After months of anticipation I was finally able to get my hands on the Detonics MTX this afternoon, and all I can say is that it was worth the wait. The fourth production gun off the line is sitting beside me, and it is a beauty.
Conceptually, the MTX is a modular modernization of some of John Browning’s best handgun ideas, forged with ideas that came from cutting-edge research in combat human factors. This synergy was made possible because Bruce Siddle, the chairman and chief creative officer of Detonics, is also the founder of the Human Factors Research Group and PPCT Management Systems. He does cool stuff.
Mr. Siddle is credited as the pioneer who initiated the study of survival stress and how it impacts the performance of law enforcement officers, military personnel and combat aviators. His pivotal research into the influence of the Sympathetic Nervous System on perceptual processing, cognitive processing, motor performance and memory, is now widely incorporated in performance based training for the criminal justice, military special operations and combat aviation sectors. Just as importantly, Mr. Siddle research is routinely used to help defending law enforcement and military personnel against charges of excessive force.
Mr. Siddle is the author of 29 articles and abstracts on varying aspects of survival stress and combat performance. He has personally has funded and coordinated 38 research projects. Mr. Siddle has been a guest speaker for hundreds of agencies throughout the United States, including the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, International Association of Chief’s of Police, the National Sheriff’s Association, the International Association of Firearms Instructors, the Academy for Criminal Justice Sciences and the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers.
He has been a consultant for the U.S. Dept. of Navy’s Redcell, U.S. Dept. of Army’s Delta Force, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Dept. of State’s Mobile Security Unit, U.S. Dept. of Defense, U. S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, the U. S. Secret Service Counter Assault Team and Firearms Training Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Hostage Rescue Unit, Federal Aviation Administration Air Marshals, and various military special operation/warfare units since 1986.
Mr. Siddle’s research and training methodologies, verified in practice by some of the word’s most elite combat operators, put him in a unique position to merge his findings into what he hopes will be the perfect combat handgun. The MTX is designed, first and foremost, to fight.
The top end of the MTX is a 1911 with an 3.5″ barrel, done to perfection with ultra-low-profile sights that hug the slide. If you’ve spent time with high-end Officer’s Model-sized pistols you’ll find few surprises. It’s in the modular frame where the MTX really gets interesting.
Yes, I said a modular frame.
The serial-numbered frame of the MTX is the middle of the gun, on which the slide and grip both affix. The MTX currently shipping comes with the full-length grip, with plans for a compact grip to come out in the not-so-distant future. Variations will be available with a 5″ barrel, and Detonics says they have taken the slides off a number of their competitor’s pistols and used them without a hitch on the modular frame without a hitch. What this means is that with one serial-numbered part, MTX owners will be able to go with their choice of various slides (Detonics or otherwise), and two grip lengths.
But aside from the modular nature of the frame, the most interesting part of it is that it isn’t a 1911 grip, nor properly the Hi-Power grip it most closely resembles. Undercut behind the triggerguard and below the beavertail, then filled in a bit on the backstrap, the grip of the MTX slightly pronates the hand at a more natural grip angle, and drives the hand into a higher grip more inline with the bore. 1911 Forum poster and Detonics collector “Melensdad” bought the first production gun and the “Nemesis” prototype from Detonics and took the Nemesis out shooting yesterday morning, confirming that the research Detonics put into the MTX leads to a soft-shooting weapon that lends itself to accurate controlled fire.
It must be said that the grips themselves are incredibly narrow. The double stack, 12+1 MTX is narrower through the grip than the single-stack Combat Master, and no thicker than any other 1911 single-stack I could get my hands on.
The towering mag release is perhaps the most striking feature on the left side of the MTX, where it seems to project awkwardly out into space like a kickstand. All feelings of awkwardness disappear the moment you pickup the gun, however, and you wonder how you ever got along with the “puny” normal mag releases all these years. I don’t think I have a shorter-than-normal thumb, but I’ve always found it necessary to shift my grip slightly with almost every handgun I’ve ever fired to hit the magazine release with my thumb. Not so with the MTX. It is right at the end of my thumb without getting in the way, and even slides comfortably between my fingers when gripping it with the left hand. The magazine drops freely, and the beveled double-stack mag well should lead to fast reloads when the MTX is adopted by competition shooters.
I suppose I should mention that the balance on the alloy-framed pistol is nearly perfect for my hand. I’ve never held a handgun where the grip lends towards a feeling of the sights being “locked on” where the shooter aims.
My first impression of the MTX is that Detonics put a lot of thought into this evolutionary branch of the 1911 family tree, and made the kind of enhancements that John Browning would have been impressed with.
Next up? Getting the MTX to the range, but that will have to wait for another post.