This New 1911-Style Pistol
Refinements to a Grand OldWarhorse.
By Kevin E. Steele
There isn't much you can do to improve the M1911 pistol that has not already been done. But that didn't stop a team of Israeli small arms engineers when they set out to build what they considered to be a 1911 for the 21st century. The result of their product en-hancement program is the BUL-M5 pistol. This M1911 clone first came to light about two years ago, when sample pistols showed up at the IWA Show in Nurnberg, Germany. Shortly there-after,I was apprised that the International
Security Academy, right here in Los Angeles, would be the United States importer/distributor. Several months ago, I received evaluation samples of these new pistols, and I've got to say right off the bat that I'm impressed. For starters, the BUL-M5 features a state-of-the-art high-capaci-ty polymer frame. Permanently fused within the polymer frame is a stainless-steel sub-assembly that incorporates the slide's guide rails and to which are attached the various internal and external parts including the hammer, grip safety, main-spring housing, trigger, slide stop, etc. The joining method used by the makers of the BUL-M5 insures that these two parts remain inseparable. In fact, BUL claims that its own testing subjected the pistols to firing thousands of rounds without frame failure, as evidenced by magnet-ic particle and radiographic procedures that assured their durability and structural integrity. You may have noted from the photographs that the grip of the new BUL-M5 that its own testing subjected the pistols to firing thousands of rounds without frame failure, as evidenced by magnet-ic particle and radiographic procedures that assured their durability and structural integrity. You may have noted from the photographs that the grip of the new BUL-M5 is not quite so blocky feeling and most shooters, regardless of hand size, will find the BUL-M5 very comfortable. Which leads to another unique feature of this pistol-its controllability. Beginning more than a decade ago with the introduction of the Glock poly-mer pistols, some shooters began to realize that the polymer compounds themselves created pistols that "re-coiled" differently from other guns of their experience. In fact, some posited that felt recoil forces were being ab-sorbed by the polymer itself. In my opinion, the recoil of the pistol is not truly reduced, but rather distributed differently through the plastic material than would occur through steel or aluminum. Namely, rather than the rear-ward, snapping torque of the muzzle that you would associate with a metal-framed gun, polymer guns tend to transmit recoil straight back into the web of the shooting hand and up the forearm. This action increases the shooter's control over the pistol, and creates a feeling that recoil, caliber to caliber, has been reduced. The BUL-M5 possesses this characteristic. The pistol is very controllable, and the recoil sensation
is straight back. Also, due to the broad compensator port at the muzzle of one of our test guns, muzzle rise was almost nonexistent. This makes the gun very quick in fast-reaction drills such as double-taps and hammers. Custom touches are not an add-on expense with these new BUL pistols. Standard "custom" features include ex-tended
stainless-steel beavertail grip safety, skeletonized aluminum speed trigger, extended magazine release and checkered mainspring housing. The polymer frame itself features integral checkered grip panels and a checkered frontstrap-making the BUL one of the easiest polymer-framed handguns to hold on to when firing. BUL-M5 pistols are chambered for four calibers: 9mm P, .38 Super, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. The same frame is used for all calibers and both Government and
Commander-sized models are available with a choice of blued or stainless slides. Our favorite sample pistol had a slide of Commander length fitted to a Government-size frame. However, our bar-rel was a special, integral "Comp" model, with a single compensator slot cut into the top. Due to the addition of the compensator, the barrel actually measures five inches in length-the same as a standard Gov't Model. Weighing in at 36 ounces unloaded, the BUL-M5 with longer
five-inch barrel and compensator weighs the same as a steel-frame, single-column-magazine Colt Commander with a shorter barrel, and a couple ounces less than a standard steel Gov't Model. For concealed carry, the BUL is a natural. Civilian purchasers will find their BUL comes equipped with two 10-round magazines made by MEC-GAR; 15-round magazines are available for law enforcement. The gun and maga-zines are housed in a sturdy black plastic carrying case. I've spent some serious range time with this pistol, firing over 500 rounds, and have come away impressed with the results. However, this particular gun possessed a couple of idiosyncrasies,both of which were fix-able. The first was a propensity for the pistol to not return to battery. I discovered that the dimension of the barrel's out-side diameter just behind the compensator was too big by a few thousandths -in some circumstances, the slide would hang up at this point and render the pistol unfireable until I slid the slide fully forward with the thumb of my weak hand. Adding a little oil to the barrel at the tight spot helped a lot, and judicious rubbing with a bit of emery paper fixed it
entirely. Next up was the feed ramp. Like many pistols built in foreign lands, the BUL preferred the length and profile of FMJ bullets, which tends to preclude reliable feeding with a host of hollowpoint de-signs. Again, I fixed this problem myself by cleaning and polishing the feed ramp; the gun now works well with com-mon hollowpoint designs on the market down to those weighing 185 grains. Both of these problems were relayed to the maker, and they are taking steps to
improve additional production guns before they leave the factory. In addition, I was able to shoot several other BUL pistols in standard Gov't Model configuration and neither of these guns displayed the problems that interfered with the Comp model. I'm assured that the guns will now function reliably out of the box. With feeding problems behind it, ours ample pistol went on to shoot most accurately at the range. In the standing position, using a two-hand hold, the BUL aver-aged just
over one-inch, five-shot groups at seven yards, with the best group mea-suring .939 inches using Winchester 185-grain. FMC Super Match. However, Federal Hydra-Shok 185-grain would also print into just over an inch consistently, with our best group running 1.12 inches. Interestingly, this particular pistol did its best accuracy work with the 185-grain bul-let weight. With the heavy 230-grain slugs, seven-yard groups opened-up to the two to 21/2 -inch range. At 25 yards,
benchrested, the BUL held the Winchester and Federal 185-grain loads to 21/2 to three-inch groups, while the 230s averaged about 31/2 to four inches-both of which I'd consider more than acceptable in a pistol that does not feature a match-grade barrel. Not just another 1911 clone, the BUL pistols are unique to the United States market at the present time, offering polymer double-column frames and custom features at true production gun prices. In my opinion, these new pistols offer a lot of value for the money-check them out for yourself and see if you agree!