Tag Archives: M1911

Ronin Commander

The Illinois-based Springfield Armory introduced its full-sized GI-length Ronin Operator earlier this year and is now following up with the lighter, more compact variant that offers the same features for less than $900. The pistol uses a forged carbon steel slide, lightweight alloy frame, and a forged Commander-length 4.25-inch match-grade barrel.

I gotta say, it doesn’t look too bad…

More in my column at Guns.com.

Cammies, KA-bars and GSDs

“Marine War Dog and Handler, Vietnam, circa 1970”

Note the kennels in the background with the sandbagged roof. From the Craig Spraggins Collection (COLL/4154) at the Marine Corps History Division

Of note, the WMD handler is wearing the Marine Corps’ “lowland” variant of the ERDL camouflage uniform, which predated the much better known M81 woodland BDU by more than a decade. The Marine also has a standard M1911A1 in a very non-standard holster that could be a modded M1916-style flap holster but I believe is actually just a commercial leather revolver holster, accompanied by a K-Bar fighting knife attached to the holster by a leather tie.

Another installment of the same team

Odds are the Marine has coupled the two weapons together at his strong side to be able to use either with his right hand as the dog would be controlled by his left.

Dogs get the chop

In related news, the Marines are cutting back on their military working dogs, a staple of the service since the Great War, as they aren’t needed to fight China, apparently. Currently, the Corps has 210 four-legged MWDs and 260 two-legged handlers/trainers. After the snip, that will fall to 150 and 210, respectively. Of note, once a dog enters the training program, it takes six months to get them ready for the Fleet.

The Far-Reaching UN Forces in Korea and the Things they Carried

With this month being the 70th anniversary of the rush by the Free World to help keep the fledgling Republic of Korea from forced incorporation by its Communist neighbor to the North, it should be pointed out that the UN forces that mustered to liberate Seoul and keep it so carried an interesting array of arms. Gathered ultimately from 21 countries you had a lot of WWII-era repeats such as No. 3 and No. 4 Enfields carried by Commonwealth troops as well as M1 Garands/Carbines toted by American and a host of Uncle Sam-supplied countries.

But there were most assuredly some oddball infantry weapons that were used as well.

One historical curiosity was the initial contingent supplied by the Royal Thai Army, who left for Korea in October 1950 wearing French Adrian-style “sun” helmets and armed with 8x52mm Type 66 Siamese Mausers that were actually versions of the bolt-action Japanese Type 38 Arisaka built before WWII at Japan’s Koishikawa arsenal.

Note their French-style helmets, U.S.-marked M36 packs, and Japanese Showa-period rifles. Ultimately, more than 10,000 Thai troops would serve in the Korean War alongside U.S. forces, fighting notably at the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. (Photo: UN News Archives)

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Getting a feel from some Black Ice

Since about mid-March, I have been working on a T&E on Kimber’s newest take on the M1911A1 platform– the Rapide (Black Ice). With a name familiar in Europe commonly used for a fast express train– and a popular Aston Martin model– the Rapide is billed by Kimber as a 1911 platform built for speed and is both competition and range ready.

The pistol is feature-rich including stepped cocking serrations, slide lightening cuts, a DLC coated barrel for extreme durability, extended magwell, and new V-Cut match-grade trigger. It also comes with Tru-Glo TFX Pro Day/Night sights and G10 grips. A 70-series gun with a 4.9-pound trigger pull on average, the variant I have been working with is a 10mm Auto, and I have to say, it is fetching.

The folder, btw, is a Case Gunstock in Curly Maple, which I think pairs well with the big Kimber. A blend of old and new.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

One of these things is not like the other

IF you know what these are, we can be friends.

Just kidding, we are always friends. With that being cleared up, note all the little differences between these “GI .45s”

To check your knowledge: On the left is a Union Switch & Signal company-produced M1911A1 from 1943, made for the U.S. Army in Swissvale, Pennsylvania. On the right, a Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk-made M/1914 from 1925, made for the Royal Norwegian Army in Oslo.

Don’t let the slide markings fool you, both are in .45ACP, and both likely saw service in WWII.

I recently got to handle a few of each in our vault and put together a little article on these more uncommon Government Issue .45s. Check it out in my column at Guns.com 

M1911s and Browning Hi-Powers: Outdated Carry?

I get myself involved in firearms debates pretty frequently with people and, as a guy that has extensively carried and/or used dozens of different handgun platforms across the past 30 years, I have logged lots of time with both contemporary guns– such as Glocks, HKs, S&W M&Ps, FN 500-series, et. al– as well as more traditional classic guns like Smith J- and K-frames, Colt D- and I-frames, Walther P-38s, etc.

With that being said, I took a 2,000~ word deep dive over in my column at Guns.com into the subject of if two of John Browning’s most-admired handguns, the M1911, and the Hi-Power, are still relevant when it comes to EDC and personal protection these days.

Some things, like an M1911A1 GI, a Browning Hi-Power, a Swiss Army knife or a P-51 can opener, have been augmented by more modern offerings but that doesn’t mean they stop working as designed. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Your thoughts? More on the article, here, for your reference.

Picking up a hogleg on the side of the road

Pistols were typically not issued to enlisted men in the U.S. Army in WWII save for machine gunners, MPs, and senior NCOs. With that being said, many enterprising Joes picked up handguns they found along the way, typically from former enemy stockpiles to augment their M1 Garand, Carbine or Thompson.

GIs with trays of captured Walther P38s

While of course, the guns were valuable as souvenirs, second only to a Gunto sword or HJ dagger, they were also carried and undoubtedly used to one extent or another.

96th Infantry Division moves up Big Apple Hill, scene of intense fighting on Okinawa, April 1945. While his M1 Garand is very much in use, he also sports both a Japanese Nambu holster and an M1911

U.S. Soldier in an M-1943 Field Jacket, armed with an M1 Garand somewhere in the ETO. Besides the  bandoliers of .30-06, he has a captured P08 trophy Luger hanging from his belt

Two German soldiers surrender to a USGI armed with his own recently acquired Luger in WWII Europe

US soldier with captured P38 Walther in an Army M7 shoulder holster

Likewise, the British, Canadians and Australians were also captivated with second-hand Axis pistols and were frequently seen carrying them.

Lance Sergeant Earl Henry Scotty McAllister, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, posing with a captured Luger after heavy fighting during the Battle of the Falaise Gap.

Owen SMG-equipped Australian troops examine a captured Nambu Type 14 after the Battle of John’s Knoll–Trevor’s Ridge.  

Captured P38 pistols being examined by British soldiers in WWII

Canadian soldier checking out a captured P38 during WWII

 

CPL Kormendy of The Calgary Highlanders, note his P-38

Poetically, William Joyce, AKA Lord Haw-Haw, was shot in the butt by a British soldier with a captured P-38 while being taken into custody near the Danish border in May 1945.

Gentleman Wormwood

Here we see a bespoke U.S. Army cavalry officer, leaning on his French-style soldier’s cane, somewhere in Europe during the Great War. He is sporting the latest in chemical warfare fashion to include a British Small Box Respirator, M1917 “Brodie” helmet, and a gun belt with an M1911 pistol in a Model 1912 Mounted (Cavalry) holster with the tie cord wrapped around the bottom. He completes the ensemble with 1908 Pattern breeches (Jodhpurs) and officer’s riding boots while a Model 1918 Mackinaw coat keeps him as warm as German artillery fire.

He seems strangely relevant today.

Proven handguns for tough times

While your best and most effective bet in the majority of hairy self-defense scenarios (barring something laser-guided or belt-fed) is a rifle– preferably a few different ones in a range of calibers– in a pinch a handgun is better than verbal judo, a pointy stick, or the lid off a can of sardines. With that in mind, I made a list centered on pistols and revolvers that are 1) modern, 2) accept common ammunition, 3) have spare parts that are readily available, 4) proven, 5) are simple to manipulate, and 6) easy to maintain.

Sure, each of these has their haters, but most importantly each type has a huge crowd of fans and users that have kept them in regular production for decades.

More in my column at Guns.com

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