14 Next Gen 1911 Pistols You Want in Your Life
The 1911 pistol is an American classic, but it’s time for a new breed of next-gen 1911 handguns that take the best of this icon and built on it. So this post was always going to be a bit controversial.
That’s because 1911 fans can be a puritanical bunch and if it’s not a single-stack 45 ACP then they’re just not interested.
The thing is, though, that guns are just better than that these days and you can have all the good bits of a 1911 with some serious technical breakthroughs.
Now you can have the metal craftsmanship, the solidity, the safety and a few other things besides, but you can also have the capacity. You can opt for a striker-fired option, even a double barrel handgun if you really want to spend some money. These are the next gen 1911 pistols that are missing from your life.
9mm vs 45 ACP? Next Gen 1911 Pistols Favor 9mm
The 45 ACP vs 9mm debate will rage forever and we do get the argument for the 230gr .45s over the svelte 130-150gr 9mm. But if you can get double the number of bullets in your gun, then two 9mm in the same place as one 230gr changes the equation completely.
Not all of these modern-day 1911s are 9mm, but a lot of them are. Double-stack magazines are the reason why.
Browning Hi Power AND 1911s Can be Next Gen 1911 Handguns
Some of them are also developments of the Browning Hi Power, rather than the classic 1911. We make no apology for that, because the differences weren’t that big even in the originals.
These are proper service pistols and you can get all passionate about the differences if you like, we prefer to celebrate the similarities. We’re forward thinking like that…
We hope you enjoy this blend of craftsmanship and modern tech as much as we do. These are the best 1911s and spiritual successors in the modern world. They are also some of the very best guns in the world.
1. EAA Tanfoglio Witness Commander 1911 Polymer
- Price: $555.99
- Caliber: 45 ACP
- Barrel: 4.125 inch
- Total: 8 inch
- Weight: 1.8lb
- Capacity: 8+1
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A polymer 1911 makes an awful lot of sense when you say it out loud. Especially in compact form like this one. The EAA Tanfoglio Witness Commander 1911 Polymer is a mouthful, but it is also a landmark pistol.
This is the first plastic 1911 I would be happy to take into battle.
Modern materials are getting better all the time and plastics technology is a growth industry on a scale you can’t quite imagine. We already have plastic striker-fired pistols, so it was only a matter of time before a polymer 1911 went on sale.
We might treat a no-name with more side-eye. But the simple fact is that Tanfoglio in Italy makes some of the best 9mm handguns for sale in 2020. If it says we’re ready for a polymer 1911, then I am prepared to try it.
There are obvious benefits, beyond just the price. I mean the price is amazing, but then so is the weight. This is a 1.8lb 1911 Commander, and that is a seriously lightweight 1911.
Don’t think this is a tribute act. All your 1911 parts & accessories for the Commander size pistol will slot and screw right on. This is a lightweight Commander 1911, which just happens to be a black polymer handgun too.
2. Colt Combat Elite Defender
- Price: $1,399.99
- Caliber: 9mm
- Barrel Length: 3 inch
- Total Length: 6.75 inch
- Capacity: 9+1
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The Colt Defender is widely considered the finest sub-compact 1911 in the world for concealed carry. You can get a 45 ACP version, with less bullets.
You can also get more austere versions of the Colt Defender for much less money. But we love the Colt Combat Elite Defender 9mm in all its spectacular glory.
The 45 ACP option is undoubtedly snappier with a sub-compact 1911, so 9mm gives you a better chance at grouping your shots. 9mm also means you get more rounds in your gun. That’s important too.
This stainless steel slide and frame are coated in two-tone PVD, with contrasting polished nickel and black finishes. 25LPI checkering ensures a firm grip and the gun comes with an ambidextrous safety and a skeletonized hammer.
This sub-compact 1911 is a classic single action pistol, a Series 90 1911. The Colt Defender is a legend for a reason and this is the best of the best when it comes to concealed carry 1911 handguns.
Colt ran into a lot of problems getting the smaller 1911 to cycle properly. it was a nightmare that turned other manufacturers away from the concealed carry 1911 concept entirely. Colt fixed it, and created an awesome next-gen 1911 in the process.
For a selection of Colt 1911 handguns, check this post.
3. Beretta M9
- Price: $548.00
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 15+1
- Barrel Length: 4.9”
- Total Length: 8.5”
- Weight: 2.08lb
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If you love guns then you love the Beretta 92, the Beretta M9, whatever you’d like to call it. It’s really that simple.
The M9 sidearm is technically a clean sheet of paper design that borrowed heavily from previous Berettas, but it is a metal service pistol with more or less the same dimensions that replaced the 1911 as the US military sidearm.
So we’re going to say it’s an evolution at the very least.
You better believe the Beretta designers studied the very best 1911s and Browning evolutions of the day and asked what sucked about the pistols.
Beretta 92 is a Next Gen 1911 2.0
Capacity was right up there, together with the 45 ACP ammo, jams and other issues with were all part of the M9’s early drawings. So, yes, the Beretta 92 M9 really is a 1911. Wwe will fight you on this.
This Italian special was designed in 1972 and itself was an evolution of the M1923 and M1951 firearms. The M1923 donated its open slide, while the alloy frame and locking block barrel of the M1951 also made the jump to the Beretta 92 FS.
In military it was known as the M9 and it became the US military’s sidearm of choice. As a private weapon, the Beretta 92 FS has become a legend. The black gun is actually $100 cheaper, but the stainless steel Beretta 92 Inox is a thing of if you have a few extra bucks to spend on your service pistol.
Beretta 96 Lesser Known Model
The Beretta 96 is the lesser known model chambered in 40 S&W, which comes with a solid 12+1 capacity. That’s a different recipe of stopping power and sheer capacity and it’s a halfway house between the old-school 45 ACP 1911 and a modern 9mm.
If you are an old-school 1911 fan looking to embrace the modern world, then the Beretta 96 A1 might just be the gentle nudge in the right direction you have been looking for.
4. CZ 75 SP-01
- Price: $1,999.99.
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 18+1
- Barrel Length: 4.7”
- Total Length: 8.15”
- Weight: 2.4lb
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The CZ 75 was a retirement passion project for Josef and Frantisek Koucky, two of the most influential weapons designers of the last century. It was always going to be a next gen 1911 and one of the best guns for sale, but we didn’t know it would still be going strong more than 50 years later.
The CZ75 B, in all its forms, is still one of the best selling handguns in the world and absolutely is a next gen 1911, in some ways. We’d normally go for the CZ Shadow 2 here, as we did in our full-sized 9mm pistol post. This is the tuned up CZ Shadow SP-01. it costs more, but it’s worth the money…
The brothers climbed through the ranks at the CZUB firearms company and effectively led the design team, but when CZUB offered them the chance to redesign the 1911 around a 9mm round, everybody knew this was the last ride. It is a gun that will go down as an icon.
The CZ 75 is now the most copied gun in the world, in part due to the fact that CZ did not file for patents in foreign countries to keep the project secret. Well that worked out well…
CZ 75 Borrows Browning High Power Design Cues
The gun, however, is a masterpiece, especially in SP-01 form. It’s a short recoil operated locked breech pistol that borrows from the Browning High Power pistol design philosophy.
The slide and barrel lock together during firing due to a dizzying selection of cams and trick engineering that really does show off the craftsmanship that went into the CZ 75. It also gets the manual safety, which means you can carry Condition 1.
The SP-01 is one of the sporting spin-offs and the competition shooter comes with rubber grips, improved grip geometry, a corrosion resistant coating and a higher capacity.
It’s a double stack 1911, sort of, with some other neat touches, it was one of the first and it is still one of the best.
Is the CZ 75 Greatest Handgun Ever?
The CZ 75 will go down as one of the greatest handguns of all time and the CZ 75 SP-01 is even better. This is the 1911 taken to a whole new level and it’s one of the best guns for sale in 2020 If you don’t own one, you should.
It is one of the best guns for sale in 2019 and we’ll probably be saying the same next year too.
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5 Rock Island Armory MAPP MS Compact
- Price: $409.99
- Caliber: 9mm
- Barrel: 3.6 inch
- Total: 7.48 inch
- Weight: 1.65lb
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The best 1911 on this list? A Rock Island Armory? You know we think it might be soon. This is actually one of our favorites on this list.
It isn’t really a Rock Island Armory. At least it didn’t start out that way. Look closer and you might recognize the Tanfoglio Polymer Witness. See?
The Tanfoglio is still available and Rock Island Armory have basically licensed the design. costs more than $100 more. If you’d prefer to have the authentic Italian gun then you can, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with Rock Island Armory’s mass manufacturing.
Owned by Philippined-based Armscor, RIA has diversified of late into the world of mag-fed shotguns and now a cheaper version of the compact concealed carry handgun that we think is better than a Glock 19.
Italian Design, Asian Pricing. This Could Work…
We raved about the Tanfoglio Compact Polymer when it was launched. We loved the cut snout, the deeply beveled slide that works as much for a smooth draw as a lighter weight.
Now we also liked the accessory rail slotted in underneath and the way that grip forces your hand into the right position. We liked the chunky positivity of the safety and hammer too.
When Tanfoglio launched this gun we said it was everything we wished a Glock 19 could be. And the only thing that has changed is that it got cheaper.
This gun could climb this list pretty sharpish.
6. TTI Jon Wick Combat Master STI 2011
- Price: $3,899
- Caliber: 9mm
- Barrel: 5.4 inch
- Total: 8.78 inch
- Weight: 3lb
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You’re going to hear a lot more from STI International following the starring role for its 9mm double stack 1911 in John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum.
The world’s most famous assassin selects the Taran Tactical Innovations tuned STI DVC 3 as his sidearm for the legendary confrontation with the High Table’s forces. This, then is the most famous of the guns of John Wick 3. That’s a big deal in the firearms world…
STI makes competition firearms that make John Wick’s $3,899 firearm look relatively conventional and, dare we say it, a little overpriced.
Check out a selection of STI handguns here for some unfiltered gunporn. Calling some of these pistols a next gen 1911 still feels like selling them short…
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7. Sig Sauer P226 Legion
- Price: $1,199
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 15+1
- Barrel Length: 4.4”
- Total Length: 8”
- Weight: 2.13lb
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The Sig Sauer P226 is a thorough rework of the classic Browning Hi Power design, but the differences between that and a 1911 really aren’t as big as you think and rest largely on the hinged trigger and falling block rather than a tilting link barrel.
The P226 locks the barrel and slide together for much of the movement, but it achieves this with an enlarged breech section of the barrel rather than locking lugs. This system, based on Charles Petter’s Modèle 1935A pistol and adapted by Sig’s own engineers, offers a number of advantages.
That’s what Sig Sauer started with when it created the P226, which will go down as one of the finest handguns in history. You can get a cheaper P226 in its most basic form, but the Sig Sauer P226 Legion is really the one you want. It is one of the best handguns on sale in 2020 if money is no object.
Twice the Price of a Glock
It will really have to be, because there are much cheaper 9mm handguns and you could buy two Glock 19s or even more Glock rivals for the price of one Sig Sauer P226 Legion. You get a perfect matte, flat grey finish, enhanced beavertail, custom hi-checkered grips, solid steel guide rod and a master shop flat trigger.
You also get 40 years of evolution, or thereabouts, on a gun that was first introduced in 1975 as the P220 and the Browning BDA in a confusing deal between Browning and Sig Sauer. The P220 was the first Sig Sauer handgun sold in the United States. The P226 Legion is a world away from that basic design and it is one of the best handguns for sale in 2020.
If you’re starting to spend this money on handguns, make sure you’ve got a fireproof gun safe, too, to protect your investment. Then you an buy guns online like this one, and enjoy one of the best guns for sale.
8. Arsenal Firearms 2011
- Price: $7,000
- Caliber: 45 ACP
- Capacity: 14+2
- Barrel Length: 4.9”
- Total Length: 8.6”
- Weight: 5lb
Yes, this really is a double barrel 1911. Let that sink in for a moment. This is two barrels, two triggers and two magazines packed into one frame. So you’re firing two rounds of 45 ACP at the same time…
This next gen 1911 2.0 is a rare treat and you might remember the cameo appearance it made pointed at Cable’s head in Deadpool 2. Or not. It was a pretty small role. Hi Jinx fires the gun at James Bond’s plane in the 2015 film Spectre and Milla Jovovich handles one in Resident Evil.
The AF2011 is a badass gun that really doesn’t make much sense to buy. Rarity has shoved the price up beyond all reason and the gun weighs in at more than 4lb, so it’s not exactly tactical. It was a great idea, though, and we do love the fact that it’s out there.
The Dueller Prismatic is the range topper. That comes with two 6.5” barrels, dual compensators and a custom trigger set. That’s the one that featured in the Bond film.
It’s a gun to stop and stare at, maybe rather than own. But that’s OK too.
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9. RIA M1911 A2 FS
- Price: $904.99
- Caliber: 9mm/22TCM
- Capacity: 17+1
- Barrel Length: 5”
- Total Length: 8.5”
- Weight: 3lb
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Rock Island Armory guns are some of the cheapest 1911 handguns for sale in 2020. Don’t be put off by the bargain basement price, though, Rock Island Armory do make really good guns, as long as you’re looking for a shooter and not a showpiece.
The company saves the money on the finish, the fine touches. This gun is actually one of its more expensive offerings, but it still gets a parkerized finish that won’t be to everyone’s taste.
The grips could fit flusher and the screws stand out too, but those are the only faults we’re going to pick with an otherwise fantastic gun.
Serious Tactical Touches for Next Gen 1911
The tactical rail is pretty advanced for a 1911 and the fiber optic night sight and anti snag rear sight is actually pretty cool. The contrasting finish on the ejection port is a nice touch and the trigger and hammer are skeletonized. The slide cuts are functional and then there’s that 17+1 capacity and the switchable caliber.
Now you probably won’t keep it as a 22TCM, but that’s a pretty cool conversion for the range. It means you can, run all the drills you want and get comfortable with your gun. It’s a 40gr plinking round, but don’t think you’re going to save much money.
22TCM is not 22LR, it’s a proprietary round. It’s actually a chopped down 223 cartridge that ends up as a $0.34c bullet. Honestly you can get some great 9mm rounds for that sort of budget.
So, the caliber conversion is a neat touch, but if you don’t need that kind of low recoil range toy then you might find that 22TCM barrel lies unused in a drawer.
The RIA M1911 A2 FS user reviews online says it doesn’t need the gimmick conversion kit anyway. This is a gun that the owners love. It’s a pretty traditional 1911 with the double-stack magazine and Glock+ capacity. It’s accurate, it’s reliable and it’s pretty easy to strip and maintain. At this price, we think it’s a great modern day 1911.
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10. Springfield Armory 1911 TRP 10mm
- Price: $1,449.99
- Caliber: 10mm
- Capacity: 8+1
- Barrel Length: 6”
- Total Length: 9.5”
- Weight: 2.8lb
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It’s a work of art isn’t it? This is a full Operator-spec Springfield Armory 1911 and then some.
There are no double-digit round counts here, this is a fairly standard 8+1 round 1911, but then look again at the caliber and barrel length.
Now 10mm didn’t take off like we all thought it would, but there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that it’s a more powerful round than the 45 ACP. Much more poweful.
So this is the traditional 1911, which used the most ferocious bullet it could reasonably package, taken to the next level.
The New Bear Defense Round: 10mm Auto
10mm is becoming the favorite bear defense round, although that tends to be packaged in a Glock 20 or G40 that provides more rounds. This is a stellar weapon, though, and the level of craftsmanship on a Springfield Armory TRP has to be seen to be believed.
It’s not quite on the level of the company’s custom 1911s, but then they are three times as expensive. Still, this is a near perfect 1911, with a match-grade barrel, which is a match for any 1911 on the market right now in terms of build quality, reliability and sheer power.
A 10mm round and a 6-inch barrel mean that basically every shot is a killshot and this gun is way more dangerous than the traditional 45 ACP. This is sledgehammer stopping power and short of a Desert Eagle, S&W500 or truly specialist revolver then you’re not going to get much more punch in a handgun.
For a larger selection, check out our best 10mm handguns for sale in 2020 here.
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11. Kimber Micro 9
- Price: $549.00
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 6+1
- Barrel Length: 3.15”
- Total Length: 6.1”
- Weight: 0.98lb
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Yes, this is the concealed carry 1911 9mm pistol that you might not have been waiting for.
It’s a clever gun, a shrunken 1911 that comes with a 3.15 inch barrel and a tiny footprint. Realistically, this gun couldn’t be much smaller and remain functional.
It’s about the same size as a Springfield Armory XDMOD 2 and a little bigger than a Sig Sauer P365 Nitron. It also holds less rounds than both of them, but it is a fully functional 1911 with a proper hammer.
Some people just don’t want a striker-fired polymer pistol nestling against their nuts. For them, it needs to have a hammer or it just doesn’t work. The Kimber Micro 9 was made for that person.
It’s an ornate gun that can slip into a purse, a waistband or even your pocket. It won’t weigh you down and it’s a great option for a CCW with a difference.
Do you want more options? Check out the the best 20 Concealed Carry Guns For Sale in 2020 here.
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12. IWI Jericho 941 F9
- Price: $479.00
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 16+1
- Barrel Length: 4.4”
- Total Length: 7.6”
- Weight: 2.3lb
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It’s another cheap double-stack 1911 2.0 with the DA/SA action that carries the same number of bullets as a Glock 19, or thereabouts. So next gen 1911 is kind of right.
The Jericho threatens to become the company’s breakout success, simply because of its accessibility and rugged build quality. It’s a favorite with the Israeli police and it’s basically standard issue in the military. Law enforcement agencies around the world use them too.
So, this is a full service pistol, plus a few tricks, for the price of a bargain basement Glock 19.
The Jericho isn’t our first choice for a next gen 1911, but it is a choice…
13. Hudson MFG H9
- Price: $1079.00
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 15+1
- Barrel Length: 4.28”
- Total Length: 7.6”
- Weight: 2lb
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Is the Hudson MFG H9 the best next gen 1911 on the market right now? Some people think so, while others will make you wash your mouth out with soap and water for calling it a 1911 at all.
It’s a new striker-fired handgun that totally rethinks traditional pistol design.
You end up with a metal Glock, with elements of next gen 1911. The recoil control is slung beneath the barrel, out front, in a way that balances the gun and helps reduce felt recoil even more. This makes it one of the flattest shooting handguns for sale in 2020.
It weighs in at 2lb, but it’s a slimline gun. If you can manage a Glock 19 as your everyday carry, then this gun won’t give you any problems.
14. Remington R1 Recon
- Price: $950.00
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 18+1
- Barrel Length: 4.25”
- Total Length: 8.5”
- Weight: 2.5lb
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The Remington R1 is another sign of quality engineering that we think means we should probably give Remington more props in the handgun charts.
It’s another 1911 with huge capacity and a series of subtle technical innovations, small tweaks that mark it apart from the old 1911s. It has a thumb safety, grip safety and Colt Series 80 firing pin safety.
That aside, this is a thoroughly modern take on a traditional gun. That makes sense, as Remington cut production of its 1911 from 1919 and only restarted with the R1 in 2010.
You can get enhanced competition shooters with match grade everything and fiber optic front sight. You can also get specialist carry guns and just about everything else. This is a model line, not just a high-tech pistol.
That’s why it works for everyone, from Law Enforcement with cash to burn through to home users.
The 9x19mm Parabellum is among the most popular of handguns cartridges, and there are reasons why. A 9mm handgun is easy to shoot (because of its low recoil), easy to shoot well (accurate), accessible (handguns and ammo are available and affordable everywhere) and with the right ammo, can be as great as its bigger caliber rivals in stopping power.
In fact, a departmental study by the FBI’s Training Division determined that the 9mm Luger pistol round is the best option for law enforcement handguns because it penetrates far enough, enables the shooter to carry more rounds and is more widely available than alternative rounds like the .45 ACP.
Here, we’ll take a look at my top ten picks for best 9mm 1911 pistols and discuss why each one is a worthy choice for any gun enthusiast. We’ll explore price point, features, drawbacks and more.
After you read my list, I trust you’ll have a better idea about how and why you should purchase a nine millimeter.
- Beretta 92FS (Commercial)
- Colt Defender
- Dan Wesson Guardian
- FN Herstal FNX-9
- Remington R1 Enhanced
- Smith & Wesson 1911 Pro Series
- Springfield Armory Range Officer
- STI VIP
- Taurus PT 92
- Wilson Combat CQB Elite
9mm handguns have gained in popularity as manufacturers have taken measures to make them more ergonomic and more tailored to self-defense. So how do you know how to choose the right one for you?
There are several important factors one should consider when selecting a 9mm handgun. Always think about how much money you are willing to spend, what kind of features you are looking for, what user reviews have to say about a specific pistol and what you’re expecting out of your handgun.
Are you looking to buy a 9mm pistol for personal self-defense or home defense? Are you looking to purchase a pistol for competition shooting? Will you be using it for small game hunting?
Every 9mm is similar in some ways and different in others. Be sure to do your homework before deciding on a 9mm pistol.
Here is a short, helpful list of other things to look for in a 9mm pistol:
- Accessibility of Accessories & Parts
- Manufacturer Reputation
- Ammo (Availability and price of ammunition)
Best 9mm Ammo
It’s difficult to find the optimal size ammo for your needs, but this short list encompasses the full spectrum of 9mm ammo options. Be sure to research each brand before settling on the right one for your 9mm pistol.
- Federal Premium LS HST
- Hornady Critical Duty
- Remington Golden Saber
- Speer Gold Dot
- Winchester PDX1 Defender
With these considerations in mind, let’s dive into our top picks for a 1911 9mm:
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This Beretta model is currently the official service pistol of the US military and many law enforcement agencies. Otherwise known as the M9, this pistol uses a delayed, open-slide short-recoil system which accelerates its cycle time.
It’s a durable and dependable semi-auto that performs accurately and reliably at fifty meters or more. And thanks to its popularity, most parts and accessories are reasonably priced and readily available from a number of manufacturers and vendors.
If I had to say anything bad about this rimfire model, I’d have to say that the grip is a bit on the bulky side which makes it less than attractive to those who are looking for rapid fire over an extended period of time.
Other than that, it’s a viable option for most shooters and it’s fairly affordable at an average price of $480.00. If you decide to pick one up, I recommend visiting Cabela’s where Beretta 92 Series handguns are on sale for between $324.99 and $479.99
The Colt Defender is a 1911 handgun that boasts a compact design and Novak low-mount carry sights with dots that make it ideal for conceal and carry.
When it comes to handguns, you really can’t go wrong with anything Colt has to offer. They’re a long-established company with a commitment to R & D and innovation.
The Defender has a smooth-operating and flared ejection port as well as an enhanced serrated trigger.
Cabela’s offers deals on Colt 1911 handguns starting at $899.99.
Dan Wesson Guardian Semi-Automatic
Dan Wesson‘s centerfire pistol boasts a bobtail frame forged from anodized aluminum and an aluminum mainspring housing.
It’s a low profile weapon that provides reduced printing when carrying. Other attractive features include its commander-length slide, alloy frame and dual safeties(manual thumb safety and grip safety, respectively).
Cabela’s offers the Guardian for $1,599.
FN Herstal FNX-9
The FNX-9 has an ergonomic polymer frame with a low-bore axis that makes for far less recoil than many of its counterparts. It also provides the shooter with more control over the weapon.
The checkered grip panels are ribbed for your pleasure and that’s not just a pun, it seriously makes for a more comfortable, no-snag carry.
The FNX-9 also comes with two interchangeable backstrap inserts that swiftly adjust to your hand size. The stainless steel slide features front and rear cocking serrations while the 4-inch cold hammer-forged barrel enables the shooter to make precision shots with ease.
If you’re a lefty, you’ll be happy to know that the FNX-9 has ambidextrous controls which also makes it ideal for competitive shooting.
At $584.99, it’s a good value for the money, easily outperforming many $1,000 plus handguns.
Remington R1 Enhanced
Crafted to exacting tolerances, the R1 Enhanced 1911 pistol is the stuff of firearm legend. More than 100 years after its introduction, it continues to earn the Remington name by providing reliable action and personal protection to private citizens as well as career police officers and military personnel.
It’s got a match-grade stainless steel barrel and bushing along with a stainless steel slide and frame.
Each pistol comes with two magazines, a custom checkered grip with thumb groove and beavertail grip safety. Remington’s premium grip panels are comfortable and user friendly.
It’s easy to see why the R1 Enhanced pistol receives a five-star rating among online consumers—its 38.5-ounce weight and grip features make it an easy to handle firearm that’s tailored to suit virtually any shooting environment.
Cabela’s has deals on Remington handguns starting at $649.99 while 1800gunsandammo.com offer the 1911 RL Enhanced for $785.00.
Smith & Wesson 1911 Pro Series
The Performance Center ® SW1911 offers a variety of enhancements to the standard 1911 model. It features competition specifications right out of the box.
It carries a black dovetail front sight, an adjustable rear sight, a matte silver slide finish and a durable wood grip.
If you’re looking for a competition firearm, the Performance Center 1911 is the way to go. This 9mm holds ten rounds whereas its .45 ACP counterpart only holds eight.
The precision-crowned muzzle provides uniformed gas expansion and increased accuracy. The white dot rights help to ensure near-perfect accuracy. There’s really nothing I can say bad about this handsome, top of the line nine milli model.
The only drawback here is the price; if you order direct from the source, you’ll pay $1,609.00 before shipping and handling. However, Cabela’s has a sale on at the moment for $1,549.99.
Springfield Armory Range Officer
This one’s a good choice for fun, casual plinking or competitive shooting, but it’s not necessarily the best piece for self-defense.
That being said, it could be a good option for you, depending upon your personal requirements.
It is easily disassembled and re-assembled for cleaning and maintenance, and the ergonomics are fairly adequate. It’s got Cross Cannon double-diamond Cocobolo grips and a checkered mainspring housing that offers a decent grip.
The skeletonized trigger and match-grade aluminum trigger are two of its more attractive features.
All things considered, this is a solid choice for 9mm pistol for most carry and home uses.
1800gunsandammo.com offers the 1911 for $899.00 while Cabela’s offers them for $699.99. Availability may vary.
This compact 9mm model is a high capacity piece with a modular alloy frame and a tactile nylon grip. It features a unique and signature Recoil Master system that utilizes a plastic sleeve for containment of the recoil spring when it’s removed from the gun for disassembly and cleaning.
The Heinie low mount rear unit prevents the pistol from snagging when you draw your pistol. This is just the beginning in terms of its noteworthy user-friendly features.
Seasoned shooters will appreciate the superior grip safety that prevents hammer bite and the extended thumb safety for easy manual handling.
In my experience, there aren’t really any noteable cons to this pro 1911 model. It’s a great piece for carry people, especially those with money to burn. The MSRP on this bad boy is $1,645.85, but I gotta be honest, it’s totally worth it. There’s a reason it carries the “V.I.P.” moniker.
You’ll feel like a boss when carrying an STI 9mm.
Taurus PT 92
Maybe it’s because I’m a superstitious dude who’s totally sold on the perceived significance of my astrological sign, but the Taurus brand has been a mainstay in my personal gun collection. Call me a stubborn bull, but I can’t shop for firearms without snatching up at least one Taurus piece.
The PT 92 1911 is a full-size semi-auto with double-action/single-action lockwork and an open-topped steel slide.
If its features seem a bit familiar, there’s a good reason: When Taurus built their first PT-92, they didn’t just copy the already popular Beretta model, they actually bought Beretta’s Brazilian factory and made use of their machines, parts and plans.
Consequently, the PT 92 possesses all of the attractive features of the Beretta nine milli at a reduced price point. The PT 92 AF is generally priced at around $340-350.00, making it the cheapest 9mm on my list.
Don’t let the reduced price fool you, this is a bad ass handgun for the savings.
Wilson Combat CQB Elite
This one’s not for the frugal gun owner, but it is an exceptional pistol for those who can afford a high ticket item. The CQB in the Elite’s name stands for Close Quarters Battle and this one stands by its name.
The CQB Elite is custom-designed for tactical shooting purposes, boasting a Battlesight rear sight with a corresponding fiber optic front sight. With a serrated slide and a semi-extended release button for fast reloading, the CQB Elite is a superior combat model that contains top of the line parts.
Wilson Combat’s fastidious efforts to research and develop the best tactical handgun has resulted in a piece that’s guaranteed to fire every time and never jam.
If you order directly from Wilson Combat, they will even customize the CQB Elite to your personal specifications. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of a manufacturer doing that before.
Other features include a 30 LPI high-cut checkered frontstrap and a 3 ½ to 4 ½ crisp trigger pull. The G10 diagonal flat-bottom grips are among the most comfortable I’ve ever handled.
The Elite costs $3,425.00, so it’s hardly an economic option, but if you can afford it, it’s well worth throwing the big bucks at it.
There you go, that’s my list of the top ten nine millimeters on the market. I hope I’ve shed some light on the 9mm marketplace and the features you can expect to find in most 9mm pistols. Thanks for reading and happy hunting.
Hi there, I'm Will and I'll be your guide. Here at Gun News Daily, we support guns for self defense and and competitive shooting. We believe that America should be free and support the 2nd Amendment.
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Precision crafted. Precision: The condition or fact of being exact and accurate. Crafted: Exercised skill in making. These two words are used to describe the competition handguns made by STI International. It would seem that the words are a fair assessment of the pistols the company manufactures.
STI was founded in the 1980s by Virgil Tripp, who was making custom 1911 pistols for competition. Today, the company continues to build top-end competition guns based on the original John Moses Browning design. The guns vary as much as the competitions themselves. If you have a particular sport in which you engage, chances are STI has a gun to meet your needs.
STI is an employee-owned company, suggesting that each employee has additional motivation to provide excellent service and superior products. Based in Georgetown, Texas, the company has a reputation for building reliable, hard-working firearms that could be considered symbols for Texans themselves. The company backs its pistols with a warranty that covers the pistol’s lifetime, not just for the period of time the original purchaser owns the gun.
Of course, it’s not likely you would ever have a problem with your STI gun. The company uses top-end parts and manufacturing processes. All of its guns are hand-fitted and completely function tested. Before an STI gun ships, it must pass a quality inspection process that checks more than 30 aspects of the pistol.
In addition to building some of the top competition guns as normal catalog items, STI also runs a custom shop to further enhance your race pistol. The custom shop can polish your pistol’s trigger, install sights or optics, refinish surfaces and tune the action. For the level of craftsmanship the STI shop provides, the prices are very reasonable.
STI builds two basic kinds of pistols: 1911s and those utilizing the company’s 2011 platform. The 1911s are traditional-looking single-stack pistols, while the 2011s use double-stack magazines for increased ammunition capacity. When running and gunning, the additional rounds in a double-stack magazine can shave a few seconds off of your time by reducing the number of reloads.
1911 Match King
The Target Master 1911 is specifically designed to run in PPC competitions. The rear Aristocrat Tri-Set sight is matched to an Aristocrat front sight to provide a zero for three known distances: 7, 25 and 50 yards. The forged frame offers a long service life. STI undercuts the triggerguard to give the shooter a higher grip on the gun for increased control and stability. A 6-inch bull barrel is used along with the company’s two-piece recoil system. The slide and frame have an understated matte blue finish that is nicely accented by a stainless steel thumb safety and cocobolo grip panels.
In 1993, STI developed the 2011 platform at the behest of competition shooters looking for more ammunition capacity in a 1911-style pistol. The original gun in this new line was the Eagle. Maintaining the classic look of the original Browning creation, the Eagle is chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W. It features a polished blue finish and the shooter’s choice of either a 5- or 6-inch barrel. For quick yet precise shooting, STI equips the Eagle with a fully adjustable BoMar target rear sight with a bright fiber-optic front sight.
Considered the flagship gun in the STI catalog, the Edge has been dominating competitions for more than 15 years. STI hand-fits this gun so the slide smoothly rides on the frame rails. A 5-inch bull barrel is standard, as is the company’s highly regarded Recoil Master system. Designed for the shooting sports, the gun has an oversized magazine well, a BoMar adjustable rear sight and a fiber-optic front sight. The polished blue steel frame has a full-length dust cover to improve balance and stability. Shooters can order this gun in .38 Super, 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP to match the kind of competitive shooting they will be doing.
For precision shooting with maximum “thump,” many STI fans will opt for the Perfect 10. As the name suggests, this 2011-series pistol is chambered for the impressive 10mm Auto cartridge. STI built this gun to handle the cartridge’s power using the best parts and construction to ensure years of service. The gun comes with a 6-inch bull barrel to maximize bullet velocity and improve the sight radius. Unlike some of the pure sporting guns, this pistol has an accessory rail so it can double as a home-defense pistol. Whether it is for knocking down bowling pins or hogs, the Perfect 10 is a 10mm fan’s dream.
STI was definitely thinking outside of the box when it created the Apeiro. To reduce recoil and increase cycling speed, STI cut a large portion out of the top of the slide and mounted the front sight on the barrel. This increased the barrel weight and decreased the weight of the slide. As a result, there is more weight retained at the end of the gun and less running backward when shooting. The front sight is a fiber-optic unit, while the rear is a completely adjustable BoMar sight. STI didn’t neglect the look of this gun either, with Sabre-Tooth serrations on the slide and a two-tone look.
Designed for the fast-paced Steel Challenge matches, the Steel Master is all about speed. STI designed the gun with a short slide and a 1.6-inch T1 compensator for fast target transitions and reliability with light loads. The tuned trigger pull drops the hammer at 3.5 pounds. This 9mm handgun is equipped with a factory-mounted, 6-MOA C-More sight to enhance the speed of target acquisitions. An integral blast shield ensures that the sight is not occluded when running the gun hard.
When you are running higher-pressure ammo but still need a fast gun, consider the Match Master. Although similar to the Steel Master, this pistol is designed to run hotter ammunition. It can be had in either 9mm or .38 Super and comes with a T2 compensator. The Match Master is fitted with an oversized magazine well for faster reloads and the mounted 6-MOA C-More sight ensures you put rounds rapidly on target. Although it is built for speed, this is a gun that also looks good with stainless accents on a polished blue frame. Additionally, the slide has the elegant and functional Sabre-Tooth serrations.
If you compete in the USPSA Open division, the TruBor might look familiar. Considered by STI as the standard pistol of the Open division, the design has been competing for more than decade. The five-port compensator is machined with the barrel from a single piece of steel to eliminate alignment issues. This combination is said to reduce muzzle rise by 45 percent—a significant number for any competitor. The popular 6-MOA C-More sight is factory mounted and has an integral blast shield. The TruBor is available in both 9mm and .38 Super.
Ideally suited for the USPSA Limited division, the STI DVC Limited is a top-end competition pistol. Available in both 9mm and .40 S&W, the pistol has both slide and dust-cover cuts to lighten the overall weight. STI uses a titanium- nitride-finished, 5-inch bull barrel to reduce friction and a Dawson tool-less recoil system. The pistol has a hard-chrome finish while the grip has custom texturing from Extreme Shooters. A BoMar adjustable rear sight pairs with the fiber-optic front sight. STI rounds out the gun with a 2-pound trigger.
STI could credibly argue that the DVC Open is the ultimate in race guns. Similar to the DVC Limited pistol, the DVC Open uses a hard-chromed slide and frame with a 5-inch, titanium-nitrided barrel. With the “Open” class designation, the gun is also fitted with a compensator to reduce muzzle rise. A 6-MOA C-More sight is mounted on the pistol along with a reversible slide racker. The trigger pull is set at 2.5 pounds, and STI offers this gun in both .38 Super and 9mm.
It is plain to see that STI International builds a wide range of guns to suit any of your competition needs, from very limited divisions to the wide-open classes.
For more information, visit stiguns.com or call 512-819-0656.
Hold Up! – Atlas Gunworks 2011 EDC 3.5
The Carry Gun That Thinks it’s a Race Gun
Atlas Gunworks is a newish venture started by competitive shooter Adam Nilson and his machinist buddy, Tod West. Nilson wrangled West into building him a few pistols when he couldn’t endure the wait times 2011 shops were quoting him for a new gun.
Nilson started shooting competitions with a Glock, then wanted to move up, and so began his relationship with the 2011. “The wait time for a 2011 was like a year and half to two years,” says Nilson. So he bought a used STI, then an Infinity. By the time he was ready to get a new gun, wait times weren’t any better, so he did what any enterprising American would, he decided to make his own gun.
Nilson says, “The path looked like it was going to be buy a gun, wait six months, a year, or two years for it, then send it to someone else to have the trigger done, wait for it, then send it somebody else for coating … and on and on.” He couldn’t find a one-stop shop that’d build his gun and build it quickly. He sensed an opportunity in the gun market and within a few years, Nilson and West were running a full-time gun manufacturing operation that specializes in custom 1911 and 2011s with delivery times that range from days for semi-customs, to four to six months for full custom, open-class guns.
Atlas Gunworks’ co-owner Tod West works on a magwell for one of the company’s race guns. The operation grew quickly over the past few years and continues to grow as Atlas expands it’s catalog of self-manufactured parts.
What’s a 2011
We’ll take a second to explain what a 2011 is, in case you’re one of those people who like guns that work without constant attention. A good 1911 is an incredibly accurate firearm. By way of gross oversimplification, this is thanks to the pistol’s inherently crisp, single-action trigger and the way the barrel is held in the slide. But one of the longstanding gripes against the single-stack platform is that it’s limited to a 7- to 9-round magazine capacity, depending on caliber.
In 1993, Virgil Tripp and Sandy Strayer addressed the mag capacity issue by introducing a double-stack version of the gun, calling it the 2011. Their design left the 1911’s top end and fire controls pretty much unchanged, but turned John Browning’s receiver into two separate parts, a wide, plastic grip and the serialized frame, comprising the slide rails and fire control group. Strayer and Tripp called their company STI, and it continues to make well-regarded 2011 pattern pistols today.
STI’s patent protection on the 2011 modular receiver expired in 2012. This released a swell of 2011 development and products. Gunsmiths immediately began working on ways to improve the original plastic grip, known to crack. Aluminum 2011 grips were developed … or redeveloped. STI tried to make them years back, but they cracked too and weren’t enough of an improvement on the original plastic grips to gain acceptance.
That brings us to Atlas Gunworks and its 7075 aluminum-gripped 2011 EDC 3.5.
Atlas matches the surface hardness of the hammer and sear at 50RC so the parts wear evenly and have a 50K-100K round lifespan.
2011s are big and heavy. It’s actually one of the platform’s benefits, and why it’s the choice of so many pistol competitors … and so few concealed carriers. Combine a heavy gun with a light caliber, and it’s not hard to understand the competitor’s attraction to 9mm 2011s. The pistol tracks like a bloodhound and holds a squad’s worth of rounds. But the size and weight makes them impractical when it comes to carrying concealed for self-defense. That’s why the promise of a lightweight, compact 2011 from an up-and-coming custom house piqued our interest, and likely the interest of competitive shooters already well aware of the 2011’s blessings that are on the lookout for a carry piece too.
So the Atlas EDC 3.5 is a pistol with the DNA of a race gun and the balls of a carry gun. It provides the top end accuracy and legendary trigger of the 1911 and the capacity of a service pistol with the footprint of a carry gun.
The EDC’s trigger is miles ahead of any carry gun we’ve fingered. We averaged the break at 3.65 pounds after 30 pulls. We usually only need 10 pulls to get an average reading, but with 10 pulls in a row varying by only an ounce, we kept going until we got bored. Even then, we only found a 4-ounce spread between the highest and lowest pulls. That’s impressive. Swings of 8 ounces or more are common with factory triggers.
We suspect that level of consistency has something to do with the highly polished sear and disconnector. When we pulled the guts out of the gun, the EGW sear and disco nearly blinded us — now we know why there’s a wall of rotary tools on the bench in the Atlas workshop.
As we looked, we realized every single edge on the pistol was attended to, inside and out. The parts were all hand-engraved with numbers, evidence that all these bits of metal were hand-fit to work as one. When you think about all the parts of a 2011, every edge that meets another has the potential to produce a burr. And one burr in those 50-plus, close-fitting parts is all it takes to stop the show in the 1911/2011 platform.
The trigger itself is a German Geppert X-Line Vario trigger with a curved face, and adjustable pretravel, overtravel, and length of pull. That last one is pretty cool. The trigger shoe is connected to the bow by a screw, allowing you to set the length of pull so the shoe and finger connect exactly where you want them without needing to buy a longer or shorter shoe. Out of the box, the trigger has 0.04 inch of take-up with another 0.05 inch to the end of the stroke.
The ambidextrous thumb safety falls exactly under our thumb and feels rock solid when run from either side of the slide. There’s no slop and no play. It’s wide and easy to sweep up and down, though it’s a little heavier than a flick-and-forget race gun safety, as it should be on a carry gun. The beavertail is disabled but not pinned, and we’re fine with that. Its extended, non-ambi mag release works and doesn’t get in the way of our support hand grip.
As big as it is, the aluminum grip is damned comfortable, though. The pistol included an A-Zone custom laser-cut rubberized overlay we felt was overkill after a few range sessions. At 1.34 inches with the tape, the grip felt like a beer can. We pulled it off, rubbed the newly exposed grip with some Goo Gone, and relished the control we gained with the now 1.25-inch-wide grip. We hoped to find 20 LPI checkering underneath the grip tape on the front strap, but no dice. Still, the reduced girth gave us a better grip … and that’s fine as long as we don’t get heavy palm sweats.
The EDC shone during paper and steel sessions. We printed under an inch at 20 yards with two of our four test loads. But the racegun fun came out when we wanted to test how the gun tracks and returns when run hard. The EDC didn’t disappoint. We dumped the mag into a 12-inch steel square at 10 yards and felt like we couldn’t miss no matter how fast we shot.
Oh, and this was with +P ammo; +P in the heavy, but well-balanced pistol feels like shooting subsonic loads. The zippy Black Hills 115 +Ps take our Glock 19 for a ride, but the EDC 3.5 shrugs and quickly falls back on target with little input. Driving this gun is easy.
The sights contributed to our confidence. Shooting IPSC targets on walk-back drills no matter how far we went was like shooting the broadside of a barn. The fiber optic up front is as fast to pick up as anything, and the U-notch 10-8 rear is flawless, but by the time you read this, Atlas will be shipping guns with its own, in-house manufactured sight.
We should also mention the hand-fit KKM 3.5-inch barrel. Atlas custom angles and polishes the feed ramp. Nilson says it takes about 20 hours to build one of these guns, and three of those hours are spent fitting the barrel. The tight groups we saw tell us that’s time well spent.
It’s a 1911 operating system. We expected some issues. We had a couple. We uncovered an extraction/ejection issue with our mag-out firing test. It’s standard practice to load the chamber, drop the mag and fire the gun to evaluate the extractor tension. With no round beneath for a buddy carry assist, the extractor has to hang on to that empty case like a big boy and get it all the way to the ejector on its own. When that doesn’t happen, it generally causes a 1911-signature stovepipe malfunction. That’s what we found with the EDC 3.5 when we shot our Black Hills 115 +P ammo. It didn’t exhibit this issue with any standard pressure loads.
The commonly advocated fix is to treat the pistol like a bad dog and show it who’s boss before it thinks it rules you. You pull the extractor on the spot and bend it until it behaves itself. Finding the sweet spot by tweaking that rod a tiny bit at a time means applying all of your senses, patience, and remaining ammo as you break down the pistol, reassemble, shoot, and repeat. It’s a uniquely 1911 thing. Some might think it’s a pain in the ass, but 1911 proponents know in their hearts that John Browning made it this way so they could fix their guns in the field with minimal tools.
We spoke with Atlas’s Nilson, and he wasn’t surprised to hear our report. He said the +P ammo is increasing slide velocity, so slowing it a bit would help the extractor hang on to the case under recoil. He said he’d up the stock Wilson flat wire recoil spring from 13 pounds to 14 pounds to run +P ammo instead of adjusting the extractor.
His reasoning is that the range of 9mm case measurements vary enough that Atlas wants to err on the side that has the best chance of working with the most ammo. That means running the extractor a little on the forgiving end. They make up for it by tuning the recoil spring to slow the slide. This makes it less likely for the spent case to get jarred out from under the ejector claw on the way back and miss the ejector. John Browning gives no free lunch, though. This approach leaves the pistol vulnerable to short stroking with less powerful ammunition. Choose your poison, but we’d rather adjust the extractor to fit a range of good ammo and skip the cheap stuff. Who spends $5K on a pistol and runs steel-cased crap through it, anyway?
The other problem we ran into was two rounds of our 600-round eval hanging up on the feed ramp. Nilson says it’s a known issue with the recently released second generation STI 2011 mag and followers. According to Nilson, STI stopped making its original mags, forcing him to figure out how to tune the updated mags on the fly. STI mag necks have to be narrowed to run reliably. This is called mag “tuning,” and if you own a 2011, you may tune your mags as often as Glock owners don’t clean their guns. When Atlas gets STI mags, it tunes the neck to a set width that prevents rounds of that caliber from stalling in the neck as two side-by-side rounds cam against each other and the mag walls.
Nilson says the mags often come from STI, measuring 0.610 inch, and Atlas sized the original, Gen 1 mags to 0.580. After testing, the company now sizes the Gen 2 mags to 0.560. Stay with us … it’ll all make sense in a sec.
To make matters worse, the initial follower design in the updated STI mag was a little loose, causing inconsistent spring pressure as it rose in the mag. STI put out a redesigned follower a few weeks after we got our test pistol. So, it turns out we’re using the STI Gen 2 mag with the initial, flawed follower and Atlas’s older, 0.580-sized neck value. Nilson says the mags with the updated follower and 0.560 neck are running 9mm fine.
Look. It’s a $5,000 hand-fit pistol. It shoots great. Well, better than great, actually. A carry gun that prints groups like a race gun and carries a combat load of ammo? Yes, please. Sure, it’s porky but we’ve all got our winter carry guns, right?
It comes with a serviceable IWB holster from Red Hill Tactical that we ran AIWB for a few weeks without spilling the gun. It’s hefty, no sugar coating the nearly 3 pounds (loaded) of metal you’re toting, but that weight falls away when the gun comes out and we have the confidence to aim small as can be.
We weren’t happy, or surprised, about the stovepiping and failure-to-load issues that cropped up. But, we’re confident a little extractor or recoil spring tuning will cure the gun’s fear of +P ammo, and hopeful that the mag update will remedy the issue that caused the two misfed rounds we logged.
We’re practical here at RECOIL. We have bills to pay and guns to feed, so the decision to drop $5K on a carry gun is going to fall flat on the bathroom floor every time. There are just too many capable sub $1K guns in the display case to walk past before we’d get to the EDC 3.5. But, if money wasn’t a concern, and/or your racegun’s been begging for a sibling, we can tell you that shooting this Atlas has ruined all those fine $800 pistols for us.
Atlas Gunworks 3.5 EDC
Barrel Length: 3.5 inches
Overall Length: 7.2 inches
Weight Unloaded: 36.5 ounces
Magazine Capacity: 17+1
Trigger Pull Weight: 3.6 pounds
Light: SureFire XC1 $299
Price as featured: $5,049
2011 pistols best
American semi-automatic pistol
The M1911, also known as the Colt 1911, or the Colt Government, is a single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, recoil-operatedpistol chambered for the .45 ACPcartridge. The pistol's formal designation as of 1940 was Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911 for the original model of 1911 or Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911A1 for the M1911A1, which was adopted in 1924. The designation changed to Pistol, Caliber .45, Automatic, M1911A1 in the Vietnam War era.
Designed by John Browning, the M1911 is the best-known of his designs to use the short recoil principle in its basic design. The pistol was widely copied, and this operating system rose to become the preeminent type of the 20th century and of nearly all modern centerfire pistols. It is popular with civilian shooters in competitive events such as USPSA, IDPA, International Practical Shooting Confederation, and bullseye shooting. Compact variants are popular civilian concealed carry weapons in the U.S. because of the design's relatively slim width and the stopping power of the .45 ACP cartridge.
The U.S. military procured around 2.7 million M1911 and M1911A1 pistols during its service life. The pistol served as the standard-issue sidearm for the United States Armed Forces from 1911 to 1985. It was widely used in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The M1911A1 was replaced by the adoption of the 9 mmBeretta M9 pistol as the standard U.S. military sidearm in 1985. However, the U.S. Army did not replace the M1911A1 with the Beretta M9 until October 1986, and due to the M1911's popularity among users has not been completely phased out. Modernized derivative variants of the M1911 are still in use by some units of the U.S. Army Special Forces, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy.
Early history and adaptations
The M1911 pistol originated in the late 1890s as the result of a search for a suitable self-loading (or semi-automatic) pistol to replace the variety of revolvers then in service. The United States was adopting new firearms at a phenomenal rate; several new pistols and two all-new service rifles (the M1892/96/98 Krag and M1895 Navy Lee), as well as a series of revolvers by Colt and Smith & Wesson for the Army and Navy, were adopted just in that decade. The next decade would see a similar pace, including the adoption of several more revolvers and an intensive search for a self-loading pistol that would culminate in the official adoption of the M1911 after the turn of the decade.
Hiram S. Maxim had designed a self-loading rifle in the 1880s, but was preoccupied with machine guns. Nevertheless, the application of his principle of using cartridge energy to reload led to several self-loading pistols in 1896. The designs caught the attention of various militaries, each of which began programs to find a suitable one for their forces. In the U.S., such a program would lead to a formal test at the turn of the 20th century.
During the end of 1899 and start of 1900, a test of self-loading pistols, including entries from Mauser (the C96 "Broomhandle"), Mannlicher (the Mannlicher M1894), and Colt (the Colt M1900), was conducted.
This led to a purchase of 1,000 DWMLuger pistols, chambered in 7.65mm Luger, a bottlenecked cartridge. During field trials, these ran into some problems, especially with stopping power. Other governments had made similar complaints. Consequently, DWM produced an enlarged version of the round, the 9×19mm Parabellum (known in current military parlance as the 9×19mm NATO), a necked-up version of the 7.65 mm round. Fifty of these were tested as well by the U.S. Army in 1903.
American units fighting Tausūg guerrillas in the Moro Rebellion in Sulu during the Philippine–American War using the then-standard Colt M1892 revolver, .38 Long Colt, found it to be unsuitable for the rigors of jungle warfare, particularly in terms of stopping power, as the Moros had high battle morale and often used drugs to inhibit the sensation of pain. The U.S. Army briefly reverted to using the M1873 single-action revolver in .45 Colt caliber, which had been standard during the late 19th century; the heavier bullet was found to be more effective against charging tribesmen. The problems prompted the Chief of Ordnance, General William Crozier, to authorize further testing for a new service pistol.
Following the 1904 Thompson-LaGarde pistol round effectiveness tests, Colonel John T. Thompson stated that the new pistol "should not be of less than .45 caliber" and would preferably be semi-automatic in operation. This led to the 1906 trials of pistols from six firearms manufacturing companies (namely, Colt, Bergmann, Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM), Savage Arms Company, Knoble, Webley, and White-Merrill).
Of the six designs submitted, three were eliminated early on, leaving only the Savage, Colt, and DWM designs chambered in the new .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) cartridge. These three still had issues that needed correction, but only Colt and Savage resubmitted their designs. There is some debate over the reasons for DWM's withdrawal—some say they felt there was bias and that the DWM design was being used primarily as a "whipping boy" for the Savage and Colt pistols, though this does not fit well with the earlier 1900 purchase of the DWM design over the Colt and Steyr entries. In any case, a series of field tests from 1907 to 1911 were held to decide between the Savage and Colt designs. Both designs were improved between each round of testing, leading up to the final test before adoption.
Among the areas of success for the Colt was a test at the end of 1910 attended by its designer, John Browning. 6000 rounds were fired from a single pistol over the course of 2 days. When the gun began to grow hot, it was simply immersed in water to cool it. The Colt gun passed with no reported malfunctions, while the Savage designs had 37.
Following its success in trials, the Colt pistol was formally adopted by the Army on March 29, 1911, when it was designated Model of 1911, later changed to Model 1911, in 1917, and then M1911, in the mid-1920s. The Director of Civilian Marksmanship began manufacture of M1911 pistols for members of the National Rifle Association in August 1912. Approximately 100 pistols stamped "N.R.A." below the serial number were manufactured at Springfield Armory and by Colt. The M1911 was formally adopted by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in 1913. The .45 ACP "Model of 1911 U.S. Army" was used by both US Army Cavalry troops and infantry soldiers during the United States' Punitive Expedition into Mexico against Pancho Villa in 1916.
World War I
By the beginning of 1917, a total of 68,533 M1911 pistols had been delivered to U.S. armed forces by Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company and the U.S. government's Springfield Armory. However, the need to greatly expand U.S. military forces and the resultant surge in demand for the firearm in World War I saw the expansion of manufacture to other contractors besides Colt and Springfield Armory, including Remington-UMC and North American Arms Co. of Quebec. Several other manufacturers were awarded contracts to produce the M1911, including the National Cash Register Company, the Savage Arms Company, the Caron Brothers Manufacturing of Montreal, the Burroughs Adding Machine Co., Winchester Repeating Arms Company, and the Lanston Monotype Company, but the signing of the Armistice resulted in the cancellation of the contracts before any pistols had been produced.
Battlefield experience in World War I led to some more small external changes, completed in 1924. The new version received a modified type classification, M1911A1, in 1926 with a stipulation that M1911A1s should have serial numbers higher than 700,000 with lower serial numbers designated M1911. The M1911A1 changes to the original design consisted of a shorter trigger, cutouts in the frame behind the trigger, an arched mainspring housing, a longer grip safety spur (to prevent hammer bite), a wider front sight, a shortened hammer spur, and simplified grip checkering (eliminating the "Double Diamond" reliefs). These changes were subtle and largely intended to make the pistol easier to shoot for those with smaller hands. No significant internal changes were made, and parts remained interchangeable between the M1911 and the M1911A1.
Working for the U.S. Ordnance Office, David Marshall Williams developed a .22 training version of the M1911 using a floating chamber to give the .22 long rifle rimfire recoil similar to the .45 version. As the Colt Service Ace, this was available both as a pistol and as a conversion kit for .45 M1911 pistols.
Before World War II, 500 M1911s were produced under license by the Norwegian arms factory Kongsberg Vaapenfabrikk, as Automatisk Pistol Model 1912. Then, production moved to a modified version designated Pistol Model 1914 and unofficially known as "Kongsberg Colt". The Pistol M/1914 is noted for its unusual extended slide stop which was specified by Norwegian ordnance authorities. 22,000 were produced between 1914 and 1940 but production continued after the German occupation of Norway in 1940 and 10,000 were produced for the German armed forces as Pistole 657 (n).
Between 1927 and 1966, 102,000 M1911 pistols were produced as Sistema Colt Modelo 1927 in Argentina, first by the Dirección General de Fabricaciones Militares. A similar gun, the Ballester–Molina, was also designed and produced.
The M1911 and M1911A1 pistols were also ordered from Colt or produced domestically in modified form by several other nations, including Brazil (M1937 contract pistol), Mexico (M1911 Mexican contract pistol and the Obregón pistol), and Spain (private manufacturers Star and Llama).
World War II
World War II and the years leading up to it created a great demand. During the war, about 1.9 million units were procured by the U.S. Government for all forces, production being undertaken by several manufacturers, including Remington Rand (900,000 produced), Colt (400,000), Ithaca Gun Company (400,000), Union Switch & Signal (50,000), and Singer (500). New M1911A1 pistols were given a parkerized metal finish instead of bluing, and the wood grip panels were replaced with panels made of brown plastic. The M1911A1 was a favored small arm of both US and allied military personnel during the war, in particular, the pistol was prized by some British commando units and Britain's highly covert Special Operations Executive, as well as South African Commonwealth forces.
The 1911A1 pistol was produced in very large quantities during the war. At the end of hostilities the government cancelled all contracts for further production and made use of existing stocks of weapons to equip personnel. Many of these weapons had seen service use, and had to be rebuilt and refinished prior to being issued. From the mid-1920s to the mid-1950s thousands of 1911s and 1911A1s were refurbished at U.S. arsenals and service depots. These rebuilds consisted of anything from minor inspections to major overhauls. Pistols that were refurbished at government arsenals will usually be marked on the frame/receiver with the arsenal's initials, such as RIA for Rock Island Armory or SA for Springfield Armory.
Among collectors today, the Singer-produced pistols in particular are highly prized, commanding high prices even in poor condition.
General Officer's Model
From 1943 to 1945 a fine-grade russet-leather M1916 pistol belt set was issued to some generals in the US Army. It was composed of a leather belt, leather enclosed flap-holster with braided leather tie-down leg strap, leather two-pocket magazine pouch, and a rope lanyard. The metal buckle and fittings were in gilded brass. The buckle had the seal of the U.S. on the center (or "male") piece and a laurel wreath on the circular (or "female") piece. The pistol was a standard-issue M1911A1 that came with a cleaning kit and three magazines.
From 1972 to 1981 a modified M1911A1 called the RIA M15 General Officer's Model was issued to general officers in the US Army and US Air Force. From 1982 to 1986 the regular M1911A1 was issued. Both came with a black leather belt, open holster with retaining strap, and a two-pocket magazine pouch. The metal buckle and fittings were similar to the M1916 General Officer's Model except it came in gold metal for the Army and in silver metal for the Air Force.
Post–World War II usage
After World War II, the M1911 continued to be a mainstay of the U.S. Armed Forces in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, where it was used extensively by tunnel rats. It was used during Desert Storm in specialized U.S. Army units and U.S. Navy Mobile Construction Battalions (Seabees), and has seen service in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, with U.S. Army Special Forces Groups and Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance Companies.
However, by the late 1970s, the M1911A1 was acknowledged to be showing its age. Under political pressure from Congress to standardize on a single modern pistol design, the U.S. Air Force ran a Joint Service Small Arms Program to select a new semi-automatic pistol using the NATO-standard 9 mm Parabellum pistol cartridge. After trials, the Beretta 92S-1 was chosen. The Army contested this result and subsequently ran its own competition in 1981, the XM9 trials, eventually leading to the official adoption of the Beretta 92F on January 14, 1985. By the late 1980s production was ramping up despite a controversial XM9 retrial and a separate XM10 reconfirmation that was boycotted by some entrants of the original trials, cracks in the frames of some pre-M9 Beretta-produced pistols, and despite a problem with slide separation using higher-than-specified-pressure rounds that resulted in injuries to some U.S. Navy special operations operatives. This last issue resulted in an updated model that includes additional protection for the user, the 92FS, and updates to the ammunition used. During the Gulf War of 1990–1991, M1911A1s were deployed with reserve component U.S. Army units sent to participate in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
By the early 1990s, most M1911A1s had been replaced by the Beretta M9, though a limited number remain in use by special units. The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) in particular were noted for continuing the use of M1911 pistols for selected personnel in MEU(SOC) and reconnaissance units (though the USMC also purchased over 50,000 M9 pistols.) For its part, the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) issued a requirement for a .45 ACP pistol in the Offensive Handgun Weapon System (OHWS) trials. This resulted in the Heckler & Koch OHWS becoming the MK23 Mod 0 Offensive Handgun Weapon System (itself being heavily based on the 1911's basic field strip), beating the Colt OHWS, a much-modified M1911. Dissatisfaction with the stopping power of the 9 mm Parabellum cartridge used in the Beretta M9 has actually promoted re-adoption of pistols based on the .45 ACP cartridge such as the M1911 design, along with other pistols, among USSOCOM units in recent years, though the M9 has been predominant both within SOCOM and in the U.S. military in general. Both U.S. Army Special Forces Units and SFOD-D continue to use modernized M1911s.
Browning's basic M1911 design has seen very little change throughout its production life.[page needed] The basic principle of the pistol is recoil operation.[page needed] As the expanding combustion gases force the bullet down the barrel, they give reverse momentum to the slide and barrel which are locked together during this portion of the firing cycle. After the bullet has left the barrel, the slide and barrel continue rearward a short distance.[page needed]
At this point, a link pivots the rear of the barrel down, out of locking recesses in the slide, and the barrel is stopped by making contact with the lower barrel lugs against the frame. As the slide continues rearward, a claw extractor pulls the spent casing from the firing chamber and an ejector strikes the rear of the case, pivoting it out and away from the pistol through the ejection port. The slide stops its rearward motion then, and is propelled forward again by the recoil spring to strip a fresh cartridge from the magazine and feed it into the firing chamber. At the forward end of its travel, the slide locks into the barrel and is ready to fire again. However, if the fired round was the last round in the magazine, the slide will lock in the rearward position, which notifies the shooter to reload by ejecting the empty magazine and inserting a loaded magazine, and facilitates (by being rearwards) reloading the chamber, which is accomplished by either pulling the slide back slightly and releasing, or by pushing down on the slide stop, which releases the slide to move forward under spring pressure, strip a fresh cartridge from the magazine and feed it into the firing chamber.[page needed]
There are no fasteners of any type in the 1911 design, excepting the grip screws. The main components of the gun are held in place by the force of the main spring. The pistol can be "field stripped" by partially retracting the slide, removing the slide stop, and subsequently removing the barrel bushing. Full disassembly (and subsequent reassembly) of the pistol to its component parts can be accomplished using several manually removed components as tools to complete the disassembly.
The military mandated a grip safety and a manual safety.[page needed] A grip safety, sear disconnect, slide stop, half cock position, and manual safety (located on the left rear of the frame) are on all standard M1911A1s. Several companies have developed a firing pin block safety. Colt's 80 series uses a trigger operated one and several other manufacturers, including Kimber and Smith & Wesson, use a Swartz firing-pin safety, which is operated by the grip safety. Language cautioning against pulling the trigger with the second finger was included in the initial M1911 manual, and later manuals up to the 1940s.
The same basic design has been offered commercially and has been used by other militaries. In addition to the .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), models chambered for .38 Super, 9×19mm Parabellum, 7.65mm Parabellum, 9mm Steyr,.400 Corbon, and other cartridges were offered. The M1911 was developed from earlier Colt semi-automatic designs, firing rounds such as .38 ACP. The design beat out many other contenders during the government's selection period, during the late 1890s and early 1900s, up to the pistol's adoption. The M1911 officially replaced a range of revolvers and pistols across branches of the U.S. armed forces, though a number of other designs have seen use in certain niches.
Despite being challenged by newer and lighter weight pistol designs in .45 caliber, such as the Glock 21, the SIG Sauer P220, the Springfield XD and the Heckler & Koch USP, the M1911 shows no signs of decreasing popularity and continues to be widely present in various competitive matches such as those of USPSA, IDPA, IPSC, and Bullseye.
Main article: MEU(SOC) pistol
Marine Expeditionary Units formerly issued M1911s to Force Recon units. Hand-selected Colt M1911A1 frames were gutted, deburred, and prepared for additional use by the USMC Precision Weapon Section (PWS) at Marine Corps Base Quantico. They were then assembled with after-market grip safeties, ambidextrous thumb safeties, triggers, improved high-visibility sights, accurized barrels, grips, and improved Wilson magazines. These hand-made pistols were tuned to specifications and preferences of end users.
In the late 1980s, the Marines laid out a series of specifications and improvements to make Browning's design ready for 21st-century combat, many of which have been included in MEU(SOC) pistol designs, but design and supply time was limited. Discovering that the Los Angeles Police Department was pleased with their special Kimber M1911 pistols, a single source request was issued to Kimber for just such a pistol despite the imminent release of their TLE/RLII models. Kimber shortly began producing a limited number of what would be later termed the Interim Close Quarters Battle pistol (ICQB). Maintaining the simple recoil assembly, 5-inch barrel (though using a stainless steel match grade barrel), and internal extractor, the ICQB is not much different from Browning's original design.
In July 2012, the U.S. Marines placed a $22.5 million order with Colt for 12,000 M1911 pistols for MEU(SOC) forces. The new 1911 was designated M45A1 or "Close Quarters Battle Pistol" CQBP. The M45A1 features a dual recoil spring assembly, Picatinny rails and is cerakoted tan in color.
M45A1 pistols continue to see usage today with USMC Force Recon Battalions, in addition to other specialized USMC units.
- Colt Commander: In 1949 Colt began production of the Colt Commander, an aluminum-framed 1911 with a 4 ¼ inch barrel and a rounded hammer. It was developed in response to an Army requirement issued in 1949, for a lighter replacement for the M1911 pistol, for issue to officers. In 1970, Colt introduced the all-steel "Colt Combat Commander", with an optional model in satin nickel. To differentiate between the two models, the aluminum-framed model was renamed the "Lightweight Commander”.
- Colt Government Mk. IV Series 70 (1970–1983): Introduced the accurized Split Barrel Bushing (collet bushing). The first 1000 prototypes in the serial number range 35800NM – 37025NM were marked BB on the barrel and the slide. Commander-sized pistols retained the solid bushing.
- Colt Government Mk. IV Series 80 (1983–present): Introduced an internal firing pin safety and a new half-cock notch on the sear; pulling the trigger on these models while at half-cock will cause the hammer to drop. Models after 1988 returned to the solid barrel bushing due to concerns about breakages of collet bushings.
- Colt Gold Cup National Match 1911/Mk. IV Series 70/Mk. IV Series 80 MKIV/Series 70 Gold Cup 75th Anniversary National Match/Camp Perry 1978. Limited to 200 pistols. (1983–1996) Gold Cup MKIV Series 80 National Match – .45 ACP, Colt-Elliason adjustable rear sight, fully adjustable Bomar-Style rear sight, target post front sight, spur hammer, wide target trigger, lowered and flared ejection port, National Match barrel, beveled top slide, wrap-around rubber stocks with nickel medallion.
- Colt 1991 Series (1991–2001 ORM; 2001–present NRM): A hybrid of the M1911A1 military model redesigned to use the slide of the Mk. IV Model 80; these models aimed at providing a more "mil-spec" pistol to be sold at a lower price than Colt's other 1911 models in order to compete with imported pistols from manufacturers such as Springfield Armory and Norinco. The 1991–2001 model used a large "M1991A1" roll mark engraved on the slide. The 2001 model introduced a new "Colt's Government Model" roll mark engraving. The 1991 series incorporates full-sized blued and stainless models in either .45 ACP or .38 Super, as well as blued and stainless Commander models in .45 ACP.
Since its inception, the M1911 has lent itself to easy customization. Replacement sights, grips, and other aftermarket accessories are the most commonly offered parts. Since the 1950s and the rise of competitive pistol shooting, many companies have been offering the M1911 as a base model for major customization. These modifications can range from changing the external finish, checkering the frame, and hand fitting custom hammers, triggers, and sears. Some modifications include installing compensators and the addition of accessories such as tactical lights and even scopes. A common modification of John Browning's design is to use a full-length guide rod that runs the full length of the recoil spring. This adds weight to the front of the pistol, but does not increase accuracy, and does make the pistol slightly more difficult to disassemble. Custom guns can cost over $5,000 and are built from scratch or on existing base models. The main companies offering custom M1911s are: Dan Wesson Firearms, Ed Brown, Les Baer, Nighthawk Custom, Springfield Custom Shop, STI International, and Wilson Combat. IPSC models are offered by BUL Armory, Strayer Voigt Inc (Infinity Firearms), and STI International.
Current users in the U.S.
Many military and law enforcement organizations in the U.S. and other countries continue to use (often modified) M1911A1 pistols including Los Angeles Police DepartmentSWAT and S.I.S., the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, FBI regional SWAT teams, and 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment—Delta (Delta Force).
The M1911A1 is popular among the general public in the U.S. for practical and recreational purposes. The pistol is commonly used for concealed carry thanks in part to a single-stack magazine (which makes for a thinner pistol that is, therefore, easier to conceal), personal defense, target shooting, and competition as well as collections. Numerous aftermarket accessories allow users to customize the pistol to their liking. There are a growing number of manufacturers of M1911-type pistols and the model continues to be quite popular for its reliability, simplicity, and patriotic appeal. Various tactical, target and compact models are available. Price ranges from a low end of around $400 for basic pistols imported from the Philippines or Turkey (Armscor, Tisas, Rock Island Armory, Girsan, STI Spartan, Seraphim Armoury) to more than $4,000 for the best competition or tactical versions (Wilson Combat, Ed Brown, Les Baer, Nighthawk Custom, and STI International).
Due to an increased demand for M1911 pistols among Army Special Operations units, who are known to field a variety of M1911 pistols, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit began looking to develop a new generation of M1911s and launched the M1911-A2 project in late 2004. The goal was to produce a minimum of seven variants with various sights, internal and external extractors, flat and arched mainspring housings, integral and add-on magazine wells, a variety of finishes and other options, with the idea of providing the end-user a selection from which to select the features that best fit their missions. The AMU performed a well-received demonstration of the first group of pistols to the Marine Corps at Quantico and various Special Operations units at Ft. Bragg and other locations. The project provided a feasibility study with insight into future projects. Models were loaned to various Special Operations units, the results of which are classified. An RFP was issued for a Joint Combat Pistol but it was ultimately canceled. Currently units are experimenting with an M1911 pistol in .40 S&W, which will incorporate lessons learned from the A2 project. Ultimately, the M1911A2 project provided a testbed for improving existing M1911s. An improved M1911 variant becoming available in the future is a possibility.
The Springfield Custom Professional Model 1911A1 pistol is produced under contract by Springfield Armory for the FBI regional SWAT teams and the Hostage Rescue Team. This pistol is made in batches on a regular basis by the Springfield Custom Shop, and a few examples from most runs are made available for sale to the general public at a selling price of approximately US$2,700 each.
- The Brazilian company IMBEL (Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil) still produces the pistol in several variants for civilian, military and law enforcement uses in .45 ACP, .40 S&W, .380 ACP and 9 mm calibers. IMBEL also produces for US civilian market as the supplier to Springfield Armory.
- The Canadian company Seraphim Armoury brands Filipino manufactured pistols in several models for domestic and export use. Pistols are available in .45 ACP and 9 mm calibers for civilian, military and law enforcement use.
- A Chinese Arms manufacturer, Norinco, exports a clone of the M1911A1 for civilian purchase as the M1911A1 and the high-capacity NP-30, as well 9mm variants the NP-28 and NP-29. China has also manufactured conversion kits to chamber the 7.62×25mm Tokarev round following the Korean War.[page needed]
- As of 2013, the pistol is made under license instead of copying with Colt manufacturing machinery, due to an agreement between Norinco and Colt in order to stop Norinco from producing the Norinco CQ rifle. Importation into the United States was blocked by trade rules in 1993 but Norinco still manages to import the weapon into Canada and successfully adopted by IPSC shooters, gunsmiths and firearms enthusiasts there because of the cheaper price of the pistol than the other M1911s.
- The German Volkssturm used captured M1911s at the end of World War II under the weapon code P.660(a), in which the letter 'a' refers to "Amerika", the weapon's country of origin.
- Norway used the Kongsberg Colt which was a license-produced variant and is identified by the unique slide catch. Many Spanish firearms manufacturers produced pistols derived from 1911, such as the STAR Model B, the ASTRA 1911PL, and the Llama Model IX, to name just a few.
- Argentine Navy received 1,721 M1911 between 1914 and 1919. 21,616 were received for Argentine Armed Forces between 1914 and 1941. Later, some ex-US Navy Colts were transferred with ex-US ships. Argentina produced under license some 102,494 M1911A1s as Model 1927 Sistema Colt, which eventually led to production of the cheaper Ballester–Molina, which resembles the 1911.
- The Armed Forces of the Philippines issues Mil-spec M1911A1 pistols as a sidearm to the special forces, military police, and officers. These pistols are mostly produced by Colt, though some of them are produced locally by Armscor, a Philippine company specialized in making 1911-style pistols. The Indonesian Army issued a locally produced version of the Colt M1911A1, chambered in .45 ACP along with the Pindad P1, the locally manufactured Browning Hi-Power pistol as the standard-issue sidearm.
- In the 1950s, the Republic of China Army (Taiwan) used original M1911A1s, and the batches are now still used by some forces. In 1962, Taiwan copied the M1911A1 as the T51 pistol, and it saw limited use in the Army. After that, the T51 was improved and introduced for export as the T51K1. Now the pistols in service are replaced by locally-made Beretta 92 pistols- the T75 pistol.
- The Royal Thai Army and Royal Thai Police uses the Type 86, the Thai copy of the M1911 chambered in the .45 ACP round,[page needed]
- The Turkish Land Forces uses "MC 1911" Girsan made copy of M1911.
- Numbers of Colt M1911s were used by the Royal Navy as sidearms during World War I in .455 Webley Automatic caliber. The pistols were then transferred to the Royal Air Force where they saw use in limited numbers up until the end of World War II as sidearms for aircrew in event of bailing out in enemy territory. The weapon also found use among the British airborne, commandos, Special Air Service, and Special Operations Executive
- Some units of the South Korean Air Force still use these original batches as officers' sidearms.
- Argentina: Manufactured M1911 pistols under license from 1945 to 1966 by Dirección General de Fabricaciones Militares.
- Belgium
- Canada: In both World Wars, Canadian officers had the option of privately purchasing their own sidearm and the M1911/M1911A1 was a popular choice. The joint Canadian-US First Special Service Force (aka "The Devil's Brigade") also used American infantry weapons, including the M1911A1.
- Republic of China (1912-1949)
- El Salvador
- Estonia: replaced by USP pistols
- Ethiopian Empire: used by the Kagnew Battalion
- Finland: About 51,000 bought by Russian military from United States in years 1915–1917. But only relatively small number of these captured pistols ended up to hands of authorities after Finnish Civil War. Finnish military had about 120 pistols during World War 2, most of them were issued to field army.
- France: 5,500 M1911 received during World War I, especially for tank units.Free French Forces received 19,325 Colts. Known in French service as Pistolet automatique 11 mm 4 (C.45) (Automatic pistol 11.4mm (calibre .45)). Both M1911 and M1911A1 pistols were used.
- Democratic Republic of Georgia
- Kingdom of Laos: Received M1911A1s from US during Laotian Civil War (1955-1975).
- Luxembourg: In service with 1st Artillery Battalion 1963–1967.
- Nazi Germany: Used captured pistols during World War II.
- New Zealand: Used during WWII
- Japan: After World War II, the Japan Self-Defense Forces and Police were provided 101,700 M1911A1s from the US. These were used until the 1980s.
- Netherlands: 50 received during World War I
- Norway: 700 received during World War I Produced under license as Kongsberg Colt.
- Poland: Polish Armed Forces in the West used pistols during World War II.
- Russian Empire: 51,000 purchased between February 1916 and January 1917
- Shanghai International Settlement: Colt M1911 and M1911A1s were used by non-Chinese members of the Shanghai Municipal Police from 1926
- South Vietnam
- Soviet Union: Some M1911 pistols were captured during Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War and used in Red Army. Extra 12,977 pistols were received as Lend-Lease during World War II. Conversion kits to chamber the 7.62×25mm Tokarev round are manufactured locally.
- United Kingdom: Some M1911s chambered for .455 Webley Automatic were supplied to the Royal Flying Corps during WWI. Saw service among elite and special forces during WWII in .45 and .455. Possibly still in use by UKSF.
- Viet Cong: Crude clones used by VC guerrillas with some captured in the Vietnam War.
On March 18, 2011, the U.S. state of Utah—as a way of honoring M1911 designer John Browning, who was born and raised in the state—adopted the Browning M1911 as the "official firearm of Utah".
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- ^Schmidl, Erwin; Ritter, László (10 Nov 2006). The Hungarian Revolution 1956. Elite 148. Osprey Publishing. p. 63. ISBN .
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- ^Smith, Joseph E. (1969). Small Arms of the World (11 ed.). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Stackpole Company. p. 293. ISBN .
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One of some new guns that Rock River Arms had for SHOT Show 2020 is the Rock River Arms 3G-11. If you wanted something more or less exactly like a 2011 but didn't want to spend as much, it's a quality option that will be realistically affordable...but not cheap.
For those unfamiliar, Rock River Arms makes their 1911 pistols the old-school way; they make hand-fit, custom 1911 pistols. In terms of how they build their guns, as well as price points, they're more or less in the same league as Dan Wesson as opposed to Sig Sauer, Springfield Armory or Colt.
The 3G-11, which may be renamed at some point, is thoroughly a competition pistol, with a 2011-style stainless steel slide and frame. If you want bells and whistles, it's got 'em. Forward and rearward slide serrations, Novak-style sights, ambi safety levers, upswept beavertail safety with memory notch, skeleton trigger and hammer, and a flared magwell for fast reloads.
This thing is built for sending a lot of pews downrange rather than concealed carry, so know what you're getting into. Final prices aren't available yet, but after talking to their guy Steve at the SHOT Show booth...I'd anticipate somewhere around $1500. Again, not cheap, but the build quality alone is worth the price of entry.
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Custom 2011 Pistols
The PRO Series™ is how it should be. 100% American made by craftsmen who refuse to compromise. Each PRO Series™ 2011 is painstakingly crafted to perfection, resulting in the most accurate and reliable 2011s made from the finest components, including our drop forged match fitted slide and frame, match grade barrel and trigger, and much more.
Find out more about our PRO Series™ pistols.
Multi-Sight™ SystemDon't forget to check out our Multi-Sight™ components
to outfit your PRO, PRO PLUS or X Series pistol.