New CST "Adventurer" .45ACP
A Pocket Cannon that's accurate & controllable!

Originally Published in Combat Handguns Magazine Aug 1997
by: Rob Garrett
Click on images to enlarge.

It was June, 1996, at the Secret  Service match that I first met Bill Laughridge, the owner of Cylinder Slide, Inc. Aware of the reputation quality of the C&S products, I had found that reputation to be well founded. During our visit he shared with me concept of reviving a "baby" .45 auto the spirit of the old Detonics. The idea of a true mini-45 excited me, and during following months I kept in touch with  Bill as the project developed. By the end of the year Bill had one steel frame built and was in the process of finishing a lightweight model as well. At the end of January when I spoke to him he had orders for five guns, sight unseen. Good news travels fast.

It was with much anticipation that I flew to Los Vegas at the end of January for the SHOT Show. When I arrived on Wednesday the first stop I made was at the Cylinder & Slide booth. There, lying among the excellent CST 1911s, custom Hi-Powers and Colt Mustangs, were two C&S Adventurer sub-compact .45 autos, one steel frame, the other alloy. Right after the Show, Bill graciously sent me the steel Adventurer for a short but fun-filled test. When I received the little gun, Laughridge had already put about 500 rounds through it. My job was to put as many rounds down range and let him know how it performed and what, if any, improvements could be made.

Gun Details

The Adventurer started life as a stock Colt 1991-Al Commander but soon became much more, or more accurately, much less. The frame and slide have been reduced to where the overall length is just 6 inches (cocked) and height a mere 4.3 inches. Shortening the grip required a reduction in both mainspring housing and grip safety. This also meant that the hammer spring and mainspring had to be redesigned to guarantee function reliability in the new reduced space. To allow the pistol to sit lower in the hand for better control, the frame was undercut at the base of the trigger guard. The rear sight is a fixed Novak Lo-Mount, the preferred choice of many pistoleros. The front sight was constructed by C&S, dovetailed into the slide and then perfectly contoured. This combination gave a crisp, three-dot sight picture that was easy to acquire. One feature that's often overlooked in a lot of autos is the ejection port. The Adventurer's ejection port has not only been flared, but the forward edge has been enlarged to facilitate clearing live rounds from the chamber. Finally, Laughridge has given the Adventurer a Carry Bevel that ensures all edges have been rounded and any rough spots smoothed to give the gun that "bar of soap" feel.

On the inside, the Adventurer features a Bar-Sto stainless premium barrel that's been cut to 3.1 inches. The muzzle is flared and fitted to the end of the bushing-less slide. A dual recoil spring fits over a specially designed guide rod for enhanced reliability and superior recoil control. A Videki long aluminum trigger breaks crisply at 5 lbs. with no creep. Other details that ensure function reliability; the barrel ramp has been throated and polished while the ejector and extractor have been tuned. To accept the 5-shot magazine more readily, the magazine well has been lightly funneled. Two magazines will come standard with the production guns. My sample was nicely blued, but Laughridge is looking for production guns to have a more durable finish, such as Black T or something comparable. The entire package is finished off with a set of walnut grips inset with Cylinder & Slide's famous mustache logo.

How It Shoots

At last, it was off to the range. I had planned to put at least 500 rounds through the Adventurer. Fortunately, several friends jumped in and helped put the little gun through its paces.

In the first trip to the range we put a Personal Defense loads. The .45 ACP Personal Defense load is a 1 65-gr. Hydra-Shok-style bullet which chronographed at 1046 fps in the 5-inch Baer gun and 962 fps in the Adventurer. This load has significant potential and I look forward to a more in-depth test of this load.

The Adventurer is a "business" pistol and as such deserves business leather. Just prior to the SHOT Show Laughridge called Lou Alessi and had several custom rigs built for the mini-gun. Alessi provided both a middle-of-the-back holster and one of his excellent DOJ speed scabbards. For many years Lou has provided leather for many U.S. and foreign government organizations, all of which go by a variety of initials. His work is recognized as the choice of professionals throughout the free world. Laughridge is considering offering Alessi leather as an option with both the Adventurer and his CST models. The Uncle Mikes' Gun Mate was found to be ideal during more casual outings..


After-Action Report

After some 600 rounds I stripped the Adventurer for a detailed examination. At that point the total round count in the gun was approaching 1100 rounds. That is a lot of rounds for a small carry gun; it's more than many owners will shoot in a lifetime. I was surprised to find no signs of wear to the slide or frame. Some slight wear was observed on the hood of the barrel, but this is to be expected. The frame-to-slide fit seemed as tight as when I had received the gun. Laughridge recommends that the recoil springs be replaced every 1000 rounds, which is a good idea for any duty weapon. My overall impression is that this is one tough little gun. Anyone who buys an Adventurer should not be afraid to shoot the fire out of it. It definitely does not fall into the category of "carried much and shot little!'

When I called Laughridge to report my findings I found that he was already working on a new grip safety with a larger swell and a small beaver tail. He also stated he was aware of the magazine problems caused by the Colt design and will use only Metalform magazines in future guns. Considerations are also being given to using a standard grade barrel instead of a Bar-Sto Match unit. Within the mission parameters of the Adventurer, acceptable accuracy can be obtained with a standard barrel, which will significantly reduce the price. Laughridge is also considering offering the Adventurer as a new gun that's built on a frame and slide produced specifically for C&S. If this comes about, the retail cost of the gun will be competitive with other "mini-45s." Stay tuned.

No doubt the Adventurer's a specialized weapon for operators with specific needs. Others will find that either an Officer's Model or Commander are better suited for normal wear. However, there are those professionals whose requirements cannot be met by factory guns. The off-duty patrol officer or detective can afford to have a weapon "print" while at the local grocery store. However, the operator who's in a hostile environment working counter-narcotics, intelligence or CT duties does not have that luxury. I predict that it's here that the Adventurer will truly be at home. As this is being written, several government agencies have already requested a unit for T&E. When one considers having six rounds of .45 ACP in a package the size of a Walther PPK, it's little wonder the Adventurer is drawing such attention. I wonder if "0" is on the list to get one!