America's Sweetheart

by
posted on August 15, 2012
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The Military Times reported that the Marines had entered into a five-year contract with Colt to provide them with more than 4,000 1911 pistols. The Times went on to report the new pistol will have a Cerakote tan finish, an accessory rail, and Novak's night sights, among other features. Other companies considered in the test were Springfield Armory and Karl Lippard Design.

This is a truly amazing tribute to a pistol that has just celebrated its 100th birthday. But, for those of us who have carried and fought with the 1911, it is not a big surprise. This John Browning classic was designed as a fighting pistol, and it survives because it is one of the premier fighting pistols of our time. Even today, I would venture to guess it is the best-selling type of pistol in the United States.

The single-action trigger is the easiest design to master. In addition, the 1911 is an easy gun to disassemble and to maintain. And, when it has not been tinkered with by shade-tree gunsmiths, it is an extremely reliable pistol in fighting conditions.

The ammunition is another factor that must be taken into account. Especially when comparing ball ammunition such as carried by the military, the .45 ACP has it all over the 9 mm in terms of stopping power.

I'm sure we will now hear a hue & cry from those who hold other pistol designs dear, as well as cleaving to the 9 mm cartridge. Well, I suppose that is to be expected. But you might keep in mind that most of them have not spent any significant time living with a 1911. And many of them have certainly never fought with one. It leaves one to wonder just how they expect to make a fair comparison.

The Marine Corps, on the other hand, has what one might call a good deal of first-hand data and experience regarding the pistol in combat. One can hardly say that their choice has not been made based upon experience with the subject at hand. Maybe they figured that "if it ain't broke, you don't have to fix it."

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