I’ve been a fan of 1911 pistols since the Jurassic era, when the Army handed me one and taught me how to shoot it. In those bygone days, we fired from the one-handed target stance and stuck expended .45ACP brass in our ears to “protect” our hearing. That was long before this fine old warhorse was officially replaced by 9mm Berettas. That ill-advised snub hasn’t prevented this century-old classic from becoming the hottest-selling pistol around.

taurus-pt1911-2.gifIf anything, the 1911 is becoming increasingly popular as it continues to age. It has long been in demand as a platform for custom gunsmiths to work their magic. When Kimber and Springfield Armory pioneered factory “pre-customized” 1911s at highly competitive prices, shooters opened their checkbooks. At the same time, increasing interest in maximizing performance were keeping pistolsmiths busy. The 1911 has to be the most widely (and thoroughly) customized handgun ever produced.

Over the years I’ve accumulated an embarrassing number of 1911 and 1911A1 handguns. A few are costly, full-house custom jobs from well-known pistolsmiths; others are more or less as issued by the factory. Some of these stock factory guns were manufactured with semi-custom features, but when it comes to extra bells and whistles, no mass-manufactured 1911 I have in my safe can match the Taurus PT1911SS I’ve recently been using.

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