STAR PD: A lighter and smaller copy of Colt M1911A1 pistol

Author: Ian Hogg

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The STAR PD was manufactered as a smaller and lighter version of the legendary Colt M1911A1. The venerable U.S. Government Colt M1911A1 pistol is a splendid weapon for stopping malefactors, but it is rather bulky and heavy; as a result, there has long been a tendency to develop lighter and smaller pistols firing the .45 ACP cartridge.

Many have been short-lived hack-and-chop jobs done on the basic Colt, but some have been designed from the ground up, as it were, and have been considerably more successful.

Design

The STAR PD is one of the earliest of this group and probably the most long-lived. In order to bring the size down, there have been some changes from the basic Colt-Browning swinging link breech locking system; there is only one interlocking lug and notch holding slide and barrel together, and the recoil spring and guide rod are an assembled unit instead of separate components. The frame is of alloy, and there is no grip safety. The foresight is a blade and the rear sight a fully adjustable leaf with an open notch.

The STAR PD is much lighter than the Colt M1911A1 and, consequently, rather more difficult to control, though it is not uncomfortable to shoot. Due to the short barrel, the velocity and muzzle energy are less than in full-sized pistols but there is still ample stopping power, and the STAR PD is a sensible gun for those who need a potent but concealable pistol.

Star PD chambered in .45 ACP
Star PD is a smaller copy of Colt M1911A1 chambered in .45 ACP (Photo: Echeverria)

Star PD is a compact .45 with a 6 shot magazine, but with the possibility to stuff a standard 1911 mag, only that mag would stick out from the bottom. It is a very reliable and terrific pistol (though the plastic buffer needed replacement every 1,000 rounds).

Technical specifications

Manufacturer: Star, B. Echeverria, Eibar, Spain
Type: locked breech, semi-automatic pistol
Caliber: .45 ACP
Barrel: 3.94 in (100 mm)
Weight (empty): 25 oz (710 grams)
Magazine capacity: 6 rounds
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3 thoughts on “STAR PD: A lighter and smaller copy of Colt M1911A1 pistol”

  1. My EDC is a Kimber Stainless Ultra Carry II in 45 ACP, 3 inch barrel with Crimson Trace laser grips. It meets my needs nicely, is extremely reliable and not fussy about ammo, and very accurate. TORTURE TESTED. While carrying loaded, condition one, OWB 4:00 wearing only Tee shirt and jeans, I hit a deer at 55 MPH with my motorcycle. I landed on the gun and my right shoulder and somersaulted down the road. Harley was totaled, I was hospitalized. After regaining consciousness I asked a (surprised) trooper to take it for me. Weeks later I picked it up at the barracks, tie wrapped to an evidence box and still covered in blood. I cleaned it up. At the range, it shot fine and laser was still dead on. Holster was seriously scuffed but gun was fine. Wish I could post its picture. It’s a great gun.

  2. Only just saw this article thanks to your search engine. I carried one of these for years in ’80’s. It & a Colt Gov’t Model got me into handloading as other-than-ball was scarce & not always reliable in both (or even either). A problem solved by bullet seating depth…
    The PD was a very handy early lightweight in this caliber and it was a better carry weapon than it was a frequent shooter. Not built to heavy wear standards (which is what made it light) and hotter than standard loads shortened the plastic bushing life by a lot, 50-100 rounds at most so shooting was best limited to maintaining type proficiency with it. I had occasion to call Star service for replacements and they sent me a small bag of them at no charge. I appreciated that the gun would fire with magazine removed.

  3. I had a similar experience. I never had a failure with the rubber bushings, but did find them online some years ago. I also received a nice sized quantity at little or no charge (been a while); mine from Numrich, or some such. I did have a failure of the original hammer, but found replacement. Rather a nice weapon, carried for years IWB. Had Metaloy refinish it years ago with their “starburst” pattern; hard chrome, if memory serves. Good company, my old 58 appreciated their ministrations as well. We must be enamored of these old guns; here we are “excusing” them as we’d likely not a new Ruger, or Taurus?? Still a good weapon, still works.

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