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Butch Cassidy
Jul 28, 2010

Star, that is. Firestar. Star Firestar. Star Firestar M45, to be specific:

I'm sure most of you are familiar with or at least able to Star, the Spanish firearms manufacturer. While looked down upon these days, it was a rather valid player in the American market at one time. Mostly 1911 not-quite-clones. Notable mostly for offering the Europellet as a chambering in a day it was less common and pushing compact models when the market for reliable ones was shallow. The illustrious year of 1991 saw the release of the Firestar series of pistols. One each compact, steel-framed, singlestack, SAO p[istol in the following caliber: 45 ACP, 9x19mm, and 40 S&W. A larger doublestack 9mm was also in the series and all were introduced at once. Three frame sizes were involved with no parts interchangeability between them. 9mm/.40, .45, and double-stack, if it isn't obvious. The line struggled, production ceased in 1994, and the importer went bankrupt soon after. I remember seeing them in pistol racks as a kid and never getting a chance to try one. The buddy that owns this was a belligerent divorced hippie at the time and never thought anything of them.

Now to the year 2017 when he has purchased one and handed it off to me to play with for a week. He wants to know if I find it as neat as he does. I do. He expressed regret at not buying a few when they were imported. He should have.

The checkering on the controls is a nice touch, especially on a budget gun.

The barrel to slide fit is tight. CZ-style inverted slide rails are a neat touch. CZ-style takedown, as well. Though you will notice that the slide stop is a complexly milled part with sharp angles inviting cracks and a ball detent to make it doubtless one of the more expensive parts to replace at the time. Browning action with linkless tilting breech and multi-lug lockup on the barrel. It was dry when he dropped it off but slide is surprisingly smooth to rack since I daubed some Lucas Red "N" Tacky #2 on the rails. Note that I left the grips on. They have a molded-in rotational stop for the safety. Without them, it can fall out and send small parts into the great unknown. Not my gun, not my place to risk losing poo poo.

Not much to see in the steel frame but what is there is clean.

One crude spring-loaded pin in the slide that works fine but otherwise clean machining.

Front and rear sights are easy to use and decent for the era. They are also dovetailed in to be replaceable had an aftermarket ever sprung up. The quonset hut shaped slide amuses me, by the way.

So, why do I have the respect I do for this gun more than two decades after it helped sink a company? It was well thought out save the slide stop and grips as a necessary part. The Firestar was also ahead of its time in many ways. Ambidextrous safety, super easily reversible magazine catch I can post photos of if anyone cares, replaceable sights, aggressive grip texture, very well laid out and textured controls, slick magazines, flush and finger extension +1 mags available, and were some of the smaller service caliber pistols available back when.

It also shoots great. The trigger isn't anything special but better than many. Recoil is handled well with the grip design and steel frame despite being a small 45 ACP. The 7+1 capacity doesn't give anything up to similar forty-fives of the time or even now. Reports vary, but this one does not drop mags free and I am one of the weirdos that likes it that way. Positive and intuitive safety in live fire despite feeling like a sharp pain when handling dry. How do you hate a well-behaved gun with features that hold up to twenty years of compact pistol development and will easily slap a large tomato tin around the berm at 15 yard with 230 grain slugs? You can't. Especially when it feeds lead semi-wadcutters as smoothly this one does. I dig this forgotten thing so much that I felt the need to box thread it despite belonging to someone else. Also going to surprise my friend with an OWB holster and mag pouch when he gets back from his trip.


Butch Cassidy
Jul 28, 2010

Failed Nihilist posted:

Is there some connection between Star and Astra?

No but they were direct competitors. Contemporarily, Astra is more known for its Sig-alikes versus Star's intention to cash in on the 1911 market. Way back Astra spent more time trying to come up with its own military and police designs to varying degrees of success. Some real neat stuff came out of the chase for sweet government contracts

Butch Cassidy
Jul 28, 2010

The trigger can be a bit of a pinch point at the bottom depending on your finger but I didn't have a problem in the couple hundred round I put through it. My buddy has absolute gorilla hands and also gets along fine, though. As for the pull, it is light and spongy with a subtle wall before the break. Real easy to crank off a first shot in a hurry but no real reset to ride and folks who like staging a trigger will be disappointed. Real easy to break a shot too early for someone as used to striker guns as most are these days.

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