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The 1911: An American Classic

History of 1911History of the 1911

The 1911 pistol was John Moses Browning’s most influential and legendary contribution to the world. This is saying a lot from a man who designed weapons like the M2 machine gun, the Browning BAR, and the Hi Power. The 1911 pistol is one of the most copied pistols in the world. The short recoil system employed on this pistol has become the standard for modern handguns.

The 1911 was the United States Military’s first foray in an automatic pistol. The weapon served faithfully on battlefields across the world, from the invasion of Normandy, to the Pacific Jungles, to the Chosin reservoir and Hue City Vietnam. To this day it serves with special operation forces in the United States Marine Corps. To say this 103 year old pistol is outdated is too sell it short.

The M1911 is still immensely popular with civilian shooters as both a self-defense firearm and a competition firearm. The M1911 can still be found across the country in the duty holster of law enforcement, and across the world with special operations authorized to use it. The M1911 is an extremely robust pistol that is not going anywhere anytime soon.

1911 ModernFeatures of the 1911

The M1911 features one of the finest grips and ergonomics ever invented, seconded only to its 3rd cousin twice removed CZ 75. The grip angle has long been praised for being a natural pointer. The 45 ACP is traditionally a large round, but the thin grip profile of the 1911 makes it very comfortable to hold. The variety of aftermarket grips out there allow you to greatly change how the grip feels, including the width.

The M1911 overall is a thin and streamlined weapon, especially when compared to modern Glocks and SIG SAUER pistols. For those choosing to conceal carry a 1911 is heavy, but rather comfortable. That’s right the all metal frame 1911 is no dainty lightweight polymer pistol, just solid heavy metal.

This added bulk and weight really eats the recoil of the 45 ACP and makes it pleasant to shoot. The modern 1911 can be had in 45 acp, 40 S&W, 9mm, and even rounds like the 10mm Auto and the 50 GI. A custom company even produces the 1911 in .357 magnum. Although the grip is a bit wide, I could imagine this being an excellent auto pistol.

The 1911 can be found in a wide variety of different sizes as well. The 1911 can be found in the classic government model, to the commander compact, and even ultra small SIG SAUER 9mm and 380 1911 variants. The 1911 has been produced with barrels as long as 7 inches, and even carbine conversion kits. The great thing about the 1911 is the shear amount of options one has.

Features of 1911The 1911 is a single action only pistol and the triggers may vary greatly between different manufacturers, but by design the trigger is quite light and has little creep. The single stack magazines usually carry 8 rounds, but quality magazines are made that allow a user to hold ten rounds. The aftermarket accessories available for a 1911 are truly outstanding and the only other weapon that comes close is the AR 15.

The 1911’s safety is placed in such a manner that the thumb can naturally engage or disengage as necessary, in a very rapid manner. The 1911 is one of the few guns that have such an easy to use external safety.

Finding a 1911 is extremely easy. If a gun store doesn’t carry 1911s I’d be suspicious of their wares. The 1911 is one of the most copied designs, so you can expect to find the 1911 of your dreams out there somewhere. Price varies as much as models too, a foreign made Rock Island Armory 1911 can be had as low as 400 and an upscale Kimber can touch the 1200 mark easily.

With the age and popularity of the 1911 you know there has to be holsters out there for it. There is actually a wide variety of 1911 holsters in practically every style you could imagine. Here’s just a small sampling of some.

Galco M5 X Paddle Holster

The Galco M5X made by famed leather holster maker Galco, and is one of their newest forays into the Kydex holster market. Kydex holsters are quickly replacing leather and nylon holsters in the military and police market and any holster company worth their salt is taking notice.

The M5X Matrix for the 1911 is a low cut holsters covering from the tip of the barrel to the end of trigger guard. This allows for a more precise draw and cuts overall holster weight.

The M5X is passive retention and has no active device to defeat such as a button or thumb stop. The M5x does feature two retention screws that can be customized to the user’s necessary degree of tension.

Desantis Undercover Shoulder Holster

Desantis Undercover Shoulder Holster

Desantis Undercover Shoulder Rig

A shoulder rig is the perfect way to carry a full sized 1911. Desantis Shoulder Holsters offer a different degree of comfort and concealment for large weapons, but do require an over garment.

The Desantis Undercover was born and bred on the mean streets of 1970s New York and found heavy use with some New York Stakeout squad members. Most say a shoulder rig made life much easier when stuffed in the back of a van for hours on end with 6 other officers.

The Desantis Shoulder rig does an excellent job of carrying the weight of the 1911 and disbursing throughout the entire back instead of just under the shoulder. The Desantis undercover is an extremely comfortable holster, and is made from high quality leather than will give decades of service to its user.

The 1911 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The platform has been continually improved and added on over and over. The 1911 is an amazing weapon chambered in a variety of potent cartridges; it’s easy and comfortable to shoot and has upheld law and order throughout the country and freedom throughout the world.

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Art R. has written 160 post in this blog.

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