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What Makes a 1911 and Why it Should Be Your Next Build

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Aaron Spuler is a firearms enthusiast and recreational shooter. Follow more or his work at The Weapon Blog

What is the good ole’ 1911 and why should it be your next build? For starters, it’s one of the most iconic pistols ever made. For over 100 years it’s served on battlefields across the globe, saving lives. This is no cliché – do a quick search and you’ll find real stories of dead G.I.’s surrounded by even more dead enemies, an empty 1911 clutched in his grip. Let’s review what makes a 1911 and why it should be your next build.

Even today, the 1911 is no dinosaur. In a world of ever-smaller pistols, polymer goodies, and quirky gimmicks, the 1911 is a strangely nostalgic and stubborn gold standard. While other guns focus on cramming as many features into as little real estate as possible, the 1911 enjoys its long-perfected simplicity, accuracy, comfort, and reliability.

But what, exactly, does that mean? Why is the 1911 so good?

It’s the Perfect Shape

The 1911 is kind of like the wheel, the barbeque, and sliced bread. It’s just the perfect design, one that can’t be improved. Every measure of its creation meets the Goldilocks test: Not too big, not too small. Not too heavy, not too flimsy. A perfect barrel length. A massive round that’s deadly but not overwhelming. Simple ergonomics. In short, the 1911 truly is the perfect shape. Anyone can use it and feel comfortable with it. Trying to improve on the general feel is like trying to make the wheel rounder, or the loaf of bread more sliced.

It Shoots a Devastating Round

The .45 ACP 1911 is a devastating round. It’s massive, it hits like a truck, and it creates a seriously nasty wound channel. It’s physically huge, too, ranging between 145 and 230 grains. Internet trolls and “ballistics experts” can go blue in the face arguing why X round is better than the .45 ACP, but when its weight, speed, and the firearm that shoots it are all considered, the .45 ACP is tough to beat. Few rounds out-class its sheer power, and those rounds are fired from much bigger, much less comfortable guns. If you want a comfortable, easy-to-use gun that packs a serious punch, the 1911 should be your next build.

Its Reliability is Legendary

There’s a reason the 1911 has continued to serve the U.S. Military faithfully (in many different forms) for over a century. No other firearm in existence has served any other military for as many years, save for very few long rifles. The 1911 is a gun with a cult following based on its reliability alone. Search for some tests, and you’ll find video after video of 1911’s being ran over, dunked in mud, left to rust for weeks on end – only to fire their full magazines, over and over and over, without fail.

It’s One of the Simplest Handguns – and it Should be Your Next Build

The 1911 consists of 39 parts in total, with only a fraction of those parts actually moving about inside its chassis. The 1911 has been so popular, so homogenized, and so standardized and reproduced for so long that many consider it the AR-15 of the pistol world. Building one is immensely simple, too – you don’t even need any special tools to assemble one with pre-manufactured parts. And even if you’re really bold and build from scratch, the tool list is intermediate at best – some lugs, cutters, lapping items, and alignment tools.

Author bio: William McAllister is a writer who enjoys the simple things in life; waking up in a tent deep in the woods, a black cup of coffee and a flip phone.


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