Why the M1911 Pistol Might Be the Best Gun of All Time (Even at over 100 Years Old)

    Kyle Mizokami

    Security, North America

    For more than a hundred years, one weapon has travelled with American troops into almost every crisis

    The guns were not just supplied to the U.S. military, but also to allied forces and guerillas. The 1911A1 served with Brazilian, Canadian, Chinese Nationalist, British Commonwealth, Mexican and Soviet forces. Many of the guns were provided under the Lend-Lease program, which shipped vast amounts of food, fuel and war materials abroad. Many 1911A1s were also provided to anti-Axis guerrilla forces worldwide. The 1911A1 persisted in American service for another forty years, serving through the Korean War, interventions in Lebanon and the Dominican Republic, and the Vietnam War. The gun was finally replaced in 1985 with the Beretta 92 pistol, which entered service as the M9.

    The 1911 semiautomatic pistol was invented by John Moses Browning, one of the most successful—and some would say, legendary—inventors of firearms who ever lived. Between 1879 and 1926 the prolific Browning invented some of the most successful firearms ever made, including the 1911 pistol, the Browning Hi-Power pistol, the Browning Automatic Rifle and the M2 Browning heavy machine gun. Invented in 1921, the M2 still serves as the standard heavy machine gun of the U.S. armed forces.

    The 1911 was designed with a new handgun cartridge, .45 ACP, in mind. The .45 Automatic Colt Pistol round, also designed by John Browning, was developed in response to the ineffectiveness of the U.S. Army’s then sidearm, the Colt M1892 revolver. U.S. troops sent to the Philippines during the Philippine-American War (1899–1902) discovered the revolver’s .38 Long Colt cartridge lacked the ability to reliably incapacitate Moro warriors in combat. The Muslim warriors tied off their limbs to prevent blood loss. They were still able to get within striking distance of U.S. soldiers with melee weapons, even after being shot.

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