Llama or the Para LDA?

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by ARB, May 15, 2009.

  1. AR1911

    AR1911 Member

    May 30, 2007
    I own about 9 Llamas currently. Half of them were made in the 1940s and are fine firearms, my favorites in an extensive collection.
    There was a period from about 1970-1990 when the quality was, well, built to a price. Later pistols were fine. they were the RIAs of the time. As a rule, if it has a slide rib, I stay away from it (though some were good). Anything with "Max" in the name is a late model and they work fine.
    That's the short version. Plenty of good Llamas at good prices for people that aren't afraid of them.
    And BTW, there were no Stainless steel Llamas. Those are hard-chromed.
  2. larryh1108

    larryh1108 New Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    I also own many Llamas and I also work on them. I happen to own the Llama in the .40S&W and love the gun. I also question the desire for the .40S&W caliber. Is it because that is what the shop has to sell used or do you truly want that round? To me, the .40S&W has a much "harder" recoil than the .45. Both models you mention come in the .45 and can be found on the online auctions at probably a better price. If the .40S&W is what you want then they are harder to find than the .45 and can be a joy to shoot and own.

    The Llamas do have a worse reputation than the Paras but the Para lineup seems to have the next, worst, reputation than the Llama for whatever reason. Para has done a lot to overcome this bad rap so when was the one you were looking at made? The latest models are the best.

    Both lines have nice guns as well as lemons as do most lines of guns. The Llamas seem to have more bad guns per 100 than any other similar type gun but if they have a 15% bad rate versus 5% of the others then that means there are still 85% good ones out there. It seems that the worst Llamas were made in the 70s to mid 80s. Most of my large frames are late 80s and all work wonderfully. As with most 1911s a good throat job and barrel ramp job will do wonders but should be left to someone who knows what they are doing or you could ruin the gun forever.

    If you were prepared to spend (originally) $900 for the Para, I'd offer $1000 for both and have 2 nice guns that share the same ammo. Since Llamas cost so much less they are usually used for truck guns or boat guns or range guns. If one is all you want then offer $300 for the Llama or $750 for the Para and ask for a box of ammo or a holster thrown in either purchase. The Llama takes the standard 1911 mags and parts are out there (I sell them) but in 10 years that could change. The Llama does take most standard 1911 parts but a few parts are unique to Llama like the plunger tube, extractor and grips. The lighter Para will definitely be so much easier to carry that the weight alone may justify the extra cost but you could get 3 different Llama for the price of 1 Para. :rolleyes: hmmmm

  3. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Llama is long out of business. Like 9 years or more. Llama made some pretty guns. most were pretty junk! Their steel tends to be soft (likely out of alloy spec, and/or heat treat spec).

    I made the mistake of buying a used Llama copy or a Para Warthog (Mini-Max) for $120.00. Two years earlier I tested this Llama extensively and opined that it was a reliable, accurate, great value compared to the Para pistol. I ended up with it 5000 hard ball shots later in an "as is/ where is" deal with the gun shop that owned it 2 years earlier, because they could not get it to cycle reliably. I have not been able to either. It is worn out and parts are hard to find.

    About 5500 total 45 ACP shots put this Llama beyond any economical repair.

    Buyers beware!
  4. AR1911

    AR1911 Member

    May 30, 2007
    Most shooters never reach anywhere near that round count. And for those few current manufacturers that admit to a service life expectation, it is often in the 5000 round vicinity. You can find posts like this online where owners profess to more rounds than that and still going, usually in the Max-1 pistols.
    Again, these were built for the low end of the price spectrum, just as RIA does today, with frames and slides that are cast instead of forged or machined from billet. If you want a pistol to shoot IDPA for the next 10 years, you won't be looking at this level anyway.
    A carry pistol needs several 100 rounds to prove reliability, then a 100 rounds per month for proficiency. That gets you out 8 or 10 years.
  5. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    AR1911 makes valid points in his 07:53 AM post. Most people never shoot a personal defense handgun anything like 5000 shots. Some INDIVIDUAL economical handguns can be an excellent buy for ones money. {Especially, for a person who needs a gun, and has little money.}

    Firearms performance and durability is a complicated subject. There few (if any) simple answers relative to complex matters. Many inexpensive handguns are close copies of of time proven, major designer and/or maker, high quality products.

    Some inexpensive handguns are of innovative and and excellent mechanical engineering designs. The Ruger Mark I (and its Mark II & III successors) is a prime example. {Famous firearms designer Uziel "Uzi" Gal was so impressed with George Jennings' "Raven", that he acquired one to study!}

    {Unfortunately, Mr Jennings often made poor quality products, of good mechanical design. This may have caused the California jury to find that his Bryco safety design was defective because "it locked the slide closed when in the "safe" position". They found that his defective design caused the babysitter to shoot her client in the head as she tried to unload a Bryco 380.}

    From my vocational firearms experiences spanning more than 50 years, consistent quality control is often a problem with the "Low End Brands" (and occasionally a newer "High End" brand). When you acquire a "Questionable Maker Gun" you are buying "puppy in a bag". Occasionally, you get one that performs as well as and almost equals the overall quality of a similar product that costs almost twice as much. More often there are problems. Sometimes the problems are a minor matter for a competent technician. Sometimes there is no practical way to solve them.

    You usually pay for what you get.
  6. AR1911

    AR1911 Member

    May 30, 2007
    Very well said.
    I suspect the OP was looking at a MiniMax 40 which comes as a single stack or doublestack. It also was sold in a sub-Mini. I have had two of the Minimax in 9mm singlestack. One of these was the only problem Llama I have ever had. the one i have now is a chromed (not stainless) single-stack 9mm, and it runs like a train.
    But back to the earlier topic of wear: The fire control parts on these - trigger, sear, disconnector, hammer etc all interchange with Colt. I have replaced every small part on one with Wilson parts, with no unexpected fitting.
    The problem in a high round count gun would be worn slide/barrel lugs. that is aggravated/accelerated if the original fitting is not optimal, as is the case with low-end products. Interchangeability of those (with common or Colt parts) is questionable, but possible. The 5" 1911s seem standard, but when you get into 1911s with 3" barrels, even the high-end makes don't seem to be standardised on barrel fitment.
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