Monday, April 11, 2016

Angus asks...

"Just for curiousity's sake... Is an issue M1911A1 a dog, decent or good?  Sometimes when I read about 1911 quality I am thinking we have soldiers and bench-rest shooters arguing about what constitutes a good bolt-action. While a K98k isn't shooting sub-moa, a bench-rest rifle is toast in the mud. I won't even bring up the topic of where to put the bayonet... "

So...  the issued 1911 a dog, decent, or good?

The answer is yes

And why are you asking me?  There are much better historical 1911 experts out there.  I have barely handled more than a handful.

And a 1940 M1911A1.  You got in your time machine and snatched one at random right off the loading dock at the factory.  Was it made by a guy that's been there making gun since the last war?  Or the new hire just let out of apprenticeship and making guns for the first time?  Is the old guy set in his ways and takes too many shortcuts and was REALLY hungover the day he made that gun?  Or is the new guy competent, but slower, and still is extra careful with his work because he is diligent and never wants to screw up?  Production is ramping up this year, and there is pressure to produce so are the quality of the parts different now compared to 1930?  Lots of new hires, lots of new contracts. 

Ok, forget all that.  You snagged the averagest 1911 from 1940.  Yes I said 'averagest'.  What do you have?  A decent gun you can count on.  One that required more cost and skilled labor to produce than a service pistol for 2016.  Post sale support will also need to be more skilled with your pistol, dogface.  The armorers job is much easier with a 2016 Glock than your 1940 Colt.  Tolerances are looser with your 1940 M911A1 than if you spent big bucks on a custom gun today.  You won't shoot bullseye groups.  You won't be able to choose which shirt button to drill through the Nazi officer, but you will hit him in the chest ok.  The 1940 gun will be test fired before it leaves the factory.  Not so, today, chances are. 

All bets are off if that 1940 gun had to travel 75 years to get to your hands today.  Who KNOWS what has happened to it since then, even apart from Patina and whatnot.

So, good enough to do a soldiers job, a dog at shooting a cigarette out of someone's lips.  Loose enough to work in the dirt and dust, tight enough to probably do better than what you can buy today.  All probablies.

Tam mentioned years ago about a WWII era 1911 she messed with.  The trigger was 10 pounds, if I remember right.  On a gun she was pretty sure was un-monkeyed with.  That's the trigger the GI would have had to deal with with that one gun.  It would vary gun to gun, of course, as if they were all 10 pounds folks wouldn't have been happy.  You know what?  A 10 pound trigger can still kill Nazis. 

But what are you shooting Nazis with a  pistol for?  What happened to your air support from the P-47 Thunderbolts?  You rifle?  Fire missions from a company of M7 Priests?

But man it would still be cool having the WWII pistol.


David aka True Blue Sam said...

Marines in the Pacific would snag a 1911 and hide it so they would have one when they landed, and they used them. My Father-In-Law told me he used the Kabar more than the pistol going shell hole to shell hole. It's quicker to action if a Jap is in the hole you dive into, and a Kabar never jams.

Jerry The Geek said...

Ah, Grasshopper, you know to ask the right questions!

I have a 1918 (by serial number) 1911, and it's loose as a goose. Which is within the specs for the era.

It works.

I have a Kimber 1911 Ca 2000, and it's not as loose but it works. Every time, all the time. and it's cute, with a little pony-tail flip every time it gets off.

Okay, I'm kidding about the pony tail, but there IS something terribly sexy about the 1911. Besides, of course, that It Works!

The thing is, the 1911 from 1918, and the 1911 from 2000 ... not entirely interchangeable parts, liebchen, but they feel the same. They work the same. And when you shoot them ... ou can't tell the difference in the almost-a-century difference between them.

Pick one up, point it at a target, you can't tell by the FEEL which one you have in your hand. They point at the same place.
By contrast, point a Glock at the same target, you don't know where it's going to hit.

You can denigrate the angle of the stocks, or the mechanism all you will. but when you shoot a 1911, it's the same gun you've been shooting for 50 years. (Well, for me; perhaps not for you.) Every 1911 is the same as the last one you shot. I have 2011 frames; they're the same. That's why they are awarded the **11 nomenclaure.

I can't shoot a glock, or a sig or a .. oh, you name the frame.

But when I have a 1911 in my hand, I know what I'm doing and I know it's going to hit where I aim it.

Call it market domination, call it familiarity, call it what you will. If I have a dozen guns to pick from a box and shoot the first shot for 'score', if it's a 1911 I have confidence. Even if it's misplaced.

You can't buy that for a dollar.