AH: need to know about first generation 1911 ACPs

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by Wolery, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. Wolery

    Wolery New Member

    Nov 11, 2006
    Basicly I'm writing a stroy about a German General in WWII, who not being very happy with Hitler, decides he's gonna kill the bastard. Since this is alternate history, I can do what ever I want, but having the little details sinc up would be nice.

    Here's the question: At the beginning, he has to get close enough to Hitler to kill him personally and then shoot his way out. Now, as he's supposed to be meeting with Hitler, he can't bring in an StG cause that would make people nervous. So he needs a good pistol: as an officer's badge he can wear it without it getting taken away, most of the time. To that end, I figure he needs a .45 pistol, a mankiller. I originally thought maybe a Peacemaker, but that won't work for the purposes of story. But there's a couple of tricks:

    He buys it in 1913 at age 16, so it can't be too expensive
    This model is cobalt blue, with wood handles.
    When and if they become avialible, he uses magnum bullets for extra killing power.

    Anything I should know?

    And another, more gruesome question: If he shotts Hitler multiple times at point blank range with either regular .45 or magnum rounds, will the body bounce a round a little bit? Please say yes, but only it's the truth. It would add so much to the story. God bless.
  2. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    In 1913, he would have purchased a Colt Model 1911. That was the earliest Model, unless you wanted him to have a Colt/Browning 1905 that was developed into the 1911....but I think it would be more believable as a 1911. (NOT a 1911A1...)

    MANY German officers in World War II carried Colt or other wartime manufactured ones, and wore the US made.45acp autos as a badge of honor, they rather liked them, although MOST of them would have been 1911A1s captured, probably from the British who we sold quite a bit...but some of them carried commercial ones...

    And as far as your "obsession" with "magnums," you'd better drop that idea right now;) Chances are he and anybody else using them would be using good ol' 230 gr FMJ Military "Hardball....":p

    First, the word "Magnum" wasn't even COINED until the 30s, and then only to differentiate between the .38 Special and what was essentially "Souped up" .38 Special, which they called the .357 Magnum....

    No auto pistol fired ANY "Magnum" rounds until the 1960s and 70s, and none of them were particularly successful either...

    The .45 acp, as well as any other .45 rounds of the era, got their "power" from big heavy bullets traveling relatively SLOWLY, but transferring MOST of it's energy to the target instead of traveling through like a "Magnum" probably would...

    So go ahead and have him "bounce" around if you have to...chances are, the "big and slow" .45 WOULD do that, while the only Magnum of the time wouldn't do that, because it would probably punch right through in little neat .38 cal holes....
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2007

  3. Wolery

    Wolery New Member

    Nov 11, 2006
    No Magnum is fine with me now that I know what regular .45s can do. :cool:

    What's the difference between a 1911 and 1911A1?

    Were there maintence problems, was is too heavy, anything I should know about the gun? Cause I've never actually seen a .45 in person and I'm really not much of a gun afficinado, yet anyway.
  4. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    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...
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2007
  5. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

    Hi Wolery....welcome to the M&H forum.

    For general info, Wolery originally posted this in the 1911 forum, and got some of his questions answered here...http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=39892

    I suggested he bring it down here for some additional info....soooooo....shoot away HistoryNuts!!!! :D:D:D
  6. BillP

    BillP New Member

    Better yet, since he has to "shoot his way out" and the 45 has such a small magazine, use a good old Browning High Power. Also invented by J.M. Browning (an American) it was made in Europe and would be common for a German officer. You could have him opt for the Browning in place of his Luger because it's more reliable and carries more rounds. You could even have him "hollowpoint" his own ammo using standard German 9MM.

    Even if the 45 was a prized trophy of German officers, that's not well known and most readers will see it as a mistake. Altered ammo is a serious No No in the military but that's not a consideration for your renegade officer.
  7. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Yeah, Bill, the High Power would be more "correct," but I think his premise (from the other posting) was that his protagonist lived or was stationed in the US in 1913, and became "enamored" with both America and the "Old West," and Colt Firearms in particular, where he bought the "co star," his pistol...

    Using the .45 auto came about when Wolery was informed the Colt Single Action Army couldn't take "speedloaders," even though I STILL think he could make THAT work even without them with a little "literary license...";) SLOW methodical .45 Long Colt 255 grain pills taking out the Germans "spraying and praying" ineffectually with their Schmeisers...Kinda like an old "McCloud" episode....:p

    Plus he could intersperse the occasional "fast draw" sequence he learned straight from a "B" Western or Buffalo Bill Show where our guy would leave another thoroughly surprised Gestapo Goon lying on his back with a Luger half out of his flap holster with a "third Eye...";) (GOSH I should be a screen writer...:D:D:D)

    The Browning High Power was not built until 1935, right?

    Plus I think he originally wanted a big bore magnum for the effect, and "settled" for the .45, larger than the "puny" 9mm that would be "lost" among all the Nazis shooting back...
  8. You know, Wolery, maybe there's a perfectly logical solution to your problem here, and one that won't violate established history. Why not forget about the .45 ACP and instead go with a .357 Magnum revolver? The .357 came out commercially around 1935, so it would not be anachronistic in the 1940s.
  9. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

    But Wolery's premise is that "Becker" bought the gun in 1913 at age 16 with the wages he saved up from working all summer (I'm assuming that he was still in school).

    And.....at close range, .45ACP would certainly "do the job" as well as .357 Magnum.....which didn't come along until 1935.

    Also....357 Magnum ammo would've been extremely hard to come by in Germany during WWII, whereas .45ACP would've been readly available (commercially from 1912 to WWII, from captured ammo during the war....and, in fact, the Germans manufactured .45ACP ammo in occupied Norway in WWII to feed the Norwegian M1914 (license-built Colt M1911) which the Germans manufactured in Norway during WWII and adopted as a secondary pistol to arm their occupation troops).
  10. Wolery

    Wolery New Member

    Nov 11, 2006
    Hey thanks guys, you've been great!

    While not in the perview of this forum, I am a little concerned about this opening gun battle. The tone of the book itself is very serious, and to some, this opening might seem "cartoonish." However, I think the only reliable way to kill Hitler is up close and personal like. Every bomb attempt failed to blow the guy up. And Becker knows this. I figure this plan Becker has is formed because of it's sheer audacity: three men with pistols versus the entire guard staff of the Reichchancellery. Now it's not THAT stupid; Becker has a dozen snipers in nearby buildings with orders to take out as many guards as possbile, as well as assualt troops to help him escape, and certainly his commando/attaches will take the StGs off the dead bodies while Becker drags Hitler into the steet and shoots him "like a dog." In front of a camera nominally to record the assualt troops singing patriotic songs (how else am I going to get armed soldiers into the government disctrict? :confused: ). Yeah, Becker takes a lot of crap for this little stunt, but in truth he wants everyone to know HE killed Hitler, and thus redeemed himself a little.

    My character is definately an Americanophile from reading dime novels and seeing Wild Bill's Wild West Show as a kid, but he has the .45 not solely because it's American, but because he beleives the .45 round is superior to the 9mm ball (is there a thread I could read on about this?).

    And Bill, what is the Browning High Power? I know very little about guns, almost nothing in fact. That's why I'm asking stuff here.

    If any of this is gonzo and or stupid, feel free to tell me so, hopefully with ways to fix it. I'm very green when it comes to writing so I'm very open to suggestion.
  11. BillP

    BillP New Member

    Browning HP

    First of all I am a serious 1911 fan and not an expert on the HP but I'll try to fill you in and hope someone with more knowledge will help. The Browning HP was invented after the 1911 and many see it as J. M. Browning's attempt to "improve" on the 1911. It is a fine design, using the same locking mechanism, and it has a double stack magazine that holds a LOT of 9MM rounds. Certainly it was one of the first "high capacity" 9MMs. Browning tried to sell it to Colt but they didn't want it so he went to FN in Belgium who also had a history of buying his designs. I believe the European designation for it was "P35" but it was marketed in the US as the High Power.

    You could have your hero buy a 1911 when in the US and wish he had brought it back to Germany with him. Then discover the similarity of the P35 and the advantage of many more rounds (a full magazine and two extras in a belt pouch would be a lot of firepower in those days for a pistol). Better acceptance by his fellow officers as well.

    The full jacketed 9MM as required for military use by the Geneva Convention is an excellent sub machine gun round but not a good "one round" man stopper. Modern hollow points are much better. Allied solders were known to alter ammunition to achieve expansion in WW2 but if captured by the Germans with such ammo, they were badly treated, even executed. Such altered bullets were often called "dum dum bullets" (possible misuse of the term) and the damage claims often gruesomely exaggerated. Your hero could agonize over the morality of using such bullets but justify it by admitting he would be saving the last one for himself as capture was not an option.
  12. BillP, the Germans captured the FN factory in Belgium that made the P35. They continued production for the Germans during the War. I believe the S.S. got the bulk of the Browning/ FN P35 production.

    The Allies made the same gun in Canada during the war, for use by British and Commonwealth forces.

    Even today the P35 is used by many armies.

    The FN P35 would be a better choice for the German, since 9mm ammo would readily available.
  13. PDF

    PDF New Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    I think that every German general should carry a Luger; and with it Beker could execute good Adolf as well as with any other pistol, just one shot in the head. But if you want him to use something more "tactical" I think that the P35 would be the right choise. But if Beker took part in the invation of Norway he would be able to bring a M1914 (1911 made in Norway) from there as they were available to the ocupation troops there. But I think that .45 ammo would be rather dificult to find for german troops outside of Norway. I still think that he may use a Luger or a P38.
  14. PDF

    PDF New Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    Why Becker have to kill Adolf in his bunker and not in his train car during an inspection trip to where Beker is? in that way Beker troops would have the numerical advantage. Any way if you have to use snipers please arm them with G43 semiautomatic sniper rifles and the assault party with STG44s. but only if all of these toke place in the second half of 1944.
  15. Wolery

    Wolery New Member

    Nov 11, 2006
    Hey PDF! SOrry it took me so long to respond, but that's neither here nor there.

    Resaon why this Becker fellow ambushes Hiter in Berlin is because his 10th Army is in town being redeployed to the East, and can seize control of the capital effectively. And Himmler is not with Hitler, but they and Gorebells are all in town and Becker hope to whack them all quickly.

    I will have to look up the G43, but I intended the troops to be armed with two semi-hisotrical guns: the StG-41 and the G35 'Pinger.' The first is the 44 introduced in late 41, and the latter is an M1 Gernad Becker stole back in 1930. I figure Becker's got to change a good deal of the history of the Wehrmacht, mostly in tightening the bolts to give the Germans a change to fight on past late 44. I ain't got the map with me, but Germany is still losing the war, but not nearly as badly. If they resist and there are no nukes, it will take at least until early 47 to beat them.

    If the M1 Gerand is not useful as a sniper rifle, could you tell me why, or how a 43 variant of this 'Pinger' could possibly increase performance?

    Thanks! :)
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