I’m a 1911 guy. I became a 1911 guy when I was a teenager. My girlfriend’s father, Dave, instructed me on the ways of the Old Slab Sides. I think I was the only guy that dated his daughter that he liked. He was a cool guy too. But he introduced me to the gun and how it operated. Which is good. Because not very long later the US Government put a 1911 in my hand without any instruction. I really liked the 1911. Dave too. Looking back, I liked hanging out with Dave more than his daughter. I’ve had a lot of 1911’s since.
1911’s have developed a reputation for being less than reliable. This is because saying “1911” is like saying “Pickup Truck”. You can’t say all pickup trucks are unreliable. Make, Model, Condition, and Maintenance Records are all important, no? I’ve found 1911’s can be just as reliable as Glocks. Can. Not all. There’s one specific word though that when combined with “1911” that should always be avoided. That word is “Ultra”. Don’t get any “Ultra” 1911. Any 1911 that has the word “Ultra” on it, or even near it – just don’t do it. Also, any barrel length below 4″ is best to be avoided. This goes along the same lines as the word “Ultra”.
Working in a gun store again, I get to hear all the old rundowns and complaints about the “Obsolete Old Man’s Guns”. Maybe they are guns for the Older and Wiser crowd, but one thing they are not, is obsolete. Windows 3.11 is obsolete. A 1911 is going stronger than ever.
The 1911 has seen continuous use by the US Military ever since it was first adopted. Sure, it was replaced in the Mid 80’s by the Beretta, but many units chose to keep their 1911’s in service. Typically special operations type units. These are guys who had the option to pretty much get whatever they wanted, and they chose to stick with what has been working. For example, Marine MARSOC just bought a whole mess of Colt 1911’s… which replaced a whole mess of Springfields, which had replaced a whole bunch of Colts. Now, forgive me, but either MARSOC is staffed by overly sentimental geriatric clowns, or the 1911 is still a fine sidearm. Given the fact that MARSOC follows an operational tempo that makes Call of Duty seem boring… I’m guessing those guys pretty much define “High Speed, Low Drag”. Having met many MARSOC Operator, and worked with them on various things… Let me tell you… MARSOC knows their trade. If a 1911 is so obsolete, I don’t think they would be using them. On a side note, they also use Glock 19’s for when they are rolling incognito and have to carry concealed. But that’s another subject.
Competitive shooters are still running a lot of 1911’s as well. Guy’s who’s paychecks demand that they shoot as well as possible. They are using those old obsolete 1911’s. I don’t know about you, but every competition I’ve ever been in, hiccups in accuracy and reliability could pretty much cost you the match.
Here’s the thing. The 1911 requires a bit more knowledge, and a bit more TLC than other more recent designs. But too many guys Harsh on the 1911 for the same “problems” that they give passes on the AR-15 for. You just gotta know your gun. Know how to take care of it. Know what ammo shoots best in it. The 1911 is complicated some people will say. No, it really isn’t. It’s a very simple machine and easy to understand if you will stop holding your breath and pouting that it isn’t a Glock. Pay attention and learn… and show some respect. The design is over a hundred years old and remains a top choice for handguns.
For the serious 1911 Operator the rituals of maintenance are part of the satisfaction of running it. For them, the 1911 breakdown is like a Japanese Tea Ceremony. It brings them peace and joy, and a belter understanding every time. The Glock Operator is a crass barbarian in comparison.
Revolvers are also far from obsolescence. .357 Magnum remains the Gold Standard of defensive handgun cartridges. .45 Colt is no slouch either. .44 Specials, .44 Mags, always a crowd pleaser and few can shrug off catching one of those. Loaded Light or Hot… Heavy slugs well aimed, no, that’s not obsolete. Never will be… until we have a 40 watt Phased Plasma option.
Revolvers offer reliability with uncompromised accuracy and power. If you call that obsolete, I’m calling you a fool.
The only thing truly obsolete is ignorance. Yet in this Age of Internet, misinformation is at your fingertips and Urban Legends become forces of nature. Opinions and facts feud like Hatfields and McCoys. There is also the fact that like older cars, these Old Guy Guns are just better looking. The visual appeal is biological… 1911’s, Revolvers… There are no new guns is as Sexy. Maybe this is where the older and wiser comes in. We take the time to appreciate the finer things.
Of course, all things considered, I guess Beretta 92’s and SIG 220/226/228/229 guns are Old Guy Guns as well.
No… they are not Obsolete. They are Classics. Classics never go out of style for good reasons. It’s why they are Classics.
At first glance, they look identical save for the Beretta’s little medallion in the grips. There is a good reason for that. Both are made by Uberti in Italy… Both are Spaghetti Westerns here. However, the Beretta is imported by Beretta and the Uberti is imported by Stoeger for some reason. What’s interesting is that the Beretta marked gun is less money. What makes that so interesting? The Beretta is the better gun by far. Let me show you why.
What you can’t see in the photos is the FEEL. The Beretta feels like it’s a much nicer gun. It feels that way, because it really is. I’d buy a Beretta easily over the Uberti, every day, every time. The Uberti’s… not so much. I like the clicks in the action as you pull the hammer back.
I’ve heard a lot of people scoff Wheelguns lately. Saying that the revolver was dead. These are guys that worship at font of High Capacity and think good shooting is a 1.5 second mag dump. That’s all fine and well. Drilling at target mulitple times in the blink of an eye is fun. And in a gunfight, it would do the job.
However not all shooting is a gun fight. I don’t have to look over both shoulders before I safe my weapon and reholster every time I shoot because I tend to think that in an actual fight, that instinct is still going to be there.
Back the wheelguns… I think revolvers are actually seeing a resurgence of popularity. Not just the Snubs or the huge magnum .500’s… but in the mid sized guns in .357 and .44. Which used to be the main stream of handgunning. People are appreciating that great balance of power and controllability that 686 and 629’s have.
I’m still itching for a .44 myself.
I’m working on my review of the NAA Ranger and I have positive things to say about it. Unfortunately the NAA has discontinued it. They did a limited run of the things, then canned it. Continue reading I am at a loss for words→
Shooting those .44 Mags again today… really put the Wheel Gun itch back into me. Sure, revolvers have a limited supply of ammo on board. Sure, for most people, revolvers are slower to reload.
However, Revolvers have some other qualities that are big bonuses… They are not Ammo Sensitive like an Auto. An Auto has to fire ammo that is within a certain power range or they wont cycle. Revolvers don’t. You can shoot super light target loads, you can shoot super hot magnum hunting loads… all through the same cylinder without changing anything.
Nightcrawler is an unrepentant Wheelgunner. He’s also an advocate of the .44 Magnum. NC sent one gun off to S&W’s Performance Center for special tuning. The other one, with the short barrel is a gun that S&W gave him as a replacement for a previous .44 Mag that he sent in for repair… which turned out to be unrepairable. So they gave him some options and he picked this one. It’s a great little gun. Looks sexy. But is exceptionally unpleasant when firing. The wood grips are just gorgeous, but do not belong on a .44 Magnum firing full power loads.