So in this mission, essentially that happened and the original design was "tweaked", without consultation, which meant it wouldn't work, at all. The plan had to be re-written, not only to solve the problem, which was growing uglier as one waited, but to also the fix the new problem that the freelance "improvement" to the design made.
The Second Design came with it a Mil Spec no one else would recognize.
There were a few eyebrows raised. Finally someone had to ask. "What does that mean?".
"Make It Like the Friggin Design Four Ones." (for once)
A design proven by history.
There are many 1911 style weapons out there, from “plain vanilla” straight 1911s to full adjustable sights, underlug accessory-rail equipped weapons designed for special ops, both military and civilian LEO type. Many of you have one somewhere in that range, in your home or in your holster and for many a good reason.
This is a firearm that is essentially unchanged in 100 years.
Some things you just can't improve on. Like a firearm that's proven itself over a century. The gun that sits on my table, that rides on my hip, is, but for the smallest accommodations in a few external parts, a few cosmetic updates (and likely better steel), is the same fundamental firearm John Moses Browning developed and Colt produced a little over 100 years ago.
The first 1911 was born in the Colt Factory the year Roy Rogers was born. If you are now saying "who is Roy Rogers?" please go play a video game and come back later with a note from your Mom. It was the same year that Ginger Rogers was born, when John Rigby designed his .416 caliber rifle on original Mauser action for African big game and the same year the Ottawa Senators won the Stanley Cup. (Go Sens!)
32 caliber FN Model 1910, much of the world realized that war was imminent and firearms would play a part in it. There were numerous firearms manufactured at that time, but it was John Moses Browning's .45 that was provided to the soldiers, with some two and a half million or more of them manufactured to fight the war. To get that many firearms in service, contracts went out to other manufacturers besides Colt and Springfield Armory to make them, including a couple companies up in our neighbor to the North, Canada.
Twenty-One MILLION people died in that war, soldier and civilian alike. The losses continued through WWII, Korea and onward. I am sure many lives were defended because of that firearm. Something else that has not changed over time.
I'd toyed with the idea of getting one, I already have more than one .45 to shoot, but I've heard so much about the 1911, all positive. So it was no surprise that when I picked this one up, a Loaded 1911-A1, for the first time, I said. "Oh, Yes."
Concealed Carry - For carry, there are a variety of holsters. I'm a big fan of Dennis at Dragon Leatherworks holsters and his Talon holster fits this firearm well and distributes the weight evenly. But holsters notwithstanding, there are three basic ways to carry this firearm concealed.
Door #1 - The hammer is down and the chamber is empty. This means you have to manually cycle the slide before you fire it. Then, to return the firearm to its previous carry position you have to drop the magazine, empty the chamber, drop the hammer, and reload and reinsert the magazine, all without doing something stupid that's going to put a hole in anyone, including you. You might as well carry a two and a half pound hammer as a self defense tool. It's likely quicker. Carrying for quick self defense with an empty chamber poses more of a hazard to you than the criminal who is coming right at you.
Door #3 - The one that makes liberals, old ladies and poodle dogs shudder in their shadow and that, my friends, is cocked and locked. This means the hammer is cocked, the chamber is loaded with a live round and the thumb safely is ON. This means that the weapon is ready to fire NOW. All you have to do is click the safety down, pull the trigger while maintaining your grip and click it back up after the threat has the prerequisite hole in it. That's something that Barkley could even manage had he opposable thumbs.
But remember, when the gun is cocked and locked, the sear is blocked from releasing the hammer. Further, unless a firing grip is on the pistol, the thumb safety swept off, and the trigger is pulled, the gun will not go off. In my opinion, that's safer than the carry condition of some firearms.
Again, it's a personal choice, but I prefer Door #3. Instant readiness. If that door opens and a bad guy rushes in, intent on harming or killing, you can react in an instant. That is why I carry a .45 for self defense in this manner. Not to to be considered cool in the tactical sense, nor to balance my somewhat forward center of gravity, but to get the firearm in action when my life may depend on it, NOW, with the fewest opportunities for mistakes.
Some armchair gun enthusiasts like to say that you shouldn't carry a 1911 cocked and locked "because it requires more training than other guns". I humbly disagree, at least for this particular model.
Again, my opinion, and as I tell anyone that reads here, for any new firearm, find a friend that's actively owned and shot one for years to offer guidance. Even better, for a new firearm OR new to shooting, get an experienced NRA instructor like my friends Lynne F., Keads and Bill at Eastern Iowa Firearms Training and get some "dual" on it as we pilots would say.
Size and Weight - the barrel is 5 inches. That's a nice long sight radius for you to peer down for accuracy. Stainless steel, the height is 5.5 " and the weight 40 ounces (with empty magazine). This is a heavy firearm and for some folks, size and weight tend to go against the grain for the concealed concept, as they want light and small. There are many folks that can and do carry "duty" size pistols and with the right holster and clothing, they conceal them well. Weight, for me is not an issue as I'm not going to be carrying it all day long, nor size, as I'm 5 foot 8 in bare feet and curvy. I also like it for recoil. Go fire a tiny lightweight gun with a largish round and then fire the 1911. You'll notice a huge difference in both recoil and comfort. I'd as soon be tied to chair and forced to watch "The Bachelor" than fire 100 rounds through my Kahr 40. The 1911, I can easily shoot for a morning at the Range and although my grouping gets a little looser as I get tired, it's still quite manageable.
First day with the 1911 target.
But remember, the primary safety is between your ears. Never rely on a gun’s “safety” to protect you from unsafe gun handling. A safety is only a mechanical device, not a substitute for using some common sense.
Grip - I can't count the number of people I've talked to that try out a new handgun and immediately compare the grip to that of their 1911. For that "new" firearm they're trying, it's like being the second wife after the first wife died after winning Miss Universe, curing cancer, and waking you up every morning with. . . bacon. You will ALWAYS be compared to that first, impossible to replace love. The 1911 is like that for some people.
Accenting the grip area is a nicely cross set of wood panels that contain the double-diamond pattern, along with the Springfield Armory logo. It's not just nice looking, the texture of the surface provides for a positive hold.
The magazine release button is easy to push in with either the thumb of the right hand, or the middle finger of the left hand (the "how am I driving" finger). The magazines slide in well, and drop freely when you push the release button. The magazine is 7 + 1, and the firearm typically comes with two when purchased.
Accuracy - You don't necessarily need the "FBI crouch" of old movies and you most certainly do NOT want the "gangsta style" stance unless you want to make sure the threat gets a chance to get a round off at you first. Shooting "from the hip" works if you are being attacked by a hippopotamus on Ambien, but in most cases it's going to result in your getting your ass kicked, probably with your own weapon that is grabbed out of your hand.
Learn to use your sights. Unsighted fire may work at powder burn range, but sights weren't put on a firearm so you could hit a zombie woodchuck in the eye at 200 yards. Sights were made so you can hit a target that's coming at you when you are not going to get a second shot. Using your sights takes practice and concentration. I don't have a single handgun with laser anything though I have AR15s equipped with holographic technology and some night toys. Iron sights are my friend and the ones on the 1911 here were very easy to adapt to, even in quick draw.
Stripping and Cleaning- First, make sure the pistol is clear of any round. Then check it again. Once that's done a little allen wrench can help loosen and remove the guide rod. Outside of that, stripping and cleaning is pretty much standard for any of the 1911's. When the rod is out, the recoil spring plug can be depressed and the barrel bushing can be rotated (wear your safety glasses, even if you have good control of the recoil spring and aim it away from your face.) After removing the recoil spring, simply move the slide back to align the dis-assembly notch on the slide with slide stop. Push and pull the slide stop out of the frame. The slide can now slide off the frame and the bushing and the barrel and spring guide can be removed from the slide.
Then, clean, lube lightly and reassemble. That's it, SO much easier and so many less pieces than the take down of the Ruger Mark III. (below)
Springfield Armory has nailed the exemplary character of a distinguished sidearm and I'm proud to have one in the home and by my side.