Finally, Someone With Some Sense about the 1911

I read two articles today about the 1911. One was in Shooting Times by a retired law enforcement officer who has carried a 1911 for 40 years. He said he was going to tell us all the reasons the 1911 was better than any other handgun out there. His first premise was that it was available in multiple calibers. Yeah, like every other semi-automatic handgun is not! Come on. He got so wrapped up in shooting 1911s in every caliber from 22 to 45 that he forgot to tell us all the other reasons it is better. He didn’t come up with a single one. I was hoping for some, because I like my 1911, I really do.

The second article was in Concealed Carry Magazine by a 20 year firearms instructor. It wasn’t an article about the 1911, but about how expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. He mentioned that during his shooting classes the one type of handgun that has the most failures is the 1911. Then he mentioned that the second gun in his handgun classes that has the most failures is the 1911. He just doesn’t experience failures with any other type¬† of gun on a regular basis, but he does with 1911s and the more expensive they are the more they fail to feed or fail to eject.

I really enjoyed that article because it reflects the experience we have at Texas Gun Pros. We conduct several Concealed Handgun Classes each month with anywhere from 10 to 20 shooters per class. The only guns we see jam or fail to feed or eject are 1911s. On rare occasion we’ll see a new gun of some other model that will fail to feed or eject maybe once, usually because it wasn’t cleaned before firing and has had no break-in period at all. The love affair with the 1911 is blind. Come on, admit it!

UPDATE May 206:

Boy has my perspective changed since writing this. I discovered the world of 1911s that really work well and really shoot well and darned if I don’t make a 1911 my daily carry gun more often than not. What changed? Learning the gun. Learning what it’s all about and finding I really shoot 1911s well. So fast forward and read some of my later blogs about the 1911 and forgive me for this.

Do I still see 1911s jam?¬† Yep, but usually it’s the small ones, or ones that have not been cleaned and maintained properly. Modern marvels, not so much.


The Family That Shoots Together . . .

We spent the past week in Charlotte, NC visiting family. The occasion was to celebrate my father-in-law’s 90th birthday. Family came in from all over. An amazing number of them are, or have become in recent years, gun people. Besides my wife and the two of my three sons who were there for the occasion, there were four others who carry. One is a nephew from Florida, who some years back had a pistol stuck in face during a robbery. After my nephew handed over his wallet, the guy pulled the trigger. The gun, which was pressed up against my nephew’s nose, didn’t fire. Whether it was not loaded or it was a case of divine intervention, he never found out. But now he carries a Springfield XD and is very uncomfortable if the gun isn’t with him at all times. He flew to Charlotte and didn’t bring his gun, but we fixed him up with one of ours for the week.

A sister-in-law and a close friend of hers asked me to take them shooting. I located a gun range nearby–Firepower, Inc. in Matthews, NC and we took a couple of 9mm’s and my mother-in-law’s 22 Caliber Colt 1911 and went shooting. The online reviews of Firepower, Inc. were mixed, with some alleging bad attitudes behind the counter, poor customer service, etc. Our experience was fine. We were treated courteously and professionally. The range was a nice one, with equipment very similar to my favorite range in Fort Worth–The Shooting Gallery. Firepower, Inc. is a gun store with a fairly good selection of firearms, all priced at what appeared to be MSRP.

The girls did well with their shooting. I was a little surprised at their lack of experience since one of them was a farmer’s widow and the other has been married to a Vietnam era Army Special Forces guy for years. He has lots of guns, but for some reason she hasn’t done much shooting.

22 Caliber Colt 1911The 22 caliber Colt 1911 is an interesting firearm. My father-in-law described it as a “22 on a 45 frame.” He bought it in 1946 for home protection. I looked it up in the Blue Book of Gun values and if I’m reading everything correctly, its current value is somewhere around $4500. He probably paid less than $100 for it back then.

Like all the Colts I’ve seen, this is a well-made firearm. The magazine is strong and solid, with a spring that made difficult to load. We fired some Winchester White Box through the gun and it handled it superbly.

I asked my mother-in-law to pencil me into her will for that gun when she’s gone. I don’t know any other relatives that would be that interested in it. For me it would be to keep, not to turn into cash.

This trip added some additional confirmation that people all over who didn’t previously think much about guns are thinking about owning some now. We sure do enjoy teaching them to use them safely and proficiently.