The Detonics brand has a storied history.

The original Combat Master was the first compact 1911 build from the ground up, and is viewed by many as a collectible classic handgun. It also became a minor part of pop culture history as Sonny Crockett’s backup gun on the 80s hit Miami Vice. Earlier versions of the company revolved around the Combat Master (which Detonics Defense still offers) and other fairly traditional 1911-style pistols, such as the Street Master.

Over the years the company’s ownership has changed more often than a soap opera plot, before coming to rest in its most recent iteration, Detonics Defense, in 2007. The company’s direction changed with it’s new ownership to take into account the “combat human factors” research of company officers Bruce Siddle and Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who know a thing or two about how firearms are used as weapons in combat, in no small part due to their work with police and top-tier military special operations units.

Based on those experiences, Detonics produced a modular, CNC-machined, double-stack .45 ACP pistol which uses a fairly conventional bushingless 1911-style Officer-sized (3.25″ barrel) upper with a radically different modular frame.

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The first thing you notice looking at this 2011-edition working MTX-H (no coddled collector’s gun, this) is that the grip angle is closer to that of a later Browning-Saive design, the Hi-Power, than it is the 1911. The second thing you’ll notice is that the frame is in two parts, a top section that is the serial-numbered part on which the slide rides, and the grip, which can be swapped out for shorter grips to make a more compact pistol. The current magazine in the gun is 12-round STI.

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This particular MTX-H featured an over-sized mag-release to facilitate easy mag drops without adjusting the shooter’s grip, and has had the grip and slide Cerekoted by the end-user (the factory gun was black on black). It also sports a Streamlight TLR-1 light. it is a very soft-shooting gun with an excellent trigger (which we’ll tackle in a later range report).

Current production runs of the 4.25″ Commander-sized MTX (no -H anymore) seem much more refined than this early production model. It will be interesting to see what advancements were made between 2011 and 2013.