For the Love of John Moses Browning

Caleb talks about why we love the 1911 so:

[W]e love 1911s because there are quintessentially American. Like big fast muscle cars, the 1911 eschews European trends like big magazines full of tiny little bullets and seems to say that “if you can’t get it done with 7 rounds, bullets aren’t your problem, you just suck.”

I am an unapologetic driver of one of the ugliest cars Honda ever made, and while my computers were “Designed in California,” they were definitely made by exploited workers in China.

But being a practical kind of guy, my 1911s are safe queens, and I have plenty of reasons to carry more rounds. If I’m going to bear that extra weight on my belt, I want it to be hot lead, and not cold steel.

19 Responses to “For the Love of John Moses Browning”

  1. There is a way to get plenty of round AND have something that was, more or less, designed by John Moses Browning. It’s called the Browning Hi-Power. Think of it as the early Corvette or original Thunderbird compared to their latter day offspring – trimmed down and sleek.

  2. Sebastian says:

    Round capacity isn’t the only issue with the 1911. I can shoot tighter groups with either of my 1911s than I can with my Glock. But the tolerances are much tighter, which means they have to be taken better care of. I can use and abuse my Glock and it keeps fighting, and the accuracy will still be within minute of asshole.

    It I spent a lot of time competing, I’d probably be more amenable to the 1911 because I can shoot better with it. But for something to carry, I want to get as reliable as I can get.

    I think there’s a fundamental tradeoff between accuracy and reliability. If you built toward one, you will weaken the other. Perhaps there are pistols out there that are a better balance than the Glock… but I’ve always shot well enough with the Glock, and much more rarely experienced failure, to not think about using much else for SHTF use.

  3. Kelly says:

    Ah, I just retired my beloved Colt Combat Commander for a M&P. I get it. My Colt is now a safe queen. I have no hesitation on dropping the M&P or shoving magazines picked up off of gravel as I did at Blackwater this summer with the Colt.

    It was hard. I love the gun. I bowed to logic finally. I have a 95% grade 30 year old Colt with a Historian letter. Stop carrying it! I doubt any Historian will be interested in this M&P 30 years from now. They will be interested in the Colt.

  4. Medic760 says:

    Have you considered an XD…Croation design, american company and 13+1 in .45. 3000 rds through an one recently with no failure and only two thorough cleanings. I love both of 1911s, but XD is a strong side arm.

  5. NUkemJim says:

    If round count is the issue you might want to consider ParaOrdinance 1911 ergonomics and high round count.
    PS and yes I do have large hands :)

  6. Stranger says:

    As my Drill Instructor pointed out while Harry Truman was in the White House, sidearms are close range weapons. I carry for near contact range situations. If I need more than eight rounds for someone who is barely out of arms reach, I deserve what I get.

    Of course, if knees and eyesight allowed, I probably would take a current combat course. And reach into the safe for a Hi-Power. Cheaper ammo, and a lighter load for a venue that will result in lots of shots fired. But for my day to day life, fifteen rounds while carrying a spare magazine is enough.

    If I get my silly self in so much trouble I need more, I might as well consign my soul to God.


  7. Dirk Diggler says:

    I liken it to people like my father in law who have a crappy car to drive on their day to day commute to work but a gorgeous convertible in the garage for weekends and special occaisions.

  8. Caleb says:

    I like the Element, it’s got a certain je ne sais quoi that makes it very appealing. And it is definitely an appropriate car for someone that uses a mac and carries a Glock.

    Says the guy that’s going to a Glock 21…

  9. Sebastian says:

    As a general rule, I won’t carry a gun that’s not in reasonably common police use. Glock, M&P, or Sig are all acceptable to me. The XD fails on that criteria, so it’s not a gun I’d consider carrying.

    My thinking is if they are guns that see a lot of professional use, problems are going to become apparent. The manufacturer also has more incentive to correct the problem if they sell to large departments. They will also be the guns that see the most gunfights, so you’ll have more data on that front too.

  10. DMB says:

    #10 the 1911 was carried by professionals for well over sixty years, in conditions ranging from trench warfare (and the mud thereintailed) to Jungles, to the Saudi (talcum powder sand) desert, and was only replaced to bring U.S. forces in line with NATO standard as a move more rooted in diplomacy, than combat doctrine.

    Then again, I keep on the base assumption that, as a civilian, if I need more than six shots at pistol/self-defense ranges (less than 7m according to statistics) I really needed backup and a second shooter, or to have not left the rifle/shotgun out of reach.

  11. Sebastian says:

    It was standard military issue for a number of years, I get that. But what major police departments or militaries issue 1911s as their standard issue today? Not any that I can think of.

  12. This may give a clue on your last, Sebastian.

    Not sure how many major departments issue or allow 1911’s; guess it depends on what you consider “major”.

    If I were going to try to compile a list, I’d start in Texas!

  13. Matthew Carberry says:

    I have no qualms about the reliability of my Commander or 1911, I’ve got enough rounds through them not to worry.

    The round count issue is something I go back and forth on.

    Much like the odds of needing your gun in the first place are low but if you do, you’ll need it badly; if I’m caught up in a (very, very, low-probability in Alaska in particular) flash riot or worse and are away my home or vehicle (I have to go on base a lot so I don’t regularly carry more mags or a long gun in mine due to the possibility of searches during the week) then just having 25 rounds (2 spare mags) on hand is going to start feeling awfully light.

    The XD in .45 is looking more and more attractive. Grip fits better than the Glock or Para, I wouldn’t have to switch calibers, I’ll get 5 more rounds in each mag, and I can get a drop-in .460 Rowland conversion for the woods.

    Still, coming up on 2 decades carrying my Commander…

  14. rwilson451 says:

    I went for the XD. Glocks just don’t fit me well and don’t point well for me either. The down side is it absolutely, positively will not eat SWC ammo. Whereas my Colt 1991A1 eats anything I feed it.

  15. Weer'd Beard says:

    My practical love for the M1911 is that it is SO SLIM! It conceals so well, and so comfortably, especially with slimline grips on it.

    But I just like them, so I shoot them a lot, and since I shoot them a lot, I’m REALLY comfortable with them. If I need to defend my life, I want the gun to be an extension of my hand. So for me, its the 1911, in a round-about sort of way.

    An M&P45 in the same location would hold more, but also print more and dig into my ribs more.

  16. Caleb says:

    LAPD issues 1911s to their SWAT teams. That’s a pretty major department there.

  17. Graumagus says:

    I figure you should carry what works for you, and tell anyone who disagrees with your choice to go do something anatomically unlikely to themselves.

  18. Bryan S. says:

    I think the biggest thing that people overlook, they go fanboy (or girl) before they fit the gun to theri hand.

    Want to shoot great at trap, you have a stock fitted to you for your shotgun. Want to do even better on that benchrest rig? You adjust and make it fit to you.

    Why dont people do this with pistols? Some people will fit a 1911 better to their anatomy than they will a glock. Some will fit an XD… and so on. With so many differnt angles and profiles out there, yes, you may shoot great with a $50 junker, but suck with that $10000 custom deal. It may just be nature at work, and not the gun.

  19. Graumagus says:

    Bryan- Exactly! I can’t stand my buddy’s XD, and Glock’s feel like bricks in my hand. Colt 1911 fits me perfectly, stock grips. If and when I get out of Illinois and get a CCW, I will most likely carry a Colt mustang .380. Nice, compact, fits me like a glove, and I shoot it well. If someone wants a double stacked mag with 75 rounds of ammo, more power to them, but it’s not for me.


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