Tag Archive | m1911a1

Could the days of pretty ponies be back?

Colt long used a deep rich charcoal blue or “fire blue” on highly polished slides and frames going back to the early 1900s while their famed Royal Blue finish peaked on the company’s Python model .357 revolvers in the late 20th Century, the company moved away from it in most models about two decades ago, leaving the famed “Prancing Pony” short on show horses.

Well, In the latest installment of getting back to its roots, Colt announced this week that a high polish Royal Blue finish is making a come back on at least one handgun model.

Nice

More in my column at Guns.com.

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. 

Traction on Black Ice

I’ve been tackling Kimber’s latest take on the modern M1911A1, their Rapide (Black Ice) series, in 10mm Auto. Early signs show that it delivers as advertised, at least across the first 500 rounds anyway.

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 

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

Running a basic 1911, successfully

So I’ve been testing a basic $500 U.S.-made vanilla GI .45 format– the Auto-Ordnance BKO.

This thing

On the outside, it is a dead-ringer for a post-1926 made martial M1911A1. On this inside, it is an 80-series update with arguably a better trigger and tighter tolerances (due to CNC) than the old warhorse.

In range tests so far I have found that it ate 600 rounds of mixed bulk ammo from various makers, run through a hodgepodge of factory and aftermarket mags, with accuracy that is “close enough for Government work.”

Boom

Much more details in my column at Guns.com

A Handgun That Saw Hell

On 7 December 1941, the Mahan-class destroyer USS Shaw (DD-373) was in the old New Orleans YFD2 drydock at the Pearl Harbor Naval Yard. Soon after the Japanese attack began, she suffered three direct hits by 500-pound bombs and two more that landed inside the dock itself. Within 20 minutes, the resulting inferno, fueled by wooden shoring and blocks under her hull, reached her forward magazine.

The resulting spectacular explosion, caught on cameras across at Ford Island, blew Shaw’s bow off and filled the holed dock with  water and blazing fuel oil.

USS SHAW exploding Pearl Harbor. NARA 80-G-16871

In the days after the attack, a civilian employee at PHNY found a battered and burned Colt M1911 transitional model on the deck of YFD2 that remained above water. Besides Shaw’s 1936-dated bell which is at the U.S. Navy Museum in Washington, the pistol is part of the destroyer’s legacy and remains at Pearl today.

(NPS)

More in my column at Guns.com.

An aircrewman’s best friend

This flak-damaged M1911A1 .45-cal pistol and cap badge were worn by USAAF Sgt. Roy Zeran, 97th Bomb Group, when his B-17 was shot down on November 20, 1942, during WWII. It stopped a piece of shrapnel that would have likely ruined more than the slide of his pistol.

USAF Museum #170405-F-IO108-031

I recently got to handle a minty correct 1943-issued Remington Rand and matching holster, reportedly used by a B17 bomber pilot during the war. It was an honor.

If only guns could talk.

Looking for a rare US&S 1911?

During WWII, Uncle Sam ordered nearly two million Model 1911A1 GI .45ACPs, and the Union Switch & Signal company of Swissvale, Pennsylvania made one of the rarest and most sought-after variants. Now, at least seven have popped up at the upcoming auction

These include an “EXP” marked version– one of approximately 100 pistols made by US&S using preproduction slides, receivers and other components that were presented to company officers and employees and coated in a bright blue DuLite finish.

Another prized example is a factory cutaway or “skeletonized” 1911 used for demonstration purposes. Few of these guns were so modified.

More in my column at Guns.com

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