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The Slovakian Grand Power X-Calibur 9mm Pistol

The Slovakian Grand Power X-Calibur 9mm Pistol, Posted in Firearms

The Slovakian Grand Power X-Calibur 9mm Pistol
GP X-Calibur and Steyr M1912

In a world that has a plentiful supply of nine millimeter service pistols, in order to launch a new model on an overcrowded market place it must be an innovative pistol. The Slovakian X-Calibur 9mm Grand Power polymer framed pistol is based on the earlier K100 design and offers ambidextrous controls, good ergonomics and a unique design with its rotating barrel for high accuracy. The Grand Power factory is located in the Slovakian town of Banská Bystrica and the X-Calibur has been designed specifically for IPSC Production Division.


Grand Power X-Calibur

                                                         The Slovakian Grand Power X-Calibur 9mm Pistol

In a world that has a plentiful supply of nine millimeter service pistols, in order to launch a new model on an overcrowded market place it must be an innovative pistol. The Slovakian X-Calibur 9mm Grand Power polymer framed pistol is based on the earlier K100 design and offers ambidextrous controls, good ergonomics and a unique design with its rotating barrel for high accuracy. The Grand Power factory is located in the Slovakian town of Banská Bystrica and the X-Calibur has been designed specifically for IPSC Production Division.

                     The machined slots in the slide reduce the weight of the slide. This will reduce the torque effect in the shooter’s hand during recoil.

The Czech firearm manufacturer Ceská Zbrojovka (CZ-UB ) has the ability to supply both the military and law enforcement organisations of the Czech and Slovak Republics with their small arm requirements and there is no shortage of quality CZ pistols around, so the success of the initial Grand Power 9mm K100 pistol from a design on paper, with different prototypes, to various production models, says a lot about the pistols features.


Eastern European Design

Eastern European Design

The story begins with a young man who had a desire to design his own pistol, the obstacles encountered, and how the 9mm Grand Power K100 entered the world pistol market. The designer of the K100 pistol, Yaroslav Kuracina, was born in 1971 in Slovakia. He grew up in a house hold that was full of handguns, submachine guns and rifles that were a legacy of the Partisans during World War II.

Yaroslav began studying weapons engineering at the Military Academy BRNO in the Czech Republic in 1989 and served as weapons officer in the Slovak Army until 1996. All this time he had an idea of creating his own pistol. The Austrian Steyr Model 1912 with its rotating barrel method of locking and unlocking was the inspiration for his design, but it needed to be made as economically as possible.

                                        The K100 Whisper has a longer threaded barrel that enables the sound suppressor to be attached to it.

By 1992 Yaroslav had completed his first design drawings of his pistol, but production during the communist era was impossible. During this era firearm ownership was strictly controlled and any "unofficial" activities would have got you locked up. Completing his military career Yaroslav gained employment at the Povazska Bystrica Firearm Factory and was promoted to technical director. He prepared the K1 (forerunner of the K100) for production. He then obtained employment with Ceská Zbrojovka BRNO as a consultant. He established the company Grand Power in 2002 and started production of the K100.


Grand Power

Grand Power

The company holds the Contractor Industrial Security Certificate, issued by the Slovac Republic National Security Office. They  were also  granted the NATO Commercial and Governmental Entity Code. This is a NATO code for manufacturers and suppliers. This system is intended for the codification of products, such as nomenclature, classifying, identifing and allocating NSN NATO stock number to suppliers items.



K1000 - From Drawings to Production

The K100 pistol that we see in its present form is due to the dedication of its designer, engineer Jaroslav Kuracina. It is an improved version of his pistol Q2000 pistol made in Považská Bystrica from the first construction drawings that started in 1994. In 1998 the first prototypes of the K1 were manufactured in Kinex Grand. In 2000 the K1 was introduced for the first time at the IWA Exhibition in Nürnberg.


                                   Here you can see the steps in the machining process for the X-Calibur slide,  from a round bar to the finished part.

In 2003, with the name changed to K100 and a series of 370 test pieces were manufactured by Grand Power. An additional series of test pieces were also produced based of the results of the testing of the first series. Changes compared to model K1 mainly dealt with the plastic frame of the pistol and simplifying the construction of the slide stop lever. The surface of the metal parts of the gun was coated with the tenifer treatment, which improved corrosion resistance.

In 2004 the 9mm K100 was tested by the law enforcement and military forces of the Slovak Republic and was assessed as being above the required standards and applicable for use by Slovak Forces. They found that the biggest assets were the accuracy, reliability and the ergonomics which makes the K100 comfortable to shoot. These design features have also been included in the X-Calibur.


                                         The K100 is used by law enforcement and military organisations. Here STI European Team member
                                                                           Gregory Midgley puts a K100 / STI GP6 through its paces.

In 2004 the number of Grand Power models was extended with the DAO and QA model K100. In 2005 the third series offered the K100 Whisper silenced version and introduction of the K100 Compact, which is 15 mm shorter in length. Grand Power uses various Computer Numerical Controlled ( CNC ) machine centers from Hyundai and their own Hermle 600 U five-axis machinery and is an approved ISO 9001/2000 company. In 2006 the first models of the K100 Mk6 were assigned for certification to USA, were it is marketed as the STI GP6. Future developments will see specific models also in .40S&W and .45ACP calibres.

The X-Calibur

The X-Calibur

The reason the X-Calibur came about was due to the design of the Grand Power 9mm K100 as a functional and reliable pistol and also the rise in popularity of Production Division in practical pistol events. The main advantages of the X-Calibur are high accuracy, durability and reliability in the use of various ammunition types. Excellent features of the gun are the result of unique design of the locking system which is based on locking by a rotating barrel guided by a cross pin. This pistol is a short recoil operated, locked breech gun. To unlock from the slide on recoil, the barrel rotates slightly. The barrel has a curved guide machined into it which follows a cross pin that is fixed into the frame. It is a system used previously in the Austrian Steyr Model 1912 pistol and it works. During unlocking the barrel rotates around its centre line.


                            As the slide retracts the barrel rotates about 45 degrees and then locks against a cross pin in the slide.

The thick walled barrel is 126.7 mm long and, like other metal parts, is treated by Tenifer QPQ technology to make it more corrosion resistHardness of the core material of the barrel is between 45 and 48 Rockwell Hardness ( HRC ). Surface hardness of the carbon nitride layer is from 52 to 54 HRC. The 126.7 mm long barrel is made of 51CrV4 steel manufactured by CZ-UB according to Grand Power’s requirements and is also treated by carbon nitride to a depth of 0.5 mm.

A machined chassis, which has the rails on which the slide reciprocates and where the trigger and firing mechanism is placed, is moulded into the frame. The slide stop lever is made of a hardened compressed metal. The slide is manufactured in house from chrome-nickel molybdenum steel. The magazines are made in Italy by Mec-Gar, who now manufactures magazines for various firearm companies’ pistols. The Grand Power X-Calibur magazine has a capacity of 15 shots. Under Production Division rules this 15 is the maximum number of rounds that can be loaded into your magazines. Grand Power moulds their plastic parts primarily from Polyamide GF30.


Production Division

X-Calibur in Production Division

In IPSC events Production Division increases to grow in popularity. At many competitions across Europe this year, the number of competitors in Production Division exceeded the number of competitors in either Open or Standard Divisions.


                                                           Russia’s Maria Gushchina using the 9mm Grand Power X-Calibur to clinch her
                                                        Ladies Production World Champion title at the 2011 World Shoot in Rhodes,

Where Open and Standard Divisions have peaked in terms of the number of competitors at a competition, Production Division continues to expand. In this division all pistols used must be catalogued production models with a double action first shot capability, or a Glock pistol. Production pistols cost production prices and not the cost of an Open or Standard Division competition pistol.


                                   This slide on this X-Calibur is at the end of its rearward travel,  but you can see that the muzzle climb is minimal.

Method of Operation

The X-Calibur uses a rare locking system, which employs a rotating barrel lock, were the barrel is cammed by a cross pin. When the pistol is fired the barrel and slide move backward together for about 10mm while the barrel is cammed clockwise by a flat, twisting, helical cut in the barrel. Once the barrel and slide have moved back to the point where the barrel has twisted about 45 degrees to the left, the slide is free to continue traveling back while the barrel's travel is arrested by its interface to the frame via the barrel extension. On the X-Calibur the barrel extension cam cut and cam tooth are replaced by a frame embedded cross pin and a barrel extension cut with rounded surfaces which engage it. As such, there is no transfer block per say, and the barrel and barrel extension directly interface with the frame via the cross pin. 


                                    The lower barrel has the slot machined into it to allow it to rotate as the slide moves rearward to eject the empty case

The frame has a new trigger guard and the safety catch, slide lock lever and magazine release button are ambidextrous in their operation to suit either left or righted use. For law enforcement and military users the front part of the frame is fitted with the universal tactical MIL 1913 Picatinny Rail that will accept lights and lasers.

The 9mm Grand Power X-Calibur pistol has been designed for use in IPSC Production Division and Grand Power has positioned the X-Calibur as its flagship model. In addition to the time tested components used in the 9mm K100, this pistol is equipped with a completely new trigger system. The design of X-Calibur also uses the cut-out slots in the sides of the slide, which serve to both lighten the slide and aid with its manual manipulation.

Sights and Trigger

Sights and Trigger

The installation of a vertically and horizontally adjustable Elliason rear sight, a red fibre optic front sight, a lengthened slide and a longer and thicker barrel all make the X-Calibur suitable for practical pistol competition shooting. When competitors experience the new trigger concept it will convince them that this pistol is a special performer. The new Grand Power trigger concept was designed to be an improvement over existing models. This new feature can be installed on every model in the current K100 - P1 - P11 lines upon customer demand with a minimum of work.

                                     The red fibre optic in the front sight is very quick to pick up with the eye, thus giving a rapid sight alignment

In comparison with K100 the X-Calibur is 17.5 mm longer, but is the same height and is only 65 grams heavier. These characteristics along with the frame ergonomics place this pistol among the top of its type. It will become popular among sport shooters once it starts to feature in competition results.

The X-Calibur is equipped with a classic double action trigger mechanism with an external hammer. It is based on a unique principle of locking the slide by rotating barrel, which delivers increased recoil control when shooting. The pistols controls are usable by both left and right handed shooters.

The slide is made of CrNiMo steel, which will guarantee a long durability for a pistol that will be expected to fire a large quantity of ammunition. The steel is heat treated to a hardness of 40 - 42 HRC and is carbon nitride treated by QPQ technology to 750 HV. The metal slide rails are part of a machined chassis manufactured from high quality Chromium Molybdenum steel that is inserted into the polymer frame and is and reconditioned by QPQ technology to a surface hardness value of 700 HV. Hardness of the core material of the machined chassis is 30 HRC. The polyamide handgrip comes with a choice of four removable back strap grip inserts to suit different sizes of hand.

                                       Anastasia Chernenko, a member of the winning Russian Ladies Production Team at the 2011 practical pistol
                                                  World Shoot, blasts through a stage at the EEO,
with her Grand Power X Calibur 9mm pistol.

The width of the frame allows users with smaller hands to keep a full hold on the pistol, even with the double column magazine which holds 15 rounds of 9 mm ammunition. The frame of the X-Calibur is geometrically constructed for firm grasp and comfortable hold.

All of the handling components are fully ambidextrous for right or left hand use. The grip has a roughed surface and grooving improve holding of the gun even with wet hands. The magazine has a plastic base pad that can be easily removed for cleaning.


X- Calibur Disassembly and Assembly

Pointing the pistol in a safe direction and keeping your finger off the trigger, remove the magazine from the pistol and draw back he slide to make sure the chamber is unloaded. Pull down the front of the trigger guard. Holding the trigger guard downwards, pull the slide fully to the rear. Lift the slide upwards and out from the slide rails on the frame and finally move the slide forward off the frame of the pistol. The barrel can be easily lifted out of the slide and the disassembly is now complete. Those of you who have used the Walther PP / PPK series of pistols will find the method of disassembly very familiar. Assembly procedure is done in reverse sequence to disassembly, but the barrel must first be shifted forward in receiver’s cut out.

Range Tests

Range Tests

I first came across the Grand Power X-Calibur at the 2011 Practical Pistol World Shoot in Rhodes, Greece. I watched it being used by Maria Gushchina and Anastasia Chernenko, who were two members of the Russian Ladies Production Team. The Russian Team was the first placed Lady Production Team and Maria Gushchina won the individual Ladies Production title. Watching Anastasia and Maria at this competition I noted that their X-Calibur pistols worked flawlessly through this match.

                                                                     Another round cycles through Anastasia Chernenko’s X-Calibur

Another X-Calibur pistol was used for this Practical Handgun review. Using a mixture of 9mm ammunition of various makes we first established that the sights were set to point of aim / point of impact, which they were. Then using one of Ghost’s competition holsters
( ) we drew and fired magazine after magazine out of the GP6 at the paper and steel targets. This pistol has the target rear sight and red fibre optic front sight fitted to it and finding the centre of the steel pepper poppers and paper targets out to 25 metres was easy.

                                                   During our Practical Handgun review we used the Ghost competition holster, which is one
                                                   of the most  commonly  encountered holsters
used in the practical pistol competition circuit.

With a precise sight picture I had no problem in hitting the 150mm diameter steel plates set out at ranges up to 25 metres. Functional reliability was 100 %. The transition from the double action to the single action trigger pull was manageable and magazine speed reloads were slick. The new double action – single action trigger system installed into the X-Calibur is a big plus for using it in practical pistol Production Division. This sample we tested was new and has now fired over 5000 rounds in the last few months without any issues.

As well as Europe the X-Calibur is also used in Canada and the certification to enter USA market has been completed. The K100 will see increasing use with law enforcement and military units. In IPSC events the X-Calibur will have to compete with pistols that are already deeply embedded into the sport. Earlier this year Practical Handgun spent a few days at Grand Power’s manufacturing facility in Slovakian town of Banská Bystrica. We were given the freedom to roam around at will and examine all aspects of the manufacturing, assembly and inspection process. We were also shown the new manufacturing facility that is currently being constructed.

                                            Grand Power Company owner Yaroslav Kuracina with his company’s flagship pistol, the X-Calibur.

Yaroslav Kuracina has achieved his dream by taking the K100 design from a concept on an engineering drawing to an actual manufactured product. He has now also added the X-Calibur to his product line up to meet the growing needs of Production Division practical pistol competitors.

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