Hammerli Forge H1

By Jeff Johnston, FE Hunting & Shooting Editor

Here at Field Ethos we never tell people what they need. 

And also, everyone needs a .22 LR pistol similar to their centerfire handgun of choice. 

Unless you’re the captain of your local trap and skeet team or something, it will be the most used gun in your safe. Last I checked, a box of 50 cheapo .45 ACPs cost about $40. Most of us can burn off 150 rounds—or $120—in about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, 22 LRs are $40 for 500.

Hammerli USA’s Forge H1 is a 1911 clone that looks, feels and weighs exactly the same as a standard 1911 in 45 ACP, yet it fires .22 LR rounds. Same grip safety, same single-stage non-Glock-shit trigger, same slide serrations, same controls … the only difference being that the Forge’s magazines hold 12 rounds instead of a .45’s standard 7. I like the fact that its grip scales are made of Hogue-esk rubber and that its barrel is threaded for a suppressor. But perhaps the best part? The pistol’s realworld price tag is around $350, a number that surprises many of my friends who are even vaguely familiar with the Hammerli name. So perhaps some context is needed here…

Hammerli is a famous, 160-year-old Swiss brand known for its ultra-high end .22 pistols, rifles and target airguns that at one time dominated Olympic shooting. Its International pistols—those with the huge, blocky, wooden target-style grips—are instantly recognizable. In 2006 Hammerli was purchased by the Umarex airgun company of Germany—who also owns Walther Arms—and has a business/manufacturing hub in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Hammerli products are made by Umarex in Germany, and it no longer makes Olympic-style guns, but rather a line that includes a .22-caliber AR-15 clone, a .22-caliber straight pull rifle and two versions of this Forge H1 pistol. Now back to the review…

In testing the Forge, I’ve yet to have a failure to feed or extract, something pretty rare for a 1911-style .22 pistol. I did, however, find that its non-elevation-adjustable combat sights printed 6 inches low at 10 yards for me, and I verified this across multiple shooters. If it were my gun and not a loaner—and since it’s compatible with aftermarket 1911 sights—I’d simply order adjustable sights for it. But overall, I like the fact that the Forge H1 will fit in my existing 1911 holsters, and that everytime a buddy’s kid—whom I can’t tell no—wants to keep shooting, I’m happy to set the 500-round carton of .22s on the bench and say, “Knock yourself out, son.”

Cost: $399

Pros: great, fun and cheap practice with a full size 1911 pistol; reliable; 12-round mags

Cons: POA/POI was 6 inches low with its factory sights 

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