free hand and I was surprised after the first shot. What surprised me was the power/recoil behind this compact .45 pistol and I quickly knew I needed to have a firmer grip. At 7 yards I shot a couple of clips of ammo and honestly my grouping didn't look good. I was struggling to get any kind of consistent group with the 6.5 pound trigger pull. Next I moved the target back to 25 yards and tried shooting off the bench to see what the pistol could do and quickly decided that until I became more acquainted with shooting this pistol, 25 yards would be a waste of good ammo. After about 70 rounds of ammo, the below target shows my final 7 yard freehand shots for two full 6 round magazines (12 shots). Believe me when I say I'm not showing this because of pride in my shooting, but instead because I feel that if I spent some time practicing I could definitely improve my group size even more. Each of these shots was fired between 1 & 2 seconds apart, except when I changed out the clips.
Some additional things I noticed were that the brass would sometimes hit me on the top of my forehead. Also for my hand size (large), my pinky finger was having a hard time getting good contact on the bottom of the grip. I can see why the magazines on the new models have the base pads.
I can see why this pistol would be selected by someone in law enforcement. The combination of compactness, .45 ACP caliber, spurless hammer, light double action, and double action only makes this a good selection for having simple-to-use knock down power. I found that it takes a few shots to get used to nearly any pistol, and in this case, it took a few more than other full sized pistols. I liked the way the pistol felt in my had, but struggled a little since I have larger hands. A base pad would be a great addition to this pistol and Para-Ordnance must have already figured that out since it is included on all of their current models. If I were to purchase this Para Carry (not being in law enforcement), I would probably consider the single stack 9mm version due to the 8 round magazine and I bet it would be more enjoyable at the range.