Photos by Straight 8 Custom Photography
Awhile back, I was asked to evaluate a new pistol called the Titan Operator from Atlas Gunworks. The Titan Operator (TO) is billed as being suitable for duty and tactical applications.
My first thought as I picked up the pistol was, “This thing’s massive!”
TITAN OPERATOR DETAILS
Overall length is 8.5 inches. It’s 5.5 inches high and 9.4 inches wide. Unloaded weight is 40 ounces. As a comparison, the Glock 19 tips the scales at 20.9 ounces.
Based loosely on the 1911, the TO’s finish is flat black. The rear sight is what Atlas calls an Atlas Tac with serrations to reduce glare. Instead of the usual square notch, the Atlas Tac has a “U” notch. The front of the rear sight is squared off to assist in one-handed manipulation. The front sight is a red fiber optic.
The manual safety is ambidextrous. All controls—safety, slide lock, and magazine release—are easy to reach.
Rather than front and rear cocking serrations, the TO has rectangular notches milled into the slide. Smaller notches can be found on the top of the slide at one and 11 o’clock. Not just for aesthetics, these notches help reduce the overall weight.
Following this theme, an area on the slide just behind the breech face has been milled out, measuring approximately .74 inch long and .34 inch deep.
The five-inch barrel has a very slight crown to the muzzle, which many feel will increase accuracy.
The ejection port is flared to enhance ejection, and an enlarged Atlas Tactical magwell is standard to augment reloads. Cutouts on the sides allow a full grip on the magazine baseplate and facilitate removal of a finicky magazine that won’t freely eject. The baseplate of the 17-round magazine extends slightly below the frame.
The accessory rail is not a Picatinny, but has five slots available and accommodates most accessories.
The front of the trigger guard is flat for those who prefer a weaker grip by putting their support-hand index finger on the trigger guard.
A slotted hammer reduces weight and speeds lock time (the time between when the trigger is pressed and the cartridge ignites). A “memory bump” on the grip safety ensures it is fully depressed when obtaining a firing grip.
After a short take-up, the trigger broke cleanly and crisply. Trigger pull specs for the TO call for a 3.5-pound pull. Using my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge, the trigger averaged 3.2 pounds. I personally think this is a little too light for a duty gun. At this point, I discovered that the grip safety does not have to be depressed for the pistol to fire.
Atlas Gunworks supplied a Kydex holster with a Tek Lok for attaching to the belt. While the TO fit, it would not insert into the holster far enough for the Level II security bail to lock into place.
The Tactical Operator comes with one 17-round magazine in a padded case with exterior pockets for six extra magazines. No manual or gun lock was included with the sample pistol.
In handling the pistol before test firing, I found the safety was harder to take off than I’m accustomed to. I have no strong feelings against a safety that is hard to put on, but it should be easy to take off.
There is no relief cut between the right-side safety and the grip panel. Consequently, every time I assumed a firing grip and flicked the safety off, I was firmly pinched. My son Flint, who assisted me in the evaluation, did not experience this.
A HELPING HAND
Due to illness, I was unable to shoot the TO myself. I left that part of the evaluation in Flint’s capable hands.
When the evaluation was performed, the drought in Arizona had brought with it a heightened danger of wildfire. The county I live in was under a fire ban, and this included shooting.
As a result, Flint could not use our outdoor range and was forced to use a local indoor range. This ruled out any of the shoot-and-move drills normally included in our evaluations.
I furnished Flint with a quantity of five different 9mm defense loads: Black Hills 115-grain JHP, Ruger ARX 80-grain, Hornady 147-grain TAP FPD, SIG Sauer 115-grain JHP, and Super Vel 115-grain JHP +P.
Flint shot the TO at the Copper Star Indoor Shooting Range in Camp Verde, Arizona. Copper Star features a 25-yard indoor pistol range, 50-yard indoor archery range, and the only 100-yard indoor rifle range in Arizona!
Rental guns are available, including full-auto firearms. One of these is the actual AK-47 Patrick Swayze used in the original Red Dawn.
Shooting at 20 yards offhand, the TO showed acceptable accuracy, with top honors going to the Hornady 147-grain TAP FPD, with a five-round group that measured 1.38 inches. The remaining loads, in order from most to least accurate, were Black Hills 115-grain JHP at 1.53 inches, Super Vel 115-grain JHP +P at 2.20 inches, SIG Sauer 115-grain at 2.27 inches, and Ruger ARX 80-grain at 2.40 inches.
Combined with being a 9mm and the weight of the gun, recoil was extremely light, making quick follow-up shots easy.
Flint found the fiber-optic sight and the rear “U” notch easy to acquire at speed. He also felt the balance of the TO was very good. He went on to comment that he would personally not like to carry a gun this heavy, even with a stout duty belt, on duty.
A single malfunction, in the form of a failure to feed, was experienced with the SIG ammo.
Although the pistol ships with a single magazine, Atlas supplied four for the evaluation. All four failed to lock the slide open after the last round was fired.
The Atlas Gunworks Titan Operator is a well-made double-stack 1911-type pistol. And while it has a lot going for it, the $4,000 price tag essentially puts it out of reach as a duty weapon for most peace officers.
COPPER STAR INDOOR SHOOTING RANGE
SPECIFICATIONS, TITAN OPERATOR
|OVERALL LENGTH||8.5 inches|
|OVERALL HEIGHT||5.5 inches|
|SLIDE||Tri-top and lightened side|
|GRIP||PT aluminum with rubber grip tape|
|BARREL||5-inch KKM Bull Barrel|
|MAGWELL||Oversize Atlas Tactical magwell|
|TRIGGER PULL||3.5 pounds|
|REAR SIGHT||Atlas Tac|
|FRONT SIGHT||Fiber optic|