Friday, January 21, 2011

Shooting the classics.

So since it's 2011, one hundred years after 1911, the year that the best combat pistol the world has or will ever seen was accepted by the US Military for service, I figured that today might be a nice day to shoot my own pistol, caliber .45, Model of 1911.

I've got a few 1911A1's around, but only one original 1911.

This one was made back in the summer of 1918, and it still retains all of it's early features, such as the flat mainspring housing and lanyard loop. It bears the "United States Property" stamp on the frame and "US Army" on the slide. It also has the "ordnance bomb" acceptance stamp and the "G" on the top of the frame that indicates that it was built for the government contract. The frame also has a faint stamp from Major John M. Gilbert, the government inspector who was accepting these guns in 1917 and 1918. It was apparently still in military service during World War 2, as it's frame also bears a stamp from the Rock Island Arsenal than indicates that it was inspected or rebuilt there. The inspector's initials are FK, which would have been Frank Krack, who was the Assistant Foreman of inspections there from September 17, 1941 until he retired on July 19th, 1946. Somewhere along it's service career, it was parkerized (it would have been blued originally) and it saw it's walnut grips swapped out for the later-issue plastic ones. The finish is worn down to practical nonexistence now, but it still retains it's HP barrel.

This one has clearly been around the block a few times, and how it got from Rock Island Arsenal to the small gun shop where I found it in the late 1980's is anyone's guess. All I know is that it's been mine ever since, and I'm glad that I did not listen to the friend who was there when I bought it; he thought that I was getting gypped by the $300.00 price tag. (He thought that I should have bought his used Smith and Wesson Model 3000 pump shotgun for the same price instead. What a pal, eh?)
I shot it some when I first got it, but eventually I realized that while it wasn't the best shooter with it's tiny sights and heavy trigger, it was worth something as a piece of history. So it wound up spending most of the last two decades in my gun safe.

But with 1911 being the 100-year anniversary of the gun, I just had to bring this one out again and let it do it's thing. And I'm proud to say that it shot flawlessly and tore the center out of a target from 15 yards away. It's no match pistol, but it still goes "bang" every time I squeeze the trigger, and that's saying a lot for a pistol that is at present 93 years old. I may shoot it once or twice more this year, or I may not. Maybe I'll use it for the Aim Fast, Hit Fast class that Aaron talked me into signing up for in June...or maybe not. It's definitely coming back out in 2018, though. I'm looking forward to shooting a hundred-year-old piece of history. I have no doubt that it'll be up to it. John Moses Browning knew what he was doing when he designed this pistol, that's for sure.


  1. Someday I will own the first 1911 I ever shot (when I was 16, self-taught). A Government model, pristine condition, not sure when manufactured. My Dad worked on, or had worked on, the sear engagement back in the '60s, very crisp, and a nice firm frame/slide fit.

    My own 1911 (SS Series 80 MK IV) was purchased in the early '90s from a detective when his department went to black plastic sidearms. Used to think it didn't point as well as my P-90 (with Hogue Pau Ferro grips), but a couple of years ago, I started shooting the 1911 again, and now am as proficient and comfortable with both equally.

    If I could just find the time to reload about 500 rds of 200 gr SWCs...

  2. Is that hammer on your 1911 original, do you think? It doesn't have the massive look of an original 1911 hammer, rather the thinner-profile look of the 1911A1 hammer.

  3. Ya got me, Bob. This old vet's been around the block a few times, and I would be surprised if none of it's original parts were swapped out during rebuild or field repair.