For those shooters who like something a bit different, the K100 X-Trim Mk12 is going to be of interest. Polymer-framed pistols are nothing new, but from time to time a company will combine features in a slightly different way in order to make a gun that will appeal to a certain segment of the market—and it looks like this unusual, rotating-barrel pistol will probably be one of those handguns.
While Slovakia-based Grand Power is not a well-known brand here in the Unites States, the company has been around since 2002 and builds some interesting handguns that have found a following among European shooters as well as some law enforcement and military units. Recently, Eagle Imports of Wanamassa, New Jersey, began importing the company’s newest 9mm handgun, the K100 X-Trim Mk 12, which is a recoil-operated semi-automatic.
It’s a full-sized service pistol with a 4.25-inch barrel and is fed by a double-stack, steel box magazine that holds 15 rounds. While it has features that are useful on the competition range, there is no doubt that this gun could also be used for personal protection.
The frame is nicely executed. It’s actually a CNC-machined steel frame set into a black polymer grip that is supplied with four backstraps to fit a wide variety of hand sizes. Interestingly, changing the backstraps is a simple task: Pry the backstrap off and snap the new backstrap into place.
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Thanks to the grip’s nicely pebbled texture and the horizontal grooves on the frontstrap, the gun was comfortable to securely hold. And for those who like the added security of a lanyard, there is a hole hidden beneath the backstrap, at the heel of the grip, that could probably be used as an attachment point. Lanyards are actually a pretty good idea on a fighting gun meant for serious duty.
The juncture of the triggerguard and the frontstrap is undercut a bit to allow for a higher hold, which helps to reduce felt recoil and muzzle flip. Additionally, serrations are found on the front of the triggerguard, and it is squared off for those shooters who still adhere to the practice of wrapping their support-hand index finger around it for better control.
A good trigger is critical to accurate shot placement, and the one on this hammer fired, double-action (DA) test gun was a surprise. It is curved as most triggers are, but has a shape that brings to mind an I-beam. It’s polymer, not steel, and is serrated on the front surface and has an overtravel bump on the back. Even though overtravel cannot be adjusted, I could feel none on the test gun. In single-action (SA) mode, the trigger broke cleanly at 4 pounds after a slight amount of take-up, and at about 9 pounds in DA after a smooth travel that was interrupted briefly by the feel of the hammer catching the half-cock notch before being fully retracted and released. The trigger’s reset was distinct.
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Fully ambidextrous (except for the ejection port) is an apt description of the K100 X-Trim. The magazine release consists of a button on each side of the frame that lies at the rear of the triggerguard where it connects with the grip; it can be activated by pushing with the trigger finger or thumb. The button on the left side is oversized and is impossible to overlook, which brings to mind the question of whether it could be accidentally activated while the gun is in the holster. The answer probably depends on the holster and carry method.
The slide release consists of two long steel levers, one on each side of the gun, which are easily manipulated. The K100 X-Trim is equipped with a thumb safety—up is “safe” and down is “fire”—that can be engaged or disengaged from either side with the firing-hand thumb. I found that changing the backstrap affected my ability to comfortably reach the safety, so the shooter would do well to consider that function when selecting the appropriate backstrap.
A tactical light on a handgun is becoming more commonplace, and the gun is equipped with a rail on the dustcover to accommodate one of the many aftermarket lights or lasers that are now available. For testing I attached a Streamlight TLR-2 that incorporates both a light and laser. This setup was especially useful during accuracy testing.
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Still, the sights are very serviceable, consisting of a drift-adjustable square notch rear and front fiber optic with a red insert. The eye is immediately drawn to the red optic that concentrates ambient light and makes it seem to glow. The rear sight is undercut, meaning the top edge of the rear extends further back than the bottom edge. Additionally, the rear is serrated with fine horizontal lines. These features greatly reduce glare and create a high degree of contrast between front and rear sights, making the sight picture easy to acquire for fast follow-up shots.
The steel slide is well polished before the black nitrocarburized Tenifer finish is applied. And instead of the bulk-adding square profile of some modern semi-automatic handguns, the slide has seven facets that give it eye appeal. The most noticeable feature of the slide on the K100 X-Trim Mk12, however, is the deeply cut rear serrations that provide an excellent gripping surface and the five slots on each side near the muzzle that expose the barrel. At first glance, it appears that the front slots are ports, but that is not the case. While they add interest and are attractive, the practical value of the slots may be limited to weight reduction and aiding in barrel cooling.
Made of stainless steel and highly polished, the barrel sits low in the frame. By using a rotating-barrel action, the barrel axis is closer to the hand, and muzzle flip is reduced compared to a Browning or modified Browning tilt-barrel system. It’s just physics. The lower axis produces less leverage than it would if the barrel were higher, so it is easier for the shooter to get back on target. Although felt recoil is highly subjective and different shooters may perceive recoil generated by the same gun differently, my impression was noticeably less kick and faster target reacquisition.
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Fit and finish on this Slovakian-manufactured gun were very good. Not only were the slide and barrel polished, removing any hint of tooling marks (even on most interior surfaces), the chamber was polished, which should encourage proper extraction over long periods between cleaning. For those who reload, the feed ramp is part of the frame, so the mouth of the chamber is round, eliminating any concerns you might have about bulging case bases.
Accuracy testing of the K100 X-Trim Mk12 yielded a bit of a surprise. Normally, 3- to 4-inch groups at 25 yards are pretty standard for a combat handgun, and that level of accuracy is adequate for most self-defense purposes. However, the test gun delivered groups much better—in the sub-1- to 2-inch range. As a practical matter, that level of accuracy may be overkill, but it doesn’t hurt either, and if it increases the shooter’s level of confidence, that’s good.
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If the slots in the slide, oversized magazine release and sights on the K100 X-Trim are a bit more of a departure from convention than you want, Grand Power also offers the K100. It’s nearly identical to the K100 X-Trim except for the items mentioned above. Also, the sights are a sturdy traditional combat three-dot design with a drift-adjustable rear, and the slide serrations are not as deep. Other than that, it’s nearly the same gun, and it costs a couple of hundred dollars less.
Both the K100 X-Trim and K100 were pleasant to shoot. However, before buying, one should consider the method of disassembly for cleaning. After making sure the magazine is removed and the gun is unloaded, the disassembly lock—called the dismantling segment by the company—at the front of the triggerguard is pulled down while the slide is pulled all the way to the rear and then lifted off the frame. Once separated, the recoil spring and barrel can be removed. Assembly is in reverse order. It may be a bit difficult for some to get a good grip on the frame while pulling the lever down. Practice, or
a third hand, may help.
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Whether for competition or self-defense, the K100 X-Trim Mk12 deserves a hard look.
For more information, visit http://www.grandpowerusa.com, http://www.eagleimportsinc.com or call 732-493-0302.