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The 100-Year Old Miracle – Mr Colt’s M1911

August 13, 2010

It seems hard to believe that in this day and age there is still in use a piece of technology that is almost one hundred years old. We live in times of constant expansion and technological advancement. The computer on which I write this blog is likely already out of date at less than 12 months old. The mp3 player you listen to on the bus or train will be replaced by something even smaller and with ten times the capacity within a frighteningly short space of time. And yet, even on the modern battlefield, where technology contains to gain ground, infantrymen are using a weapon that is older than their grandfathers – the Colt M1911 pistol.

Comparison of the two basic types of 1911

The Colt 1911 is a masterpiece of weapon design. Simple, but very effective. Firing .45-calibre ACP* ammunition, it packs a wallop not matched by the equally good Glocks and Berettas. Small wonder that it is favoured by hard-hitting forces like the US Marines and Special Forces. If you want a sidearm that will save you, the 1911 is the way to go.

This venerable gun has been in virtually every major war of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, beginning with the battlefields of World War One. The fabled WW1 Medal of Honor winner, Sergeant Alvin York, used his M1911 to save himself and his squad during his medal-winning action in the Meuse-Argonne. Today, little modified, it is carried into battle in the wild lands of Afghanistan. It is an incredible gun, the Kalashnikov of sidearms.

In a classic scene from Saving Private Ryan, Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) takes on and "knocks out" a Tiger tank with his M1911A1 sidearm, my first sight as a youngster of this venerable weapon.

In the following post you can find my short field-stripping guide for the WE M1911A1 airsoft pistol, which is probably the closest I will ever get to the real thing!


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