The roots to the modern M1911 A1 can be traced all the way back to the original World War II 1911 pistol, which has been active within the US military since its inception over a decade ago. The M1911A1 is a single action, .45cal pistol, which does not require manual cocking for each shot fired. Some feel the single action is an overall drawback for this weapon, but the smooth trigger pull actually allows for greater accuracy than those that are designed with double-action.
Step back in time as you step into the Firearms and Ordnance Gallery at the Armed Forces History Museum. Here, reality awakens within, as you marvel at the weapons and feel the power housed throughout this extensive gallery. Authentic weapons – including a 1911 pistol – from around the world dating throughout history can be witnessed in this astonishing collection. The oldest piece on display is a very rare bayonet from the Revolutionary War.
Today, a number of different manufacturers still produce the M1911A1, including Colt, Remington, Kimber, Springfield Armory, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson and a few others. Each manufacturer has specific options available, and a few, in addition to the full-size model, produce a Commander and Compact version.
The overall line of 1911 pistols is considered to be one of – if not – the greatest pistol in history. Some of the WWII 1911s are still around today and known to be fully functional and some have been noted to have fired more than one million rounds and still remain viable.
Design and Use
The M1911 was the design vision of the infamous John Moses Browning, a well-known gunsmith of the early 20th Century. His original 1911 design was influential in the development of the several other pistols, including the Heckler & Koch, HK-USP.
Some branches of the US military – including the USMC Special Operations Command – continue to use the M1911A1 as well as several law enforcement agencies both in the US and abroad. This pistol also remains popular with the general public as a personal defense weapon and also for recreational purposes. The single-stack magazine keeps the M1911A1 slim, making it easy to conceal.
The Modern M1911A1 pistols continue to be a popular choice, more than 100 years after its initial production, due in part to its simple, reliable design and the patriotic spirit it represents.