The M1911: The Greatest Pistol in the World

Discussion in 'General Firearms Discussion' started by lklawson, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    The American Rifleman excerpted this article from the publication Arms and the Man, 1911.

    The M1911: The Greatest Pistol in the World
    Excerpted from Arms and the Man, Vol. 50 No. 1, April 6, 1911.

    Up to March 29, 1911, the official military hand arm of the United States was the Colt’s .38 caliber revolver. But on that day, as a result of the movement of powerful forces too strong to be resisted and which have been acting for very long, that good old revolver became obsolete and in its stead there was marked for the holsters of this Nation’s defenders the .45 Colt’s automatic; the latest, the most deadly, the finest and the best hand arm which had yet to be produced by man.

    From the very beginning of those definite steps that the War Department people have taken to investigate the usefulness of the automatic pistol as a hand arm, the readers of Arms and the Man have been fully advised.

    It is known to you that the present Chief of Ordnance, Brig. Gen. William Crozier, his chief assistant, Col. John T. Thompson and other officers of the Army have long had an abiding faith in the ultimate demonstration of the superiority of the automatic pistol over the revolver for military use. Perhaps Colonel Thompson was one of the earliest as well as the staunchest of these believers in ultimate automatic supremacy.

    For a decision to be rendered it only remained that there should be developed an automatic pistol which should show a marked superiority over the present Service revolver and to any other known pistol. A pistol which should be reliable, full of endurance, and which should meet the essential requirements of a military hand arm.

    A board sat upon this matter, trials were made, tests were undertaken, automatic pistols were bought and issued, but for the purpose of this narrative, it shall be chiefly useful to recapitulate in the briefest possible terms those events which have transpired in the last four years since the board of officers headed by then Colonel, now General, Philip Reade, brought in a finding that the automatic pistol—if possessed of the qualities which we have lately enumerated—would be superior to any revolver, to which finding was added the statement that the Colt’s and Savage pistols were found to show most promise of being ultimately satisfactory.

    Practical effect was given to this report by a recommendation that 200 of each of these forms of pistols should be purchased and issued to troops for field trial. The purchases were made and the issues took place.

    The Colt’s Company had been making automatic pistols for some years. The Savage Company had but lately begun the manufacture of automatics and their activities had up to that time been devoted to one caliber, .32, exclusively. Both deserve much credit for their activities; probably the Savage people are the more deserving because theirs through less experience was the more difficult task.

    The pistols went into the hands of troops and the reports which came back from those who used them made it evident that neither pistol was fully up to the extremely severe requirements of the Ordnance Department.

    The officers of the Ordnance Department say that the field tests of the two pistols proved to be more in the nature of a development of the pistols than a test of them. Both of the companies availed themselves of the opportunity offered by the Department to alter their weapons, to remove the defects which use by troops had disclosed. These alterations both companies undertook and more and other trials took place.

    Thereafter and continuously the Ordnance Department conducted other tests both formal and informal of each of the pistols.

    Both of the manufacturers as a result of these various tests, from the knowledge gained thereby, continued to improve their weapons. As the pistols were made better the requirements of the Department, grew more difficult to fulfill. The pistol, which at the end of 1910 seemed not wholly satisfactory, would probably have been considered a magnificent if not an almost perfect pistol in 1908.

    However that may be the result of experiments, tests, and improvements and trials is the evolution of two of the finest military hand arms which have ever been made. For, pay particular attention to this: It is not enough to say that the Colt’s pistol was found to the be the better of the two and therefore chosen as the military hand arm of the United States, it must also be remembered that in the report of the board which finally tested these weapons these words are used:

    “As a result of the test both pistols are thought by the board to be of suitable balance weight, caliber, energy, accuracy, simplicity and safety for use in the military service.

    “The Savage pistol fulfills the requirements originally imposed as vitally essential for military hand arm but in the language of board, ‘Of the two pistols the Colt’s is superior because it is more reliable, the more enduring, the more easily disassembled when there are broken parts to be replaced and the more accurate.’”

    To quote further from the report, speaking of the Colt’s Automatic .45, the Board remarked:

    “It equals in these qualities the Colt caliber .45 revolver, Model 1909, while being superior to that arm in balance, safety and rapidity and accuracy of fire and interchangeability.

    “The Colt’s pistol embodies all the features considered essential, desirable and preferable, by the Board of Officers convened by Special Order 305, War Department, Washington, D.C. December 28, 1906, except that there is no automatic indicator showing that the pistol is loaded or indicator showing the number of cartridges remaining in the magazine. There are however, a few riveted parts, and the Board is uncertain whether the pistol would function properly with non-jacketed bullets.”

    The final recommendation of the Board summing up its conclusions is this:

    “The Board therefore recommends that the Colt caliber .45 automatic pistol of the design submitted to the board for test be adopted for use by foot and mounted troops in the military service in the consequence of its marked superiority to the present service revolver and to any other know pistols, of its extreme reliability and endurance and of its fulfillment of all essential requirements.”

    The action taken by the Secretary of War has of course the effect of making the .45 Colt’s Automatic the service arm. It takes the place of the Colt’s .38 caliber revolver as the authorized weapon for the Army and the National Guard.

    Issues of the new pistols in place of the revolver will be made to the Army as fast and as soon as the manufacturers can supply them. When the Army is furnished and a sufficient reserve accomplished to comply with the law, issue will be made to the Organized Militia of all of the States.

    The adoption of the pistol as it was presented two years, or a year ago, would have given us a weapon far less satisfactory than the present one. We can now feel assured that until someone has invented a newer and better thing, or until improvements now unmade are accomplished on existing weapons, the United States has for its official hand arm “The Greatest Pistol in the World.”
     

    Attached Files:

  2. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    Unless OzBama veto's it, the House passed an amendment to allow the CMP to sell the Army's 1911 stockpile they are getting rid of.

    .
     

  3. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    I can definitely see "O" vetoing it.

    What can you tell me about the 1911's? I assume they're all in rough-to-roached condition. What years does it cover? Expected price tag?

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  4. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    From what I have heard, the entire stock of 1911's will be involved if it is not vetoed. Some of these may be pretty well beat, but the Army constantly rebuilds them as they need it. I would honestly expect to see at least 1911's that date back to WWII and potentially beyond. You will most likely find that the majority will not be numbers matching as useable parts are salvaged and then used by the armorers to rebuild others as required.

    No idea what kind of price the CMP will put on them if it goes through. My 'gut' says $300-400 though.

    .
    .
     
  5. planosteve

    planosteve Lifetime Supporter

  6. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    I'd buy a lot more then one. :D


    .
     
  7. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

    25,834
    1,911
    INDY
    Who Cares? That's almost as good as Flash's Beretta 40 S&W!!! :D

    +10 THIS!!! ^^^
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  8. I would buy one that would be awesome
     
  9. thundercroozer

    thundercroozer Supporting Member

    704
    276
    With Flash on buying more than one,, but the one I would be most interested in is this one.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    Finding a Singer would be a dream... only thing better would be to find the Singer "1" and having an extra $95K to buy it with. :)

    .
     
  11. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

    25,834
    1,911
    INDY
    Sewing Machine 1911 :D

    [​IMG]
     
  12. cicpup

    cicpup Resident PITA Supporting Member

    15,993
    5,913
    Vermont
    1911s are like pick-up trucks. As long as the frame is good it can be completely rebuilt. Also like a pick-up truck, you can find every part on ebay.
     
  13. thundercroozer

    thundercroozer Supporting Member

    704
    276
    Have only seen 1 Singer in person,, at a gun show here in Charlotte.. The person had it locked in a case,, big sign saying for display only,, not for sale,, don't even ask..

    Don't know which I would be happier with,, the Singer,, or the $95k..
    I'm thinking the Singer :D
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015
  14. Rerun

    Rerun Supporting Member

    8,338
    2,797
    How many different calibers can be fired from the 1911 .45 ACP frame?

    Swap out the magazine and barrel to shoot how many?

    .45 ACP, .45 GAP, .357 Sig, (.38 Super, .40 S&W, 10mm, 9mm) or other wildcats without modifying the original frame...

    I wanna know!

    eldar
     
  15. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    If I owned a Singer I would set up a booth at the gun shows and charge $2.00 to peek at it behind a curtain. :)

    But if I owned the Singer "1", I would sit naked in the dark in a locked room holding it and muttering "My precious". :rofl::rofl::rofl:
     
  16. Branth

    Branth Member

    6,275
    4
    Hell, I do that with my carry piece already.
     
  17. moona11

    moona11 King of you Monkeys Lifetime Supporter

    I'm not even going to ask what your carry piece is ;-)
     
  18. cicpup

    cicpup Resident PITA Supporting Member

    15,993
    5,913
    Vermont
    Or his name.
     
  19. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

    25,834
    1,911
    INDY
    LOL!
    Mole knew a former stripper, she called it CUJO ;)
     
  20. Branth

    Branth Member

    6,275
    4
    It's a 9mm. After all, it's not the size that matters, it's how you use it. :p

    On a similar vein, I suppose she called it that because "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog?"

    :rofl::rofl: