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NicVerAZ

Grand Power X-Calibur: range reports

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Received mine yesterday, shot it tonight.

I shot at 10 yards only (outdoor public range, not much choice) and managed to do enough work to end with 2-inch groups no sweat. My recipe is what worked for my K100, by the way: 124gr Frontier (non match), 4.2gr of N320 for one batch, and 124gr Bayou, 4.0gr of TG for the other. The OAL is 1.120 (yup, it feeds just fine). The Frontiers were a tad more accurate but that is because my Bayou recipe was really just thrown together without much research.

The shooting experience is very similar as far as flip and recoil as the K100, which is amazing. Longer slide, heavier gun but it feels just the same in my hand. The big difference is the trigger. It is much lighter but the reset is much longer. If one can lower the trigger pull as Canuck223 says you can, then the action is likely to be very similar to that of a 1911 with a good trigger job.

The slide is amazingly well machined and you can tell the good people at GP are giving a lot of attention to details. This is simply boutique quality machining at a fraction of the price. The barrel is obviously tuned to provide the same awesome flat shooting experience as on the K100. Quality stuff, no doubt.

The body feels just the same, same sturdy plastic covered metal frame as on the K100 and the same exact grip as on the GP6 is installed by default. It is probably the most popular, or so I guess. 3 other options, probably for hobbits, elves and dwarves. I guess the human grip are the ones they come with.

The sights are just awesome and the red FO easy to find and keep an eye on. The sights are pre-adjusted and just right out of the box. No intention of changing anything but it's great to have the possibility to do so: the K100 with the Dawson front sight proved to shoot low and offered no fix. So this fixes that.
The safeties are beefier and probably not the best enhancement. Good thing that the original ones are provided, but you pretty much get two not-so-good options. I am not sure that whoever designed these safeties is a competitive shooter or spent much time talking to one when designing them. They are indeed easier to find, as huge as they are, but the strong hand thumb sits in a very awkward position on top. I am not sure that it provides any recoil control assistance since the support thumb is the one most likely to provide it. If anything, I would have redesigned the slide release levers to provide more thumb support.

The take down mechanism is an important enhancement. The previous system was cute but not great. The trigger guard on my GP6 (MK6) actually partly broke off and STI refused to fix it, instead trading me up (which is how I am now the happy owner of a Trojan). This new system is just as creative and innovative but it is very efficient. It has become incredibly easy to take down the pistol for regular maintenance or even field maintenance. Reassembling the MK6 and MK7 was a pain, this time it is as easy as disassembling it.

I am going to run this gun at unaffiliated indoor and night steel matches in the limited division. As far as paper matches, IDPA having no list, I should be able to run it in SSP, although the slide ports may give the impression it is not factory made. Regarding USPSA, it is not on the list as of now but running it in limited minor should be fun.

I bought the AA holster with the insert specifically designed for the X-Cal and have been doing drills 2 nights in a row. Nothing to report, just that it is a perfect fit.

I truly hope the X-Cal will be on the list. After all the Glock 34 made the USPSA list but not the IPSC list.

This gun is for who wants to be competitive at steel matches and in the limited minor division at a third of the cost of a boutique browning design limited gun.

As for production, we have to be patient and see what USPSA is going to decide but it would be a serious contender in that division. What's not to like in a gun probably as good as an SP01 at less than half the price?

Pros:

  • 5" fluted bull barrel
  • Amazingly crafted ported slide
  • Shoots fast and recoils almost flat
  • 2.5lb trigger out of the box,
  • Fiber optic front sight
  • E/W adjustable rear sight
  • Simple take down mechanism
  • 3 recoil springs to choose from
  • Very accurate

Cons:

  • Longer reset which will require K100 shooters to adapt
  • Safeties are just awkward (good thing the equally bad former safeties are also included)
To sum it up: this gun is much, much better than I expected. I expected a great gun, this is beyond that, considering the price.
Now, let me shoot 10,000 rounds through it and I'll let you know what I think. Oh, and I have an extra hammer in stock (private joke).

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See I like my safety levers. I can ride them very well.

I also changed the backstraps out to the flat one. That helped my feel for the overall grip.

I am a huge 1911/2011 fan so this is a serious change.

My biggest thing from the other thread was NO muzzle flip with 147's. Side by side with my sp01 this gun moved less.

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I am going to give them a chance, but the geometry is simply off and awkward. It is not very natural and because your thumb is off to the left, it slightly hinders your grip.

I would have looked at what a satefy lever looks like on a limited division Tanfoglio (something available in Europe) and emulated that.

OscarMike, I got mine at a local stored who dealt with AmChar. I also emailed AmChar and they called me back, which allowed me to be put on top of the waiting list.

I have wanted this gun really bad for the last 2 years. My review is slightly slanted as a result, but not that much. It is really a great gun.

Edited by NicVerAZ

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Wish that I lived in AZ. I've wanted to see and shoot one of these for a couple years now. I almost bought a k100 from J&G but then they stopped carrying them. Probably good timing :)

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Wish that I lived in AZ. I've wanted to see and shoot one of these for a couple years now. I almost bought a k100 from J&G but then they stopped carrying them. Probably good timing :)

I know a bunch of shooters who moved to Arizona just because the shooting sports were that important in their life. Usually they came from the communist foreign country to the West of us.

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Maybe I just have big mits, but I like them.[/quote

Tastes vary, that's why we include both.

It's also a certainty that some folks won't like either. Their privilege.

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My biggest thing from the other thread was NO muzzle flip with 147's. Side by side with my sp01 this gun moved less.

I've been hitting this point for two years now. Once folks get behind the trigger and realize that the platform can get them faster split times on target and is faster on to and off of the target, hold on to your socks boys...

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It tracks as close to an open gun as you can get a non comped pistol I believe.

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Yes, it transitions very well and that is something that a lot of people noticed when I was shooting the K100. But because it is much lighter than what it is trying to compete with (namely the SP01), you need to do a lot of work on your grip.

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Again. Didn't notive that. Same grip I would say moved less than the heavier sp01

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Well, my other platform is a 1911. I can tell the difference when going from one to the other. It is easier to miss with the K100 if you don't concentrate.

Shooting a USPSA match tonight in limited minor. I am going to keep the foot off the pedal and work on fundamentals. Will definitely report.

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My first USPSA match went fine and was fun.

I find the gun to be far more accurate than the K100. It handles much better, recoils much better and I barely felt any flip.

I took a shot at a poppers more than 60ft away (I paced before takedown to measure the distance) and fell it with one bullet, which shows you how accurate it is out of the box.

I could have shot much faster but I want to build solid fundamentals before taking some speed. But it is definitely much more fun to shoot than the K100.

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Wish that I lived in AZ. I've wanted to see and shoot one of these for a couple years now. I almost bought a k100 from J&G but then they stopped carrying them. Probably good timing :)

I know a bunch of shooters who moved to Arizona just because the shooting sports were that important in their life. Usually they came from the communist foreign country to the West of us.

Some of us went through AZ to get to NM. Now there is a state! Shooting, Fishing, Hunting, Red, Green, Christmas!!! LOL :roflol:

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Wish that I lived in AZ. I've wanted to see and shoot one of these for a couple years now. I almost bought a k100 from J&G but then they stopped carrying them. Probably good timing :)

I know a bunch of shooters who moved to Arizona just because the shooting sports were that important in their life. Usually they came from the communist foreign country to the West of us.

Some of us went through AZ to get to NM. Now there is a state! Shooting, Fishing, Hunting, Red, Green, Christmas!!! LOL :roflol:

Right. We know where NM is going.

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After 2 matches I have to report that I am pretty satisfied with the X-Calibur.

There is one thing that I would probably try to change and that is the magazine release spring, which I find a little too heavy. If you shoot production, get used to the heavy mag release by practicing a lot of mag changes. Funny thing is that it uses the same mag release spring as the K100, which is much lighter (too light, actually).

I have one issue with the rear sight, which I notified Grand Power about. I strongly recommend a drop of Loctite. The Elliason cut is probably a choice which was dictated by the octogonal profile of the top of the slide but it limits the choices for aftermarket sights (Kensight would be it). I don't recommend a mod, but it's good to know there is alternative.

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I tested several new loads today and here are the chrono results:

Bayou 135gr - Titegroup 3.2gr - 1.120" - Winchester primers - 922.2 fps => 124.5 PF

Bayou 135gr - Titegroup 3.3gr - 1.120" - Winchester primers - 953.5 fps => 128.7 PF

Bayou 135gr - Titegroup 3.4gr - 1.120" - Winchester primers - 980.3 fps => 132.3 PF

Frontier 147gr - Titegroup 3.4gr - 1.120" - Winchester primers - 900.7 fps => 132.4 PF

Frontier 147gr - Titegroup 3.2gr - 1.120" - Winchester primers - 835.7 fps => 122.8 PF

All targets were at 10+ yards (I pace meters, not yards, old European habit).

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/1WyQNWqZoabkjjC3oqP8TOFcZwp2CsDjcPNgshuawxWenyUuPfxr6EXwrgEBrENbCPfd_ehTo7w=w1570-h588

Above: Bayou 135gr - Titegroup 3.2gr - 1.120" - Winchester primers

The first group was all in the read square and inside a box 1.8 x 1.6. The second group was below, as I was aiming below the second group from simply staring at it. I had one errand shot (anticipation).

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/POVjBIbK-kMEgMhCmLZSByQhZmcVNcyX6NC3lmQjoZWV7cFcKrkYP3RbQntVCmF93trT1NiBDwM=w1570-h588

Above: Frontier 147 with 3.2gr of Titegroup (below PF). It is upside down but you get the idea.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/4YrmFzZEs1wPSDITxCB5lNP4eOSdsN0yWsuO-IJdR07F9GrlCJ5P2Eu3u7QgGO78FG1WYw1J8V4=w1570-h588

Above: Bayou 135gr - Titegroup 3.2gr (below PF).

My conclusion is that one can work a really accurate load with Titegroup and Bayou bullets. 3.3gr of Titegroup with 135gr Bayou bullets is quite accurate for me and works well with the lighter recoil spring. I do get an obviously reduced felt recoil from the 124gr and find it more accurate than the 147gr bullets, which I had accuracy issues with when shooting the K100.

To me, 135gr is the best of both world: accurate, snappy enough to push steel and nice felt recoil. Titegroup is what I have in quantity these days but I can also try experimenting with other powders that I have in smaller quantity.

Note: working on the picture deal.

Edited by NicVerAZ

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Question, with the extended safety on the x-cal, can you release the slide lock without engaging the safety or are you not using strong hand thumb to release? There is no way i can reach the slide lock without pushing up the safety. Have not tried the other supplied safeties to see if they are better. Really like it otherwise for the limited amount of rounds I've shot so far.

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It will auto forward if you slam the magazine. But never go into slide lock, unless you play IDPA.

I am going to address your question later and check directly but, from what remember, releasing the slide lock can be done with the safety on.

The safety can only be activated in single action. It does not interfere with the slide whatsoever.

I am not sure in which scenario you would need to do what you describe.

Edited by NicVerAZ

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With the traditional safeties, they may as well not be there. No interference at all.

I can reach over the extended safety, but just barely. Really no way for me to get to the slide stop without shifting my grip in some way, so I just make sure I pop the mag in hard enough to auto-forward.

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I like having a nice solid holster for my dry fire too.

Right... Well you've got my money... and my address.

I will report on your holster. Remember, I am honest and always tell what I don't like.

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