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There is an ironic twist to my use of this gun with a Para-Ordnance frame. Mech-Tech will certainly offer fully assembled guns at some time in the future, but for now, they are still a small, new company, and are not up to the task yet. Years ago, when the Para-Ordnance company was just getting started, they offered frame conversion kits only. Fully assembled Para-Ordnance guns were not available until several years after the company began business. This was because the real innovation of the gun was it's double column .45 magazine, and the first priority of the company was to produce these innovative magazines, and the frames which would house them. Slides, barrels, and complete guns were being made by other companies, and Para-Ordnance had neither the desire nor the resources to compete with these companies initially. In similar fashion Mech-Tech is developing a presence in the market with an innovative new product. There is no need for them to manufacture or subcontract frame units at this time. Once their market position is secure, there will be time, and market pressure, to introduce a fully assembled gun.
This upper unit answered a need I had developed for a companion carbine for my Para-Ordnance pistols. Anyone who has browsed this site to any degree, should be aware that I have a weakness for pistol/carbine combos. I do have a Marlin Camp Gun in .45, which is an ideal companion piece to my .45 Gold Cup, and future Commander, or Government models. The Marlin was, sadly, discontinued. I had been considering buying a second .45 Marlin, and converting it to take the Para-Ordnance mags. I have read about similar conversions, but was a bit hesitant to do the job myself, and a bit reluctant to pay the freight on a custom conversion job. The entire cost of the Mech-Tech upper unit, is not too different from the cost of having a custom conversion of the Marlin. The Mech-Tech unit, with my Para-Ord pistol, and additional frame, gives me a pistol/carbine combo which fires my beloved .45 A.C.P., and shares a common 15 round magazine. An adapter is needed, to use the newer Para-Ord, and some other frames, with this unit. The adapter is about $30, though I hear it can be picked up for less.
The reason for the adapter has to do with the integral feed ramp attached to the fully supported chamber on the barrel. The standard 1911 has part of the feed ramp milled into a steel bridge just under where the barrel sits. This mates with a cut out in the barrel itself, which acts as the rest of the feed ramp. The Mech-Tech uses this standard barrel configuration, which means that it is expecting to find a partial feed ramp milled into a block in the pistol frame. In 1992 Para-Ordnance redesigned their pistols to use a barrel with an integral feed ramp, and a fully supported chamber. The reason for this is the increased strength, and improved feeding this system offers. The fully supported chambers can handle hot loads, and, properly resprung, the new .45 Super. Unfortunately, this change makes these pistols somewhat incompatible with a standard Colt barrel. The feed ramp of the fully supported barrel, extends beneath the chamber somewhat. This means that the bridge of metal beneath the barrel in the standard gun, blocks the insertion of this barrel. In the redesigned frames, this bridge is milled out. This is fine until you try to use a standard barrel in one of these frames, and find that the lack of a feed ramp causes jams. There are two solutions to this problem. One is to get a small steel insert, which fits into the milled out section of the frame, and provides a partial feed ramp. The second, is to get an older Para-Ordnance frame, which does not have this section milled out. I have chosen the second solution, and purchased a ten year old Para-Ord frame. The included photos show the barrels side by side for comparison, and also shows the frames, with arrows pointing to the feed ramp on the standard version, and the milled out section on the newer version. A Gold Cup frame is also shown for comparison.
The trigger pull is the trigger pull of the gun from which the lower frame unit was taken. In the case of my Gold Cup, this is excellent; in the case of my Para-Ord, the trigger is still pretty good. The recoil, though not negligible, is quite manageable, and not at all objectionable. The accuracy from the stainless steel barrel is superb, within the 100 yards or so that I consider to be the effective range of most carbines. In comparison to the Marlin guns, I must say that I prefer the Mech-Tech. Despite it's odd looks. This gun tops my well regarded Marlin in the accuracy department, is at least as dependable, and is capable of handling hot loads, which the Marlin is not. This is not a criticism of the Marlins; a completed MechTech will go out the door at a bit less than twice the cost of the Marlin, if a surplus frame is used. My own example, using a Para-Ord frame, cost almost three times as much, and this is without the cost of the sight. The conversion has no real sights, but is equipped with a weaver mount. I have topped the weapon with a Bushnell Holosight, which adds to the high tech (some might say bizarre) look of the piece, and makes it quite a bit of fun to shoot.
The Mech tech unit is compact, but surprisingly heavy. Upon initial inspections, it strikes one as a black metal tube with a shoulder rest, and a rifle barrel sticking out from it. The finish is a sort of baked on black enamel, which contrasts with the bright stainless barrel. There is a rubber shock buffer, at the rear of the assembly, and a hard plastic handguard just forward of the charging handle. Installation of the pistol frame, to act as the lower of the gun, is simple, once the trick of pulling the bolt back before assembly is learned. The pistol frame slides right in, and should be pushed forward until the slide stop opening lines up with a cut out in the upper unit. The bolt is then allowed to ride forward, and the slide stop is installed into the frame. The slide stop serves only to fasten the frame in place. It does not hold the action open, on the last shot, as it would if a normal pistol slide were in place. To hold the bolt open, the user must push the charging handle into a recess on the frame. The safety works in the carbine, in a fashion identical to that of the pistol.
I am very pleased with this gun. It is fun to shoot. It is durable and accurate. It is a natural companion to a pistol. As of this writing it is available for the standard 1911 Government frame in .45, .38 super, 9mm, 10mm, and the new 460 which will also fire the standard .45. The company has promised versions for the Glock, in various calibers, the classic Browning Hi-Power in 9mm, and 40 S&W, and the Beretta, also in several calibers. The Glock, Beretta, and Browning versions will be a bit less likely to be used as fully assembled companion pieces than the Government models, since frames for these other models are not as pervasive as those of the old 1911. Still, for those who already own one of these other pistols, the prospect of gaining a dependable, and accurate carbine for a few hundred dollars might be just the ticket. Considering the cost of some of the so called "assault weapon" carbines out there, the Mech-Tech might be very tempting indeed. It may also be an answer for those who are forced to live under unconstitutional regimes which have banned carbines and assault rifles.