100 YEARS OF SERVICE: THE 1911 SOLDIERS ON

The 1911, and later the 1911A1 (above), proved that the…

The 1911, and later the 1911A1 (above), proved that the semi-auto was the wave of the future for military worldwide.

It is hard to overstate the significance of the 1911. Although “Old Slabsides” may seem like a traditionalist’s pistol in our era of polymer-framed, striker-fired semi-automatics, the basic design is as viable today as it was when it first appeared in the early part of the 20th century.

In fact, it is important to remember the context in which the 1911 was developed. Although semi-automatic pistols in military service are de rigueur today, in the early days of the last century these types of pistols were considered unreliable, fragile and totally unsuitable for combat use.
It was into this context that John Moses Browning and his unparalleled firearm design stepped. Developed for the U.S. military’s new pistol trials, his design featured impressive reliability and robustness—as well as power due to the newly proscribed .45-caliber cartridge. The pistol that would become known simply as the “1911,” was to blaze a path forward, establishing the semi-automatic as the pre-eminent military sidearm platform and relegating the revolver toward a path into the history books as a military sidearm.

The 1911 also has one other significant feather in its cap—the distinction of being the longest-serving U.S. military sidearm, with a history running from its adoption in 1911 to its eventual replacement by the Beretta M9 9mm in the 1980s. However, it is still in use by specialized elements of the U.S. military even today.

During its tenure, the basic design received a “facelift” that resulted in the configuration with which most shooters are familiar—the 1911A1. Developed in the 1920s, this modification was instituted to address ergonomic “issues” that had arisen regarding the original 1911. This version sported enhancements such as a shorter trigger, scalloping on the frame behind the triggerguard, a longer grip safety, longer-spurred hammer, arched mainspring housing, and a larger sight.

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  • W.Davenport

    Holy crap man. Put down the firearms and pick up an English book. The 1911 btw is an amazing piece of steel, I cant think of a life without mine.

  • Richard Linares

    Reason 1911 stil round this days becuase one few guns that you can have your way. You want gun that can defend your life with well 1911 has proven track record that hard beat. Want gun that can take part fix your self when part break in your gun than out side glock 1911 way go. Want shoot gun match at rang may be win well 1911 is still proven gun for that. Want gun that you can have made your way or just how want 1911 is that gun. Reason 1911 is still round works well does job well shoot round effect in size gun that can get in what ever size price rang one can desire. When work in gun rang 1911 where long lasting most shot gun in are rang if they broke most time repair was taken care at rang with out send them factory gunsmith.