This year, 2011, is the 100th year anniversary of the greatest pistol of all time. The 1911 45 ACP. From the battlefields of WWI, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, to the mountains of Afghanistan, no other pistol has been more battle tested than the 1911. The pistol was the creation of the weapon’s genius named John Moses Browning. In the year 1907 he began developing and testing designs of the weapon. Eventually one design that was being tested was accepted by the United States Armed Forces in the year 1911. The 1911 pistol is the longest serving military weapon currently in use. The weapon was subjected to some of the toughest tests. One having been fired 6,000 times without a malfunction. Some estimates indicate that over 3 million have been made for the military and in commercial sales. Numerous companies have manufactured the model 1911. Companies such as Colt, Ithaca, Union Switch and Signal, Remington Rand, Springfield Armory, Ed Brown, Kimber, Smith and Wesson, and Wilson.
To better describe the 1911, one should begin with the caliber, the 45 ACP (automatic Colt Pistol). The bullet weight varies between 165 grain to 230 grain. The weapon itself weighs over 2 pounds, 39 ounces. The barrel length is 5 inches with an overall length of 8.5 inches. The sights for the 1911 are fixed on the standard model and can come in different finishes, such as blue, or stainless. The magazine capacity is 7 rounds.
The 1911 was used in combat for the first time in the expedition into Mexico in the year 1916. It was used in campaigns in the Philippines and the war to end all wars, WWI. During 1926 a few modifications were made and it was recalled the M1911A1. During WWII no other pistol was in the hands of American troops more than the 1911 A1. Troops liked the stopping power and the reliability of the pistol. It was easy to tear down and strip for cleaning. Many GI’s then and today take pride in disassembling and assembling their 1911’s. Sometimes even blind folded. During WWII, 1911’s were issued mainly to officers and members of crew served weapons such as mortars and machine gun crews. A total of 2 million 1911’s were manufactured during the war. One thousand of them had German markings that were captured from an arsenal in Norway.
The 1911 continued being the main sidearm of the United States for many years after WWII, seeing action well into Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf War. In 1985 it was decided by the Department of Defense to replace the 1911 with a 9mm, the Beretta model 92. The 1911 remained with several Marine Corps units such as Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security teams well into the 1990’s. In the 21st century, the 1911 serves with special operations groups, such as Delta Force, Navy Seal Team 6, along with many others. In the world of militaria the 1911 will always remain one of the great collectible combat pistols.