The .45

Here’s a nice piece on my favorite piece.

Original 1911 pistol. Kyle mizokami photo

The 1911 is one of the most notorious handguns in history and easily the most famous in America, having seen action in every U.S. conflict since World War I. One of the most successful product designs ever, the 1911 has achieved something rare in the world of machines: immortality. Over a hundred years old, it remains largely unchanged.

What Apple is to consumer electronics, John Browning was to late 19th and early 20th century firearms. The 1911 is his most famous design. The typical 1911 is 8.25 inches from tip to tail and weighs 2.49 pounds empty — about as much as a trade paperback book. The 1911 is made of steel, steel and more steel, and takes a magazine that holds seven bullets.

The 1911 has seen service in World War I, Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic (twice), Lebanon, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Iran, Grenada, Panama, the Gulf War, the Iraq War and Afghanistan. It has chased bad men from Pancho Villa to Osama Bin Laden.

Minor adjustments have been added here and there, but the general appearance and function of the gun has largely been left unchanged. The 1911 is the personification — among weapons, anyway — of what architect Louis Sullivan termed “form follow[ing] function.” The 1911 was not designed to be beautiful; it was designed to be useful. Ergonomically everything is where it should be for maximum efficiency.

I’m not really a purist, though. I’m happy with virtually any decent 1911 style pistol. In fact, my favorite carry piece from long ago was a Star PD in .45.

And I understand the appeal of some newer designs. I personally dislike the Baretta M9/Model 92. I know LT Rusty likes his. I guess it just fits nicely in his purse.

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Filed under ARMY TRAINING, guns

12 responses to “The .45

  1. As it happens 70B13675 is on my desk as I type this!

  2. scottthebadger

    You know they got it right, when they deliver the first one in 1911, and delivered the latest one to the USMC in 2012.

    • ultimaratioregis

      Actually, the USMC will be buying another batch in 2015-16, just in time for the Centennial celebration of the Punitive Expedition.

  3. ultimaratioregis

    Grazie for the love shown to old Slabsides. I love the damned things. Know their contours and levers and buttons and releases like my own hand.

  4. “one of the most notorious handguns”
    Notorious – disreputable, dishonorable, tarnished. The word is as misused as is “infamous,” and has the same meaning.

  5. It just works. It’s not ‘pretty’, ‘Sexy’, or any other hipster-douchebag adjective, but it works.
    If the objective is to throw a 200gr hollow-point down-range at 1000fps, that’s the tool!
    I’m very pleased with mine…

  6. scottthebadger

    I have always found the Colt Government Model to be a strikingly handsome pistol.

    • After firing my son’s Glock at the Castle last month, I love the 1911 even more. You’re right about the grip angle of the Glock. I hated the thing.

    • scottthebadger

      LOL! Something Badgers and Wiener Dawgs can agree on!

    • In addition to Root Beer.

      I took a 5 gallon Pony Keg of Root Beer to the Castle for 2nd on the 4th. I also took a couple growlers of Birch Beer from the same place that made the Root Beer,a local craft brewer whose master Brewer is from the Black Forest. Both were a hit with the Armorer.

      I drank Root Beer almost ’til I was sick of the stuff.

    • scottthebadger

      I have always wanted to try birch beer. Is it sort of a cousin to root beer? Root Beer and Colt Government Models, the two things that brought peace to Dachshunds and Badgers. Mind you, the other animals soon got tired of Badgers and Weiner Dawgs, hyped up on suger, and carrying .45s , running around in the forest.

  7. obsidian53

    I’ve owned my Series 70 Gov. model .45 ACP since 1977 it’s my personal handgun. Prior to that I owned a Colt Commander in 9 mm which was the most accurate pistol I ever owned.