Re: What is so wonderful about an 1911?
When I pick up a 1911, it just feels ... right. Like the gun belongs in my hand. Sig's are close, but still not a 1911. I got my full sized one in 1990. She's changed since then, but I still carry her to this day. My 1911 is a constant in my life. She works without fail, always.
Recently I've started reloading and found that my 1911 REALLY likes 185gr lead SWC's. It's as if the skies parted and John Moses Browning smiled down upon me.
Several years ago (2006) a friend referred to my 1911 as Frankenstein. I quote:
"A friend of mine has been shooting the same 1911 .45 for about 16 years or so. Well, pretty much the same 1911. It's a custom frame that's had some additions over the years. It's huge, clunky, and heavy. If Dr. Frankenstein built a 1911, it would look a lot like this one. If it runs out of ammo in a fight, he can beat his targets to death with it. It's got huge sights on it. It's got a huge fat hammer, and a very smooth trigger. Otherwise, there's nothing really special about this .45. No fancy polymer frame. No night sights, no fancy custom trigger, no light rails, etc. There's nothing on the pistol that could be considered, "tactical" by the modern standards of such. But it worked, and worked well. Not one jam. Not one misfire. Not one miss on a target, from what I could tell. I couldn't say the same. Though to be fair, I only had one jam that was attributable to bad ammo. Another lesson learned.
This friend has pretty much carried this gun for 16 years. It fell out of service for awhile when a Glock 17 showed up. But it came back. It then got shifted to the back burner when a Sig interloper tried to move into contention. But again, it came back. He's always loved the feel of this gun, and the way it handled. It's been a constant in his life.
More importantly, he shoots the old warhorse phenomenally. We shot combat drills with it, as well as plain target shooting. To say that he beat the rest of us soundly is an understatement. He's accurate. He's fast on the draw, and fast on the target. There was a noticeable level of skill with the old Frankenstein 1911 that none of the rest of us had. The scary thing was, this guy hadn't shot in over a year. And he shamed the rest of us.
I can't tell you how many pistols I've gone through over the years. I can shoot just about anything decently. I can qualify with just about any auto that I've picked up. But I can't hit the shots that he can hit. I have no confidence in the preciseness of my shot placement with any of my guns. I am nowhere near that good as this friend of mine with the Frankenstein 1911. He's scary good.
I think the reason is that he's been married to one pistol for all these years. It's almost a part of him. He can pull off any shot he needs to make with this pistol, probably without thinking about it. Even if he hasn't shot it much lately, he still carries it day to day. He still puts it on his bedside table every night. It fits his hand.
If a critical, life-or-death pistol shot had to be taken; I'd want him to take it with the monster 1911. This friend of mine knows that pistol inside and out. It's been a constant companion. And it shows.
So the lesson learned is to pick one weapon. Learn it inside and out. Carry it every day. Clean it and take care of it. Learn its quirks, its likes and dislikes. Learn to trust it. It will pay off dividends if needed. It will fit the hand like a glove, and point as naturally as a finger. The bullets will hit where they were intended to hit."
Since then I put night sights on it and have changed from Pachmeyer grips to Hogues. I am still chasing the perfect triger pull...
Their are really only two things that makes MY 1911 different than most: 1) I prefer (but don't have to have) an arched mainspring housing and 2) I MUST have a wide spur hammer. I'm a lefty and it makes decocking it much easier (and safer).
Here's another reason 1911's are wonderful:
A friend had a squib in his Glock (pure ammo malfunction). We were way out on a ranch in a mule. I found a screwdriver but couldn't knock the bullet out of the barrel. So I unloaded my 1911 and used it as a hammer to get the stuck round out of the Glock barrel. Frankenstein to the rescue!
My best advice is to reread my friends last paragraph - it holds true for any weapon - and to go forth and shoot one* and see for yourself!
* a true 1911, not one's that are sacrilege to the Browning design. No plastic parts (yes, I'm talking to YOU Kimber, with your plastic mainspring housing) and polymer frames are out of the question.