Tuesday, March 29, 2011

100th Anniversery of the 1911 Pistol

On this day in 1911 John M. Browning's famous pistol was adopted for service by the United States Army, becoming the M1911 pistol, making this the 100th anniversary of that event. It remained the standard issue sidearm until 1985, and is still in use by Marine Force Recon and the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta (Delta Force) to this day. After 100 years of continuous production and use by civilian and military users, and despite the fact that more types of modern automatic pistols are available, the 1911 pistol is more popular than ever. Why is this the case?

Not being an expert handgun shooter, I cannot give a definitive answer based on my own experience, but I do have my opinions. The 1911 pistol is one half of a fine weapon system, the other half being the .45 ACP cartridge, the pistol existing solely to deliver .45 bullets onto the target. If one believes that big bullets making big holes is an advantage in a defensive handgun, then the .45 ACP is for you, and what better gun to use than the 1911? A proper grip being critical to reliable functioning of an automatic pistol, the 1911 grip is narrower than many modern pistols, allowing people with smaller hands, like me, to securely hold the gun. Being a single action pistol, the trigger pull is short, light, and crisp, although this can vary from model to model. Finally, while polymer frame pistol may be popular, the all steel “Government” model 1911 has enough weight to help the shooter control the recoil produced by the .45 ACP cartridge.

Historically, there are only two “American” handguns, and the other one is a Colt as well. To people like me who see value in using a historically superior firearm, then the 1911 pistol becomes the only semi-automatic pistol to use. There are many others who agree, including the Los Angeles Police Department S.W.A.T. And S.I.S. Units, the F.B.I. Hostage Recue Team and regional S.W.A.T. Teams, and the general shooting public, whose enthusiasm for the 1911 pistol has inspired ever more manufacturers to offer models of every price range and description. Here is a non-authoritative list of 191 pistol manufacturers:

Armscor/Rock Island
Les Bear
Ed Brown
Charles Daly
Ithaca Gun Company
Nighthawk Custom
Rock River Arms
Sig Sauer
Smith & Wesson
Springfield Armory
Dan Wesson
Wilson Combat


John Chick said...

I'm no expert either, but as Col. Jeff Cooper used to say, "I have mine."

(And I concur that big bullets that make big holes are the way to go.)

LeftCoastConservative said...

Thanks for your comment.

Yes, the 1911 is more popular than ever. Be sure to take a look at all the gun blogs taking note of the anniversary, Maddened Fowl, for example.

Friend of NRA said...

I came upon your site randomly, but since you are posting about the Colt 1911, I thought I would tell you about the NRA's philanthropy fundraising organization, Friends of NRA, is featuring a beautiful 100th Anniversary 1911 Colt and even have a video about it on their website. You can find the catalog it is featured in and the video here: http://friendsofnra.org/2011-merchandise.aspx

Nice post!

Kevin Acosta said...

Nice history of this Colt pistol. I didn't know that it's stilled used by some of our military (my son is a Marine, I'm an Army veteran).

Off the wall comment though, you should correct the top of your blog statement. The SCOTUS Dist. of Columbia v. Heller landmark case was decided on a 5-4 decision and only applies to federal enclaves. Last year's more recent case of McDonald v. Chicago made it applicable to the states (5-4 ruling).

LeftCoastConservative said...


I beg to differ on my banner message. While it is true that the decision to declare the D.C. gun ban was a 5-4 vote, all nine justices agreed that the 2nd Amendment confers an individual right to keep arms. The four justices voting "no" disagreed that the D.C. law was an unreasonably strict regulation.

It is pretty sad that the four in the minority think that a law that all that eliminates an individual right would be an allowable regulation.