Advanced Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Re: AH: need to know about first generation 1911 ACPs
Actually, there wasn't any change in function, or shooting, it's was mostly cosmetic changes, to allow the weapon to fit more "hands" and supposedly be easier to shoot by recruits.
The 1911 had a longer trigger, a slightly longer hammer spur, a shorter grip safety tang, and a flat mainspring housing (the back of the grip), and also a lanyard ring on the base of the mainspring housing.
One of the issues the 1911 had was if the shooter wasn't careful with his grip and had his hand a little too high, the hammer would catch the web between the thumb and forefinger and the grip safety tang and "bite' it, hurting like heck and leaving it bloody. The 1911A1 had a little shorter hammer spur and a longer grip safety tang, but it never fully alleviated it, so a popular modification today and for the past 30 years or so is to put a "Commander" (shorter and rounded) hammer on them and a wide extended "beavertail" grip safety on them...but your guy wouldn't know about these, the Colt Commander (a lightweight, shortened 1911A1) came along in the 1950s...and the rest of the modifications came about when the 1911/1911A1 was the most popular (it still is) defense and combat competition pistol in the 1970s....however if you wanted to make it look like your guy was an "expert, you could have him have "bobbed" the hammer to eliminate this problem, and also make the gun a little "sleeker" for concealed carry....I'm sure guys were tinkering with their own guns to "customize" them or make them "better" , then just like now....they just wouldn't have the easy "drop in" aftermarket parts available for it like we do today, they would have to make or have a gunsmith make their own...
The 1911A1 also had an arched mainspring housing (the back bottom of the grip) which supposedly better fit the "arch" in you palm when you are gripping it, making it easier to control, but for some reason most "modern" shooters have their custom 1911A1s built with the flat 1911 housing, (personally I think just because it "looks" nicer, I prefer the arched on mine, but then again I have big hands....)
The 1911A1 also had a shorter trigger, and concave "scallops" dished into the sides of the frame right behind the trigger guard so people with shorter fingers could fit around to the shorter trigger.
ALL .45 Colts prior to 1926 would be the 1911 pattern, MOST after 1926 would be 1911A1s, although the 1911s in inventory stayed in service throughout WWII and beyond...
Other than that, they were pretty much the same, parts generally interchanged, and they shot the same ammo, etc.....
Remember in your story, if you want your guy to sound like he knows what he's doing, he is either going to be carrying it "Hammer Down on an empty chamber," which means he has to rack the slide and let it slam forward before he shoots it, (which is the SAFEST way to carry it, and the way most people carried their .45 autos back then) OR "Cocked and Locked" which is he has already racked the slide sometime earlier to load the chamber, and then put the "safety" on...the hammer is cocked back, but locked by the safety, so he can now quickly draw and fire with one hand by simply flipping the safety down....
What people did back then was carry it hammer down on empty, and if they anticipated trouble, they would rack it, apply the slide, and then usually drop the magazine, holster the weapon, and insert another round in the magazine, and then reinsert it, to give them one more round loaded in the weapon (8 vs. 7) in the "upcoming trouble."
Nowadays MOST people who carry the .45 Colt or some variant of it, carry it "cocked and locked" with the extra round "up the spout" normally, but I don't. I carry it just like the "old days," hammer down on empty, and I carry an old "charger magazine" in my back pocket next to my wallet that I can use to "charge" the extra round in the chamber if I have time, then when I replace the mag that was in it originally I have my 8 rounds, or else I can use it as my "last resort" should my main mag and the two spares be emptied...
And another neat trick you could have your "good German" do to show he knows the 1911...say he's surprised, and somebody grabs his left arm so he can't rack the slide with two hands...the trick is to draw the weapon, then snag the rear sight, or press the top of the slide/rear sight against a pant leg, belt, whatever, and push hard, it will rack the slide back slickly one handed and then he can shoot the bad guy. It's a neat little trick that with a little practice anybody can do with a 1911 or 1911A1 quickly...
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Last edited by polishshooter; 10-23-2007 at 08:36 AM..