What does "1911" Mean To You?

This is a discussion on What does "1911" Mean To You? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Reading Roadrunner71's thoughtful thread on sentimentality got me to thinking about the 1911 defined. http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...y-has-no-place ...... In his example, his 1911 was only used to ...

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Thread: What does "1911" Mean To You?

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    What does "1911" Mean To You?

    Reading Roadrunner71's thoughtful thread on sentimentality got me to thinking about the 1911 defined.

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...y-has-no-place......

    In his example, his 1911 was only used to illustrate his point about clinging to a gun/design/system out of some misplaced sense of loyalty or syrupy sentimentality rather than for practical, results-oriented reasons.

    The 1911 will pass the century mark next year. I'll bet a pile of them will be sold in 2011, in all sorts of configurations.

    Originally a Model 1911 was military nomenclature for a Browning designed Colt product (also manufactured by other contractors during World War I) which became the primary issue sidearm in United States service from its adoption in 1911 to the 1911A1 revisions of the 1920s. Countless Model 1911s soldiered on through World War II and beyond. This is much the same as our other military small arms such as the Model 1903 Springfield, Model 1909 Colt, Model 1917 revolvers, both Colt and Smith & Wesson, Model 1917 Enfield, Model 1917 Browning heavy machine gun, Model 1919 Browning medium machine gun, etc..

    The Colt .45 Automatic pistol marketed commercially beginning in the second decade of the 20th century, was not termed a 1911 by its maker though it was of the same design and was produced simultaneously with the government contract pistols. Strictly speaking, the Model 1911 was a item of U. S. military equipment. A modern comparison would be the M9 which is the current issue handgun carried by most of our military and the similar Beretta Model 92 available to the civilian world.

    Still the term "1911" has since been appropriated and is handy. Anyone who is even nominally interested in handguns is familiar with the term, instantly recognizing what is meant by the numerals 1 9 1 1.

    Getting past proper collector terminology, to me a proper 1911 pistol is any gun built to the specifications of the G.I. service side arm. It is only my personal view but but many of the so-called 1911 models available on the market are not really 1911s but derivatives of the design that have strayed far enough in concept that they represent their own separate subset (or tangent as the case may be). They are reconfigured clones, some good and some not so good. Some are franken-pistols.

    The following are not 1911s in my personal view. Models that are chambered for cartridges other than .45 ACP, are shorter than the original 5-inch length, have shorter grip frames, are provided with lightweight alloy frames or polymer frames, feature full-length guide rods, feature ramped barrels requiring frame modifications, have double action triggers, feature high capacity magazines, or are especially tightened as an accuracy enhancer.

    No one considers the various .45 ACP pistol models that were once produced by any of several now defunct Spanish gunmakers to be 1911s though they share similarities to the original design. Some of the older Llamas, Stars, and Astras are as close to standard 1911 configuration as some of the current creations marketed. All of the above are as different from my notion of a proper 1911 as a Glock is different.

    It's fundamentals that define a 1911 for me. Stuff outside the gun such as sights, ambi-safeties, trigger styles, grips, slide release configurations, extended grip safeties and such are all up to the discretion of the owner, as is sawing on the butt or bobtailing as it is termed, though I personally don't particularly care for it.

    The definition above is not gospel but only opinion and is offered as food for thought.

    How is a 1911 properly defined for you?
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

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    check it for safe.... then grip it and close my eyes..... if I sigh a bit, then release just a hint of a smile, and my fingers confirm that 35 years of muscle memory will work with this firearm, it's most likely that it closely resembles John Browning's gift to the gun community.
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    John Browning is pretty much immortalized in this design...
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    I kind of agree with your definition.

    I don't get too sticky about the smaller versions but, for me, it has to have the internal working designed by JMB. If it has the same fundamental features and workings then, to me, it's still a 1911. Even if someone added a firing pin safety or shortened the barrel or the frame I'll still call it a 1911 if the internals are the same.

    When we start getting to the double-action triggers or taking away from the original internal workings then I say it's no longer a 1911.

    I know there are a lot more stringent people out there but, like you said, the term "1911" has been applied to a wide variety of firearms. I once had someone try to convince me that ANYTHING with a single action trigger and an external hammer was a 1911. That was a conversation for the books.

    People understand it differently and it also depends on what they know about the design and how it has been... molded over the years.

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    Folks, remember the topic is how you define the 1911 not the reliability or sentimentality.. that is another thread.. keep things on topic here.

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    Distinguished Member Array old grunt's Avatar
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    I'll put it to you this way.....my wife says I'll divorce her before my two Colt 1911's go !! I think that says it all !!
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    Well, I have to disagree a bit. I believe the 1911 is anything that is fundamentally the same action as that in the "original." Sure, a number of derivatives have drifted so far as to not even meet that criterion, but most do.

    I think if it like an AR. Is an AR not an AR if it isn't chambered in 5.56? If it doesn't have a 20"bbl? If it isn't black? Fundamentally, all ARs share the same action - if you change that action (w/ a piston "AR," for example), you have changed the fundamental "AR-ness" of the firearm. IMO, the same goes for 1911s. You can change caliber, barrel length, grip length, cosmetics, minor parts, etc, and it's still a "1911." If you change the way the gun fires and functions, then you have changed it's essential 1911 nature.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    I'd have to take issue with you. A 1911 in a different caliber or barrel length is still a 1911. Just think, the original Thompson Submachine Gun had a finned barrel, detatchable stock and accepted a 50 rnd. drum magazine. The later M1 and M1A1 models lacked fins, had a fixed stock and only accepted a stick magazine. Yet it still said Thompson Submachine Gun on the receiver. In essence you're saying a Commander model isn't a 1911 because it doesn't have a 5" barrel.
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    What does 1911 mean to me?

    Longevity.
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    An American icon...right up there with apple pie, summer bbq, Chevy trucks (Fords suck), pin up girls and Harley Davidson.

    It is something that makes me proud to be American.

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    What does 1911 mean to me?

    A proven design... but not necessarily flawless.
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    When I see a 1911 45 cal I see Korea, I see Mama-san and Pappa-san. I envision my MP Jeep, the village of Unchon-Ni and Camp Kaiser Korea. Great memories are there that cannot be erased from my mind. I loved my 1911 but had to leave it there with my MP company. I like all the new 1911 models I see, as long as in appearance it looks like my issued 45.
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    I automatically (no pun intended) equate a 1911 to a government model, chambered in 45acp.
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

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    "What does "1911" Mean To You?"

    .45 Caliber longslide.
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." – Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." – Thomas Jefferson

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    Hm. Is a Glock not a Glock if it's not a Glock 17? I mean, you've changed barrel length, caliber, capacity, double vs. single stack, all sorts of cosmetic changes...but at heart, the action is the same, so it's a Glock. I'm having trouble jumping the logic gap that says another model ceases to be that model when the action and function hasn't changed...unless it's just to say that "X about 1911s isn't true because Y and Z aren't really 1911s."
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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