Grand Power: P1 Ultra and P40 Pistols

By Chris A. Choat

Small Arms Review was recently supplied with two new pistols from the company Grand Power, which is based in Slovakia. Actually the pistols are not really all that new. Models of these pistols have been coming into this country since around 2008, imported by different companies and under different names.
Since that time they have seen several refinements and added features. Grand Power is headquartered in Slovenska Lupca, Slovakia, and has manufacturing facilities there as well as in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia. They have been building pistols since 2002 and do it with the latest and most modern equipment. Today, when producing weapons, the company GRAND POWER is 100-percent self-supporting in terms of mechanical machining, thanks to their own production plants. They use the latest 4- and 5-axis machining machines with an accuracy of +/-0.005 mm and very high production rates. Heat treatments and surface treatments, as well as molded plastic parts, springs and pins are provided by subcontractors. Currently, the company has 80 employees, and more than 2,000 guns leave the factory per month. Grand Power produces almost 30 models of pistols in .22LR, .380ACP, 9 mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP calibers. They are now imported in the US by Eagle Imports.

The uniqueness of these weapons lies especially in the unique, patent-protected design of the slide locking system via a rotating barrel. This locking method increases the comfort of shooting, mainly in two ways: 1) it significantly eliminates muzzle flip and 2) reduces recoil. The force applied on the hand of the shooter after the shot is significantly lower than with guns of comparable caliber. At this time the company exports almost 95 percent of its production. The remaining 5 percent are sold in Slovakia.

The two pistols that were supplied for testing were the P1 Ultra Mk12 and the P40. The P1 Ultra Mk12 is 9 mm, and as you might guess, the P40 is chambered for .40 S&W. The P40 is also available in .357 Sig and 10 mm. Both pistols are single/double action that can be carried hammer down or “cocked and locked.” The guns both feature polymer frames and steel slides. The guns’ grips have molded-in texture and serrations for a non-slip hold. The frames feature a single-slot rail on their dust cover for attachment of lights or lasers. Fire controls on both pistols are identical, and the magazine release, slide release and safety are ambidextrous. Both pistols are shipped with two magazines; 15-round with the P1 Ultra and 14-round with the P40. The magazines are very high quality with high-gloss bluing, removable baseplates and high quality followers and springs. The P1 Ultra also features a removable backstrap and comes with a total of four, in sizes to fit any hand. Both pistols came with manuals that were unfortunately written in Slovakian. English-version manuals can be found at the Eagle Imports website listed at the end of the article. They also came with an Allen wrench for rear sight adjustment and a cleaning brush.

The pistols feature very durable, snag-free, easy-to-see sights. The P1 Ultra was equipped with a drift-adjustable sight rear with serrations on the back side. It is locked in place with two Allen screws. The front polymer sight has a high-visibility, red fiber-optic rod (also available in green) and is removable via a drift pin. The P40 has a rounded, no-snag rear with two white dots ana single-dot front sight that is drift-pin removable like the P1. The front sight installed on the test pistol had “+1” stamped on its side. The pistol also came with spare front sights of different heights.

The P1 Ultra is a compact model, and the P40 is a full-sized gun. The P1 Ultra has the added features of front-slide cocking serrations as well as the aforementioned replaceable backstraps and high visibility front sight. Another added feature is that the slide has a series of six notches machined into each side of the top of the slide at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions. These look as though they are ports, but the barrel is not ported. This author thinks they are only for aesthetic reasons and serve no purpose except to maybe lighten the gun slightly.

Takedown on both pistols is accomplished the same way. Remove the magazine and cycle the slide to cock the hammer. The guns have a takedown bar with serrations on each end much like the Glock. It is located right above the front of the trigger guard. Pull down on the takedown lever and pull the slide to the rear while lifting it, and it will come off the frame. Slide it forward to disengage the recoil spring from the guide rod. The guide rod remains captive to the frame. The barrel can then be removed from the bottom of the slide. To reassemble just reverse your actions. Just make sure that when you reassemble the pistols that the barrel is left protruding about ½ inch out of the front of the slide. This is the unlocked position and will make reassembly a whole lot easier.

Testing of the pistols consisted of firing various types of ammunition. We used everything from regular FMJ ball ammunition to high-performance defense hollowpoints. We even used some flat-nosed, semi-wadcutter bullets in the P40. Both pistols proved ultra-reliable as they both digested over 200 rounds with absolutely zero problems. In fact, the only problem that was encountered was when the P40 was fed some aluminum-cased Blazer ammunition. The pistol would feed and fire fine but would not eject the light aluminum casings. This has nothing to do with the P40’s reliability as this author owns several handguns that won’t eject the Blazer aluminum casings as they just don’t provide enough recoil impulse.

Accuracy was on par with other handguns of this type. At 15 yards either gun was capable of 2- or 3-inch groups depending on the shooter. The 3-dot sights on the P40 worked very well, but this author quickly became a fan of the red fiber-optic front sight of the P1 Ultra pistol. This sight was quick to acquire and showed up like a beacon during the daylight. All the shooter had to do was place the glowing red dot on center mass, and he was guaranteed a hit. The pistols’ rotating barrel lock-up system also adds to their accuracy. A spiral groove machined into the breech of the barrel rides on a hardened steel rod in the guns’ frames. The barrels do not drop to unlock as in other pistols that use the Browning designed tilt-barrel system. This has two advantages. The first is that the recoil is more of a straight back push because the barrel actually rides lower in the guns’ frames. The second is that this rotating barrel design does not produce added muzzle flip. This makes for much more rapid follow-up shots that hit much closer to the original point of aim.

The guns both had very nice triggers. The double-action trigger pull was right at 9 lbs. on both but were very smooth and felt as though they had polished contact surfaces. Amazingly enough both pistols’ single-action trigger pull was 3.1 lbs. measured with a digital trigger-pull gauge.

In conclusion the testing of the pistols proved that they are very accurate and 100-percent reliable. All shooters who tried the pistols were impressed not only by the workmanship but also by the guns’ smooth triggers and lack of felt recoil. The guns seem to be built “tank tough” and carry a surprisingly low retail price. Eagle Imports carries several variations of these two pistols as well other calibers of this same-style pistol. There are models in 9 mm, .40 S&W, .45ACP, .380 and .22 long rifle. Grand Power also makes two versions of the 9-mm pistol that are select-fire. They are designated the K-102R (safe, semi- and two-shot burst) and the K-105R (safe, semi- and full-auto). The safety on these pistols has three positions and is also the selector. There is also a suppressed .380 version designated the P380 Whisper. The select-fire and suppressed versions are not available in the US, but you can get several of their guns with threaded barrels.

Eagle Imports
1750 Brielle Ave.
Unit B-1
Wanamassa, NJ 07712
Phone: (732) 493-0333

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N2 (March 2017)
and was posted online on January 27, 2017


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