This iconic pistol has been used by over 40 countries and even 100 years after it's creation is still in use by armies and Special Forces today, making it one of the longest running firearms in history. Called the 1911 after the year the US military first put this pistol into use. In the early 1940s the then newly formed British Parachute Regiment were issued them, at a time when the standard British and US infantry hand gun was a .38 calibre service revolver. Used first by the military it soon found it's way into civilian hands. Notorious gangsters, such as Bonnie & Clyde often carried a 1911. Even the Germans towards the end of the War were creating their own versions for their troops. Soon the pistol became famous for its reliability in combat situations and for its formidable stopping power.
John Moses Browning, born in 1855, grew up in a gun shop. He soon showed his prowess as a gun designer at Winchester gun makers at very young age. Browning was looking into designing a larger calibre pistol after the US army requested a hand gun with better stopping power that their current .38 pistol. Browning designed the 1911 in response to this request.
He was the first to invent, the now widely used by many gun manufacturers, "slider" action, which the 1911 used. The 1911 was also the first pistol to have no fasteners. With the exception of the grip, which has screws to hold it in place, everything else is held together by the tension created by the recoil spring. This makes the weapon simpler to produce and maintain.
The M1911 pistol, is a single action,semi automatic, magazine fed, recoil operated pistol.
It had a 7 round removable magazine, and used Automatic Colt Pistol (APC) ammunition. This bullet was also designed by JM Browning. Plus if you put a round in the chamber too, it gave the user 2 extra rounds over a .38 standard service revolver.
The main cost disadvantage to the British Government during the Second World War was that the 1911 and ACP ammunition had to be purchased from the USA, paid for in gold bullion.
Over time there has been many versions made of this gun by many different manufacturers. For example when this pistol was in high demand during the War.
Remington-Rand 900,000 units
Colt 400,000 units
Ithaca 400,000 units
Union Switch & Signal 50,000 units
Singer 500 units
It weighed in at around 1.1kg (empty) This although too heavy for some users, was needed for the recoil a large .45 round produced.
At a length of 210mm it was an ideal size to carry as a side arm for a soldier.
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