The Venerable 1911

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

One hundred years ago, the US Army adopted John Browning’s self-loading (semiautomatic) .45 pistol and dubbed it the M1911. Today, the gun is hardly associated with its original manufacturer, Colt, and its many variants, made by many different firms, are simply known as 1911s.

The 1911 is extremely popular in competitive shooting — IPSC, IDPA, and bullseye — and chambered in the original .45 caliber it has a reputation as a real man’s gun — that skilled women can nonetheless handle because of its slim design.

Shooting legend and 1911 gunsmith Larry Vickers answers the question, How do I know if a 1911 is the right choice for me?

That is a tough question as I feel most people are best served not using a 1911 as a primary sidearm. Two criteria come to mind a) a passion for the 1911 platform and b) you are willing to be your own armorer and can fix relatively minor problems or fit certain parts yourself.

If you are the kind of guy that doesn’t mind tinkering with your Harley Davidson motorcycle to keep it running then you are a candidate. If however you treat your pistols like we all treat our lawnmowers then don’t get a 1911 — use a Glock.


  1. Buckethead says:

    I have a Kimber Custom, and love it — though it’s now been more than a couple years since I’ve gotten to a range. I’m not an armorer, not by a long shot, but regular preventative maintenance has kept my .45 in good shape.

    I chose the .45 for a simple reason: it felt the best when I shot it. It feels like an extension of my arm, something that none of the other handguns I fired matched. I tried a few Sigs, an S&W .40, Glocks, and a Beretta, and none compared to the 1911.

    I didn’t have any particular passion for for the 1911 before I bought it, though I guess I do now. It just feels right, and I can’t imagine replacing it.

  2. Isegoria says:

    It just feels right. I think that sums up the usual case for the 1911. It’s also a good-looking gun with a reputation for accuracy — at least if you’re using a modern variant built for accuracy rather than abuse-tolerance.

    If you haven’t been to the range in a few years, that might explain why it hasn’t needed much maintenance…

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