With the next generation of Grand Power pistols finally ariving, we're excited to have our hands on both the new X-Calibur CO and X-Calibur Match CO. Since the regular X-Calibur CO is more affordable and not as hardcore competition-oriented we'll start off with that review. If you're still catching up to what's new with the Mk23 generation we have an article covering that here.
What Is It? The Grand Power Mk23 X-Calibur CO is the next generation of flagship pistols from Grand Power. Hammer-fired, with a single-action trigger, double-action backup (but no decocker), a 4.8" barrel for plenty of muzzle energy and a long sight radius. The "CO" designation means these pistols are optics ready as well. The X-Calibur model is primarily meant for competition use and it has a trigger to match that. Ambidextrous controls serve either dominant hand and those who take training seriously to use either hand.
In the Box you'll find:
Three 15-round magazines
Four three-sided backstraps
Alternate low-profile safety levers
optics plates for RMS and Vortex/Burris
Federally-mandated trigger lock.
To get a closer look at fit, finish, features, and that amazing trigger see the tabletop video below:
Overall length: 8.5"
Height without magazine:5.3"
Barrel length: 4.8"
Weight w empty magazine: 1.9lb
Weight w/o magazine:1.75lb
Standard magazine capacity:15
It was a Grand Power X-Calibur that started my love for the brand back in 2016. When I was instructing defensive shooting full time I often brought my X-Calibur for shooters to try, not just because I wanted them to try it, but because the sights were so clean, trigger to crisp, and recoil so managable that I found the pistol could elevate shooters. The X-Caliburs are so easy to shoot well because they minimize negative effects a gun can have on the shooter and place the shot exactly where and when you tell it to.
My theory, and experience, was that an X-Calibur could show a shooter what they were capable of. Once that capability was identified we went back to their chosen personal pistol and could identify what needed to be overcome to shoot that well with any pistol.
Naturally, I was eager to get to the range and see if the new generation of X-Calibur maintained that and to shoot it side by side with an older Mk12 design to see if the generational changes were positive or not. To keep things fair and scientific the Grand Power Mk23 X-Calibur CO was subjected to the same range protocols we review every gun with, plus I added a comparison with the Mk12 X-Calibur at the end for those who may view this while Mk12s are still available.
Cold Shots: Truly our first rounds through the gun, on camera, with first thoughts shared.
Full Mag +1: Not all guns are happy at full capacity. This is a combination of pistol design, magazine design, and ammunition used. Unloading the pistol rapidly helps me get a feel for recoil and trigger control.
What's For Dinner™: A test to see what ammunition the gun will eat. Does the gun feed the round from slide lock, will it cycle and feed another round of the same type, does the slide lock to the rear on empty, and is there any notable point of impact change with different loads.
For this gun we used the following ammunition:
90gr 1776 USA Lead-Free Sporting $14.79 / 50 at GrabaGun
100gr Hornady Critical Defense Lite $23.89 / 20 at Global Ordnance
100gr S&B Non-Tox
115gr New Republic FMJ $11.99 / 50 at Target Sports USA
115gr Sig Sauer Elite Defense JHP $23.99 / 20 at Sig Sauer
115gr Wolf Steel Case FMJ: $13.77 / 50 at Sportsman's Guide
115gr Blazer Aluminum Case $17.59 / 50 at Optics Planet
130gr Federal Syntech PCC $19.99 / 50 at Target Sports USA
140gr S&B Subsonic FMJ $19.47 / 50 at Firearms Depot
147gr Federal Syntech $19.76 / 50 at Global Ordnance
Sights & Trigger Control: on a 6" spinner target at a distance of 12 yards. We got this from Titan Great Outdoors and use it to gauge how learnable the trigger is and usable the sights are for forced, timed, precise shots.
Practical Accuracy: Five shots from a distance of seven yards at a one inch target. This isn't so much about printing a tight group as it is a culmination of our shooting experience and time for us to collect thoughts prior to making a conclusion.
After Shots: Final impressions and reflections from the range session.
Comparison: To try and feel the differences between the Mk12 and Mk23 models I rapidly fire six rounds through each gun twice at a torso seven yards away; looking at impact points, speed, and feeling for control.
You can watch the entire experience including some interesting notes learned while shooting in the Shooting Impressions video below:
Is the new X-Calibur Worthy of the name? In short, yes. While I may have some experiential bias as I've put thousands of rounds through dozens of different Grand Power models over the years, the Mk23 X-Calibur CO was a dream to shoot. Enhanced traction, great sights, and an amazing trigger meant showed me what I was capable of shot after shot. My concerns that the new action type wouldn't reduce recoil as much as the original Grand Power rotating barrel action were calmed as the Mk23 seemed to run better for me than my beloved Mk12.