Why do we love the 1911?

That’s the question Caleb asks over at Gun Nuts. Well, I’m a 1911 guy so I should be able to answer it right? Not so much. There are lots of reasons to love the 1911 and a lot of reasons to hate it too. Sometime those reasons are the same.

I could say I love the 1911 because it’s the first center-fire handgun I ever fired, I could say I love it because it was also the first handgun I shot a practical pistol match with. Both statements about the 1911 are true, but in both cases it wasn’t my gun. In fact due to being in the right place at the right time I picked up a S&W 686 Revolver in .357 Magnum and spent the next 5 years carrying and competing with that gun before I got my own 1911.

Some people say its is because it is “an elegant weapon from a more civilized age.” But if you think about it the 1911 is anything but. At the time the 1911 was being dragged through various battlefields around the world by American G.I.s the American Gentleman went armed with much smaller weapons like the Colt 1903 in .32 acp or the Colt Police Positive in 32-20. Of course back then ruffians often had the courtesy lay there and bleed if an armed gentleman bested them.

So after giving it some thought I have my answer. The 1911 has soul. It can be that ratty beat up gun that has been dragged across the battlefield, or with a little work an eye catching accessory at a fancy dress event. It can be customized in a myriad of ways to fit the individual that chooses to carry one. And while it is more complex than something as utilitarian as a S&W M&P or Glock, if it is properly maintained the 1911 just works.

So for me, with a few exceptions, if I’m not carrying a revolver I’ll take the 1911. Maybe I’m a bit nostalgic, maybe I’m a bit too attached, but even if you have the prettiest holster in the world the Glock you stiff in it is just a Glock. My custom Colt Delta Elite on the other hand is a work of art that compliments a work of art.


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