20 March 2012

2x 1911

Top, an Iver Johnson Safety Hammer Automatic (3rd Model) made in 1911.
Bottom, a Springfield Armory M1911 A1 GI designed in 1911.

It's amazing how enduring guns are.  It's also interesting that .32 S&W was considered perfectly adequate for self defense back then and it's beneath contempt today.  I've read that the main reason for the shift is the advances in trauma medicine over the years.  In 1911 transportation to the hospital might be a lot slower than today and even if you got there in time; an infection could end you even if the bullet didn't do it directly.  It made one more reluctant to get shot in the first place, I expect.


  1. I think its just standards as well.

    The PM45 in my pocket right now is smaller, lighter, and holds more rounds of .45 ACP than that nifty little top-break.

    They just didn't have the materials, or technology back then to build a gun like this. Back then a "Pocket gun" was a .25 or .32, and the occasional .380, tho pocket-sized .380s in 1911 were about as common as pocketable .45s are today.

    Meanwhile people still regularly rode horses, and those who did have cars were zipping around on rutted, unpaved roads at "breakneck" speeds of 15-20mph.

    Your zippy vette would be to them as fantastic as Captain Nemo's amazing submarine, yet today its just considered a "Sports Car" and won't even compete with most of the modern supercars.

    My point is that .32 S&W was probably more deadly back then because of medicine, the "Stopping Power" was identical then as it is today, also I doubt guns were more menacing back then because of the death rate, as I suspect anybody today is just as willing to develop and unwanted hole as they were then.

    The point is we could do better, so we did.

    Further the M1911 was a major player in the handgun arms race around the turn of the 20th Century.

    Back then most armies and police issued .32, and .380 blowback pistols, or various revolvers of .32 or .38 caliber.

    The Germans had .30 Mauser, .30 Luger, and 9mm Luger pistols, the Brits had the .455 Webley, and the Americans came up with the M1911.

    The Mauser Broomhandle was eventually sidelined because it was so colossally large, as with the P08 Luger because of the expense of building it. The Germans settled on the Walther P1 pistol which essentially is, with a few minor differences is a single-stack version of the Beretta 92, which is still issued to Police, Military, and Civilian shooters.

    The M1911 was a big heavy pistol, and .45 ACP is still one of the most powerful semi-auto cartridges out there today. So while the world kept working on smaller lighter guns, the 5" All-steel M1911 has yet to be topped by ease of use, and overall power.

    Sure today the polymer double-stack world has made the M1911 LOOK like a bit of a relic, but nobody can say it still doesn't occupy a substantial niche in the handgun world.

    I carry a 1911 today, not because I'm a fanboy (as I get older and shoot and handle more guns, my zeal for the M1911 is fading) but because its slim, powerful, easy to use, easy to shoot, and with modern materials (in the case of my S&W Scandium Aluminum Alloy) light.

    Plus the fact that its such an established design I can quickly acquire parts and accessories from damn near everywhere, while having to wait weeks for spare magazines for my PM45.

  2. I think you're right.

    Sometimes it helps to recall that .38 Special is essentially a magnum version of .38 Long Colt.

  3. I'd say that Col. Cooper had a lot to do with the change in attitude. His zeal for the .45 ACP and the 1911 was contagious.


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