Hello 2012, am I glad to see you! The 1911 Centennial was about to drive me insane!

Posted by:

WARNING: if you are humor impaired, or can’t stand the Ugly, Ugly Truth (UUT), stop reading now! You won’t be happy, which means I won’t be happy. Well, that’s not exactly true, but one of us will not be happy. And it probably won’t be me. Which kinda narrows it down. And now, today’s blog:

The year 2011 was a pretty good one for me. I built some wonderful guns, met a lot of interesting people, got a clean bill of health, and saw my first book get published. All in all (and except for the political situation) I didn’t find all that much to complain about.

Except for one thing.

This one thing makes me deliriously happy that 2011 is gone, because it made the year nearly unbearable at times. There was something I prevented myself from doing that often drove me mad with temptation.

You probably didn’t notice, but I made a vow last New Year’s to not mention the 1911, or its designer, in this blog for all of 2011. I knew that everyone would be making a Big Freaking Deal (BFD) about the centennial of The Thing, and that there would be special editions and articles and books and videos and special editions and more articles and more special editions and videos and still more special editions and plenty of 1911-only shooting classes for people who didn’t take Inspector Girard’s advice to lose their nickel-plated sissy pistols.

I didn’t want to show up in any Google searches for ‘1911’, lest it seem that I actually approved of (let alone participated in) such nonsense.

I thus endured an entire year of people expounding on the virtues of the inefficient and unreliable design, while I forced myself (sometimes with pliers and a staple gun) to keep my tongue still. It was actually painful at times (besides the pliers and staple gun, I mean.) The True Browning Believers (TBB) uttered nonsensical hyperbole and illogical statements all through the year, which actually led me to enlightenment as I began to understand Lloyd Bridges’ character from “Airplane!”:

Thus, on this first working day of glorious 2012, I finally do something I’ve waited to do for an entire year: talk about the 1911 pistol in the way that only I can. (Well, maybe me and one or two others. OK, basically everyone with a computer and time between commercials.)

Where to start? How about with one of my favorite inanities, one which surfaced time and again during the last year: “it must be the best pistol ever because so many companies make them.” Good thing I never heard that in person, as I’d be forced to say “Hah! I spit in your mag pouch, you forty-five-caliber loon! Now go away, or I shall taunt you even more!”

You know why so many people have jumped into the 1911 building frenzy, Skippy? Because the engineering was long ago paid for by the American taxpayer, and is available FOR FREE from our government! That’s right – the reason so many people make them is because it’s the cheapest pistol they could possibly produce! The 1911 has a lower barrier to entry than a freakin’ Hi-Point!

Don’t believe me? If you want to build a gun that’s never been made before, regardless of the quality (or lack thereof), you need an engineer to design the thing. You want to make a 1911? All you need is a microfiche reader and someone with his name embroidered on his shirt who knows how to push the power switch on an Okuma machining center. Reality bites, huh?

The makers of the Hi-Point did their work from scratch, which means they actually spent more money on designing their piece of dung than your favorite 1911 assembler ever will. Imagine that!

Reliable? It’s rare to see Browning’s baby make it through a two-day shooting course without failing. “It’s never done this before!”, the hapless owner inevitably exclaims to anyone within earshot. “It must be the ammunition…” Yes, because 230 grain round nosed ball ammunition is ever so difficult to feed from a magazine. Sure it is. Keep telling yourself that.

I suppose one could say that the malfunctions are due to over zealous accurizing, and that an unmolested example works best. The original design (did I mention you can get it FOR FREE?), they say, is the most reliable gun ever made. Not according to my Father, who was issued one as a B-29 crew member during WWII: he always told me that it “couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from inside”, but that it really didn’t matter since it “jammed so often we went looking for Smith & Wessons to carry with us while we looked for Jerry. Or a pub.”

When my wife proudly showed him her new fully customized Government Model, he sniffed and allowed that it was very pretty, but that she shouldn’t count on it to save her life or find a pub. That’s experience for you!

I’m sure to get nasty emails (“Dear Mouth-Breathing Troglodyte:”) from people telling me how reliable their little pride and joy is, and how I’m a Bitter Old Man (BOM) who just hates John Moses Browning. That may be true, but I notice these guys are never around when it’s betting time because they know in their hearts that The West Wasn’t Won With A Jammed Up Gun (TWWWWAJUG).

Speaking of Browning, what about him? As I’ve said before: it’s pretty hard to get excited about a guy who wasn’t talented enough to build a revolver! He’s lucky that Colt (and Winchester and FN and Ithaca and everyone else who got suckered into buying his latest back-of-the-napkin doodle) had real engineers to clean up his designs and actually make them work. Unfortunately, like poor Dieudonné Joseph Saive (Browning wasn’t the only gun guy with a biblical middle name, which makes me wonder if there’s a union somewhere who insists on it in their contract), they never got the credit they deserved for making the hack look good in public.

I could go on, but I’m tired and the lady in the white coat says it’s time for my lithium pill. I will say, however, that it’s good to be back in the saddle! Thank you, Father Time, for ending the 1911 Centennial and giving us this year, which I doubt anyone will celebrate until the elections are over. Or they find a pub.

Which they can’t do with a 1911.

-=[ Grant ]=-


About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
  Related Posts
  • No related posts found.