Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Detonics MTX-H Range Report

Written By: Bob - Dec• 17•11

Several weeks ago Detonics Defense sent me the MTX-H, a modular modernization of some of John Browning’s best handgun ideas, fused with ideas that came from cutting-edge research in combat human factors. Thursday evening, I was finally able to take it to the range.

Detonics MTX .45ACP Pistol

Detonics MTX-H .45ACP Pistol (click to enlarge) Photo by Ken Boney.

I mentioned a bit about the details of  the MTX-H in my first impressions post, Bruce Siddle is the chairman and chief creative officer of Detonics, and is also the founder of the Human Factors Research Group and PPCT Management Systems. He has a one-of-a-kind background as a researcher and academic, and is responsible for training both a who’s who of clandestine agencies and military special operations operators, in addition for developing training for 70% of the nation’s police forces. In short, Siddle is on the cutting edge of combat human factors knowledge, and he poured all of that into developing what is – on paper at least – the most evolved iteration of the world’s most respected single action combat handgun.

Detonics MTX 45 ACP Pistol

Detonics MTX-H 45 ACP Pistol (click to enlarge) Photo by Ken Boney.

What makes the MTX-H special? On the top end, it can claim exquisite CNC machining of the slide, the kind of precision craftsmanship you’d expect in an elite-level 1911, a hammer carved with incredible attention to detail, and a first rate finish. The real magic lies in the serial-numbered split-frame and research-based modular grip.

Detonics MTX 45 ACP Pistol

Detonics MTX-H 45 ACP Pistol (click to enlarge) Photo by Ken Boney.

The deeply undercut trigger-guard on the Hi-Power inspired grip and Scorpion tail force a high-hold, and work in conjunction with the angle of the grip to pronate the shooter’s hand forward in a near “handshake” grip that is more natural, stable, and powerful that the traditional grip angle. It is worth noting that this grip is not part of the frame, and can be swapped out with a shorter grip currently under development, just as the current 3.5″ barreled top-end will be swappable with a 5″ barreled top end that gives you a gun that con be configured with your specific needs.

The result of all this research, engineering, and feedback from some of the most elite combat operators in the world was in the MTX-H that I took to the Wake County range Thursday night along with a 50-round box of  230-grain Magtech FMJ and a 20-round box of 185-grain flex-tip Hornady Critical Defense hollow-points.

I set up a B-27 target ten yards down range and loaded ten of the Magtech rounds into the 12-round magazine. I aimed as carefully as I could, and slowly emptied the magazine, one shot at a time.

Detonics MTX .45ACP Pistol

SLIDE BACK: Detonics MTX-H .45ACP Pistol (click to enlarge) Photo by Ken Boney.

The first thing I noticed as a shooter was that the short trigger had little travel before a crisp break, and broke probably around the 5-7 lb range. The second thing I noticed was the surprising lacking of recoil. Instead of feeling like a lightweight .45, the recoil more more closely akin to that of my bride’s  9mm sub-compact Springfield Armory XD. It was soft-shooting, and the sights were back on target instantaneously.

The results on target, however, were horrific.

Each 230-grain cartridge fed and ejected perfectely, but all hit low and scattered.  I don’t get out to the range as often as I should, and attributed the sad grouping to range rust and a little bit of flinching. The second, third, fourth and fifth magazines saw my groups tighten up a to a small degree, but in no way reflected the kind of accuracy I was expecting from this pistol, even with my meager skills.

Discouraged, I loaded a magazine with the premium Hornady ammunition and took aim once more.

Detonics MTX 45 ACP Pistol

Detonics MTX-H 45 ACP Pistol (click to enlarge) Photo by Ken Boney.

The fifty-first shot of the night – and the first with the Hornady premium ammunition – went precisely to the point of aim. So did the next, and the next. When the slide locked back, there was a ragged hole where nine rounds had impacted, with the “flyer” being an inch above.

In hindsight, I suppose it should have been obvious that a premium weapon would perform best with premium ammunition. I’ve learned my lesson, and will only feed it with “the good stuff” from now on if I want to do precision work. A good 185-grain or 200-grain target load should be just about perfect.

So far, I have just three criticisms of the MTX-H.

It only shipped with one magazine. This isn’t a huge issue (the same often holds true for many other pistols), but I’d prefer two magazines to ship with a defensive pistol, and will eventually want 5 mags if this ends up being the pistol I want to use in shooting classes as I suspect it will be.

The second problem I had may be more of a middle-age issue than a pistol issue, but the small black sights were difficult to pick up in the dim lighting of the indoor range for me. This is partially due to getting one of the very first pistols; later versions will ship with the Primal sights developed by combat operators.

I’d prefer some sort of fiber optic or night sight at least for the front sight, and may eventually see about putting the XS Sights Big Dot on the MTX to help with that “vision thing.”

The final problem with the MTX currently is that I can’t seem to find a holster for it. The railed dustcover and uniquely shaped trigger guard  has made it all but impossible to get an off-the-shelf holster kydex of hybrid holster. I’ll probably save up my pennies and ship the MTX to Dragon Leatherworks after Christmas to have Dennis make Talon, Fugly, and Flatjack holsters around it.

Overall, I’m impressed by what I’ve seem in the Detonics MTX in my first range session. They’ve put a considerable amount of thought and research into perfecting a hardcore combat-focused evolution of the 1911 platform, and I suspect professionals and serious amateur shooters will be even more impressed than I.

If interested in your own Detonics MTX-H, you can find out more about it and order it from the factory to be shipping to your FFL from the Detonics MTX-H web page.

All photos courtesy of Ken Boney.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Bob aka "Melensdad" says:

    Bob, nice write-up and great observations. Interesting notes about the lack of recoil, that is the same feeling that I had in shooting my gun. Not sure if you feel the same way, but it strikes me that this is the lightest recoiling 45/1911 I’ve ever had the pleasure of shooting.

    • Bob says:

      I agree. This is the lightest recoiling 1911-style pistol I’ve ever fired. In my experience, a normal 1911 tends to impart a “push” type recoil that lifts the front of the gun. The MTX-H has more of a low impulse “snap” similar to a 9mm, and the barrel seems to drop back on target faster.

      I’m an enthusiast, but not a professional shooter (and some would argue I’m barely adequate, and I would not argue). I’d love to see what a serious IDPA or IPSC Limited shooter would have to say about the pistol.

      • Bob aka "Melensdad" says:

        I think this gun, with a 5″ barrel, would be a natural for IDPA shooters. Doubly desirable for IDPA if it was 5″ and chambered in 9mm for even less recoil and lower cost high volume shooting. I know a few casual IDPA shooter who have switched down to 9mm specifically because of the cost savings.

        As for holsters I’d like to get a CrossBreed SuperTuck Deluxe for this gun. Not pretty but the most comfortable holster I’ve worn and I’ve been wearing one since the very early version of the CrossBreed.

        It seems like the slide carries its full width a bit higher up as most 1911 slides are rounded on the top and this is less so. That said its the slide, and not the rail, that seems like it will make finding a holster a bit more of a challenge as there are plenty of 1911 pistols with accessory rails.

  2. Justin says:

    Bob, it’s ridiculous I have to ask this, but does Detonics have any plans to make a Mass compliant version of this firearm?

    • Bob says:

      Justin, I have absolutely no idea… though I somewhat doubt that is a very high priority at the moment.

    • Dragon says:

      Justin….I’m trying to get them to send a mock-up model of the gun so I can properly fit holsters to it…Detonics isn’t even keen on doing *that* much to be able to have high-end accessories available on the market for this gun, which, to me anyways, seems rather short-sighted.

      Getting the gun approved in Mass and on the *approved firearm roster* (what a dumb idea, but I digress) means providing handguns, at no expense, to the state for testing, evaluation, etc.

      Something tells me that Detonics really isn’t interested in doing that….

      • Justin says:

        Unfortuantely I am aware of the process manufacturers have to go through to get a gun approved for sale in Mass. I live in Springfield Mass, home of the Springfield Armory. The company that took the name of the Armory when it closed won’t even bother with Massachusetts.

        Companies have to realize there is a firearm enthusiast community in Massachusets, and any company willing to go through the process to bring a quality firearm to the market, will find themselves with alot of support.

        Most of this is thanks to the AG we all know and hate Martha Coakly. As much as people hate Scott Brown for being a RINO, the alternatives are completely unacceptable.