The 1911 is the most iconic handgun in the world. Other guns manufactured and used around the same time are now relics and sit in collectors’ cases, but the 1911 has held its own and is still in common use. There have been changes to the caliber, finish, length and other areas of the gun, but the basic concept and function of the 1911 has not changed. It remains the father of modern handguns and probably always will.
For those that appreciate the design, reliability, and history of the 1911, there is never an end to the upgrades and various modifications to give it just a little different look from that first classic version by John Moses Browning. I find it thrilling to see different companies’ versions of the 1911 and today we are going to look at the Israeli made 9mm Government 1911 by BUL Armory.
One of my favorite things about a 1911 is that it’s hard to get wrong. If built to spec, you will have a decent gun regardless of price. Most people who own a 1911 will tell you the biggest downfall is the magazine capacity, which is why the 2011 models, which have double stacked magazines, are gaining in popularity. But from the Rock Island to the Dan Wesson, you will have the same basic design since the creation of the 1911. When you pay more, you are paying for better quality material, finish and the parts are more precise. That’s why I was so impressed the first time I fired the 9mm BUL Government 1911—it looks and feels like a much higher-end gun than the price would suggest. I picked mine up for $675 and it has impressed me ever since.
Anytime I see an Israeli-made firearm, it catches my eye. They know how to make quality guns in Israel and most of the time they are priced surprisingly well. BUL Armory is based out of Tel Aviv and distributed for the US in Florida. BUL produces several popular clones like the CZ-75, AR-15 and the M1911. They now offer a very impressive lineup of competition-ready 1911’s and they have done a great job at not only the quality of their guns, but the aesthetics as well.
First Thoughts from the Range
The first range day for any gun, I like to get a feel for the sight alignment, trigger, and recoil. The BUL had one of the smoothest triggers I’ve seen on a 1911. The trigger came in at 2.6 lbs. and had a short reset. The slide felt like glass when cycled and the feed ramp didn’t have any issues feeding ball or hallow point ammo (which can be a problem with some 1911s). I like to fire at least 500 rounds out of a new gun for reliability testing. With a mix of controlled shots and speed shooting the BUL had zero malfunctions. I used some Wilson Combat, Mec-Gar, and Metalform magazines along with the non-marked magazine that came with the gun.
Once I had some rounds through the BUL, I backed up the targets and slowed down just a little to focus more on the sights. If there was going to be anything I can complain about with this gun, it would be the sights. The standard Government model uses serrated NOVAK stye blackout sights. Both front and back were dove-tailed with the rear sight having a single screw for added stability. While these sights were not designed for competition shooting, they work great in the daylight but are nearly useless in the dark. Some type of night sights would be nice to see, but for the price I am fine with adding that myself. For now, I will use the old hillbilly method and slap some fingernail polish on the front post. At 25 yards I was consistently shooting just a little to the left, which could very well be me and not the gun. I performed a one-second round fire test with one mag at 25 yards (10 rounds in 10 seconds from 25 yards) and the grouping was decent for an out of the box gun.
The balance was good and the 2.5 lb. wight was average for a full-size stainless steel 1911. I liked the split skeleton hammer as it gives it a little more of that custom look. The serrations on the front and back of the grip portion of the frame made it easy to hold on to, even with the smooth buffalo grips I used to replace the G-10 set that came with the gun. The serrations on the slide also made it easy to grip the slide when chambering a round while giving it just a little bit of a tactical look.
Field Striping the BUL 1911
When it comes to field stripping the BUL, the 9mm model does not use the traditional rotating bushing and plug at the end of the barrel like the .45 calibers do. Instead, you just remove the slide stop like most newer handguns and the slide will pull right off. Once the slide is off, you will need a paper clip to remove the guide rod from the slide. The process is fairly easy and takes no time at all to strip and clean. While I purchased the 9mm for this new addition to my 1911 family, the “Government” model was sized to spec with the .45 models. I was able to use the same holsters and magazine carriers as I do with my .45. I did have to do just a little modifying on my buffalo horn grips when replacing the G-10 grips, but the issue wasn’t the BUL but rather the hole spacing on my grips. Any standard 1911 grips should fit on the BUL without issue.
This is a well built and attractive looking gun. For the price, it is one of the better deals you will find. It is an elegant gun that is fun to shoot, looks custom made, but leaves room for adding your own touch. After several more trips to the range and 1,500 rounds later with no malfunctions, I think it is safe to call this an extremely reliable gun. It would be great for self-defense, running drills on the range, or entry level competition (with some changes to the sights) it makes a great all-around fun gun to shoot, and adding an Israeli made 1911 to my collection makes it feel more complete.