It really isn’t that much to look at. If it were placed on a gun show table, it would have to wear a modest price tag before anybody became seriously interested. Like so many other 1911 .45ACPs of its time, this one was an amalgamation of parts, both new and old. It was put together by someone who needed a working pistol to shoot. There was little attention given to fancy cosmetics on this gun. Only the grips you see are any concession to appearances; they were added late in the service life of the pistol. Despite the so-called “parts gun” aspect of this old warhorse, it is an exceptionally valuable pistol. I am the wrong guy to be estimating the gun’s value, but it has to be in the five-figure range. That’s because this battered old 1911 pistol was the primary armament of the man who is deservedly known as the father of modern handgunning. This pistol belonged to Jeff Cooper.


Jeff Cooper settled on the 1911 .45 caliber pistol as the most desirable handgun for personal defense. Contrary to the snide asides of his detractors, this belief was not arbitrarily determined. Cooper experimented with all kinds of guns, calibers and systems. In his evaluations, the 1911 pistol emerged as the best possible pistol for this work. While he may have had a number of other 1911s, the gun in this article was his primary armament. It was used on teaching trips to several countries and in demonstrations and matches all over the world. Mostly, this was the gun that was on his hip for all those Big Bear and Gunsite years.

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