A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, April 10, 2009

Old Man Guns

I took a Colt 1911 and a Smith & Wesson K frame 22 revolver to the range today. These handguns are absolute classics. Every handgunner should own one of each. Curiously, I resisted each one for a long time, for different reasons.Colt M1991A1 and S&W Model 17-2 Click to enlarge When I began shooting handguns regularly, large capacity 9mm blasters were in full swing, and these guns were anachronisms of a bygone era.

I resisted owning a 1911 for a long time simply because I considered it to be an ugly gun, an old man's gun. Back in the 1980s, a lot of the 1911s that were pictured in the gun rags were ugly. Its still not the prettiest gun. It has a subtle beauty in its simplicity though, and it has a lasting beauty in its function.

I resisted revolvers as a whole when I was younger (and dumber.) Like the 1911, I considered them to be old man guns. Even after I had amassed a small collection accumulation of wheelguns, I did not want to cough up the necessary dough for a 22 caliber K frame. I was wrong, both times.

I have found the 1911 (in its original form) to be one of the most effective fighting handguns available. Click to enlargeHoles blast through a target quickly with a 1911. It is quick into action, it packs a sizable round, and it is durable and reliable assuming it meets the original specs.

The S&W 22 K frame is simply one of the finest fun guns ever made. Startlingly accurate, unfailingly reliable, and cheap to shoot. Money spent on an old shooter grade Model 17 will be recouped in fun for a lifetime. I like to use the Model 17 to "decondition" my finger to the 1911. I want to know what my ability is with the 1911 is when I am unpracticed. The Model 17 is different enough that when I return to the 1911, it is as though I have not shot a 1911 in a week.

It was a good day at the range. Only one other person, a young man with a Springfield XD was there. We talked a bit and I realized that now I was the old man at the range shooting the anachronisms. Strange how that happens.......



Blogger Corsair, The Mostly Harmless said...

Xavier, my path mirrors your own. Well said on all counts.

Last time I had to requalify, I ended up using a S&W Mod 10. Best score I ever made..

7:12 PM  
Anonymous "Old Man" Bill N. said...

I have a S&W Model 18 that I shoot. I used it as a low cost trainer for my Model 19 when I use to shoot revolvers a lot. I have a friend who works for a local PD and he makes fun of me sometimes for having those old revolvers and my Colt Government Model. He carrys a Glock 23 (I have one of those also).

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Captain Harley said...

My favorite pistol is the 1911A1 Colt Auto, my favorite motorcycle is the Panhead Harley-Davidson. I own both: the Colt Auto is the Harley-Davidson of handguns. Maybe they are not the prettyist, but they are the "badist" and they are both American made!

AMF/Ride & Shoot Safe

9:45 PM  
Blogger be603 said...


Bought a cherry 17-4 with 8 3/8" barrel a couple years ago.

Wow. Just wow.

If I'd ha' known... I would have got one 25 years ago.

1911's? Can you have too many? Nah.

10:22 PM  
Blogger MaddMedic said...

Hey I resemble that "old" man's guns remark!!
I am in the process of looking for a 1911 that will not cost me to much and another .22 handgun as I recently traded one for a "black gun" Model 1300 Winchester with slug barrel and fiber optic sights (even up).

8:53 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

My favorite revolver comment is the one usually directed at SA owners: "Are you planning on robbing a stagecoach with that thing?"

12:10 PM  
Blogger TOTWTYTR said...

I have no 1911, but do have a Model 18 and a Model 34. Both are a lot of fun as well as inexpensive to shoot.

The Model 18 is good training for my Model 10's, while the Model 34 is good training for my Model 60 and Model 442.

2:58 PM  
Blogger be603 said...

oh and about that SA thing...

Along with other firearms I've got a loaded Colt 45 Old Model Vaquero somewhere around the place 24/7.

Sometimes on my hip. Sometimes being carried "non-specific" national style with the loading gate hooked on my belt in front. Sometimes (like now) in it's holster under a seat cushion or under a pillow.

Why a SA? Cuz it works. Every. Time.

7:43 PM  
Blogger the pistolero said...

I don't know how the 1911s in the gun rags back in the 1980s compared to, say, a parkerized Springfield GI model, but even as I first laid eyes on that one I thought it was one of the most beautiful machines, period, that I'd ever seen. Even the plain-jane model.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Weer'd Beard said...

+1, 1911s have always looked how a semi-auto aught to look for me, also was the gun that turned me into a gun-nut. JMB Got it right with that one, and my hands found every peice to work in a logical and pleasing way. I instantly needed to have one.

Still I'm curious, Xavier. Obviously I know what guns you consider to be most functional/practical.

What guns do you (or did you) find most beautiful? (Personally I still hold a torch for the Desert Eagle in the lines of that gun...tho it's impractical nature is starting to clip the bloom of that rose for me)

Also if you thought 1911s were so ugly, how did you managed to get a Glock in your gun safe?

8:46 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Weer'd Beard, with mechanical things, I look at beauty as a form follows function thing. Back then, I did not think 1911s were beautiful because I did not understand the form or the function very well. My opinion changed as I gained more understanding.

The M1911A1 (and many of its variations) is a beautiful gun to me, as is a S&W revolver. I guess that's why I accumulate them.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to put "Colt" and Beauty" together, Xav, you need to get a 1903 or 1908. Functionality is typical Browning boring (as in, no surprises).

what is a Model 17 running these days?


11:22 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Pretty Model 17s are running around $500, a beater like mine $400.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Tam said...

I am given to understand that they actually make handguns that are not 1911s or S&W revolvers, but you couldn't prove it by by looking in my safe.

...and to think I was a moderator at GlockTalk (and actually called the "high priestess of the Glock gestapo"!) nine years ago.

8:46 AM  
Blogger JJR said...

Note to self, keep looking for a good used S&W 22 K frame.

I'm thinking about getting involved with the local SASS group, if only to have yet more "move and shoot" practice opportunities.

Both my Colt SAA's are loaded 24/7 and strategically placed in my apartment (hammer sitting over empty chamber in both). One is a Heritage Arms in .45 LC, the other is an Uberti Cattleman's in .357 mag (loaded with .357 hollow point). They wouldn't be my first choice, but sometimes you don't GET your first choice in a home invasion, you get what you can GRAB.

Since I live alone, I have one of those bedside racks where my Mossberg 500 sits in cruiser-ready condition 24/7. That'd be my first choice, time and situation permitting.

12:11 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Links to this post:

Create a Link