The Springfield 1911 is a semiautomatic pistol that has achieved near legendary status in the eyes of many people. This is due in no small part to its design and reliability. Although I prefer modern polymer framed pistols such as the Springfield XD, I also appreciate the Springfield 1911. My review of the 1911 is below.
The Springfield 1911 is a short recoil operated semiautomatic (autoloading) pistol. The full name of this pistol is the Pistol, Caliber .45, Automatic, M1911A1. The 1911 was developed during the first decade of the 1900’s by Colt, and officially adopted by the United States military as an official side arm in the year 1911, hence the name. It was originally chambered for .45 ACP only, however it is now available in a variety of other calibers as well (though .45 ACP remains the most popular by a wide margin). The Springfield 1911 combines a metal frame, a proven effective caliber, and a dependable design with safety features such as an innovative grip safety. [To clarify, the 1911 was designed by Colt, and is produced by many companies, both now and in the past. I happen to prefer the Springfield models, and so I refer to them most often.]
Build Quality & Features
The Springfield 1911 is a finely constructed pistol. It is available in a variety of models, whose prices can range from just over $500, to well over $2,000. Regardless of the model selected, the buyer will have a high quality pistol whose parts fit together well and look great. It is no wonder that this design has endured for nearly 100 years, and been copied by many manufacturers.
The 1911 also features an innovative safety, located on the back of the pistol grip. When the gun is held normally, the grip safety is automatically disengaged, and the gun can be fired. When the gun is not being gripped by the shooter, they safety is automatically engaged, and the 1911 cannot be fired. This unobtrusive safety can go a long way to prevent unintentional discharges of the gun.
The 1911 is a durable handgun, with a strong metal frame. It will fire round after round after round for years to come. A well cared for Springfield 1911 that was produced in the year 1911 can still be used today, and most people wouldn’t even notice age of the gun. I have yet to experience a failure to feed or failure to fire, nor do I know of anyone who has experienced one that was the fault of a 1911, rather than bad ammunition.
Effectiveness of the .45ACP
The .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (.45ACP) cartridge, which was developed right around the time the Springfield 1911 was introduced, has been proven effective for self defense. Although I personally prefer .40 S&W, I have plenty of respect for the .45ACP. Since the 1911 has a relatively heavy metal frame, the recoil from firing a .45 ACP round from the 1911 feels softer than firing a (much smaller) 9MM round from a lightweight polymer framed handgun, such as a Glock or subcompact Springfield XD. Indeed, a co-worker of mine was able to handle a 1911 within a few minutes of firing a gun for the first time.
As I mentioned at the top of this article, I’m a more fan of polymer framed pistols, such as the Springfield XD. However, having fired many rounds from a few Springfield 1911 models, I would highly recommend this pistol for those who prefer metal framed pistols with exposed hammers, instead of plastic pistols with internal strikers. The 1911 is a proven design, with great functionality, ergonomics, safety, and reliability.