Colt M1911 Style Pistols

Colt Gold Cup National Match     Colt M1991A1     Taurus PT1911


The Colt M1911 Design is still considered by many to be the best automatic pistol (actually semi-automatic) available even though it is now a century old.  This gun was originally issued to the U.S. Military in 1911 and was first used operationally in border engagements along the U.S./Mexican border, prior to WWI where the 1911 served with distinction.  The M1911 was slightly modified in 1923 to the M1911A1 which minor modifications with the most noticable being the arched mainspring housing (neither of the guns below has the arched mainspring housing).  It stayed in that configuration through WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm.  The 1911 that then remained were further modified by military armorers to produce versions like the MARSOC variants in use with the Marines to this day.

The M1911 combined accuracy, rapid fire, reliability, and stopping power.   However, stopping power is what the .45 is best known for.  Its standard military load with a .45" cal, 230 grain Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) bullet may not always penetrate modern body armor, but it hits so hard, that a non-lethal shot will still temporarily incapacitate any advesary.  Though the .45 round is powerful, the large size and weight of the standard size 1911 does an excellent job at mitigating recoil, allowing one to shoot quickly and accurately.

The 1911 is still produced in several variations by Colt to this day, with 100th anniversary editions appearing in 2011.  However, an entire industry has sprung up of companies creating 1911 variants.  This is partially due to the ease of customizing the 1911 as every part on the gun is available from multiple vendors in multiple configurations. Major 1911 manufacturers include:  Auto-Ordnance, Caspian, Kimber, Para Ordnance, Rock Island Arsenal, Springfield Armory, Taurus, and Wilson Combat.  With so many manufacturers making the 1911 it would not be surprising to see it celebrate its 150th or 200th birthday and still be in production.

M1991A1 and PT1911

Colt M1991A1, top and Taurus PT1911, below.


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