Friday, February 13, 2015

Firearms Friday: The Virtues Of The 1911

No matter what range you go to, forum you visit, or magazine you read there is always the debate going back and forth between those who see the 1911 as the be all end all of firearms and those who are of the striker fired persuasion. This has been especially true with the new Army sidearm trials to replace the Beretta M9 (which replaced the 1911 in 1985 at the Army’s service pistol). There are those caught in the middle but there are always people that you can find on either side of the spectrum. It makes you wonder what John Browning would think of these exchanges.

Personally, I like to enjoy a variety of firearms so I was never one to participate in the back and forth. However, it was more due to my lack of experience with the platform. It was basically for the same reasons that you may have heard over and over… limited magazine capacity and a caliber that didn’t have a tremendous appeal to me. I have always been a proponent of accuracy over power.

Over the last couple of months I have come to appreciate the 1911 platform. I have become more familiar with the caliber (largely due to the recent drop in ammunition prices that have been seeing) and I have seen the prices of the firearms come down as well. While there is certainly a big difference between the entry level 1911’s (under $1000), mid-range ($1000-1500), and high end (well over $1500) there have been great deals from quality manufacturers. This was particularly true when Para Ordinance was offering a $100 rebate at the same time that my local shop, Tanner’s Sports Center, was running a special on all stainless steel expert models for just under $450. This is a firearm that is easily on the upper end of the entry level category with an MSRP north of $700.

Once I had gotten a handle on the manual of arms and really started enjoying the firearm itself I started looking at the other options out there. While I did have some familiarity with the market and I was aware that the 1911 is currently manufactured in a variety of calibers, I didn’t realize how much the capacity had increased on some models. I knew that the round count was higher but I wasn’t aware of the fact that it was 14+1 of .45ACP, 16+1 of .40S&W, or 18+1 of 9mm.

Weight and size have also been noted as downsides to the Browning design but even that is changing with barrel lengths ranging from 3-5 inches and frames being made from various materials other than steel including polymer, titanium, and aluminum. While still not light it is perfectly manageable for many who prefer carrying the classic. Weight and size shouldn’t be more of a factor beyond any consideration they are given with regard to any other type of firearm.

In the end, with my experience, many of the arguments against the 1911 have been made moot in recent years. There is a choice in caliber, capacity, and weight as well as a variety of manufacturers across the entire pricing spectrum offering a wide array of options to the shooter. It really has become a truly customizable firearm beyond the confines of the serious competitive shooting market. If you just want something for the range I highly recommend picking one up and if you are comfortable with carry cocked and locked there really isn’t a better concealed carry option available.