Back at the turn of the 20th century, the U.S. Army was in need of a pistol and a cartridge. John Browning had a design and Colt had the manufacturing expertise. After extensive trials, the Army adopted the “Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911.” In 1924, changes were made to the M1911 and the pistol was designated the M1911A1. The pistol went on to be America’s longest-serving sidearm, and the enthusiasm for the 1911-style pistol doesn’t look like it will abate very soon, even after 104 years.
The M1911A1 was made to take abuse as much as give it out in real-world combat, where a pistol had to be immune to dust, sand, mud and even rust from lack of maintenance. The tolerances of the GI-issued M1911A1s were loose for a reason. Today we are spoiled—not that I’m complaining—with accurate, tight-fitting pistols that feature extended beavertail grip safeties, mag wells, Picatinny rails, large sights, Cerakote finishes, lowered and flared ejection ports and a slew of other enhancements that make operating a 1911-style pistol more comfortable and more effective. A number of manufacturers build GI-style M1911- and M1911A1-style pistols, albeit with modern upgrades for today’s shooters.
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