The Obsolete 1911


A little side-trip for this one. FYI/Trivia

After seeing several rather heated…discussions…on the gun boards over the years, I thought this might be a good time to address some of the statements made as to how outdated the 1911 design is, and how the Glock/Sig/Name your favorite bottom feeder is so light years ahead of it.

I try to ask as gently as I can to point out exactly what it is that’s so much better…since any short recoil operated semiauto pistol with a barrel that tilts into battery at the rear is essentially the same thing.

That’s right, ladies and laddies. Locked within the basic operating principle of the Glock, etc. John Browning’s heart beats loud and strong. About the only difference lies in the linkless method of disengaging the barrel from the slide, and the one massive lug instead of Browning’s three. Aside from that and the fire controls…there’s no difference.

Aha! The Beretta 92/M9 Series! A truly modern design that trumps the old man’s ancient technology!

Ya think? Really?

Go field-strip a Beretta 92 beside a Walther P38 and take a close look at’em. Karl Walther’s fingerprints are all over the Italian Wondernine. There really are very few things that are new.

Well, then…Browning did correct the mistakes that he made on the 1911 with the High-Power. So there!

Sorry. That’s a common myth. In the first place, Browning didn’t design the High Power. Dieudonne Saive did, and he had to wait until the patents expired before he could even do that. He used Browning’s ideas…but he was the one that put them into the pistol. Browning died a full 9 years before the High Power made its debut. He not only didn’t design it…he never even saw one.

In the second place, there were no mistakes made on the 1911. Browning didn’t have autonomy and he didn’t act alone. The 1911 was an assignment. A job. Browning designed what he was asked for. If a mistake was made, it was made by the committee that directed the project…and the same goes for the High-Power.

The 1911 has a grip safety specifically because it was asked for. The High Power doesn’t have one because it wasn’t asked for. If it had been, the High Power would be sporting a grip safety to this day. Many consider the magazine disconnect a mistake…and that may be…but it’s there because it was requested by the people who signed the paychecks. As the old adage goes: “He may not be right, but he is the boss.”

The plunger tube! It shoulda been machined into the frame! Word up!

But it was made separate and replaceable because if an integral tube is damaged, it requires far more time and expense to repair than a 10-cent staked-on part. The staked tube can be replaced in the field by a Level 1 armorer in about 15 minutes. A crushed integral tube has to be sent somewhere far away. It’s kinda self-explanatory.

One of the things that allowed the 1911 to win out over the Savage was its ability to be serviced in the field with a low level of skill and a minimum of equipment. In fact, there were several officers on the Ordnance Board who fought the 1911 tooth and nail right up until it was time to disassemble the guns. The Savage rep unrolled an armorer’s tool set and started feverishly working to get his gun apart. Browning himself stepped up to the plate and had his pistol apart and reassembled before the other guy got his apart. Well before…and the only tools that he used were the parts that came out of the gun. At that point, even the Colt’s most adamant detractors had to sit down and shut up.

2 thoughts on “The Obsolete 1911”
  1. well said! been trying to tell people for years that Browning had very little to do with the Hipower in its finaly form.

    the 1911 is all a person could ask for in my opinion and will never be topped

  2. As stated, John Browning had very little to do with the eventual Hi Power. When he was working on it he had to work around existing patents (especially the 1911) and JMB’s original Hi Power was to be striker fired.
    I’ll go as far as saying if JMB was the final designer (and had his way), the Hi Power would be a simpler pistol than the one produced.
    Now about the 1911. There is nothing wrong with the 1911’s design….nothing! In it’s original form it is extremely reliable and almost all malfunctions can be attributed to a magazine issue. The firearm itself is damn near indestructible. It’s an easy firearm to detail strip for anyone with opposable thumbs.
    Would I carry one? Yes, I have….but there are lighter, higher capacity, just as well made handguns I tend to choose more often when carrying.
    Personally, the ergonomics are perfect and there is no other handgun that feels as comfortable in my hand as a 1911 does (the closest being either a CZ 75 or a S&W M&P).

    As this article stated, nothing before or since has had as much of an impact on the design of the self loading handgun as JMB’s 1911 did (and still does). It revolutionized the way self loading handguns of large caliber were made. JMB’s short recoil/locked breech design is still the most preferred, most reliable, and easiest way to build a self loading handgun in any caliber larger than .380/9mm Makarov, when simple blowback is not an option.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *