The 1911: A Powerful History


Over the years many pistols have come and gone, but the Browning 1911 continues to remain popular. While nostalgia or patriotism play a role, the 1911’s rich history, design, and choice of many concealed carriers are testaments to the importance of this powerful weapon.

Origins of the 1911

WWII USGI M1911 pistol by Simonov

Following the Spanish-American War, the American military decided it needed a more powerful standard-issue pistol than the .38 Colt Repeater. John Browning had been working on many firearm designs with his brother, including the .45 pistol.

His .45 was entered into a test-firing event in 1906 to decide on a caliber with more stopping power and it didn’t take long for the .45 to prove itself. While the 1911, or M1911, was patented in 1889, it wasn’t adopted by the military until 1911, hence the name.

Since then, the 1911 has been used in every war that the United States has been involved in from both World Wars to Vietnam. Some of these battles have increased the 1911’s popularity through on-screen depictions such as Black Hawk Down or We Were Soldiers.

While the war-time proving ground of the 1911 invokes a sense of patriotism and nostalgia in gun owners to purchase one for themselves, it’s the perfection in the design that has kept it around for so long.

A Sleek Design

The 1911 may not have the magazine size or modern improvements of other handguns, but the beautiful design of this iconic firearm has stood the test of time. Colt is one of the many gun manufacturers to adopt the design over the last century, but it never changes.

Colt M1911 by NHHC

The craftsmanship that goes into the simplistic, sturdy design of a 1911 is comparable to that of a muscle car and the 1911 is just that: Simple. There isn’t much to the solid steel frame, thumb safety, and 7-round magazine, but it doesn’t need anything extra.

In fact, one of the only modifications over the years has been to rechamber the 1911 from a .45 to anything from a .38 Super to a 9mm. That’s because the 1911 is such a proven weapon that it’s constantly used in shooting competitions.

Some shooters like to use red dot pistol sights to improve accuracy in these competitions, but this pistol is the great equalizer of skill with history in your hands. The exterior design hasn’t changed in a hundred years for a reason.

Concealed Carry

While it may not seem like the most-efficient gun for concealed carry, with a 9-inch slide from barrel to hammer, the 1911 is a popular choice for self-defense. That’s because of its stopping power and reliability.

Because of the design, the 1911 doesn’t jam and the .45 will generally only need one round. For carriers that aren’t as comfortable with a .45 caliber weapon, the rechambered variants have proven successful among licensed holders.

The length may seem impractical, but weighing around 3 pounds loaded and being less than an inch wide has made the 1911 a good option for concealment. With the right belt to support a holster, this artistic firearm will be concealed until needed.


Featured photo: Screenshot of Colt 1911- original via Iraqveteran8888

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