The Colt model 1911 was created by John Browning in 1906. John Browning, who at the time was working for Colt, went on to become one of the greatest designers of firearms to ever live. He is the father of several modern firearms. The pistol was designed for the U.S.Army who had begun to find out that their trusty .38 caliber revolvers were incapable of stopping attackers. So in 1906 an ordinance board headed by Col.John T. Thomson(inventor of the Thomson sub-machine gun) concluded that the Army needed a .45 caliber cartridge to provide adequate stopping power. John Browning had already designed an autoloader pistol around a .38 caliber cartridge when the Army announced it was looking for a new handgun. Browning re-engineered this handgun to accomodate a .45 caliber cartridge(also of his own design) with a 230gr. F.M.J bullet, and submitted it. In early March,1911 the Army appointed a selection committee and subjected the firearms to a torture test that was quite extensive for it's time and unprecedented. On March 29,1911 the Browning designed, Colt produced .45 ACP pistol was selected as the official sidearm of the U.S. Armed Forces and named the Model 1911. That day was monumental in the history of firearms as the day a legend was made. The M1911 became extremely popular and was subjected to some improvements in the early 1920's. The flat mainspring housing was replaced with an arched one which was intended to help the gun point more naturally. Colt also changed the trigger and hammer spurs with smaller models and installed a longer grip safety. There was also a half moon cut in the frame behind the trigger making this new model now known as the M1911A1 disinguishable from it's predecessor. During WWII the military demand was so great for the M1911A1 that several other manufacturers began production to keep up with the demand. The 1911A1 remained extremely popular after WWII and underwent it's most dramatic change in the early 1980's. Colt fearing the world of litigation and ambulance chasers, added an additional safety device. This added feature was a firing pin safety which would prevent the pistol from firing if the trigger was not fully pulled. The intent was to prevent a loaded gun from firing in the event it was dropped and landed on the hammer. These modified 1911A1's were now going to be called the Colt MKIV Series 80 but to any gun afficianado, and for the rest of this article, they will be referred to as the M1911. Intersting enough was that this new firing pin safety actually had a detrimental effect on the trigger pull and was never acceptd by serious shooters looking to achieve the best possible trigger pulls on their handguns. Since it's introduction the M1911 has become the standard by which all other handguns are judged. The M1911 as great as it is does have it's faults. It is a big pistol and is not very light. The grip is not comfortable for all hand sizes, especially in earlier models. The M1911 has many moving parts all of which are vital to the guns operation. These parts are fitted to loose tolerances which enables the gun to work in mud and dirt but it is these loose tolerances which also makes the gun difficult to shoot with any accuracy. The M1911 is a gunsmiths dream. I sometimes compare the M1911 to Chevy's small block 350 engine. Just as a good auto mechanic can transform the small block into a highly customized high performance race engine, a good gunsmith can customize the M1911 into a very accurate and reliable custom firearm outperformed by none. When refined by a good gunsmith, the 1911 becomes the most accurate, best balanced and best feeling autoloader ever designed by anybody anywhere in the world. The 1911 has become the most customized handgun by todays gunsmiths. There are thousands of aftermarket parts available making it the most popular handgun used in competition anywhere. Several manufacturers are producing 1911's in several differant calibers, some already with some customizing done. Of the calibers they are available in, the .45ACP is still the most popular. Many "experts" have stated that if they could only have one handgun that the 1911 would be it. I would have a hard time arguing with them. I own several customized 1911's in both .45ACP and .38 super and will never part with them. To have an autoloader pistol with the stopping power and accuracy of the .45ACP and the perfect balance and reliability of the 1911, it is easy to see how the 1911 has become a living legend.
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