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Vudoo gunworks Priest info/review


Akkid17

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Just wanted to put a quick early impressions of the Vudoo priest double stack in case anyone was thinking about picking one up.

 

TLDR: Like it, would buy again. Had a couple issues, Vudoo was very responsive and helped resolve them. Overall good experience.

 

Order process and options:

Ordered it early March and shipped end of April almost 7 weeks to the day, they updated me during the wait time and had an additional option of bull or bushing barrel that I was able to change to bull barrel at no additional charge. Got the tan version with black barrel and controls, RMR optic cut with back up iron sights and the additional iron rear accessory for bolting into optic screws. Picked the medium flat trigger as well. Impressed with options and features for a sub $3500 semi custom gun.

 

Initial impressions:

Finish on the pistol when it arrived was excellent, no dings, scratches, thin spots or any other cosmetic blems. The blacked out portions looked great and the all black and tan (no uncoated/stainless on pistol) looked great too. Trigger was good, pretty standard semi-custom 1911/2011 trigger, didn't put a scale on it but was approximately 3.5-4 lbs. Slide to frame fit and lock up on barrel all were excellent, little to no wiggle on slide and no drag or hang up slowly putting back into battery on barrel hood to breech face. Hammer spring felt soft, but all controls functioned and trigger, disconnector and safety all functioned fine. Optic install went without issue (SRO), and adding the back up iron emitter hood was easy and makes a great lower 1/4 co-witness, rear is non-adjustable so the only way to adjust would be drifting front and if elevation is too far off you'd have to either shave down the front or buy a new taller one to change it. Also, a great extra is that the pistol comes with 2 - 20 round MBX magazines.

 

First shots: 

Metal grip and slide to frame fit as well as the weight of a  made the gun shoot very smooth, even a little sluggish with my 147gr JHP competition load (avg: 923 fps 135pf) and even had a couple of fails to feed using my atlas mags. Recoil spring weight was either 10 or 12lbs from factory which for this load is too heavy and caused it not to cycle fast enough, (later  swapped with 8lb wolff spring and resolved the issue) I did not have this issue with the factory set up using the MBX mags it seemed due to the feed angle and the stronger mag spring. After swapping out the recoil spring I didn't have any more feeding issues with the 147JHP load. On a side note, I didn't have any feeding issues using factory ball ammo (115gr, 124gr and 147gr). Using factory S&B I had a few instances of light strikes (previously noted light feeling hammer spring), and when running the gun fast (doubles and bill drills)  I had 2 instances of hammer follow. Accuracy was stellar, zeroed the SRO (5moa) at 20 yards using a USPSA target headzone as the aiming point, I shot several 2-2.5" 5-shot groups shooting the A-box out of the target. All shooting was done standing shooting freestyle with no rest. First range session was about 220-250 rounds of about 180-200 handloads and 50 mixed factory 115-147gr.

 

Issues and how they were resolved:

Fail to feed on softer comp loads: changed to 8lb recoil spring (did not have issue using mags that came with the gun or factory FMJ ammo)

Light strikes on harder primer factory ammo: changed to 18lb hammer spring

Doubling/Hammer follow: found trigger was adjusted with too little overtravel and was basically riding the sear, backed out trigger screw to allow for good overtravel and reset (also tweaked the disconnector leg of the sear spring as well just to be on the safe side) No further issues.

 

Customer service and additional info:

Did the troubleshooting on my own then contacted Vudoo about the issues I had and asked if they had any other thoughts on what might need to be done or if they a different diagnosis on the problems. Found out they had a supply issue with the initial batch of main/hammer springs that were coming in under 15lbs and therefore with harder primer ammo or primers not fully seated there would be light strikes, they said it has since been resolved and future pistols were shipping with the appropriate springs. Also, it's somewhat of a know issue with the recoil springs being a tad heavy for minor PF ammo, especially heavy, slow bullets and that their guys swap to a lighter recoil spring for that but they set the guns up so that they will work well with standard factory ammo and not beat the gun up. The guy a talked to was apparently the CEO, which was wild that he would be the one to help me trouble shoot, super helpful and friendly. He even gave me his personal number when I missed his call toward the end of the business day to make sure we could get the issues I was having figured out before the holiday weekend. After our conversation he asked me to call back when they got back to the office the following week to make sure everything we discussed and I changed worked out, when I called back the next week he was working in the shop and had to call me back but did so within 30min. Overall customer service was phenomenal. 

 

What I like, what I'd change and overall impression:

Lots to like on this gun, it's a semi-custom 2011 from a company that is know for building quality guns, albeit 22lr precision rifles, fit and finish were great, coating was excellent and thus far has held up well. I have about 2500 rounds through it at this point and had only one more malfunction after the initial changes (shooting weak hand I had a fail to feed, pulled that mag and didn't have the issue again). I love that it is a direct milled optic mount, I really don't like plate systems as I see them as an additional failure point as well as increasing the optic height which I also don't like. Price for features this gun pretty much stands alone in the market, similar price to a staccato XL but has a milled slide, metal grip, and more options. Texture on the grip is also interesting and I have grown to like it a lot, it has the aggressive micro pockets on the front and back strap but the wavy grooves on the sides for support hand traction. The bonus of the rear side mod they have for the RMR/SRO is great, and the optic cut itself was great, almost no slop with the optic in the slot without screws, had the recoil bosses to keep it in place and take strain off the screws and it rides the SRO very close to the top of the slide wo its about as low as you can go without cutting an additional relief for the housing. The slide it also machined to have a full width platform for the optic to ride on and screw into the slide which is a problem with a lot of other pistols accommodating the RMR footprint since the screws are so far apart. And red dot 9mm 2011's are a cheat code for fun and accuracy, I shot one of my most accurate matches with this gun and punched easy alphas at 25-35 yards at speed during a classifier match and our state match.

 

If I were to make any changes it would probably be the slide weight, it is fairly heavy and makes the gun feel a touch sluggish with minor PF ammo and 147gr projectiles, it's a little better with lighter bullets that are still closer to the minor PF floor. And I was pretty bummed that I had 3 essentially compounding issues, that's how it can be with being an early adopter though (sig fans know what that's like).

 

Overall I have no regrets about getting this pistol. Fit, finish, accuracy, reliability (after some tweaks) has been great and price to features is unbeatable at this point. If I keep shooting LOptics I will definitely be buying a second one as a backup.

 

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Nice review; this is the first one on the Priest that I've seen. I've been exchanging emails with them since February; they have been very responsive. They said that they were expecting to have a full dustcover / rail option later in the year which is the setup that I'd prefer.

Interesting on the slide being sluggish perception. Slide weight is something that I had asked them very early on. They stated that, without optic or parts, is was 12.1 oz. It is not super-light but also is not that heavy comparing to other 9s out there. I wonder if that sluggish perception is related to the fitment of slide/barrel/frame, or to springs rather than the weight.

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Also, fyi, you can get the options Max & Justine have as well. Aggressive cheely steel grip, more blended safeties, etc. I asked about it. They have been responsive in emails.

 

And all for a little increase in cost. Still a great value.

 

Thanks for the review.

 

Pretty cool if they come out with a full dust cover variant soon.

Edited by mrvip27
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On 7/22/2023 at 2:47 PM, YVK said:

Nice review; this is the first one on the Priest that I've seen. I've been exchanging emails with them since February; they have been very responsive. They said that they were expecting to have a full dustcover / rail option later in the year which is the setup that I'd prefer.

Interesting on the slide being sluggish perception. Slide weight is something that I had asked them very early on. They stated that, without optic or parts, is was 12.1 oz. It is not super-light but also is not that heavy comparing to other 9s out there. I wonder if that sluggish perception is related to the fitment of slide/barrel/frame, or to springs rather than the weight.

It was more noticeable with the hand loads using 147gr JHP's, when I ran faster 115 and 124 FMJ ammo it did not feel sluggish. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am pretty ambivalent about this offering. I know Vudoo gunworks makes a great 22lr. But the styling on these are so boring and offers nothing different. 2011s, while I love them, really are all starting to look alike. But great range reports change everything but there is already a flooded market of fantastic shooting 2011s.

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On 8/7/2023 at 9:55 AM, season94 said:

I am pretty ambivalent about this offering. I know Vudoo gunworks makes a great 22lr. But the styling on these are so boring and offers nothing different. 2011s, while I love them, really are all starting to look alike. But great range reports change everything but there is already a flooded market of fantastic shooting 2011s.

 

Well it kinda fills the gap between staccato and going custom 2011 imo.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I picked my Priest up from my FFL 10 days ago.  I bought mine from a gun shop who had two in stock (HawkTech in Meridian, ID).  It was almost the gun I was going to order: SS Slide and Barrel, black Ceracoated frame & grip and no front sight.  The only difference was the slide was cut for an RMR/SRO.  I've got a spare DPP I was going to use, but I bought an SHO instead.

 

During my first 300 round practice session, I had two failures to fire like the OP.  I was guessing this might happen since I didn't know if this gun was build before or after the bad mainsprings were found.  I replaced the mainspring with an 18lbs. Wolfe.  I didn't have any issue with the second 300 round session.

 

Accuracy is great.  While zeroing the SRO, I shot a 5 shot group at 15 yds. offhand.  The second shot went 1/2"-3/4" left.  The next 3 cut a glover leaf with the first.  I'm guessing its a 1" at 25 yds. gun if shot off a rest.

 

The two MBX 140's that came with the gun ran, but would lock back with 1 round left in the mag.  I ordered new followers and springs.  They both hold 24 now.  One has so little spring tension, it won't hold the first round in the tube.  It caused a failure to feed at my last practice session.  I'll have to play with springs to get that mag to run.

 

For the price, I couldn't be happier.  I know it's a small run, production gun, but so are Les Baer's.  It's going to be my USPSA LO gun, Open SCSA gun and CO PSCL gun.

 

 

VGW Priest.jpg

Priest group2.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Update:

Crossed the 3k mark

Shot both my sectional in Alaska (July) and Utah state in September had one failure to feed at Utah, which may have been mag related but unknown since it was during a stage and I didn’t look closely at it just had to tap the base pad and it fully chambered. Pulled that mag from rotation and had no further issues. 


The plan is to shoot LOptics for the remainder of the year, and if this holds up I’ll be ordering a second gun with the steel grip and larger magwell. 
 

Side note: Vudoo was a sponsor at Utah state match and the rep gave a spiel on the guns, pretty cool concept of how they want to make these guns. Essentially, tight tolerance production guns that will have damn near universal parts interchangeability with the entire product line so if you have an issues you can drop in a new whatever to get back up and running. If the current example is indicative of the whole line I’d say this sets itself above anything even close to the price point. The only thing close would be MPA and then you’re dealing with a plate system which I’m not a fan of. 
 

 

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On 10/15/2023 at 10:05 PM, Goat259 said:

@Akkid17, what is the concept of how they want to make the guns? 
... 

I believe that is referring to their split frame manufacturing dealie.  You can see their 1911 version explained here:

 

They are claiming tighter tolerances and therefore less hand fitting.  Personally I have no clue if its a gimmick or a great idea!  Waiting to hear more about these guns myself.

 

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On 10/15/2023 at 7:05 PM, Goat259 said:

@Akkid17, what is the concept of how they want to make the guns? 
 

I want to get an LO gun. But is between the Vudoo and an MPA. I have an MPA and it is great and have read great things about the Vudoo. 


They want the parts to be interchangeable between guns and still hold very tight tolerances. Think of it like a high tolerance, all steel, Glock. If they can make it work that would be awesome for longevity of a gun and being able to swap parts without a gunsmith. 
 

MPA vs Vudoo: it depends entirely on what you find more appealing.

MPA is going to be a little more race gun driven in it’s design, will have more time put into hand fitting and will have an optics plate system. 

 

Vudoo: basic options and a little more utilitarian in design, less hand fit and will be a direct mount for an optic. This gun still rips, the current LO champion used one to win and did so over a guy using a $6k+ limcat. 
 

Evilnuff: the way they make their 1911 is different than the double stack. I’m not 100% sold on the idea of a 2 piece welded frame on a single stack. As far as I know they traditionally machine the double stack.  

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14 hours ago, Akkid17 said:


They want the parts to be interchangeable between guns and still hold very tight tolerances. Think of it like a high tolerance, all steel, Glock. If they can make it work that would be awesome for longevity of a gun and being able to swap parts without a gunsmith. 
 

MPA vs Vudoo: it depends entirely on what you find more appealing.

MPA is going to be a little more race gun driven in it’s design, will have more time put into hand fitting and will have an optics plate system. 

 

Vudoo: basic options and a little more utilitarian in design, less hand fit and will be a direct mount for an optic. This gun still rips, the current LO champion used one to win and did so over a guy using a $6k+ limcat. 
 

Evilnuff: the way they make their 1911 is different than the double stack. I’m not 100% sold on the idea of a 2 piece welded frame on a single stack. As far as I know they traditionally machine the double stack.  

Loving all the new smiths coming out with these products. One day I'll get a fully custom gun.

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15 hours ago, Akkid17 said:

...the way they make their 1911 is different than the double stack. I’m not 100% sold on the idea of a 2 piece welded frame on a single stack. As far as I know they traditionally machine the double stack.  ...

I could have sworn I saw a shot show video of them saying they did the same split design for the ds 1911s but I could well be wrong!  The split design i'm not sold on either...not sure if its a gimmick or a real improvement.

 

Anyone know what the "competition blend (rear safety to frame)" upgrade option is on the Priest order form?  I don't see any differences in any of the pictures that I can spot.

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On 10/19/2023 at 9:59 AM, EvilNuff said:

I could have sworn I saw a shot show video of them saying they did the same split design for the ds 1911s but I could well be wrong!  The split design i'm not sold on either...not sure if its a gimmick or a real improvement.

 

Anyone know what the "competition blend (rear safety to frame)" upgrade option is on the Priest order form?  I don't see any differences in any of the pictures that I can spot.

 

I asked that same question today when I called to finalize my build. I was given this photo as a comparison. Blended is on the bottom. Hope it helps. 

 

 

Priest - Safety Blend.jpg

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2 hours ago, Adamj said:

 

I asked that same question today when I called to finalize my build. I was given this photo as a comparison. Blended is on the bottom. Hope it helps. 

 

Thanks, I actually ordered mine last week and they shared a different photo hard to tell the difference but I said fork it and went for the blend.

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17 hours ago, EvilNuff said:

Thanks, I actually ordered mine last week and they shared a different photo hard to tell the difference but I said fork it and went for the blend.

 

Compare the width of the blending on the thumb safeties.  That's what I noticed, more angled and smoothed.

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6 hours ago, JBhunter45 said:

 

Compare the width of the blending on the thumb safeties.  That's what I noticed, more angled and smoothed.

That is the only difference I noticed as well.  That is a hot spot for me in my budget 1911 so I did opt for the improved blending...we will see how it feels when it comes in!

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@Akkid17

 

Are you Atlas mags still performing well compared to the MBX mags?

 

I have a pile of 170s and need to stock up on 140s for limited optics. Atlas mags being $30 cheaper adds up when you're buying in bulk.

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2 hours ago, Adamj said:

@Akkid17

 

Are you Atlas mags still performing well compared to the MBX mags?

 

I have a pile of 170s and need to stock up on 140s for limited optics. Atlas mags being $30 cheaper adds up when you're buying in bulk.

Yep, in fact I bought another set of 6 competition mags from them when they had a sale recently and they hold 23 no problem and have been running flawlessly in all my 9mm guns. I recently fitted a new magwell to the pistol as well so I can't use anything but 140mm+ mags on it now. 

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  • 1 month later...

Update: passing up the 3500 mark and noticing some wear on the barrel and frame rails. Nothing troublesome yet but it’s noticeable with the black coating. Also, I loaded up some super soft 147gr fmj ammo (825fps) for fun and it’s almost ridiculous how fun it is to shoot. No feeding issues with that ammo out of the atlas mags and haven’t had any more malfunctions since I pulled the one mag out of circulation. Still happy with the purchase and would highly recommend to anyone looking to get a more reasonably priced LOptics pistol, I’d probably opt for the steel grip and wide safeties if I were to get another one but those weren’t widely known about options or even available when I originally ordered 

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