A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, October 06, 2006

My First 1911

I make no bones about my preference for the 1911 as a handgun. I will stop short of declaring it a divinely inspired sidearm, but I do maintain it is one of the best weapon platforms ever devised by man.

My first 1911 was a Springfield Mil-Spec that I purchased new for $469. That was a chunk of change for me back then, and it still is, I suppose. I had been at the range with my son, and I had shot his Colt Compact M1991A1. I was amazed by my ability to instinctively shoot my son's pistol. I had been a wondernine devotee for almost a decade. That was over. I had at last found shooting nirvana.

As we left the firing lanes of the indoor range, I spotted this Mil-Spec for sale, new, at the gun counter. It was a plain Jane black plastic gripped pistol, and the salesman touted the NM prefix of the serial number as being somehow special, a "national match" pistol. He did not need to spread the bullshit that day, I was sold on a 1911 before I reached his counter. I bought the Springfield Mil-Spec, and thus began a journey into the ever deepening crevasse of John Moses Browning's creation.

Over the years, I have developed a distinct preference for Colts, but I still hang on to my first Springfield 1911. It has been a reliable performer from day one, and with a King's bushing, it became a very accurate pistol. Over time, the Mil-Spec has metamorphasized as I honed the skills necessary to customize my pistols to my liking. Today, it is not a flashy pistol, it is all business. Most of the changes are so subtle that they go unnoticed. The front sight was lowered a bit to match up with a McCormick rear sight. A plain Colt long trigger fills the triggerguard. The King's bushing makes certain the barrel returns to a firm, consistent lock-up. A checkered mainspring housing replaced the stock unit and thus eliminated the internal locking system. An Ed Brown ambi safety locks a wide spur hammer back. I kept the original Mil-Spec grip safety. Kim Ahrend made the cocobolo grips.

There were times that I thought about installing a beavertail, a full length guide rod, and a holey trigger. I am glad I resisted that urge. This is not a cookie cutter pistol, it is unique. As the frame of this parkerized pistol transitions to a greenish patina, I am well satisfied with it's looks, it's performance, and I suspect I will never sell it. It was my first.

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21 Comments:

Anonymous Critic482 said...

Beautiful Gun Man, I just love the site. I am a loyal daily reader. the only thing I have to suggest is to put a link to your gun list page on the main site.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Sterno said...

Beauty!

10:43 PM  
Blogger Kyle The Opinionated said...

I am so waffling on the choice of defensive sidearms. I shoot 1911's better than anything else. But I love double-actions with safeties. Arrgh. What to do? Then I read a bit like this, and I'm almost steered back to the 1911, forsaking all others. That's the problem. I guess I should go find a preacher and marry the 1911. I might think about straying, but the vows will anchor me when temptation rears its ugly head.

Beautiful pistol. That's what a gun should be: all business, and the beauty is in both the form and the function.

1:06 AM  
Anonymous Brad_in_mass said...

Xav,
That was quite a write up. You speak of your 1911 like a teen-aged boy speaks of getting laid for the first time. Love it.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous "gunner" said...

"And my only friend from start to end was a punishing army Colt."

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

XB:

If you could only have one 1911 -- what would it be? Smith, Colt?

1:31 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Colt.
This one.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Nate said...

You need to come visit for a weekend of shooting and a trip to the Browning Museum just across town. JMB's original workshop is on display there as well as many of his prototype guns.

Its kind of like visiting Mecca once every lifetime.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have to say, you're one of the most eloquent bloggers I've found. I really enjoy your writings, especially in an environment where even talking about guns could raise eyebrows.

thanks.

-Dan

8:44 PM  
Anonymous mike100 said...

My 1st 1911 was a colt 1991A1 ORM in matte with the rubber grips.

My last 1911 was also an ORM 1991A1. I picked it up as a base Colt for a future custom. I actually went out and shot it (not including the first time to make sure it functioned) and really liked it the way it is. So maybe some rosewood grips with a semi match bushing..that's gonna be a lot cheaper than Novak's or Yost.

9:08 PM  
Blogger ExistingThing said...

I was excited to see the picture when I started reading, since I'm 8 days away from picking up my first 1911. A Springfield GI Mil-Spec.

I look forward to future postings, and always enjoy your blog!

4:47 PM  
Blogger Jack Landers said...

Is it true that most 1911s are not totally reliable until they have had a good bit of gunsmithing and customization? I'm a rifleman and only recently got into pistol shooting. I'm torn between a 1911 and a vintage German Lugar.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

The box stock Springfield Mil-Specs are known for their reliabilty

8:37 PM  
Blogger res0290 said...

Beautiful little piece. I'm happy you didn't install a beavertail or anything like that, M1911's are unique just the way they are, no need to overdo it.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where did you find the spur hammer to fit the original grip safety? I have been looking for one and only find the commander style?

4:02 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Brownell's

5:35 PM  
Blogger KIMSON Handicraft Co,. LTD said...

How much total for your 1911 ?

3:26 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I never kept up with it Kim Son, but I'm guessing I have about $600 total in it. The pistol is not for sale.

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My stainless Gold Cup is my absolute favorite gun. My Colt Gvt series 70 would be my next. I've always been a Colt junkie, although I DO love my Sig P6.
The most amazing thing about the 1911 is the engineering. JB was a genius to say the least. If you look through the schematic, you will find many parts that do more than one job. They are all linked together like a fine jigsaw puzzle. I think the proper description would be "simple elegance and efficiency" in design.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous spitt2000 said...

Thanks to months of reading your blog, I purchased my first ever 1911 style pistol. I had decided to get a Mil Spec, but while I was there, I found a "Loaded" model 1911 that seemed like a smoking deal and I grabbed it up. Any comments on this style?

6:31 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

If you like and want/need the features that a Loaded comes with, then it is a great deal. The Loaded is a good package deal. The only reason I prefer a different route is I am a bit particular about certain things.

Enjoy your pistol!

4:36 PM  

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