Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy 1911 Day!

On this day in history, one of the finest handguns even designed was adopted as the sidearm of the US Military.

Designed by John Moses Browning (firearms genius par excellence), it is a design that has endured over a hundred years and stood the test of time.

Since many a fine blogger is showing off their 1911s today, I figured better late evening than never.

My oldest 1911: A Colt Model 1927:

This Colt, a Model 1927 is one of 10,000 Model 1911A1s Colt manufactured for the Argentine Army. It bears the Argentine Army's inscription: Ejercito Argentino.

Argentina later manufactured their own Model 1927s under license from Colt:

This one a Sistema Colt 1927 was manufactured by DGFM-FMAP (Direccion General de Fabricaciones Militares-Fabrica Militar de Armas Portatiles) in Argentina for the Argentine Air Force and so marked. Please pardon the very non-standard grips which came with it which shall be changed back to their original grips as soon as a set are found to restore this pistol properly.

I should note I had a ridiculous time when I bought this pistol. The seller resided in New York and the New York gun dealers claimed this could not be a Curio and Relic pistol because it looked too nice. Seriously that was the reason he was given. As always gun dealers don't always know their regs. So in the face of stupid refusal, I had to have it shipped to my friendly FFL rather than my own C&R license.

You'll note that the Argentinians went metric: 11.25 mm doesn't have quite the same ring as .45 ACP, but its still a beauty.

Finally there's my go-to .45:

This 1911A1 is an Essex Arms frame and slide with a mix of Wilson Combat, Colt, and Sistema parts. Long story, but when I moved from Toronto to Michigan I wasn't allowed to import my beautiful 1927 Ejercito Argentino (Argentine Army marked) Sistema as it was "military" due to the Ejercito marking. A Sistema that was police marked or unmarked would have been just fine, go figure. Never-mind that I was allowed to import my S&W Model 29 which is certainly a far more powerful handgun but so it went. I had to strip the poor gun down, turn in the stripped receiver in Toronto and was then able to legally import the parts. Yes, I'm still annoyed all these years later.

This gun was then built by gunsmith Alan Tillman as a serviceable carry / competition gun for someone on a very meager student budget at the time, and it reflects some cosmetic compromises in exchange for more attention to accuracy and reliability. Mr. Tillman did an excellent job indeed.

I've used it in Massad Ayoob's LFI I and LFI II classes to excellent effect and it is one of my favorite carry guns. It now needs some new night sites as the current ones have dimmed down to standard irons. It could probably also use a refinishing, but it is still a rock-solid and reliable firearm.

I still need an Argentine Navy marked Sistema to round out the Argentine armed forces 1927 collection, and really would like a WWII US 1911A1, but that will take some time to save up for.

So, Happy 1911 Day and enjoy the enduring legacy of the 1911 series of pistols.

There's at least one out there to meet everyone's need and budget and no firearms collection is complete without at least one example of this excellent pistol.

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