Firearms|1,000 Round Review

By Andrew Bryant
August 31st, 2022,

The History & Evolution of An American Icon

To understand the 2011 pistol let’s take a brief look at the legendary and iconic 1911 pistol. The 1911 pistol is an American icon and one of the most recognizable firearms ever created. Its iconic imagery and design are a part of our visual lexicon here in America and also aboard. The 1911 pistol is a true icon within the firearms world. This iconic and timeless pistol was designed by the great John Moses Browning. Browning’s firearms were pivotal in catapulting the American military into a powerful military juggernaut during both World Wars. To this day his firearms and influential design echo throughout the firearms industry.

The 1911 has an operational history unlike any other pistol in our nation’s history. From both World Wars, to Korea, to Vietnam, and the Global War On Terror. Its operational pedigree is undeniable. The 1911 is an American icon and a symbol of American Heroism.

Even with its vast pedigree that doesn’t mean the 1911 platform should cease to evolve. During the past 25 years, the platform has evolved and seen a Renaissance with the 2011 platform. The 2011 shares all the same mechanics, features, and ergonomics of a 1911 pistol. Now, featuring increased magazine capacity, mounting options, and less recoil. The 2011 is a modernization of the 1911 pistol for today’s modern audience.

Atlas Gunworks and their 2011s are a natural evolutionary step for the 2011 platform. Atlas offers a shooting experience unlike any other.

The Atlas Gunworks 2011s have the heritage of an American muscle car combined with the precision engineering of a Swiss watch. It is an amalgamation of the iconic Shelby GT500 and Swiss watch manufacturer Breitling. The Shelby GT500 was designed and built to be a performance variant of the iconic Ford Mustang. The GT500 was designed to push the performance of the Mustang to the limit with a more horsepower, more torque, a better suspension, tires, and brakes. While being built with the precision and attention to detail of a Breitling watch. A blend of performance, precision, and passion. This amalgamation of performance and precision is what is achieved with the Atlas Gunworks Ares.

Background On Atlas Gunworks

Atlas Gunworks is a small firearm manufacturer based out of Vermont that focuses on building wonderfully handcrafted 2011s. The company was started as a response to a need for exemplary competition guns with a timely turnaround time and outstanding customer service. Most lead times for high-quality competition firearms in the early to mid-2000s were anywhere from 12-24 months. With poor communication and lead times being so unpalatable long-time friends Adam Nilson and Tod West teamed up to solve those problems and build an amazing product.

Over the next several years the team worked to build high-quality competition 2011 pistols. Then, two events happened that allowed Adam and Tod’s early vision to evolve into Atlas Gunworks. First, a patent expired allowing for innovation in the 2011 marketplace. Second, was Alan Zitta. Mr. Zitta is a renowned 1911 gunsmith with over 30 years of experience and an ISPC World Champion living in Vermont at that time. His expertise, knowledge, and willingness to pass on his knowledge lead to a quantum leap for Adam and Tod to take a small business to the next level. Which evolved into the Altas Gunworks we know today.

Now, armed with knowledge, a great product, ambition, and talent Adam and Tod they were able to build high-quality 2011 pistols. Atlas Gunworks 2011s come with drastically reduced lead times, exceptional build quality, and outstanding customer service. This new business model by Atlas Gunworks disrupted the system and put Atlas in a very advantageous position within the market.

When it comes to Atlas Gunworks they are guided by the highest standards of quality for their products. The driving force behind every Atlas Gunworks pistol is, “engineered with function as the driving force and with performance as the critical metric.” Which I believe Atlas has been able to achieve.

My Relationship With Atlas Gunworks

Before, I get delve into this review I want to discuss my relationship with Atlas Gunworks.

I was introduced to Atlas Gunworks pistols by Mike Stoker and Trevor Cotter during a Range Day event before Shot Show 2020. I had never shot an Atlas product before and I was instantly amazed at the build quality and craftsmanship put into these wonderful 2011s. I wrote an article about my experience and introduction to their pistols during Shot Show.

Push forward a couple of years later to Shot Show 2022. I was introduced by Trevor Cotter to Mark Stevens the Marketing Director of Atlas Gunworks. Mark read my initial article from 2020 and asked if would I like to review a couple of their guns. I told him, “I was interested in that.” Through our discussions, I was able to review the new Atlas Ares and another to-be-named pistol in the future.

I am not affiliated with Atlas Gunworks in anyway. I was not paid for this review and I will be giving my honest opinion on this weapon without any outside influences upon me.

Now, let’s get into the review of the Atlas Gunworks Ares.

Atlas Gunworks Ares

The Ares is Atlas’s latest and most aggressive entry into the duty/EDC market. This pistol was designed from the ground up with thoughtful design choices for the end user that allows this pistol to excel in a duty/EDC environment. This pistol also has the versatility to be a great gun to also use in a competition setting as well.

When it comes down to the design of the Ares the company took a minimalist approach. The design is utilitarian compared to the company’s other more aesthetically pleasing 2011s. Which is a positive and not a negative for duty-focused Ares. For a duty or EDC focused pistol it’s substance over style.

The Ares features aggressive front and rear slide serrations, a crowned bull barrel, an aluminum frame, a moderately textured grip, adjustable rear sight, a fiber optic (red or green) front sight post, and a slide that comes optics-ready. The Ares is also available in ported and non-ported variants. You can also purchase the Ares in a 4.6” or 4.25” barrel length. During this Test and Evaluation, I had the ported 4.6” version of the Ares.

My time with the Atlas Ares allowed me to get a very good impression of what this pistol has to offer to the end consumer. At, the end of the day the Ares is a wonderfully handcrafted 2011 that impressed me again and again during my evaluation process. The Ares is shaping up to be a strong contender for one of the best new duty/EDC pistols on the market at its price point.

In-depth Breakdown of The Ares

Since I’ve given you an introduction to the Ares let’s take a closer look at this amazing pistol. As, Garand Thumb would say, “Let’s go tip to butt.”

Barrel & Slide

The Ares comes with either 4.6” or 4.25” crowned bull barrel. You can get ported or non-ported barrel depending on end-user preferences. For this review, I had the 4.6” ported version of the Ares.

Next, let’s start with the slide on the Ares. The slide features aggressive and aesthetically pleasing front and rear slide serrations. The design of the serrations is utilitarian and effective. There were many times while shooting the Ares in which my hands were sweaty and I was able to effectively manipulate the slide with no problem. If you have the ported version of the Ares you will have two ports at the front of the slide at about 1 and 3 o’clock positions. Allowing those gases to expel out the sides of the barrel. This in turn allows the Ares to shoot flatter than a traditional non-ported pistol.

Frame, Safeties, & Trigger


Moving down from the slide to the frame. Atlas Gunworks uses an aluminum frame on the Ares. Atlas calls the grip texture moderate on the Ares. When you lock your grip on the Ares it is there to stay. The moderate grip texture is sticky and tacky like lifting chalk. Once your hands are locked in. They are locked in. I think it’s still pretty aggressive for moderate but, it is tamer compared to the aggressive grip texture used on their competition pistols. The moderate grip texture could act as cheese grater against your skin if your appendix carries a practitioner, as I am.


If you continue to inspect the frame of the Ares you will notice it is missing the traditional grip safety that the 1911 is known for. Now, you have a normal back strap with ambidextrous safeties.

The ambidextrous safeties have a smooth and fluid motion with a nice tactile feel and audible clicks. The safety selectors are low-profile on both sides of the Ares. The safeties act as thumb rest or gas pedal for the Ares. Allowing you to lock in the grip even more on the Ares.


Now, let’s talk about this awesome trigger within the Ares. The 1911/2011 pistols are known for having some of the best triggers on the market. The Ares’s trigger is clean and crisp. It’s an excellent trigger. Easily in the Top 5 of 2011s triggers currently out there on the market. The Ares features a wonderful short uptake to its wall with a clean and satisfying break at 3-3.5 lbs. That includes an amazing and filthy trigger reset. A reset so filthy it will make you yell out, “Woooooooooo!” like your the Nature Boy Ric Flair. Yes, people it’s that filthy and impressive.


Overall the Ares is a wonderfully built firearm and it shows by the attention to detail and engineering put into this pistol. When you hold this Ares it screams quality and invokes confidence in the end user. As the end user, you know you have a wonderfully handcrafted 2011 experience.

Fit & Finish

The biggest factor or sign of quality in a 1911/2011 is its fitment. When I discuss fitment I am talking about the relationship between the slide, barrel, and frame. To achieve that level of precision, accuracy, and reliability out of this platform…fitment is key. If not reliability and accuracy will naturally be diminished. This relationship between the slide, barrel, and frame has to work in perfect harmony to produce the accuracy and reliability that the 2011 platform can provide. A duty pistol must be reliable and accurate. It is what you demand from a pistol in that role.

This reliability and accuracy is achieved by Atlas’s amazing CNC machining process. A machining process that features ungodly craftsmanship in its components combined with their master gunsmiths creating the optimal 2011 experience. It’s this combination of man and machine that allows the Atlas to achieve this unprecedented level of quality and precision in the Ares.

When it comes down to the fitment of the Ares it is exceptional. There is no play or extra movement between the frame and the slide. No matter which direction you attempt to manipulate it the Ares doesn’t budge. Everything is tight and well fitted with the Ares.

My first experience with the Ares exceptional fit and finish was racking the slide of the Ares. Racking the slide for the first time was one of disbelief, wonder, and amazement at how ridiculous and smooth the movement of this slide is. The profound level of quality and attention to detail is something to be marveled at. This attention to detail to the fit and finish of the Ares shows the level of passion put into their firearms over at Atlas. Once you rack the Ares slide you will experience this attention to detail firsthand. In turn showing the end user the craftsmanship, passion, and love put into this amazing firearm.

1,000 Round Review

During my month time with the Ares, I was able to conduct a 1,000-round review of the pistol. During those thousand rounds, I learned a lot about the Ares and the capabilities of this pistol. The biggest takeaway from this evaluation was that the Ares is a highly accurate and extremely reliable pistol. Also, it is a viable option as a duty/EDC pistol for those looking for a 2011. I do have some caveats when it comes to the Ares that I will discuss later. Overall, the Ares is a wonderful, reliable, and accurate pistol.

During my review process, I shot about 250+ rounds per outing. The first outing with the Ares was to gain familiarity with the gun. Just a little bit of get-to-know-you time. The second outing was a 250-round mini Burndown Sage Dynamics style with 100 rounds of defensive ammunition after the Burndown. The last outing was about 400 rounds where I worked on the drawing from the holster, speed, consistency, and transitions of targets.

First Range Visit

Range Info

Firearm: Atlas Gunworks Ares

Ammunition: Sellier and Bellot FMJ

Bullet Weight: 115 grainMuzzle Velocity: 1280 ft/sec

Distance shot: 3-25 yards

Targets: Steel Targets & Standard ISPC

Rounds fired: 250+ rounds

Hours at Range: 2+hrs

My initial impression of the Ares is a great one. This firearm is on beast mode 24/7 and is ready to do work. How Atlas can marry speed and precision in this firearm is quite impressive. The craftsmanship and build quality is impeccable. You can see the attention to detail, hard work, and care that is put into these pistols. There were a few things that stood out to me on the initial range visit. Those were was the recoil impulse and the trigger.

Recoil Impulse

The first thing I immediately noticed was the unusual or odd recoil impulse after my first shot. I had never shot a ported handgun before. I was naturally expecting less recoil since the firearm was ported. Those ports act as a built-in compensator to help reduce muzzle rise. This reduction in muzzle flip allows you to acquire your sights faster allowing you to engage the target sooner. Yet, that first initial shot out of the Ares felt like it had just as much recoil as a non-ported handgun. I know this is all a perception thing on my end. It is still an interesting development nevertheless.

Upon my second shot, I honed in on analyzing the recoil impulse. What I noticed was that the recoil impulse was much less than the first shot. The more I shot during the first 50 rounds the smoother and seemingly softer the recoil impulse became. The recoil impulse with a ported barrel on the Ares is much less which makes this Ares a complete joy to shoot.


The second thing I noticed was the clean and crisp break of the trigger along with its filthy short reset. The trigger kept all the same characteristics as it did when comparing live-fire vs dry fire. That isn’t always the case with all pistols. The Ares has a very (and I do mean very) responsive trigger. This gun can do work if you have the skill set to bring out its full potential. It’s like hitting the the gas pedal on supercar. If you don’t have the experience how to handle all that horsepower and torque you will potentially spin out and crash an automotive masterpiece. You have to get to know this trigger inside and out. Allowing you to discover your strength, weakness, and nuances for you to grow as a shooter. The Ares will show you if you are as good of a shooter as you perceive yourself to be. This trigger is a handicap or an asset depending on your skill level.

Second Range Visit

During the next range visit, I focused on reliability and testing how the Ares handled defensive ammunition. This is a duty/EDC pistol so it is important to see how it handles various ammunition. You want to make sure your defensive pistol can handle 115-grain range ammunition as well as 124-grain +P ammunition. It has to be able to eat it all like a hungry hungry hippo. The best test of reliability can be done with the Burndown.

The Burndown

Firearm: Atlas Ares

Time on Range: 1.5 hours

Rounds: 350; 250 (Burndown) 100 (Defensive Ammo)

Drills: Rapid Fire Drills with Reloads and Target Transitions (i.e. Bill Drill)

Ammunition: Sellier & Bellot 9mm 115 GR FMJ & Speer Gold Dot 9mm 124 GR +P

For the burndown, I took 250 rounds of S&B 9mm and shot it as fast and accurately as possible through the Ares. Challenging the pistol to a higher volume of fire to see if that would cause any malfunctions. While conducting the burndown I did not experience any malfunctions or deficiencies with the pistol. The Ares was reliable…boringly reliable at that. Which is good when you need the Ares for protection in those critical moments. You need to know that this pistol will work whenever you need it. No questions asked. At, the end of the day the Ares ran like a well-oiled machine.

A couple of takeaways from the burndown that I noticed. First, the harder I ran the Ares the smoother the gun seemed to run. The Ares likes to run hard. The interaction between the frame, slide, and the barrel was on another level when this gun is running on all cylinders. The way all the moving parts interacted with each other in perfect harmony and were smooth as glass. It was a pretty ridiculous experience. Yet, ridiculous in the best possible way.

The best way to describe the effortless operation of the Ares is to use the analogy of a supercar on the track. Like any supercar, the first few laps are used for the driver to get the car up to a racing temperature. That’s for both the engine and the tires. This allows the engine to reach its peak temperature for optimal performance. Also, allowing the tires to heat up and gather the proper grip. Once that engine reaches optimal output and those tires are stuck to that asphalt like glue that driver can push that vehicle to its full potential. This is the same concept that is happening with the Ares. The more I shot the Ares and the hotter, smoother, and more efficiently the pistol ran. I personally believe Atlas 2011s like to be pushed hard in generally, they are workhorse pistols.

Ported Barrel & Cheat Codes

The second, thing I noticed was how incredibly flat this Ares shot. I do have the ported version of the Ares which aids in the flat shooting of the pistol but, man did this pistol shoots incredibly flat. Due to the ported barrel, the Ares has reduced muzzle rise which meant the Ares was back on target lighting quick. The sights were easy to track on target even during short or long strings of fire. The Ares shoots like a nail driver. The speed and precision you can shoot it with make it a pretty filthy shooting experience. When I was shooting a Bill Drill or a long string of fire the Ares just stayed on target. Just putting rounds on top of rounds. It felt like I was playing Contra with the cheat codes enabled. Everyone remembers the legendary Contra code: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, and then press start. I felt like that cheat code was engaged while shooting the Ares.

Contra Meets Perfect Zero

It isn’t the Contra cheat code that allows me to do this. It’s the adherence to the fundamentals of marksmanship and the wonderful craftsmanship of the Ares that allows me to shoot so well. One of the design principles woven into the Ares is what Atlas calls, Perfect Zero.

Perfect Zero is the concept that the gun fires, lifts, and returns to the same spot on the target without any outside forces by the shooter. This is possible when the shooter adheres to the fundamentals of marksmanship. Which is proper sight alignment, sight picture, grip, and trigger control. If the fundamentals are applied correctly the Ares should fall right back on target.

Atlas can achieve the Perfect Zero by fine-tuning all of its 2011s. First, Atlas takes a different approach and builds the gun around the ammunition. The Ares is built and fine-tuned around shooting various types of 9mm. That can be 115-grain range ammo, 124-grain +P defensive ammo, or 147-grain subsonic ammo. It is designed to run it all flawlessly.

Think of it like fine-tuning an engine on a Shelby GT500, Ford GT, or Porsche 911 GT3. Those master mechanics and engineers fine-tune those supercars to get the most out of those engines. Same concept as Atlas’s Perfect Zero concept. Building and tuning the pistol to land your sights back on target at your original point of aim after every shot. The key to this proper application of the fundamentals of marksmanship.

When shooting the Ares during the burndown at an accelerated rate of fire my sights were falling right back on target. That is because I was applying the fundamentals of marksmanship. I would instantly notice when my fundamentals weren’t correct cause I could see my sights deviate from my sight alignment and picture. Exposing my weakness and where I need to approve as a shooter during rapid-fire engagements. The Ares was an absolute blast to shoot during the Burndown and allowed me to test my accuracy, recoil management, speed, and trigger control.

Defensive Ammunition

I shot 100 rounds of defensive-grade ammunition through the Ares. The Ares is designed to be a duty/EDC pistol. So, it was only natural that I tested its ability to cycle hotter ammunition. During this part of the evaluation, I used two different ammunition types. I used 9mm 115-grain Hornday Critical Defense and 124-grain +P Speer Gold Dot.

Hornday Critical Defense

First, I shot 50 rounds of Hornaday Critical Defense ammunition through the Ares. The gun handles the feeding and loading of the ammunition with no problem. The Ares functioned as it should…reliably.

When it came down to an increase or a perceived increase in recoil I didn’t witness any. The Ares shot just as flat with the normal 115-GR range ammunition versus the defensive ammunition. From a perception standpoint, it seems like the defensive ammo from Hornday shot a little softer. At the end of the day, I feel like they were equal.

Speer Gold Dot

Next, I shot 50 rounds of Speer Gold Dot through the Ares. When it came down to the feeding and loading of the ammunition the Ares handle it like a boss, yet again. Giving me the boring consistency and reliability I would expect from an Atlas Gunworks 2011.

In regards to recoil, it was an increase with 124-GR +P ammunition. It was a small increase. It didn’t have the usual snappiness that comes with shooting hotter defensive ammunition. The Ares still shot incredibly flat dude to its ported barrel removing that energy from being transferred to the Ares. Overall it was a pleasure to shoot with defensive ammunition. I could run the gun just effectively and fast with the defensive ammo as I could with the range ammo. Which feels like you are cheating.

Final Range Visit

On my final range visit, I shot about 400+ rounds. This range day was just to push my limits with the gun and have some fun. I ran plate racks, dueling trees, and shot steel anywhere from 3 to 25 yards.

Firearm: Atlas Gunworks Ares

Ammunition: 9mm Sellier and Bellot FMJ

Bullet Weight: 115 grain

Muzzle Velocity: 1280 ft/sec

Distance shot: 7-25 yards

Targets: Steel Targets, Plate Racks, & Dueling Trees

Rounds fired: 400+ rounds

Hours at Range: 3+ hours

The final range visit was to lock in my final thoughts on the Ares and what it brings to the table as a duty/EDC pistol.

The more I shot the Ares the more I was impressed by its build quality, reliability, and accuracy. There wasn’t a shot I didn’t feel like I couldn’t take with the Ares. This is such a wonderfully designed pistol from the ground up it invokes confidence in the shooter. I never had this type of confidence or swag with another pistol. I own a couple of 2011s and I am confident with them but, this Ares is on another stratosphere.

The Ares is truly a Jack of All Trades type of pistol. Nowadays, that can have a potential bad connotation with buyers. The original quote from William Shakespeare is meant as a compliment to someone. The original quote is, “a jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” This Ares can fill the role of your duty/EDC pistol for you one moment. Next, you could pull up to the range and use it is in ISPC or USPSA match during the weekend. From there you can turn it right back into your concealed carry pistol. Giving the end user the biggest flexibility out of any pistol I have seen in a long time. The Ares is truly a multi-role pistol which makes it even more invaluable to the end user.

The Caveats

Overall, I believe the Ares is a wonderfully crafted pistol. It was built from the ground up to be a workhorse. Just because it’s a wonderfully crafted pistol doesn’t mean it’s flawless. There are some caveats with this pistol. There are three main caveats I want to explore: sights and trigger, accessories and holsters, price, and presentation.


The first caveat I want to discuss is the sights and trigger. Let’s start with the sights. The sights in this package are great. You have blacked out the adjustable rear sight with a fiber optic front sight. The Ares is a very expensive 2011 that is designed for duty/EDC use.

If I am purchasing a pistol with those uses in mind I would expect night sights from jump street. If I’m gonna run this with just irons, Tritium sights are a must. You can even keep the blacked-out rear sight and give me a Tritium front sight post and I will be happy. That is an attention-to-detail-and-case usage dynamic that needs to be considered when building a duty/EDC pistol. I understand that the heritage that the Ares is coming from and it’s one of competition. I even stated that this gun can be used in a duty/EDC role and can be shot in a 3-Gun competition on the weekends. It’s an incredibly versatile pistol but, duty/EDC considerations should be taken first. It


Second, I believe that the trigger is a little too light for a duty/EDC handgun. If Ares truly wanted to be looked at as a contender to the popular and successful Staccato P it needs to have a heavier trigger pull. The Staccato P is approved for duty use by over 325 law enforcement agencies across the nation, including U.S. Marshals, Texas Rangers, and Las Vegas Metro.

I reached out to a friend who currently works for Las Vegas Metro. He informed me that all duty pistols must come with a trigger weight no lighter than 4.5 lbs from the factory. The average Glock or P320 series comes with a 5-5.5 lb trigger pull weight. Unless you are Law Enforcement inside the state of New York with a trigger pull weight of 12 lbs for officers. Which is outrageous.

Now, let’s compare apples to apples. The Staccato P has a 4.5 lbs trigger from the factory. Whereas the Ares has a super sexy 3 lbs trigger pull from the factory. That means the Ares needs an extra 1.5 lbs of weight added to its trigger to be competitive. If Atlas Gunworks can add 1.5 lbs of trigger weight and keep the same pre-travel, wall, and reset the Staccato P doesn’t have a chance. Since the Staccato P is setting the standard, has board appeal, and acceptance in Law Enforcement circles. It’s the standard by which we must compare. I’m confident if the Ares truly wanted to be competitive in that space the addition of 1.5 lbs would be nothing.

I also think for normal EDC considerations the trigger should be at a solid 4 lbs. I think 4-5 lbs is a solid trigger pull weight for an EDC firearm. You don’t want your trigger too light or too heavy for an EDC pistol. You want that Goldie Locks and The Three Bears of having the trigger pull that is just right. I think a jump to 4.5 lbs will allow the Ares to be competitive within the duty space and give people a little more security for EDC considerations.

Accessories & Holsters

Ares with G-Code Level 2 Retention Holster

When it comes to accessories for the Atlas Ares that is pretty easy to find. On the Atlas Gunworks website, they work hard to keep all meaningful accessories for their pistols in stock. Dawson Precision also makes accessories for Atlas pistols. A Surefire X300U, Streamlight TRL-1 HL, and a Modlite or Ariaska light will easily fit on the 1913 Picatinny rail for the Ares.

The big question mark comes from holster compatibility. The holsters that are offered on Atlas Gunworks’ website are Outside the Waistband focused on various pistols. You would have to reach out to holster manufacturers to see if they have a holster that is compatible with the Ares. As, for my research into Tier 1 Concealed, LAS Concealment, TXC holsters, or Tenicor they don’t make holsters specifically for the Ares. Could a Staccato P holster potentially hold the Ares? Yes, it absolutely could but, it wasn’t designed from the floor up for the Ares.

Before, releasing the Ares, Atlas could have potentially reached out to Tier 1 Concealed, LAS Concealment, TXC holsters, or to other holster manufacturers. So, from day one end users can find a holster for their Ares and carry it as soon as possible. As of right now, it’s a shot in the dark on finding IWB holster compatibility. Which means a delay in carrying the Ares as your primary pistol if you wanted to.

Sarfariland Competition Holster

When it comes down to holster compatibility I was lucky. I originally borrowed a friend’s Safariland 3-Gun competition holster for use during this review. Fortunately, I was able to run the Ares in my Level 2 retention holster from G-Code. I’m not sure if the 6000 series Safariland holster can be retrofitted to fit the Ares by potentially popping the barrel plug, and flashlight cap, and hitting it with some heat. I don’t think it would fit in any 7000 series Safariland holster because it’s an enclosed system.

Even, if you would want to run a traditional Kydex OWB holster you would run into compatibility issues. None of the major brands or even some of the smaller brands like Quick, Violent, Over don’t have holsters specifically designed for the Atlas Gunworks 2011s. I feel that Atlas should look into making that more of a priority, especially if they are looking to merge more into that duty/EDC role with the Ares.

Price Point & Presentation

Lastly, I want to talk about price point and presentation. Everyone knows that a well-built 1911/2011 comes at a premium. It’s a part of the business. You get what you pay for, that’s the bottom line when it comes down to this market. The Atlas Gunworks Ares also comes in at a premium price point. The Ares will set you back a cool $6,000.

Not everyone has $6k at their disposal to drop on a duty/EDC-focused pistol. I can’t own an Ares at that price point. Some people would have a hard time justifying the price even if they had the money for a duty/EDC focused pistol.

Which begs the question who is the Ares really for?

At the heart of it all, that’s a very complex question. I’m a firm believer that the Ares is worth every penny of that $6k price tag. The Ares is such a well-designed and engineered pistol I believe everyone should own it yet, that’s not the reality.

Most shooters especially in the duty/EDC realm aren’t going to pay $6k for a pistol no matter how phenomenal the design, ergonomics, or accuracy is. They can spend money on a Glock 17, SIG P320, or Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 for about $500 bucks. Then spend the remainder on accessories and training to become a more proficient shooter. If they are interested in a 2011 as a duty pistol they can buy a Staccato P. A new Staccato P will run about $2500. The Staccato P also comes with a great reputation among civilians and law enforcement.

In the end, the Atlas Ares is for the discerning owners and connoisseurs of ultra-premium 2011 pistols who are looking for an unrivaled duty/EDC experience at their fingerprints.

Do I think it is worthy the price of admission for the Ares?

Yes, I feel that the Ares is worthy every cent of that $6k price tag from Atlas Gunworks. From the design and engineering to the fit and finish of this pistol…it is impeccable. The accuracy it shoots with and the extreme reliability that it functions with cannot be understated. This Ares is worth its hefty price of admission.


The final topic I wanted to touch on was the presentation. This Ares has a $6k price tag. I would want the presentation experience to be top-notch as well. The Ares comes with a pistol range bag by Atlas Gunworks with three pistol mags.

In regards to the presentation, I believed the Atlas Gunworks is lacking. You can buy a Zev Technologies OZ.9 pistol. That OZ.9 will come with a small red Pelican pistol case, cutout foam inserts, and a user manual and warranty. That whole build will set you back about $2,000-$2800. That’s a rough estimate. If I spend $2000 on a pistol and can have that type of presentation. I expect my $6k Ares should meet that bar and surpass it. I’m not saying the Atlas Gunworks pistol bag isn’t a well-built quality range bag, because it is. I just expect more with my investment. Atlas provides an ultra-premium 2011 experience. I’m looking for all parts of that experience to be made with the same attention to detail.

Final Thoughts

Over the past month, I spent a lot of time dry-firing and live-firing the Ares. The more time I spend, the more subtleties of its build quality and craftsmanship become clear to me. It’s nothing more satisfying than learning something new about a firearm. That can be either aesthetically or mechanically. It just brings a wonderfully mischievous smile to my face, like the Grinch. This firearm is a wonderfully handcrafted masterpiece from the team over at Atlas Gunworks.

In conclusion, the Ares is a beast of a firearm that is ready for primetime. The Ares by Atlas Gunworks is a wonderfully handcrafted pistol that is a Jack of All Trades pistol. That can be used as an amazing duty/EDC pistol and a pistol you can use at a 3-Gun event that weekend. This gun versatility is only a bonus to the end user.

As stated before the Ares is a beast. To reach the Ares’s full potential you have to become fluent in the intricacies of its design. That means as the shooter you have to bring out its full potential. In the grand scheme of things I know I haven’t pulled out the full potential of the Ares. That takes time. As, Maverick says in the newest Top Gun Movie, “It’s not the plane, it’s the pilot.” The same rule applies here with the Ares. “It’s not the gun, it’s the shooter.” It’s the shooter’s job to bring out its full potential and maximize its capabilities.

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  1. Great review. I need an all-around gun that can excel on duty (concealed), off duty, and during extensive training and practice. I’m almost sold! The only remaining uncertainty for me is the overall size of the Ares. I can deal with the weight, but it must be concealable for church security team purposes, among other locations. Do you really think most guys can conceal it, provided a suitable AIWB holster could be found? I CC a H&K VP-9 just fine, but this appears to be a more substantial gun. I know there is also a 4.25” version, but that is still bigger than the VP9, and it lacks the customizable grip that the 4.6” Ares has. I want the 4.6.

    • The Ares with the 4.6” barrel is concealable if you know what your doing. A Staccato P has a 4.4” barrel and I know a lot of guys that conceal carry that. So, yes it can be done. If you are worried about the size go for the Ares with 4.25” barrel with it being ported it would shoot just as flat and recoil would be low still. I would look into Quick Violent Over holsters, TXC Holsters, and Tier 1 concealed holsters. From what I found out their Staccato holsters should fit the Ares if it’s the Staccato P size. I would just double check with them. It is wonderful pistol worth your time and money. 🤙🏾

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