Posts Tagged ‘1911’

From the time I first started delving into the world of firearms, one thing was abundantly clear:  The 1911 is the king of of the handgun jungle.  There have been many guns that have come and gone with little or no impact on gun culture.  The M1911 was clearly not one of those.  I decided to do some research and look into why this particular design is still so widely used and admired all around the world.

My first research came in the form of a poll.  I asked my readers to vote whether or not they owned a 1911.  If they didn’t, I asked if they wanted one.  Of the 30 people who voted, 20 said that yes, they in fact owned a 1911 of some form or another.  Beyond that, 5 people who didn’t currently have one wanted one.  Only a few noted that they didn’t want one at all.  I know that most of my readers are gun owners  and they probably own a variety of different weapons.  Not everyone likes the same things, and yet 2/3 of those who voted owned a 1911.

I decided to cruise the web in search of more information.  I found more than I could read in a lifetime unfortunately.  Every gun forum has threads dedicated exclusively to the 1911.  On some of those forums I found people just like me who were trying to find out exactly why everyone loves them so much.  Other forum members were trying to understand why nobody could accept change and innovation, preferring to stick with old designs rather than newer ones.  Many answered by simply saying, “If you have to ask, you’ll never understand the reasons”.  Others gave long answers that detailed every little aspect about the firearm and how it was still superior to most modern firearms.

Besides forums, I found plenty of articles and web pages dedicated to the 1911.  Over on The Truth About Guns they even have an article called “Why The 1911 Doesn’t Suck”.  Others, like Browning.com, have pages reserved for detailing the history of this great firearm.  And of course there is always Wikipedia with its collective knowledge of all the users who contribute.

I read a lot over the past few days and here’s what I learned about the 1911:

History

The 1911, designed by John Browning, a famous firearms designer in the United States, was conceived right around the turn of the century.  In the early 1900’s, the United States Government was looking for firearms to replace those it currently had in service.  Browning answered the call with his semi-auto handgun design and in 1911 it was adopted by the U.S. military as the M1911.

The M1911 saw service for almost 80 years and was with us through WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, as well as several other conflicts.  Even after being officially replaced in 1990 by the M9, the M1911 still found limited use in the military.  Outside the military however it still remains a popular firearm to this day.  Many police departments still use the 1911 as their service pistol.  Outside the U.S. the M1911 saw service in countries including Brazil, Canada, China, the U.K., the Soviet Union, and many others.

Currently the majority of users appear to be civilians.  There are many different reasons people love the 1911 (which I go over a bit more below) but one reason that stands out a lot is its accuracy.  As a result of this, many competition shooters choose to go with a variant of the 1911 as their competition handgun.

Why Its Loved

  • Reliability – Almost everyone who talked about the 1911 mentioned its reliability.  It holds up to repeated use with virtually no complaints.  
  • Parts Availability – Anywhere gun stuff is sold you can find parts and accessories for 1911’s.  From barrells and frames to sights and grips, you can find almost anything you need to buid or repair a 1911.
  • Customization – As I mentioned above, accessories are available everywhere.  You can customize your 1911 to look and feel however you want it to.  For example, there are wider grips if you have big hands and brighter, easier to see sights if you have poor eyesight.
  • Appearance – Many people cited the way the gun looks as the reason why they loved it so much.  In my opinion it certainly is an attractive handgun.
  • Accuracy – The trigger on the 1911 is apparently very well made and easy to pull.  That, combined with the length of the barrel, provide the gun with exceptional accuracy.
  • History – Because the 1911 served with the U.S. military for 80 years it has a good following with military buffs.  Other people look at it as a patriotic firearm that demonstrates our innovation and inventiveness.  Others just like the nostalgia that comes with it.
  • Ergonomics – The 1911 seems to fit well in the hands of just about anyone.  In addition, the handgun’s weight is neither too much or too little.  Its light enough to be held and fired but heavy enough that recoil is reduced more than on other handguns.

Conclusion

Are there handgun designs out there that are better than the 1911?  Probably, but “better” is simply an opinion.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  The 1911 certainly has a lot of positive features, but its not right for every situation.  However, finding any one gun capable of filling every role is probably not likely to happen.

The 1911 has been around for over 100 years and has a following all over the world.  I doubt we will see its popularity decline for a very long time and that’s perfectly fine by me.  If I had the money to buy another handgun it would be a 1911 for sure.  My Sig 1911-22 is a lot of fun but shooting the real deal would be a whole other beast entirely I’m sure.

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I posted an ammo update earlier today and since then I’ve been asked to include both .45ACP and 7.62x54R in my future updates.  Since my next update probably wont come until Wednesday, I thought I would use the time I have right now to update those two calibers in particular.  Here’s what was available as of 11:00pm on February 9th, 2013:

.45ACP
Ammo.net – Eleven options
Ammo For Sale – Thirteen options
Bulk Ammo – Thirteen options
Cheaper Than Dirt – Twenty four options
J & G Sales – Seven options
Lucky Gunner – Eleven options
Midway USA – Buffalo Bore and Cor-Bon
Natchez Shooting Supplies – Five options

7.62x54R
Ammo.net – Prvi Partizan
Ammo 2 U – Three options
Bulk Ammo – Prvi Partizan
Cheaper Than Dirt – Nine options
DAG Ammo – TulAmmo 148gr FMJ
J & G Sales – Seven options
Lucky Gunner – Prvi Partizan
Midway USA – Six options
Natchez Shooting Supplies – Two options of Winchester
Powder Valley – Prvi Partizan has two options
SCDS Ammo – One option  **Canada Only**
Sportsmans Guide – Six options

As I said, Wednesday will probably be my next update.  The two calibers above will be included in with the regular update.  Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss it!

In keeping with my decision to post every day I thought I would put up a little bit about what went on this afternoon.  My friend Aaron came back home for Thanksgiving and we decided to do some shooting.  He was given a few guns when his dad passed away earlier this year and he brought those along to shoot.

I brought all my guns.  My Mini-14, AR15, SR22, and Sig Sauer 1911-22.  He came with an M1 Carbine, and SKS, a Mini-14, a 357 revolver, and a 380 compact pistol.  We looked over all the guns he brought to make sure they were safe before shooting them but the SKS didn’t pass my inspection.  There was a considerable amount of rust on both the inside and outside of the barrel.  In addition there seemed to be a large chunk broken from the inside of the barrel.  I was disappointed because I was really wanting to shoot that thing.  It was a very cool looking rifle.  All the other guns checked out fine.

The pistols were all fun aside from his 380 compact.  The trigger pull was horrible and after firing the 5 round magazine it made our fingers extremely sore.  The revolver was fun but kicked way too hard for me.  It was a “hand cannon” according to Aaron.  It was still fun to shoot and I would gladly have spent some more time with it.

Very shortly into shooting his Mini-14 we noticed a problem.  One that I was very familiar with.  In the gas block on these rifles there is a “gas bushing” that is pretty much required if you want to rifle to function as a semi-auto.  If it isn’t secured in place the gas from each shot is not properly channeled back to the bolt.  Mine was missing from the day I bought my rifle until I fixed it.  Aaron’s at least was rattling around inside the gas chamber.  We were forced to shoot it as a single shot.  I’m going to fix it for him in the next few days.

The M1 carbine was pretty neat.  I watched him shoot it a bunch and even posted a few videos of it over on YouTube at the bottom of this post.  The only problem it seemed to have was feeding the rounds into the chamber.  After the first 4 shots or so it would start working fine however.  Toward the end Aaron decided to run a few magazines through my Mini-14 since he had plenty of ammo and his wasn’t working well enough.  A video of him rapid firing it is also posted on Youtube at the bottom of this page.


 

All in all we had a great time.  We both got to shoot some guns that we’d never shot before.  And as always it was just good to hang out again since we don’t get many chances anymore.  I might post a few more detailed reviews related to the individual guns we shot but for now this is all.  Check back later!

When George A. Romero released his zombie movie Night of the Living Dead he had to know that it would be seen as strange and unusual.  In fact I would almost certainly say that was what he was going for.  What I don’t think he knew was that his idea of zombies would consume the entire country in the following decades.

Romero’s decision to take the classical zombie and add a few more terrifying elements turned out to be a huge success.  Zombies can now be found everywhere.  In almost every form of media.  In TV.  In movies.  In toys.  In games.  It’s safe to say that everyone in the country is familiar with the idea of zombies.

My decision to write this post was because of the overwhelming number of zombie related merchandise in the gun world.  There are zombie targets that I’m sure most of you have seen.  These are everywhere and feature everything from zombie children to zombie animals.  In addition a lot of accessories now come with zombie related themes.  You can get zombie grips for your 1911 pistol.  Or a zombie trigger guard for your AR15.  The Ruger 10/22 isn’t even safe from this zombie plague.

Whether or not these items will help you survive the zombie apocalypse, or whatever may occur next month (December 21st, 2012 – end of the world), remains to be seen.  Regardless, go out and get yourself a few zombie targets.  You never know, all that time you spend practicing for perfect head-shots might come in handy one day . . .

I think that when I’m through with today’s post I’m going to sit down and write a letter to the makers of Federal “Auto Match” .22lr ammunition.  Not because of its fantastic performance or anything.  My thank you letter would be for helping me get extra practice racking the slides on both of my pistols.

I shot 120 rounds of this stuff through my pistols on Saturday.  It was probably the worst trip to the range I’ve ever experienced.  Over half of the rounds I shot caused a jam in one way or another; most were caused by the rounds not fully racking the slide and chambering another round.  A good few also failed to fully eject in my Sig Sauer 1911-22.  I take some of the blame off of Federal for the Sig only because the handbook specifically says to use “high velocity” ammunition.  It would make sense that it wouldn’t work 100% there.  My Ruger SR22 has never acted like this though.  I’ve never had to manually rack the slide back as much as I did on Saturday.  My finger tips were actually getting sore from doing so.

About halfway through the session I thought to myself, “what if the guns are just dirty or something isn’t working right all together?”  So I decided to try some CCI Mini-Mag’s that I had leftover from my last trip.  They worked flawlessly.  In addition to cycling every round no problem, they managed to perform better than the Federal.  The few groups that I used the CCI’s with were significantly smaller than the others.

I’m not even going to mention the stats from Saturday because I don’t think they accurately reflect my skill or my weapons’ performances.  Just know that I wont be buying any Federal brand ammunition for quite some time.

Check back for some more updates as I have a few more posts coming soon.  I hope to have one post every day for the next few weeks.  I’m not sure if that’ll happen but its my goal.  Thanks to all of those who have supported me so far and given me the desire to go on with this blog.  Every “like” helps and every subscription does even more.  Thanks again.

As the owner of two handguns I’ve obviously began looking at the options to add a laser sight to one or both of them.  There are many benefits to having a laser on your pistol, but the biggest drawback seems to be the price.

Over at Crimson Trace they have a bunch of laser products to choose from.  The options available for my new Sig 1911-22 unfortunately cost more than my entire pistol cost.  Most of them also replace the grips you’re currently using.  I’m rather fond of the brown wooden grips that came with this Sig and if I ever change them it’ll certainly be for something more attractive than what they have to offer.

I’ve found a bunch of alternatives online that I would like to have, and they’ve been put on my wishlist for my birthday (tomorrow) and Christmas.  Whether or not they’re of sound quality is another issue.  And whether or not I will get them is even more uncertain.

If I do get one or more in coming months I’ll be certain to put up a review.

I am now the happy owner of two very different pistols.  Both are chambered in 22lr, but both are designed in very unique ways.  These two pistols probably aren’t reviewed side by side anywhere else, just because both are from very different categories   If you’re curious about either of these two weapons however, please read on.  I hope to have judged them as objectively as possible.

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My SR22 is Ruger’s attempt at a more mainstream rimfire pistol compared to their Mark series of pistols.  Some people who are familiar with the name Ruger were turned off from the unusual style of the Mark pistols.  The new SR pistol maintains the look of a “normal” pistol and I’m sure they hoped that would draw in those customers who wanted a “pretty” Ruger pistol.

The Sig 1911-22 is a rimfire version of the traditional 1911 style pistol.  Its very different internally compared to 1911’s chambered in standard calipers, but it is 100% the size and weight of a 1911 pistol.  Most rimfire 1911’s are typically about 80% the size and weght so I was happy that this one is full scale.

The Sig is a lot larger and heavier than my Ruger, but I expected that when I went to buy it.  1911’s aren’t known for being “small” pistols so I won’t count that.  However, the Sig is almost too big for my tiny hands.  Reaching the mag release with my thumb is impossible without re-positioning my hand.  With the Ruger I can easily access all of the parts even with the larger of the two grips installed.  +1 Ruger.

I honestly have to give a hands down +1 to the safety on the Ruger.  I can leave the safety in the “on” position with my SR22 and still chamber a round, something that’s not possible with the Sig which requires the gun to be cocked before you can use the safety.  This could lead to accidental discharge before you are ready to fire.  Decocking on the Ruger also scores it a +1.  The only thing required to decock the Ruger is moving the safety to the “on” position.  With the Sig you have to hold the hammer back while depressing the trigger and then slowly lower the hammer.  This action requires two hands.  I’m not uncomfortable with this method, its just much easier (and a bit safer) on the Ruger.

Balance-wise, I have to call a tie.  Both pistols feel great in my hand.  Aiming is easy and I have no problem keeping the sights on target.  The sights on both feature 3 dots; the Ruger’s are white and the Sig’s are green.  In low light both do well but the green dots are a bit easier to see in darker areas.  +1 to the Sig.  For adjustment purposes, both rear sights can be moved left or right.  Vertically, the Ruger’s front pin can be adjusted up and down.  Sig only provides 3 pins of various heights, but both seem dead on and I haven’t adjusted either.  So ill call that a tie.

Trigger pull is very different on the two pistols but neither is terrible.  The Sig is a single action pistol only while my Ruger is single or double action.  For personal preference, I’m giving Ruger a +1 for providing the mechanics that allow for both.  I’m always in favor of options, even if I don’t use it both ways.
Single action trigger pull on the Sig is slightly better.  Having 786 rounds through it before I bought it, the trigger was well broke in.  My Ruger is also well broke in with around 1000 rounds through it.  On a few occasions Friday evening at the range, the Sig went off before I was anticipating.  It requires barely any pressure to fire, and that’s great for accuracy.  +1 for Sig.

Speaking of accuracy, the Sig scores another +1.  The longer barrel is likely the main factor, but as I mentioned before, the trigger also plays a part.  My groups of 10 shots at 7 yards averaged 2.5″ with the Sig and 3.1″ with the Ruger.  With the Sig, 26% of the rounds hit the 1″ “bullseye” while only 22% hit the center with the Ruger.  This is even more impressive when adding the fact that I had never shot the 1911 until the comparison; I had more experience with just under 1000 rounds in the Ruger.

Access to accessories, while not important to function, is very important to a potential buyer.  With the Sig being a full size 1911, it is compatible with all (as far as i know) 1911 grips and holsters.  And since the 1911 has been out so long, there is a plethora of options for both.  In addition, the Sig’s barrel is threaded to allow for a suppressor.  The Ruger is not threaded.  Ruger firearms are built toward family fun and hunting so tactical accessories like that are less available.  I find Ruger’s values to be top notch and I’m glad to see a company that doesn’t sacrifice tradition and values for a quick buck.  That said, the Sig gets a +1.

Now that you’ve made your pistols pretty, and shot them a bunch, its time to get down and dirty.  Time to clean them.  The breaking down of these two pistols is only similar in that, in the end, the slide comes off of them both . . .

Before we get to that magical time however there’s a process both go through.  The Ruger takes 3 seconds and involves 3 steps, no tools needed.  The Sig takes about 3 or 4 minutes and involves almost 10 steps and an allen wrench.  That said, the Sig allows you to take more of it apart to clean.  Unfortunately for the Sig, basic cleaning doesn’t require that much breakdown.  All mechanical parts can be cleaned on the Ruger from that quick take-down.  +1 to the Ruger.

So how’d they do?
Ruger SR22: 5
Sig Sauer 1911-22: 4

Please don’t take the scores to mean that either of these pistols are inherently better than the other.  I am not a professional (I’ve only got like 1,500 rounds under my belt), and while I reviewed these weapons as objectively as possible, every shooter is different and what matters to me might not for you.  I enjoy shooting both of these pistols and if I didn’t I wouldn’t own them  It’s also true that I’ve owned the Ruger about 3 months longer than the Sig.  Perhaps in time my gun and shooting preferences will change.