This column is dedicated to all the guns that I think are great useful guns. Some are now expensive, some are cheap, but they are all useful. Everything that I write about are guns that I have experience with; the ones I carry, hunt with, shoot competition with and just enjoy.
Let’s start off with 1911s. When Browning designed the 1911, he got it right. So right in fact, 103 years later the 1911 is selling better than ever. The 1911 platform is well established and used for competition, self-defense, and law
enforcement, military and hunting. In short, it is a proven platform that has been well received and used the world over. Heck it just plain looks and feels good to me. Here in Texas, we’re short of big bears and elephants, nothing will walk off from 900 fps with 230 grains when properly applied.
I have known personally several men who routinely take good sized hogs and whitetail deer with their .45 autos without any difficulty. The biggest problem is the old .45 ACP isn’t glamorous. It doesn’t have a catchy name or magnum tied to the back end of its name. The pistols are small enough that a good holster allows carrying all day, every day, and a good field holster turns it into a handy trail and work gun.
I compete in the shooting sport called wild bunch action shooting. The star of the show is the 1911, with rifle and shotgun shot for good measure. This is a sport that requires speed, accuracy and reliability. Target distances, size and placement vary greatly. The pistols have to shoot to their sights, and they have to be reliable. Another game where the 1911 excels at is the IDPA and combat type matches, where I see a lot of these running. Don’t forget the CMP matches either, where these are called to line for duty.
Women like the 1911 platform because of the way the pistol balances and the fact that it can be made to fit a smaller hand without difficulty. I see the lady WBAS competitors just burning thru the targets, shooting the .45s at speeds where it’s not a problem for these competitors.
As I stated above, there are hunters who set out to use the ole slab side and then there is game of opportunity that is taken with these pistols. We have plenty of hogs in Texas, Oklahoma and all thru the south. Lots of times these are just opportunity harvests while out walking, jeeping, 4-wheeling or horseback; this makes for an exciting time and obviously a larger pistol would be in the way when you’re not actually hunting. However, my friends and I have taken to the hunting area with these pistols, and I can report that whitetails and lesser critters will fall right over with proper bullet placement.
If you want something faster, buy your pistol in .38 super. Invented in the days that dust bowl bandits were robbing banks and the authorities needed to shoot thru bad mens’ V8 Fords, it’s still a viable cartridge. I have shot deer with this caliber, and with good ammo, it’s deadly. If you want bigger and faster go get a 10mm; these are more powerful and faster, so they shoot very flat compared to the .45. I have a Colt Delta Gold Cup 10mm that will shoot as accurately as any 1911 I own, and better than most. The 10mm is an overlooked cartridge in my book that deserves better. For the power of the 10, it’s still easily managed and a great candidate for a wide variety of uses. The 1911 is also chambered in the 9mm cartridge and has very mild recoil.
We can’t forget the 1911 .22 Colt Ace. No mention of the 1911 should be complete without a mention of the LAR grizzly in .45 Win Mag. This would be the 1911 on steroids. It’s bigger, beefier, chunkier, very accurate and extremely powerful. Recoil is noticeable. The cartridge is basically a stretched .45 ACP round that can launch a 250 -grain bullet at over 1,500 fps. I have used this pistol on pigs and also shot a black Hawaiian ram with it, and basically, to me, it’s comparable to a .44 Magnum. This is a flat shooting caliber that is often overlooked but is a good specialty caliber. My hats off to the gentlemen that allowed me to take pictures of their 1911 pistols, I was allowed to photograph some really nice .45s that would have not been possible without them. The 1911 is here to stay; other designs have become obsolete while this pistol has only increased in production over the years. This is why it is one of my GREAT GUNS!