Ambivalent Skeptic

March 29, 2011

M1911 History, on this day 29 March 1911

Filed under: 1911,History — Clint1911 @ 9:43 am

On 29 March 1911, the Secretary of War approved the Colt Caliber .45 Automatic Pistol. It would become the longest serving handgun in US military history. And one of the most enduring handguns in US history.

The gun, designated M1911 and now often called just “1911” in civilian hands, was adopted after 12 years of the military considering the use of an “automatic” handgun and the inventor, John Moses Browning, had worked on this project for 16 years as he had designs, and maybe prototypes, back in 1895!

In 1911, the right combination of design, capability, and reliability was proven in a 6000 round endurance test.


Amazingly, the prototype still survives. (The photo is from M1911 forum.)
Photo from M1911 forum

Some more history:

And Chris Byrne has a good post (with a nice photo):

March 20, 2011

M1911 History, on this day 20 March 1911

Filed under: 1911,History — Clint1911 @ 10:33 pm

On 20th March 1911 the report on the Army Pistol Test was submitted.

The report read, in part:

“…Of the two pistols, the Board is of the opinion that the Colt’s is superior, because it is more reliable, the more enduring, the more easily disassembled, when there are broken parts to be replaced, and the more accurate…”

“…The Board therefore recommends that the Colt Caliber .45 Automatic Pistol of the design submitted to the Board for test be adopted for use by foot and mounted troop in the Military service in consequence of its marked superiority to the present service revolvers, and to any other known pistol, of its extreme reliability and endurance and of its fulfillment of all essential requirements…”

They Commanding Officer of Springfield Armory (then a federal asset) would concur on 23 March 1911. the chief of Ordinance and the General staff followed.

The next major date in M1911 history with be 29th March 1911, when the Secretary of War approves.

March 15, 2011

M1911 History, on this day 15 March 1911

Filed under: 1911,History — Clint1911 @ 11:01 pm

On this day in 1911 history…

As per the orders of 03 March, on the 15th of March 1911 the Colt and Savage companies sent people to test their products before the Army. This was the trial to determine what the next generation of Military sidearm would be.

Colt had 6 examples of the 1911 pistol completed. A sample (of at least two guns) was present and was shown and the features, and improvements over previous models, explained.

The examination began with disassembling of the guns, both field and detail, followed by velocity, accuracy, and rapid fire tests. The Colt was found superior to the Savage in handling. However, the 45 caliber “Rimless Smokeless” ammo, standardized for both guns was faster in the Savage entry. The speed was 849 fps vs the 828fps for the Colt.

The most famous part of this trial is the endurance test. 6000 rounds though each gun. 100 fired followed by a five minute break to cool down. After each 1000 shots the pistols where lubed and checked.

Results: The Colt had zero malfunctions and no defective parts. The Savage had 39 malf’s total and several broken parts.

Afterward, tests were run with cartridges with thin primers, as well as over and under-loaded rounds.

The Colt frame had four small cracks at trial’s end. One at the front edge of the rails, one above the rear slide lock hole, and two in the grip.

The report was stated on March 20th 1911 selecting the Colt /Browning design.

And that is another post.

March 3, 2011

M1911 History, on this day 03 March 1911

Filed under: 1911,History — Clint1911 @ 11:05 am

The Ordnance Department, having received prototypes from both Savage and Colt, issued that the trials for the firearms would be 15 March 1911. This would be the trial that lead to the adoption of the Colt-built John Moses Browning designed pistol by the US Military service.

I had more to write but my notes are currently unavailable. Check back later.

January 9, 2011

1/9/11 day?

Filed under: 1911 — Clint1911 @ 10:26 pm

There are Mas Ayoob points out at his blog that today’s date of Jan 9th, 2011 is also 1/9/11.

So if you are a 1911 fan today is a “big” day.

I prefer to think of today as 9 Jan 2011, or 9/1/11, so I don’t see the big deal.

But it will be a good excuse for a lotta fun in September.

January 5, 2011

Future outline

Filed under: 1911,History — Clint1911 @ 11:01 am

Fellow Ohio blogger Breda and blogger-I’ve-met NJT have mentioned their interest in acquiring new guns. I’ve also been thinking about writing a post as a buyer’s guide for people who want a 1911 but don’t want to spend a whole lot of money. A way of buying an entry level gun you can fit to yourself before (or instead of) buying a fancy feature-laden 1911. NJT posted he wanted a Commander (4.25” barrel) model. That ups the price floor despite, or because of, the smaller size, but the trade off is a much easier to carry platform.

The more I think about though, those post will have wait. Before I’m comfortable discussing the guns, it would help to cover the history of modern metallic cartridges. History fascinates me not only with its myriad lessons and volumes of knowledge but with how one can link so many items from the past to the present together. Basically you can trace the history of revolver cartridges from the 44 Henry all the way to the S&W mega mags and semi-auto rounds delineate from John Moses Browning’s 38 auto to the 10mm.

These will lead up to the Obligatory 1911 History post (wish me luck) and then ideas about buying your first 1911. By breaking them up I can forgo tangent background info and readers can choose their own level of involvement.

November 9, 2010

Happy Birthday

Filed under: 1911,Weapons — Clint1911 @ 11:33 am

Well, more of a brought-it-home day. Today is the anniversary of buying my first gun.

It’s a SW1911PD. I bought it one month after getting my CCW/CHL which was 3.5 years after joining the NRA. No one ever said I was conventional.

I’ve known since I was in high school, maybe before, that I wanted my first gun to be either a 1911 or an N-frame S&W. While in the USMC there was no hurry to buy a gun because POF (personally owned firearms) were not allowed in the barracks. They have to be stored in the armory (which had bankers hours). The plan, when I was still considering being a “lifer”, was to wait until I finished a degree and went OCS or until I made Sgt and could live off base. Long story short, I never made officer candidate school and I had no desire to be enlisted for 20 years. So as a civvie, once I got back into college I took the training and applied for the carry license. Meanwhile Smith and Wesson decided to make 1911’s because, why not, every one else was. S&W had even been making parts and frames for the other guys.

A funny thing about this was how I went about avoiding hype or glamour. I was not going to buy a gun “just because” it was “cool.”

Everything had to have a purpose.  Asking “What does it do and how well does it do it?” was some of the best advice I’ve been given.

I even questioned the Novak sights. Why does the rear sight have a slant in front? That doesn’t help on the draw and when would I need to “speed re-holster”?

I shot as many different guns as I could borrow; I rented 9’s, 40’s and 45’s from the local range. I keep coming back to John M. Browning’s 1911.

The S&W was the right combo of price, quality, and “useful” features while still lacking many “frills.”

Here it is today.

It’s been “personal-ized” rather that customized and the finish is a little worn. Just the way I like it…

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