Not off track, Right on track. Old Dog very good points!!
This is a discussion on Back to the future with a 1911 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; It is true that if you live long enough, you will fine yourself going full circle and end up where you started. I started with ...
It is true that if you live long enough, you will fine yourself going full circle and end up where you started. I started with a GI issues 1911 in Vietnam with all of zero hours of instruction on how to use it. Nothing like putting someone in a combat zone and in charge of guarding prisoners with a handgun on which he was never trained. To make matters worse, it was the first time that I even saw a handgun. I had not idea of it worked having only been trained on the M-16.
Luckily three were a lot of experienced soldiers willing to teach me and I am a very fast learner. Although my M16 was my main weapon, sometimes replaced by an M79 loaded with beehive rounds (shotgun shells with a lot more pellets than in a 12 gauge), when escorting prisoners to Headquarters, doing convoy protection (along with my M16), guarding the payroll, etc., my 1911 was always with me. I got used to carrying that old 1911 and at 118 lbs., did not find it burdensome. In fact, its weight was reassuring. In any case, we were used to carrying a lot of weight on us daily. I never went out without a bandolier holding at least 20 magazines of .223 ammo. For those of you who never shot a M16 on full automatic, you have no idea of quickly you can burn through a mag. Back then, it was spray an pray rather than more disciplined fire methods taught today.
Upon my discharge from the Army, I moved to Texas and bought my first civilian handgun to carry concealed. I went with a Walther PPK due to size and the James Bond thing. As a young man, I wanted to be fashionable, especially after years of wearing military uniforms at a time where Hippies were dressing like flower children. The other issue is that in the Army, we carried our weapons openly and trying to conceal a full sized 1911 on a 121 lb. thin as a stick frame was no easy task. Especially since I was athletically active all the time. Over the next 40 years I tried snub noses and small pistols of all kinds and sizes, never keeping any longer than a year or two. The only gun I did keep for 11 years was my competition Kimber 1911. However it was strictly used for competition and sometime home defense.
A little over 3 years ago I moved to Florida and prior to doing so, I decided to sell off all my guns as I had not bought a new model of anything in about 8 years and I was moving to a place that was very hot half the year and warm the rest. I pre-ordered 8 small guns, like a Glock 26, LCP, Kahr PM9, S&W 642/360PD and similar. While some made good pocket guns, when worn on my belt they were uncomfortable. The reason was their short barrel lengths. I discovered that a short barreled gun ended just where my butt check met my side and therefore the muzzle or bottom of the holster, would poke me at that conjunction and it was painful, almost a pressure point kind of pain
I then bought a few larger guns and found that although they were much heavier, the long barrel bridged that painful junction and made the gun lay on top of my butt check, almost like a shelf. No pain and a sort of shelf for the gun to absorb much of the weight. I know that this may sound weird and it probably is specific to body shape, but this is what works for me. I went the Glock 19 route as I like the size of the gun and it carried well and comfortably but was a little thick. I then foolishly tried several 3' 1911's and with no surprise, I had the same kind of problem as I did with other short barreled gun. I then went the full sized 1911 route but I did not like the balance of the 5" gun. Always felt muzzle heavy for me and I like a gun that balances in my hand when I loosen my grip.
I toyed with trying some more 1911's as I do like the .45 since it had proven itself to me outside of making holes in paper targets and I also like the 1911 gun with a manual safety. I feel a lot safer and comfortable with a 1911 than I do with a Glock that puts the car brake on the accelerator pedal. One instance of my shirt getting caught in the trigger guard during practice (due to fused discs in my neck and location of holster that prevents me from seeing it) with an empty gun was all it took to convince me that I did not like a gun that is dumbed down so that people can use it with a minimum of training. Give me a gun with a hammer that I can put my thumb on to tell if the trigger is caught on anything, any day. Some see that as a positive much like an automatic transmission on a car, while others would consider a manual transmission to be superior in spite of the extra skill and training needed to use it. Not putting down Glocks as not everyone has the skill, time and money to practice enough to use a 1911 safely and well and I guess the opposite is also true with the Glock as I had a hard time getting used to it. I still have my Glock 19 and it sits in my night table draw doing home defense duties, albeit with a Saf-T-Blok in the trigger guard that pops out in an instant by just touching it.
In case no one has noticed the cost of 1911's has increased due to the gun shortage and most of the shelves around here and even online were filled with either $1K+ guns or 1911's made in the Philippines which somehow has become a quality producer of 1911's simply by being distributed by U.S. based companies. Some work pretty good like the Rock Island line. However they lack the little touches I had become accustomed to and tend to be on the heavy side of 1911's. Just read a review of an imported 1911 made for carry with a 3" barrel that weighs as much as a full sized 1911. We seem to be moving towards praising guns for carry based on their size with weight being forgotten about like with the XDs 9mm.
Enter the Ruger 1911 CMD Commander sized 1911. At $800 it is a bargain for what you get. A rugged and reliable 1911 with the features you need in a good fighting gun and without the fluff that impresses friends, although it is a good looking gun. The trigger breaks at between 4-5 lbs. and is good enough that I have no thoughts of getting a trigger job. It punches out the center of any target I put 7-10 yards downrange using either one or two hands. At 36 ounces it is not a light gun and yet it carries better than most of my lighter and smaller guns. Normally when I belt carry my hip is saw for a few days afterwards. When I carry this gun I have no ill effects. Its barrel is long enough so that it lays flat on my butt cheek and the grip, although full sized, fits nicely into the hollow of my back near my kidney so that I can wear it with an un-tucked shirt and no one even suspects I am carrying it. My wife had no idea I was carrying "that big and heavy" gun I just bought when I first carried it.
For those who never carried a 1911 and are puzzled as those who do, should give it a try. Its flat profile makes it very easy to conceal. The barrel goes down your pants and the grip across your back. It presents a thinner overall package than many of my pocket sized guns when worn on my belt. Even in a good OWB Pancake type holster, the 1911 is easy to conceal under a loose un-tucked shirt. The only issue you need to be aware of is that the full sized 5' version can sometimes result in the muzzle hitting the chair or surface you are sitting on so that you need to carry it in a high rise holsters. With the Commander length I did not find this a problem and I carry it very comfortably in a Galco King Tuk hybrid IWB holster which I pad $53 for and bought on Amazon.com with a 3 day delivery. Compare that to other hybrids made by hand that you have to wait weeks for as if it requires more than yeoman skills to make a hybrid holster. I know guys who make nice ones in their garage with no leather skills at all. As I like to say, I can handmade a toothpick put that does not make it better than the machine made, store bought ones, I prefer to us. :)
The message is for those who may be interested in a 1911, to give it a try. They make great home defense guns, are fun at the range and amazingly accurate. The recoil is more of a push back into the web of your hand rather than a lot of muzzle flip so that you can get back onto target more easily. For some reason I can shoot a 1911 better, not faster (but hundreds of a second really only count in competition), than any other gun. My pocket carry guns even have Single Action triggers as I seem to shoot those best. Many worry about carrying cocked and locked and needing to use a manual safety when under stress. I feel the opposite. I feel that the manual and grip safety combined with the lightweight titanium firing pin with strong spring, as found in the series seven Colt designs, and hammer safety notch, provide for a gun that is safer to carry than what most now carry. It just looks scary because the hammer is back and most gun owners really do not understand how guns work. Don't believe me, just ask a gun owner who is not a gun forum fanatic to explain how his safeties work and how his gun works as far as the timing and method of movng the barrel to the rear, holding it there long enough and extracting and loading another round. Most are clueless but odds are that if you are reading this, you are not part of the clueless gun owners. However, as many tell me, you do not need to know how a gun works to use them anymore than you need to know anything about care engines to drive. This is true but the lack of knowledge in both cases prevents you from choosing the optimum product for your needs or value for your money. Today's cars, and even some guns, are being marketing by showing off their bells and whistles. Cars are advertised to show their internet capabilities or sound systems. Guns are being sold based on looks whether pretty or tactical looking. It is a new world and old men tend to think the past was better. I get it but do not have to join in. :-)
All things being equal, a .45 makes a bigger hole and therefore has a better chance of hitting something vital than a small caliber may just miss. Based on what I hear from returning combat vets today and what I know from Vietnam, it seems that it takes more shots to stop an determined enemy combatant with a 9mm than it did with a .45. Then again the Vietcong were mostly small men that were starving and that may have something to do with it. The same can be said about the Japanese who fell before the might .45. However, in the trenches of WWI it has been reported that when our boys shot a German with a .45 they went down for the count. When one of ours was shot with a 9mm luger, they continued, killed the enemy who shot them and then reported to the field hospital where they either were treated and lived or died a lingering death.
There is something to be said about carrying a gun that has proven its worth for over 100 years in combat, both military and civilian, that uses a bullet that does not need to expand to be big. A gun that even today, our elite forces are asking for. Having seen what one shot from a .45 can do compared to one shot of a .22 did. I will always favor the .45 despite the fact that the person shot with the .22 was stopped instantly also. The difference is that the guy who was shot with the .22 was able to walk away and wait for the medics to come and get him while the one shot with a .45 was dead as he hit the ground. I do believe that most people do not want to be shot with anything and will stop their bad behavior no matter what you shoot them with. On the other hand, those of use who have been in combat, know the difference between a determined attacker and one who is not hard core. Since both kinds exist in the world, whether civilian or military, I am more comfortable with the .45 for the same reason most of us buy cars that can go faster than the speed limit. Having more power is never a bad idea. Plus I think you can throw a .45 round at someone with your hand and hurt them. Try that with a .22 or .380. :-)
Got a little off track but I love to write about guns. The moral of my story is that I spent over 4 decades to end up carrying the gun that I first carried because it was then and now, still a very good choice for experienced shooters.
Last edited by Old_Dog; September 8th, 2013 at 11:20 PM.
Not off track, Right on track. Old Dog very good points!!
Great post. Thanks for sharing.
" Blessed is that man, who when facing death, thinks only of his front sight"
Excellent read, thanks.
When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
"Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."
Hóka-héy! Crazy Horse
Very wise words based on facts and personal experience. Well written, Sir....Thank you...
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other".
John Adams, October 11, 1798
As the OP states, first time with a 1911 was the Army: "Here Specialist,you carry this" Now, I carry a 1911 because I am familiar with it, it does conceal fairly well and , surprisingly enough, it is comfortable. Now, mine is a .38 Super as opposed to a .45 but the mechanics remain the same.
This is not meant to be a slap at the new generation of polymer framed pistols, not at all. I admit being a little sceptical about the Glock's trigger safety, but that's my problem, not the pistol's . I own my 1911s, I would have to go and buy a Glock so, why not carry what I already own?
My biggest concern with my 1911s is my oldest daughter wants the Series 80. I feel an old guy tantrum coming over that one.
Bottom line, the 1911 was and is a viable carry gun;carry and shoot the gun you know, not the gun someone tells you should have.
What position do you wear your holster at that the grip of the gun lays across your back? Is that more of a SOB almost as opposed to strong hip?
I think guns are like insurance. I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
VERY good post and I concur as most here know
Have to say even though I am back to revolvers, I have been eyeing up a turnbull 1911 thy just remind me of the old days in the service as an M.P.
Awesome post. I've had 7-8 pistols in the last several years trying to find the perfect carry gun for me. The only one left is a 1911 :-)
Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747
Very well written and a great read.
Thanks again for your service, sir.
I quit reading the moment you decided to claim that those that don't choose to carry a 1911 don't care enough or want to spend enough to be well enough trained to carry the 1911. I can assure you that I know lots of guys with Glocks that spend far more in terms of time and money than 99% of the 1911 shooters out there. There are some (myself included) that simply don't believe that handgun advances reached the pinnacle in 1911. Like anything, as time progresses advances have been made. The 1911 is still a fantastic platform that is capable of serving well today. However other pistols do things better, at least in my opinion. Thus I spend my time and money training on the guns that I happen to choose to carry.
Have fun with your 1911- I'm glad you like it. But spare me the attempt to place yourself above those that make other decisions.
"The only people I like besides my wife and children are Marines."
- Lt. Col. Oliver North
My first time with a 1911 was also the Army. But as an MP I was trained with it, and carried it for 3 years. The one I carried at Ft Jackson had been rebuilt right before I got it and shot so well I shot in competition with it.
My rifle and pistol are tools, I am the weapon.
And Lord, if today is truly the day you call me home
Let me die in a pile of empty brass."