The AMT Hardballer is a .45 caliber pistol. Produced from the late 70s and into the early 00s in West Covina, California by Arcadia Machine and Tool Company (AMT), this weapon contained many standard features that are normally considered aftermarket upgrades (e.g., wide trigger with adjustable trigger stop, adjustable sights, beavertail grip safety).
The weapon proved to be of little interest because of unreliable manufacturing, and steel galling issues, hence the nickname: it performed unreliably with hollow point ammunition of that era and would only use FMJ or hardball ammunition with any reliability, although with "throating", it will allow the use of semi-wadcutters. The Hardballer, if properly maintained, can be fashioned into quite an intriguing weapon.
A principal advantage of this weapon is that almost every part is a drop-in interchange with any other M1911; as a result, a Hardballer owner is assured of a wide variety of repair parts and custom parts. Some specimens are a bit tight, but a minor gunsmith touchup will cost less than the price difference between a Hardballer and the corresponding Colt factory issue. The most frequent part failure (in common with all M1911 handguns) is the extractor. Fortunately, this is a relatively inexpensive replacement, which will sometimes go in without need to be fitted by a gunsmith. A large supply of repair parts sold off by the U.S. Govt when the .45 was replaced by the Beretta have now largely dried up, but there is a vigorous aftermarket of newly manufactured repair and upgrade parts.
A further advantage is that this stainless steel weapon can be worked on with no worry about spoiling the finish. Some specimens are a little rough in their final finish, but sharp corners can be easily rounded with a gunsmith's stone.
The Hardballer was developed as a sports pistol until 1978.
- Combat Government - A Hardballer with fixed sights for police departments. Since 1985, this model has been called the Government with the term "Combat" omitted.
- AMT Hardballer - Basically, it is an all stainless steel version of the Colt Gold Cup match pistol, equipped with Micro sights.
- AMT Hardballer Longslide: The most famous of the Hardballer line, it featured an extended 7 inch (177.8 mm) barrel, introduced in 1980. It has the same qualities as the original Hardballer, but with the slide and barrel lengthened by 2 in (50.8 mm).
- AMT Skipper: A compact version of the Hardballer introduced in 1980. It features a 4 inch (101.6 mm) barrel. In 1984, the Skipper disappeared from AMT's range.
- AMT Commando: Originally offered by AMT then improved and reintroduced in 2000 (this date in question) under the Galena Industries brand. The original AMT Commando was a 5 inch (127.0 mm) barreled version and did not have a loaded chamber indicator nor beavertail grip safety. The improved Commando is a compact model of the 5 inch (127.0 mm) Government with a 4 inch (101.6 mm) barrel but retaining the frame of the Government model. It is chambered in .40 S&W and has an 8-round magazine capacity.
- AMT Accelerator: Basically a Galena-made Longslide chambered for the powerful .400 Corbon cartridge featuring a 7 inch (177.8 mm) barrel and an elongated beavertail.
- AMT Javelina: An AMT Longslide chambered in the 10mm Auto caliber with an 8-round capacity magazine.
- The Longslide version was made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger using one in the 1984 movie The Terminator. The variant used in the film was fitted with a primitive but fully functional helium-neon "LaserLock" sight from Laser Products Corporation, which would later become SureFire.