Having carried a 1911 pistol on- and off-duty for 27 years, its idiosyncrasies are not new to me. For all its strengths, it is not a pistol you simply remove from the box and carry on-duty. In my experience, this is true regardless of cost, brand or build. Too often, an officer will fire a couple of boxes of hardball through it without using their duty ammunition.

A duty 1911 needs a beveled magazine well to guide magazines properly during fast reloads, when you can’t afford mistakes.

When the 1911 was originally developed, hollow points didn’t exist. Designed from the ground up to operate on hardball ammunition, it must be properly tuned to function well with hollow-point ammunition. But ammo is only one consideration regarding 1911-style pistols. I was recently able to attend 10-8 Performance’s Duty 1911 Class, which brought all of these issues back into focus. Designed by Hilton Yam and Tim Lau to help you prepare your 1911 for duty use, it was the most useful 1911 class I have attended in years.

In the heat of the moment, you may have to use your off-hand to operate the pistol. This makes an ambidextrous safety crucial.

Making it Fit

The timing of this class was perfect. My good friend, Ernie, owner of Red Creek Tactical, had nearly completed building a full-sized, railed 1911 for me. This build utilizes a classic AET barrel from Schuemann, an ambidextrous safety, fitted magazine well and Novak sights. The parts, mostly from 10-8 Performance, EGW, Dawson Precision and Wilson Combat, were all made from tooled steel and hand-fitted by Red Creek. Instead of finishing the pistol, though, we used it as a test platform—this allowed me to assemble it, test it, identify problems, then have Ernie make the alterations as needed. We even created a few issues to see them in action.


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Having carried a 1911 pistol on- and off-duty for 27 years, its idiosyncrasies are…