A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What is a 1911?

I was at the range killing paper plates today, and I was informed by the ever present range know-it-all that I wasn't shooting a 1911. I checked my hand real quick. Nope, it wasn't a Glock, or even a HK. I was more surprised than miffed. It got me to thinking though.......What is a 1911?

To some purists only a M1911 is a 1911. That means a military issue firearm with a flat mainspring housing, little protection from hammerbite, and without relief cuts in the frame behind the trigger guard. Well, I have a close Colt reproduction of one of those. Click to enlarge

To some folks a 1911 must be chambered in .45 ACP. 11.25mm will do in a pinch, but .45 ACP is preferred. No 9mm or 40 S&W need apply. Forget about a Colt Ace in .22 LR. Those silly M1911A1s made by Remington Rand, Ithaca and Singer? Not even close for these guys. Series 70, Series 80, and God forbid Series 90? Kimber? Yeeech! That funky lookin' Gold Cup with the adjustable sight? Not a 1911. Combat Commanders? No joy. Stainless steel? You have to be kidding! No, to these guys, 1911s were only made by Colt, Remington-UMC, Springfield Armory, and North American Arms Company Ltd. Winchester is reported to have made a few samples, but they have never appeared. Anywhere. To these guys there were no 1911s produced after June 15, 1926.

I disagree. To me, a 1911 is more than an Army blueprint. It is a weapons platform. It is a locked breech single action cocked and locked pistol that has a linked barrel, and uncanny handling characteristics and accuracy. A 1911 can range from a Clark Long Slide gun to a Colt sub-compact perfect for concealed carry. A 1911 does not have to have a barrel bushing. It does not have to have a carbona blue finish with a fire blue trigger. It can have six rounds seven rounds or even a double stack magazine (although I don't care for those) in any caliber bullet that will exit the barrel without blowing the thing into shrapnel. The .460 Rowland? Yeah, it's a 1911. So is a Kimber Rimfire. A hard chromed high capacity hologram sighted multi quadriwhizbang Leatham-Jarrett Special with an ejection port the size of Texas, holes drilled all in it, and a funnel on the bottom? Yeah, that's a 1911 too.

And you know what? I might have to loosen up on that single action thing a bit, because as far as I'm concerned, my Paraordnance C6.45LDA is a 1911 variant too!
..............................................................
Yeah. There's a reason some 1911s have a "duck tail.".......The 1911 is the Elvis of the handgun world. And Elvis is Everywhere!



Syd's Thoughts

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11 Comments:

Blogger Heartless Libertarian said...

Hey! You forgot the Delta Elite!

10mm is definitely a manlier loading the .45 ACP!

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Trebor said...

The purists are technically correct. The precise defination of a 1911 would be limited to military issue handguns made to the 1911 specifications. The versions from 1927 on should more accurately be refered to as 1911A1's.

If it's a military issue 1911 or 1911A1, it doesn't matter who made the actual pistol in question though.

Colt commercial handguns are technically the "Colt Government Model" or "Mk IV" or whatever Colt designation was appropriate for the time in question.

Now, I agree with you in general though that "1911" has become shortand for any pistol that could more precisely be called a "1911 pattern" or "1911 style" pistol. That is, any pistol that basically follows Browning's original design for the pistol, no matter what the manufacturer.

I gotta disagree with you on the Para DA though. The lockwork is just too different for it to really be a 1911 pattern pistol. It's close, but not the same.

As for whether it is better to be precise or whether the purists are just being pendantic, that is another question. To some the difference between a "true" military 1911 or 1911A1 and a clone is important enough to warrant a distinction. For them, what they see as the misue of the term grates the way other people get annoyed when a "magazine" is called a "clip."

Rob

9:16 PM  
Blogger SpeakerTweaker said...

"A hard chromed high capacity hologram sighted multi quadriwhizbang Leatham-Jarrett Special with an ejection port the size of Texas, holes drilled all in it, and a funnel on the bottom? Yeah, that's a 1911 too."

Yup. Underneath that abortion of a custom job that would warrant an Ugly Gun Sunday nod, there be the heart of a 1911 in there (somewhere).

Gotta love the resident knowitall. Because, you know, they know it ALL. I wonder what he considers a shotgun...

;)



tweaker

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Well, here's my uneducated opinion. An M1911 is an M1911; A 1911 is a 1911. A JFK rose is a JFK rose; a rose is a rose. A Glock 17 is a gun; a CZ 75 is a gun. A gun is a gun. Now I don't know much about the legalities of name ownership and the like, but I guess all gun manufacturers who have the right to call one of their products a 1911 have, well...the right.

I don't presume to know what a 1911 is. What I do know, or at least what I just learned from Xavier, is that "a military issue firearm with a flat mainspring housing, little protection from hammerbite, and without relief cuts in the frame behind the trigger guard" is a M1911. If someone says his "hard chromed high capacity hologram sighted multi quadriwhizbang Leatham-Jarrett Special with an ejection port the size of Texas, holes drilled all in it, and a funnel on the bottom" is a 1911, let him call it that.

Names have their importance, but I think that what is more important than the name of a particular gun is the gun itself, i.e. what's inside or part OF the gun that makes it what is it and what a gun does in particular that makes it different and special. The less those "ever present range know-it-alls" care about names and more about what's on the inside, the better.

What should it matter to me if people call me names that aren't true when I know what is true and the people who care about me also know what is true. Names...that's all they are.

Good post, Xav.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

I'd like to submit the "hard chromed high capacity hologram sighted multi quadriwhizbang Leatham-Jarrett Special with an ejection port the size of Texas, holes drilled all in it, and a funnel on the bottom" for consideration in the Ugly Gun Sunday category.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1911s are everybody 1911s are still the king........

11:15 PM  
Blogger nature223 said...

I have both a 1911 Colt 1918 production.
AND a 1911A1,the frame finger grooves is the dead give away,the flat main spring housing is a minor affection of some,but I like it so much it is my standard gun part.
well that,along with double cut EVERYTHING,the checkering just looks so much nicer and gives so much better finger actuation and you stick better to them,it's almost like mini checkering on all the control surfaces.
I also prefer the LONG trigger,and a smooth face,checkered triggers are hard on my fingers.
I also adore the DELTA elite,10MM is a sweet shooting cartridge,and the 1911 is a nice vehicle for it's delivery.

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seem to remember Browning's Patent for that particular gun was issued in 1911 as well.

Surely being built to the patent would give a gun equal claim to use the year?

5:59 AM  
Anonymous Blackwing1 said...

Here's a puzzle to solve: Is a Coonan in .357 Magnum still a 1911?

(Shore looks like one to this uneducated eye...)

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Mojo Nixon! You ARE the coolest nurse/gunblogger/bicycle collector ever!

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what I hate.........The PEOPLE who know way too much useless information. I own a Springfield Armory 1911 Loaded black stainless combat. I paid for it with legal US Tender, and if I want to call it Aunt Suzie's Butthole who cares. Magazine or Clip? 1911 or 1911A1? Just shut up, put the bullets in...pointy end out, stick it in the gun and go to work. I've got way more going on in my life than to sit around and worry that Johnny called a 1911A1 by an incorrect name. The Terrorists that are plotting to kill us all, because we're the White Devil, don't give a crap about names. GROW UP.

11:51 AM  

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