Kratos 1911: Pushing the Boundaries of traditional 1911 Pistol Design

Author: Eric Sof

Published:

The KRATOS 1911 represents a revolutionary shift in the field of 1911 pistols, which have not seen significant innovations, technical changes, or upgrades since its inception in 1890. The KRATOS stands out due to its numerous groundbreaking features and innovations, worth highlighting.

Introduction

M-Arms, a Slovenian manufacturer, has recently partnered with Swiss manufacturer Phoenix to unveil the KRATOS 1911 pistol. The new weapon has garnered significant attention in the shooting community, with various journalists and magazines publishing articles and news about it. Spec ops Magazine is one of the first to introduce KRATOS to the American market.

However, before it can be made available in the US, it must first receive approval from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). M-Arms and Phoenix plan to submit the KRATOS for approval in 2023, with the potential to be available for purchase towards the end of 2023 or in 2024.

Close-up of the Kratos 1911 ejector port, showcasing its precision and attention to detail
The precision and durability of the Kratos 1911 are on full display. (Photo: M-Arms)

Before delving into further details, it’s important to understand the origins of the 1911 KRATOS pistol. The idea for this revolutionary weapon first surfaced as a prototype at the IWA OutdoorClassics in Nuremberg, Germany, in March 2022 through a collaboration between M-Arms and Phoenix. Following its debut, the design underwent changes and upgrades, culminating in its official launch at the IPSC World Shoot in Pattaya, Thailand, in November 2022. The KRATOS 1911 proved to be highly reliable and accurate during the event, with many IPSC shooters expressing amazement at its precision, balance, and minimal recoil, regardless of the shooter’s physique or grip strength.

The development, design, and refinement of the semi-automatic 1911 KRATOS pistol took nearly four years. However, the initial idea for the weapon was conceived by Žiga Mandelj, an engineer and competitive shooter, more than a decade ago. His passion for shooting, knowledge of competition rules and weapons, background in his parents’ private engineering company, and ambition led him to marry his engineering skills with his love for shooting, which resulted in the creation of the KRATOS 1911.

As a fan of Phoenix pistols, known for their quality, precision, and durability, Žiga met the owners of Phoenix AG at the IWA OutdoorClassics in Germany in 2019. They began working together in gun accessories under the brand M-Arms, such as base pads, grips, and mag wells. The M-Arms company Žiga founded originally focused on producing small shooting accessories, such as grips and mag wells, due to the lack of suitable aftermarket parts. However, the company eventually expanded to produce slides for Glock pistols and suppressors.

But Žiga, now often referred to as the inventor of the KRATOS 1911, couldn’t shake the idea of creating a new and revolutionary 1911 pistol. He eventually approached the owners of Phoenix with his idea, leading to the collaboration and creation of the KRATOS 1911, which boasts a combination of Swiss and Slovenian quality and strength, hence the name KRATOS, which is a Greek divine personification of strength.

Improvements

KRATOS 1911 represents a revolution in the field of 1911 pistols. Since 1911 (or 1890, to be exact), there have been no innovations, technical changes, and upgrades, let alone such and so many innovations that Kratos offer. Let’s highlight these:

Material

It is constructed with the utmost care, utilizing only the finest quality tool steel to guarantee its durability under various types of ammunition.

Material processing/protection

Beyond premium materials, the key components of the pistol (the slide and frame) are specifically treated to enhance their longevity and durability.

Manufacturing method

To ensure precision and longevity, the key components (the slide and frame) are milled rather than cast, while the remaining parts are lathed.

Extremely precise tolerances

All components of the trigger mechanism are within a tolerance of 0.004 mm;

Barrel

The KRATOS 1911 boasts a fully cylindrical barrel that guarantees consistent accuracy over time. The barrel is equipped with a revolutionary spherical bushing that promotes smooth operation, increased durability, and the highest level of accuracy possible. The barrel offers approximately 270-300% more bearing surface when paired with the slide than a traditional 1911 pistol, enhancing the cycling process and preventing frame breakage. Additionally, the barrel features a double ramp design that ensures more reliable bullet insertion.

A close-up image of the barrel of the Kratos 1911 pistol, with a focus on its cylindrical design and revolutionary spherical bushing
A detailed look at the fully cylindrical barrel and revolutionary spherical bushing (Photo: M-Arms)

Slide

The slide is crafted from a single, solid block of high-quality tool steel and features a unique “tritop” shape with flat surfaces. This design provides exceptional structural strength and durability, reducing the risk of breakage. The slide is precision-milled only in the necessary areas to ensure optimal performance. The serrations on the front and rear of the slide are designed to be easy to grip, allowing for swift, agile and dependable racking of the weapon, which is especially advantageous in matches with condition/option two start.

Extractor

When paired with the slide, the pistol’s extractor allows for a superior extraction of cartridges from the magazine at lower spring forces and with cartridges that are dimensionally out of tolerance. This represents an advantage for using reloaded ammunition and repeatedly fired cases. This feature ensures the weapon’s smooth operation and maximizes the firearm’s reliability.

Frame

The frame is expertly designed and crafted (milled) from solid blocks of tool steel, utilizing the latest technology and computer-controlled tools. This design allows minimal friction within the trigger mechanism and easy trigger adjustment (pre-travel – overtravel) without disassembling the gun. To achieve a higher level of security and smooth operation or repetition (cycling), the frame, in combination with the disconnector, is engineered to minimize friction and the slide glides over it instead of clashing with a traditional disconnector. The front and rear serrations on the grip of the pistol handle provide a better grip and are consistent with the grip panels, which not only enhances functionality but also adds to the elegant aesthetic of the pistol.

Safety

In addition to the frame, the pistol’s safeties and slide stop are precision milled and subject to additional heat treatment. They feature seven surfaces instead of the standard three, which improves performance, increases durability, and prevents cracking. The grip safety can be easily disabled using an integrated screw. This design ensures that the firearm operates at its best and maximizes the shooter’s safety.

Sight

The pistol’s front sight, manufactured by Phoenix, has been designed to be easily interchangeable while preserving the same settings. This eliminates the need for recalibration, as opposed to traditional 1911 sights. Additionally, the sight is inserted from the side, providing a handy feature in high-pressure matches where every second counts. This feature allows the shooter to quickly address any issues with the firearm without adding to the already present stress of competition, making every detail count in ensuring a smooth performance.

Mainspring housing

The mainspring housing is re-engineered to incorporate multiple springs. This allows for more precise adjustments of trigger pull force while reducing friction within the hammer spring housing. This design also ensures a consistent and reliable ignition of even the most stubborn primers. The springs are precisely loaded and never over-tensioned, ensuring that they emit the maximum energy needed to ignite the primer, resulting in a more reliable and efficient performance.

Hammer

The hammer and internal components of the trigger mechanism are engineered for optimal performance. This is reflected in the minimal movement of the trigger, measuring at 0.25 mm, significantly less than the standard movement of 0.5 – 1 mm for other manufacturers.

Trigger

The trigger bow in the KRATOS 1911 is specially engineered to minimize friction and perfectly align with other trigger mechanism components, such as the sear and disconnector. This design feature allows for rolling friction which significantly reduces the offset during trigger pull. The trigger bow is constructed from a single piece of material instead of bent sheet metal, which improves its reliability and rigidity. The trigger guard is designed with angles for a secure weak-hand grip and knurling for added grip, allowing for easy use even with gloves.

Coating

A diamond-like coating (DLC) on all sliding parts – including safeties and the slide retainer in the rear position – offers an extremely low coefficient of friction and superior durability.

Disassembly and assembly

It features a user-friendly assembly and disassembly process. The slide is easily removed by moving it to a specific position, then pulling out the safeties. The barrel can be detached from the slide by rotating the recoil spring housing and removing the spring, recoil spring guide, and barrel. The design and positioning of the barrel and slide permit easy assembly and disassembly without the need for additional tools, such as pins or retainers.

Magazine well and grips

The magazine well area of the frame is engineered not to require a pin, resulting in simpler and faster disassembly and more secure placement. The grips also serve as a barrier for the movement of the safety on the frame, as they rest against the grips.

Kratos 1911
Kratos 1911 (Photo: M-Arms)

Conclusion

This concludes with a brief overview and introduction to the key technical changes and innovations offered by the KRATOS 1911. The companies behind the KRATOS, M-Arms, and Phoenix have received many inquiries regarding the possibility of testing the weapon. In response, testing opportunities for the KRATOS will be available in various matches throughout 2023, starting with one in the USA in January and others in Europe. Additionally, if there are requests for demonstrations or presentations at specific clubs or events, organized tests and presentations will be offered in shooting clubs across various countries.

As a high-quality product, the KRATOS will be available for pre-order, as it takes time and effort to assemble and prepare for seamless performance out of the box – this was a key guideline and goal in its creation. The KRATOS 1911 promises to perform flawlessly right out of the case.

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