Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, January 20, 2011

1911-2011: A Century of Service

A century since the United States Army adopted the M1911:

The Navy and the Marines adopted it in 1913.

The cartridge dates back to 1904, but there were several slight modifications to both the dimensions of the cartridge case and the bullet weight before the Army adopted it. The M1911 was designed by John Moses Browning. The pistol was an evolutionary development of his 1902 model.

Legend has it that the Army was less than happy with the performance of .38 caliber revolvers used in suppressing the Philippine Insurrection and that the Army wanted a sidearm with the stopping power of the old Single-Action Army revolver, but which was much faster to reload. True or not, both the weapon and the cartridge set the standard for self-defense handguns then and now. "Is it better than a 1911" is the question that is asked. Frequently, the answer is "not really."

The Army adopted the 9mm Beretta M9 25 years ago.[1] It took a direct legislative order from Congress to force the Marine Corps to give up their 1911s. The Army's "special operators"[2] continue to use the 1911, for the same reasons that the Army ditched its .38s a century ago. The FBI's Hostage Rescue Team uses the 1911.

Probably more companies make 1911s now than at any time since Browning designed it. You can spend anywhere from just over a few hundred bucks for a Firestorm or Rock Island Armory 1911 with metal-injection-molded parts through twice that for a Colt or a Springfield Armory model up to several thousand dollars for a Wilson Supergrade. Some are better than others. Virtually all will get the job done.[3]

The criticism is made that the .45 is "hard to shoot." Don't believe that, it's just hype. I once saw a 4'11" 95lb woman shoot the center out of a slow-fire target with a GI .45.[4]

This one is mine. It is a Colt Series 80 Government Model. I bought it used many years ago.

Unless plasma guns are developed in this century, I expect that a person in the year 2111 will consider herself to be well armed if she has a 1911.
[1] The official reason for adopting the 9mm (a cartridge which was deemed to be inadequate during the pistol cartridge tests in 1904) was to standardize pistol cartridges across NATO.
[2] As opposed to the Army operators who route telephone calls. I cannot begin to tell you how much the term "operator" as a replacement for "gunfighter" bugs the ever-loving shit out of me.
[3] I have been told that some of the 1911s out there do not have parts interchangeability with other makes whether because of internal changes or because some were made to metric specs. I was also advised to never hold, let alone shoot, a Wilson Supergrade unless I planned on saving up for one.
[4] True story, and she had never fired one before then.


BadTux said...

But... but... it's HEAVY! And it's not made out of PLASTIC! We need high-tech gizmos for our soldiers, not reliable war-horse weapons like the 1911. That way our soldiers can look like a million bucks while they're gunned down by insurgents wielding 1950's vintage low-tech Soviet-bloc arms, yo!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
(Who prefers a revolver to an automatic, but if he had to have an automatic, the 1911 is a no-brainer).

The Bad Yogi said...

Well, according to friend who is an ex-SF captain, anyone doing "special operations" is a special operator.

I think the reason I couldn't hear him clearly was his tongue in his cheek.

Eck! said...

I've only fired one, it's in the picture and I can say it was a revelation. The recoil was there but not punishing. Fired it back to back with the 9mm. Both handled well and shot well. But the 1911 felt solid and has a certain very gut level this is no fooling around authority.

Couldn't peel the smile off my face with duct tape.

Maybe someday.. damn MA.


jbrock said...

Funny you should post this. I was just thinking today that, since it's the 100th anniversary of the 1911, I should finally get one.

Comrade Misfit said...

Bad Yogi, do "special operators" make telephone calls for "special olympians"?

Inquiring minds....

BobG said...

First learned to shoot the 1911 when I was ten years old, and I still like it. It has a balance and feel in my hands that I don't get from other autoloaders, other than the Browning Hi-Power.