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Harrison EMP

Discussion in 'Range Reports & Reviews' started by polizei1, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. polizei1

    polizei1 It WAS Quack

    Aug 18, 2011
    Copied from my GT thread so I could put it over here.

    Ok guys...I know you're probably all excited like I am! I got the EMP back today and I am truly AMAZED by what John did! The fit and finish of the pistol is excellent and the parts were all dehorned via the "Carry Bevel" John did.

    I would like to personally THANK:

    John Harrison (
    Larry Davidson (
    Ryan Payne (

    I was able to take it to the range and run 300 rounds through it. I had a few hiccups in the beginning, but I blame that to the ammo (PRVI PPU). After I ran a few mags of that, I switched to WWB and it run flawlessly! I switched back after 100 rounds of WWB to the PRVI PPU and it fed everything without incident.

    I ran the gun liberally wet for the range with Hoppes #9, but I did not have time to test Slide-Glide Lite yet.

    Ok, now to the good stuff...

    Build List:

    Remove existing rear sight, fit and install new rear dovetail sight. Includes laser bore-sighting (15-yards)

    HD-005 Harrison Design Extreme Service rear sight for Novak cut, tall height (.375")

    Remove existing dovetail front sight, fit & install new ready made dovetail front sight

    Dawson Precision D/T front sight, Springfield / D Wesson, .200" filed to .191"

    Install tritium lamp in dot configuration with white ring in non-serrated sight blade

    Drill sight & slide for vertical roll pin in dovetail front sight

    Face off barrel flush with barrel bushing and re-crown with deep dished, high polished crown

    Fit and install match grade slide stop

    H-D Extreme Service Slide Stop, .38/.40/9mm/10mm, blued

    Fit & tune match grade extractor

    Springfield Armory extractor for 9mm EMP

    Fit Harrison Design trigger to frame and adjust fixed overtravel stop

    Harrison Design Extreme Service trigger for 1911, short smooth face with fixed overtravel stop, natural aluminum finish

    Scallop front strap, includes truing & high grip

    Scallop smooth main spring housing to match front strap

    VZ aluminum mainspring housing, Officers ACP

    Wolff 23# Officer's hammer spring

    Lower plunger, main spring, Officer's ACP, blue

    Cap, main spring, Officer's ACP, blue

    Mainspring housing pin retainer

    Fit extended thumb safety

    Ed Brown tactical extended thumb safety, S/S

    Carry Bevel Package

    Countersink slide stop pin hole & recess pin

    Modify frame, MSH and grips for Round-Butt

    Refinish complete pistol in matte IonBond DLC

    Please excuse the poor picture quality.





    Here are some custom grips by Ryan (Sarge) that turned out absolutely fantastic!!! I am VERY impressed with them. It's really hard to decide which ones I want to use, I love both, but obviously the Larry D's have a lot more grip.


    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  2. polizei1

    polizei1 It WAS Quack

    Aug 18, 2011

    Here is the range test. I used 115gr PRVI PPU and 115gr WWB. 7 yards, isosceles stance.

    Here is about 100 round grouping into the center of the target:


    This was about a 20 round group:


    Obviously, if I do my part, the EMP will do it's!

  3. polizei1

    polizei1 It WAS Quack

    Aug 18, 2011

    Ok so I wanted to give you guys a bit of an update. Not the best in the world, but I'll see what I can do...

    Since I've had my EMP back, I've only had a chance to run ~800 rounds through it. These pictures were taken today, the EMP hasn't been cleaned in 300 rounds, and I will continue this at least until 1k rounds. I wanted to do a "dirty" report, specifically to see where the oil was wearing off, if any parts where wearing, what was getting dirty, etc. Usually I clean my guns immediately after I get home from the range. I like seeing pictures of dirty 1911's and seeing people actually use them.

    Initial Impressions

    The gun was fantastic, I was amazing when I received it and was excited to say the least. I went to the range and ran about 200 rounds through it and experienced all kinds of FTE's. After taking some knowledge provided by Quack and others, I pinned it down to an extractor issue. I tuned the extractor tension, went back to the range to fire another 300 rounds, and still had quite a bit of FTE's, with both FMJ and HP's. At this point I contacted John Harrison and the rest is history.

    Fit and Finish

    The fit and finish I honestly don't have much to compare it to. The lockup feels solid, there is a little play in the frame-to-slide, and after I got the EMP back from John, the grip safety is terrible. Now, this isn't John's fault at ALL, I believe it's from the poor fitment from the factory and the fact that it's hard to weld up aluminum frames. I've heard it's best to leave it alone, and that's what I did. In John's defense, I never even asked about fitting a new safety, I want to say again, this has NOTHING to do with him. Unfortunately, it's a rattle-trap. If I accidentally hit it, it rattles and I can shake it. I'm not really upset about this, but I'm not exactly happy either. Other than that, the parts John fit are superb, and extremely well done. The slide stop for example, is really tight and actually fairly difficult to remove and put in place. The trigger is also solid and feels great. If anyone is thinking about taking out the ILS system that SA uses, I can say without a doubt it makes a huge difference. Everything feels much more consistant and "easy." I believe the stock trigger pull is ~5 lbs. I want to say my trigger pull is probably ~3.5 lbs now, which is perfect. Nice clean and crisp trigger break makes a world of difference.

    Malfunctions and Other Issues

    One of the reasons I chose John was because of all the good words I heard about him. I was very impressed by the pictures of his work, and when I talked to him, he was a pleasure to talk to. John only called me once during the build, and that was to discuss my checkering issue. After John measured my front strap, he noticed that after truing the frame, I would only have 0.030” left in my frame. He suggested that because of the aluminum frame is weaker than steel, I opt for something else. He didn’t want me to have any issues or a cracked frame down the road. Because of this, and with his guidance, I chose scallops.

    Another reason I chose John was because of his simple, yet elegant philosophy, “I enjoy a reputation for building guns that run. It sounds like such a simple thing, but in reality it is the core of my philosophy about customizing pistols and I believe it’s what keeps my customers coming back. The gun has to run.”
    I currently have 1,300 rounds through the EMP, 800 since the build. I can honestly say the only issues I’ve had are a few FTE in the very first mag and I 100% blame that on the ammo. I switched ammo after that, and the EMP has fired and extracted EVERY single round. To say I’m impressed is quite an understatement.

    I also want to say, the EMP was shooting about 3" off (can't remember if it was low or high). John took a .200" Dawson Precision front sight and filed it to .191" and laser-sighted it with his HD-005 rear, which is .375". The EMP now is incredibly accurate, more-so than me. Also, because I was a picky customer, he had the Dawson front custom made. He took a plain front and bored it to accept a Trijicon Tritium insert, which of course was done by Trijicon. I love it. The original sights were .140" and .325".


    There has been a lot of discussion about different finishes lately and I wanted to give my two-cents. Ionbond is a great finish, and has served me well so far. All I really know is that so far, there is ZERO wear on my EMP, from firing or holstering. The color kind of changes and goes from a dark charcoal color to a dark black, depending on if oil is added. I chose a matte finish, and am very pleased. The only drawback to Ionbond that I see is that it’s a little expensive ($350), and the wait time is long. The current wait time for Ionbond is 6-8 weeks, mine took 7.

    Since there is some oil on the slide in the pictures, you can kind of see what I mean by the different colors. The oil spots are distinctly more "black."

    And of course, here are some pictures! (Click for larger view)





    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011
  4. polizei1

    polizei1 It WAS Quack

    Aug 18, 2011
  5. polizei1

    polizei1 It WAS Quack

    Aug 18, 2011
    Ok I shot my second USPSA match today (8-21-11), which also concluded my "dirty EMP" test. I'm actually not sure if I should clean it or continue doing the test. I'm leaning more towards cleaning it, primarily because it is my CCW gun. I don't believe this gun will malfunction, but it's been dirty for a few months now!

    You can see my original threads here:

    I have a total of ~2,100 rounds through it, ~1,600 since it's been refinished, and ~1,100 the gun has not been cleaned, except the barrel. When my rear sight came loose, I wanted a clean barrel to ensure accuracy (just in case). Other than that, nothing has been touched. I re-lubed it with Hoppes #9 whenever I felt the need, usually every couple hundred rounds.

    I can say with 100% truth that the only failure I've had was 2 FTE in the first magazine. Other than that, the gun literally has had ZERO malfunctions. I chose John because of his philosophy, "The gun has to run."

    Some people have responded and ask why I did this, or why other people do it. I can't vouch for them, but for me it's a test of endurance and equipment failure. If something is going to jam, break, or malfunction, it's most likely going to be when it's dirty. My philosophy is if the gun will run with debris and gunk in it, it will run when it's clean.

    Now my pictures certainly are not the best. I was in a hurry and the room is a bit dark. Click for high res.







  6. TSiWRX

    TSiWRX Member

    Aug 21, 2011

    You know, I'd be tempted to continue the "dirty gun" test, too, but like you said, that's your carry.... I routinely let my class gun go 1500 to 2000 rounds without cleaning, including the barrel - just a simple hit of lube every 500 rounds or so, since I figure that any malfunctions would just be more practice (and it gives me confidence in knowing that in a SHTF, I could go for a long, long time, without worrying about the gun), but I really don't know that I'd feel comfortable carrying the pistol, -knowing- that it's that dirty.

    Tough call to make, but that's a beautiful little gun, there.
  7. Blayglock

    Blayglock Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Aug 18, 2011
    I just picked up my EMP? How are you faring in uspsa? You shooting single stack minor I guess?
  8. djackson

    djackson Member

    Aug 18, 2011
    I never get tired of seeing the Harrison built EMP.
  9. polizei1

    polizei1 It WAS Quack

    Aug 18, 2011
    I've only shot 3 matches, only 1 since becoming a member so I'm unclassified. Yes I'm shooting SSD minor. I reckon I'll probably be a D, but I'm not sure how much of that is me or how much is the pistol. There's some major issues shooting USPSA with it, like no magwell, only 9-round mags, short sight radius, sights, and the short barrel (snappier recoil). I love it though!
  10. thecableguy

    thecableguy I hate this addiction Supporting Addict

    Aug 16, 2011
    One of the nicest EMP I have ever laid eyes on. The report is also excellent.
  11. jst1tym

    jst1tym What No Delete Button? Supporting Addict

    Aug 23, 2011
    Always enjoy the photos of your emp, very classy :thumb:
  12. polizei1

    polizei1 It WAS Quack

    Aug 18, 2011
    Thank you for all of the compliments everyone! I'm sure you're all tired of the pictures, but I figured there are probably some people who didn't see the report/pictures from GT/1911 forum. I figured I should post it here as well.
  13. Sir Guy

    Sir Guy Sharpening Ockham's Razor Supporting Addict

    Aug 20, 2011
    Well, it's good to have the review over here anyway. It's a good report, and nice photos to boot. I know a lot of folks shy away from the smaller 1911s for timing issues and reliability (with good reason). It's nice to see a report that shows proper tuning can get them running well.

  14. jst1tym

    jst1tym What No Delete Button? Supporting Addict

    Aug 23, 2011
    My emp when first purchased had some minor issue with feeding jhp ammo. Though all ball ammo ran with 100% reliability. This was of no major concern to me because I had no plans for a concealed carry weapon, in fact, I didn't even have my permit yet. It was only when I decided to have the front strap machined checkered at 30lpi that I decided to address the jhp issue while it was at SA. They returned the emp with complete reliability and no further problems occured after that. I decided at a later date that the emp would make a great concealed carry weapon and ordered an IWB rig to be made, got my CCW, and sent the emp to SA for some personal tweaking. These tweaks were mostly aesthetic and small functional improvements for comfortable carry. I may have just one more trip for final tweaks, however this time just the slide may be sent in.

    As of late, I've seen so many personalized emp's pictured in these forums. As many different ideas that you can come up with, people are putting them out there. Emp's like Polizei1 and several others I've seen lately indicate that this trend is continuing. It's a fantastic compact 1911 pistol, great for concealment, reliable, very customizable to personal tastes...what more could you ask in a small package!
  15. Blayglock

    Blayglock Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Aug 18, 2011
    Yea but you are getting practice with your carry gun. It will take you a long way.
  16. rsxr22

    rsxr22 Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    very true if the goal is to improve your cc skills. Ive spent a lot of time testing out and timing different things like light loads vs. full power, magwell vs no magwell. Personally, my averages dont change. Sure I'll have some botched reloads withouth a magwell, but i have them w/ one occassionally as well. The thing that i think matters most is purely repetition. Practicing over and over will take you the farthest and you get those reps in uspsa.
  17. polizei1

    polizei1 It WAS Quack

    Aug 18, 2011
    I think I shot fairly decent today. I completely dogged my last match, because I was trying way too hard to go fast. This time I slowed down and watched my front sight. I had a lot of Alphas/Charlies like normal, only a few D's, a couple Mikes, and 1 no-shoot. Times were on-pair with the other shooters.

    Classifier was CM 06-03 "Can you Count"


    I shot both strings in 5.XX time only dropping 2 points (1 charlie, and MAN was it close to an Alpha!).

    Considering my mags get stuck, and I don't have a magwell I don't think I did terrible.

    Edit* Shot both strings with a time of 10.49 98/100 points, HF 9.3422. National Percentage 56%, high C. Now if I can just be as good with my other classifiers!
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011

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