Possible best use of M1911 in defensive pistol history

This is a discussion on Possible best use of M1911 in defensive pistol history within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I found this on another forum, and thought it would look good on this one. The moral of the story as I see it, is ...

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Thread: Possible best use of M1911 in defensive pistol history

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    Possible best use of M1911 in defensive pistol history

    I found this on another forum, and thought it would look good on this one. The moral of the story as I see it, is to not underestimate what can be done with a pistol.

    Petty Officer R.J. Thomas

    Combat Experience with the .45 ACP


    Oft times, comments on this net are about GySgt. Carlos Hathcock’s sniping adventures in Vietnam. Here’s one that very few know about, but is probably just as good as far as accuracy during combat is concerned.
    A Navy SEAL Team was returning from a mission over North Vietnam in a chopper when it got hit pretty bad. The pilot and one crew member were killed and the copilot was wounded. Going into autorotation, the copilot managed to set the chopper down in a clearing. After landing, a few rounds of enemy fire were starting to come in. Seems the M60s were also damaged beyond use by the crash landing and initial RPG hit, the only M16 fell out on the way down.

    The only firearms left was M1911s.The remaining crew member was carrying a match conditioned M1911 and had a few boxes of ammo. As more enemy small arms fire started coming in, the copilot and crew member also noted that the VC were coming out of the jungle and approaching them; shooting as they came. The crew member took out his .45 and took careful aim as he shot at each attacking VC. About 30 minutes later it was all over. Between reloading magazines and radioing for rescue, the copilot was pretty busy, but a rescue chopper finally arrived on the scene.

    As the rescue chopper came in and landed, its crew noticed a lot of dead VC laying around. The downed helo’s remaining crew were picked up and on their way out, they counted the dead VC; 37 in all. Their distances from the downed helo were from 3 to about 150 yards; all shot by the crew member with his M1911 .45 ACP. About 80 rounds were fired by Petty Officer R.J. Thomas, a member of the USN Rifle and Pistol Team.

    Petty Officer Thomas was recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor, but by the time the recommendation got all the way up through the chain of command, the recognition was reduced to the Navy Cross.

    This incident has been cited this as the only known of example of top-level combat marksmanship since SGT Alvin York’s escapades in WWI.

    Submitted by Mark Eberhard-CEO & President
    LtCol. USMCR (Ret.)
    American Marksman Group
    (850) 626-9963
    Visit: www.americanmarksman.com

    Wow. Just wow. Amazing pistol shooting that I'd never heard of before.

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    VIP Member Array Hiram25's Avatar
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    Just goes to prove, practice does pay off!
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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    Wow! 150 yards, under stress. That's some good shootin.
    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws. Plato

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    Pretty impressive
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    Another story would be that of the brave Team Delta snipers, SFC Randy Shugart and MSG Gary Gordon who went to the aid of downed pilot CW3 Michael Durant and held off a mob of terrorists until they were killed and Durant was taken hostage. At the end, they were reportedly using their 1911s at ranges of up to 60 yards to kill Bgs.......Both Shugart and Gordon were awarded posthumous Medals of Honor for their bravery.

    I know the 1911 platform is capable of that kind of accuracy, I can remember being with Pistolsmiths Dave Dawson and Benny Hill during one of their shooting sessions in Dripping Springs back in 1994 when Dawson claimed that he could hit a 4" steel plate at a hundred yards because he knew where his racegun hit at every distance up to 100 yards; everybody laughed at him until he calmly measured off 100 yards, set up a 4" plate and proceeded to hit it 5 consecutive times. When we all walked down to see the hits, 4 of them measured 1/2" center-to-center with one flyer. This was later documented in an American Handgunner article on Dawson's guns he was building for elite LEO SWAT teams, I think Kerby Smith may have been the writer..........

    As a sidenote, Dawson and Hill were at one time the head pistolsmiths at STI before branching out on their own. Dave owns Dawson Precision in Leander, TX and Benny owns Triangle Shooting Sports In Corpus Christi, TX
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

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    He is the MAN!! Great Job ; )
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    I have been wanting a 1911 for some time now... stories like this just make it worse!
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    Leave it to the brass to cheat him out of his MoH. Now, if he'd been an officer...

    Me? I'd have to scare them to death with the big BOOM!
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    That article and several others concerning the 1911 in combat can be found here (including SFC Randy Shugart and MSG Gary Gordon); Myths and Legends of the 1911 .45 ACP.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

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    Senior Member Array BlueLion's Avatar
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    A 1911 at 150 yards....230 grains.. will be nose diving...But if they say so..sure....?
    Listen, Think and React.....Nuff Said.....

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    wow i could read stuff like that all day OD!
    "In those days, there was a lot more respect for other people and it showed in peoples values.... Today the word value means nothing more than something you get on the $1 menu at McDonald's." -BARK'N

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    The first story has too many holes in it for me to believe....

    A Navy SEAL Team was returning from a mission over North Vietnam in a chopper when it got hit pretty bad.
    What happened to the SEALs?

    Seems the M60s were also damaged beyond use by the crash landing and initial RPG hit, the only M16 fell out on the way down.
    I find it hard to believe that the two MGs were destroyed by an rpg hit/crash and any cabin occupants survived. Also if there was a SEAL team on board there would be ALLOT more weapons at hand.

    37 in all. Their distances from the downed helo were from 3 to about 150 yards;
    Possible but not likely. I'm guessing this story is either total BS or it has been seriously embellished.
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    patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.

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    Hum!

    774 fps & 332 ft lbs at 150

    Still traveling at 200.

    Sounds doable to me.

    Although I don't shoot at 150, I do shoot a mag at 100, regularly.

    Got to try 150, now.
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    Well the man is listed as a Navy Cross recipient here but it doesn't have the citation.
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    Valor awards for Robert J. Thomas | Military Times Hall of Valor
    Navy Cross
    See more recipients of this award

    Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

    The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Radarman Second Class Robert J. Thomas, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism on 23 March 1969 while serving with Sea-Air-Land Team TWO (SEAL-2), Detachment ALFA, Seventh Platoon, during combat operations against communist aggressor forces in the Republic of Vietnam. Embarked in a Seawolf helicopter on a visual reconnaissance and strike mission on Da Dung Mountain near the Cambodian border when the aircraft was struck by enemy ground fire and crashed in an exposed rice paddy, Petty Officer Thomas was thrown from the wreckage, sustaining multiple injuries. Fighting off the stunning effects of shock, he immediately moved to the aid of the helicopter crewmen who were still in the burning aircraft. Despite the intense flames and the heavy gunfire from both the mountain and a nearby tree line, Petty Officer Thomas managed to remove one of the crewmen to safety and, with the aid of another man who had been dropped onto the site by an accompanying helicopter, succeeded in freeing the trapped pilot from the flaming cockpit. Petty Officer Thomas then made a gallant attempt to rescue the two remaining men trapped beneath the twisted metal, discontinuing his efforts only when driven back by the exploding bullets and rockets of the burning helicopter. After moving the two previously rescued men to a greater distance from the crash site, Petty Officer Thomas realized that Viet Cong troops were steadily advancing on his position. He selflessly threw himself upon the body of one of the wounded men and began returning the enemy fire. His deadly accuracy accounted for at least one enemy dead and held the aggressors at bay until an Army rescue helicopter landed. By his valiant efforts and selfless devotion to duty while under hostile fire, Petty Officer Thomas upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

    General Orders: Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals

    Action Date: 23-Mar-69

    Service: Navy

    Rank: Radarman Second Class

    Company: Sea-Air-Land Team 2 (SEAL-2)

    Regiment: Detachment ALPHA
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    Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
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