Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Colt 1911 Pistol

As this book is published, the Colt 1911, also frequently known as the Government Model, celebrates its centennial. After serving as the primary US military handgun for almost 80 years, from 1985 it was replaced by the Beretta M9. But that certainly did not mark the demise of the 1911. Certain US military units, especially the US Marine Corps (USMC), continued to use versions of the Government Model. And in fact experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have prompted some military personnel to argue that the 1911 should be readopted. The Government Model remains popular with a wide array of US shooters. Some law-enforcement agencies in the USA issue 1911 pistols while others allow officers to carry the 1911 as an off-duty or personally owned weapon. Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams, especially, favor the 1911 because of its accuracy and stopping power. With respect to civilian shooters, the Government Model remains popular among competitors in combat shooting events and those who legally carry a concealed weapon every day. Part of the Colt 1911's appeal is its historical status, along with the Colt Single Action Army, as an iconic American handgun. In addition to being employed by US military heroes, the 1911 has been carried by famous lawmen, including FBI agents and Texas Rangers, as well as by many of the famous gangsters of the 1930s. One well-known lawman of the Depression era, Joaquin Jackson, was asked why he carried a .45 automatic. His reply was, "Because they don't make a Colt .46 automatic!"