Posted by: reformedmusings | July 22, 2012

M1911A1 – One pistol to rule them all

Firearms can be like a religion, like cars used to be. Remember the scene in Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story when Ralphie was describing his old man? He said that some men were Catholics, some were Protestants, but his old man was a Buick man. Firearms can indeed be like that.

One particularly persistent thread pits the Austrian Glocks against the good ol’ U.S.A. M1911A1. There are a host of differences between them, but the greatest in my opinion is that the M1911A1 in .45 ACP has helped win four major wars and host of smaller operations around the world. Mass Ayoob, an extremely knowledgeable pistol trainer, law enforcement officer, and firearm competitor wrote an extremely good piece on the M1911 almost 10 years ago: “1911 – The classic home security pistol“.

Yet, the plastic gun gurus continue to disparage the metal workhorse. Sure, the proven design dates back over 100 years, but the materials and features are continually updated. The upsurge in concealed carry, citizens taking responsibility for theirs and their families’ safety, brought renewed interest. The single-stack M1911 is just a hair over 1 inch in width, making it easy for smaller hands to use,  as well as an ideal choice for concealed carry. It’s overall design and single action trigger facilitates exceptional accuracy even for relative novices. It’s grip angle was designed to fit the human form naturally, making it easy to point where you need it even with your eyes closed (not recommended while loaded).

The M1911’s overlapping safety systems make it one of the safest pistols to carry with a round in the chamber. In its newer forms, it can be found with 3 inch, 4 inch, 5 inch, and even 6 inch barrels, providing a wealth of carry choices. All perform magnificently. The key to effectiveness and safety with any firearm is training. Great hardware will not compensate for lack of practice.

For those with more expensive tastes, the M1911 can also be easily customized to a greater extent than just about any other pistol. They may be had with light rails, night sights, laser sights, special triggers, accurized barrels, beautiful grip panels, and a host of coatings on slide and frame.

Although one may find M1911’s in several calibers now, it works best with the original .45 ACP or a special target round in .38 Super. Lots of folks go for plastic 9 mm pistols because they want as many rounds in their magazine as possible, and some even call that firepower. Well, a modern defensive 9 mm round may expand beyond 9 mm in the target, but a .45 ACP (11.4 mm) never shrinks in the target. ’nuff said. SOCOM experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan once again provided substantial evidence for the superiority of the .45 ACP over 9 mm in combat.

Which brings me to the news of the day. The United States Marine Corp Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) just chose a Colt M1911A1 as its new close quarters combat pistol. The new pistol will replace their current older, rebuilt M1911A1 designated the M45. These leading-edge special operators, the guys for whom everything must work first time, every time, left the plastic gun guys in the dust. Again. Get over it, boys.

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