I have always liked the look of the pre series 70 commercial Colt 1911s just as much as the US military issue guns. There is no doubt that those older vintage guns have a huge amount of appeal. I have been looking for a near mint example of one for my own collection and uses for years but they are hard to come by at a price I am willing to pay.
So over the last year I got the idea to sort of create my own, at least in spirit. The idea was to take a modern plain Colt government model and slowly put it together to resemble a gun one might have walked into a store and bought before WW2.
The first thing I did was change out the main spring housing. Colt was kind enough to send me a MSH from their no discontinued line or re-issue 1918 WWI pistols. It is beautifully blued and highly polished with the lanyard loop. Looking at it shows the amount of polish and beautiful bluing that went into those early guns that went to the trenches in the Great War. Like all colt made military parts for the 1911, it dropped right in.
The next thing I wanted was the early original pattern of the safety lock. Unlike modern safeties, it has a smaller shelf for the thumb to hit. There is a reason it was made this way despite what some thing. It acts as a surface to tap against for when detail stripping some of the other pins and parts on the gun. You can read all about it at rangehot.com in the posts by John Travis on the 1911 and the genius and thought that went into it. That aside, it is correct for that time period. And I personally love the way they look. It is not a bit hard to hit to take the safety on and off. Once again Colt came to the rescue for me when I could not source one any where else. Midway sales them, but are currently out of stock, so if you want one keep checking back under their listing of colt parts.
The safety came off the line and had yet to be fitted for 1911s so I had to do about 30 seconds worth of careful filing and fitting. With that very little bit of work I got it fitted correctly and after function checking it. I shot it to make sure.
Lastly, I found a WW1 reproduction 7 round magazine to go with the gun. These original mags came with a lanyard loop as well. I have heard a variety of reasons why the mags had loops as well as the gun. One theory is that the US issue lanyards at the time meant for revolvers would not fit through the loop on the new automatic pistols so the asked for a loop on the mag in the meant time while they sorted it out. I am skeptical about that, but I have no idea. I think it is for cavalry being able to not lose the gun or the magazines during a reload while on horse back. In those days magazines would not have been looked as as nearly disposable items like they are now. So it seems reasonable to me to think that the cavalry wanted a way to retain the mag without having to use both hands while riding a horse on a full gallop.
Eventually I will replace the hammer with the original style and I may or may not go to a shorter trigger, I think it will be more of a hybrid of a 1911A1 and a 1911 than fully one or the other. Call it a 1911A0.5 for my purpose. Of course it will still have its colt SS forged barrel and bigger high profile government model sights that can actually be used just as effectively as any other modern sights. So maybe I need to think up a better name.
For now I am in love with this pistol. The new gun is a plain model as it comes, but it has a very attractive highly blued finish. Not as mirror like as a TALO model, but not flat black. It is basically the modern day government model from the past, Before it was the MK IV series 80 and before that the series 70. It is very close to the plain USGI 1911 of the past 100 years but with a bit of improvements for modern shooters. Example being a SS barrel, taller sights that are very easy to use but still can pass as GI sights for those who want that look, a slightly beveled mag well on the inside that helps with faster reloads but does not change the outward looks and a slightly enlarged ejection port. It is the last pistol in the lineage of the GI issue pistols and it is fully capable of going out of the box and right into a fight but with no frills. No ambi-s safety or forward slide serration. But thats OK. It is meant to be a throw back to an earlier gun but still be capable as if if you need it.
I carry this pistol often, for special events, I guess it is essentially a BBQ for me., though I shoot it a lot. I enjoy shooting it for pleasure and for formal target or bulls eye type marksmanship. I do train with it just to stay on top of using a 1911 without a ambi safety, but not like I do with my more modernized every day CCW 1911. My EDC is a Colt 1911XSE in stainless steel. I do love carrying this pistol that is my loving tribute to an earlier time.
Guest writer and friend to looseorunds Lila recently went to the Front site gun school and wrote an AAR detailing her time there.
I recently attended Front Sight’s 2 Day Defensive Handgun class and before I went, I searched all over the web for forum and blog posts in order to get prepared for my visit to Front Sight. The most recent detailed posts that I could find were a couple of years old, so I thought I would post my experience, with the best tips I have found. Front Sight is a place in the desert of Pahrump where you can receive training for a multitude of weapons such as handguns, rifles, machine guns, edged weapons, etc. When I realized I would be moving to Las Vegas, I bought a Diamond membership from a Calguns forum member for a really reasonable price (whereby taking one class would be worth the price of the membership). With a Diamond membership, you can take any class you want (that you qualify for), for your lifetime. You can also find discounted memberships from other gun enthusiast websites such as Nevadashooters and AR15. You might as well buy a membership rather than pay the full price of each course on the Frontsight web page.
I anticipated a grueling and hot weekend and it was – with temperatures as high as 102 in the afternoon. You will need to use strong sunscreen a couple of times at least, to make sure you don’t burn. Don’t worry if you forget to bring sunscreen – they provide several bottles of 50 rated UVA/UVB sunscreen for your use and encourage you to reapply as needed. I applied sunscreen at least 2-3 times each day and did not get sunburned.
Here is a list of the equipment/accessories that I brought:
H&K USP 9mm with 8 mags (bring high capacity if you can, to avoid having to reload as often)
Holster (non Blackhawk Serpa) – I used a Safariland 568 holster and it worked great
Uncle Mike’s Tactical Kydex Double Stack Double Magazine Case
Maxpedition Rollypolly folding dump pouch – medium sized – is really helpful to carry extra mags, ammo, gloves
ESS Ice eyeshield sunglasses
250 rounds of Remington UMC 9mm – I had a few left over, but if you only bring 200 you might be short
Bianchi velcro belt – got this from a law enforcement supply store. The velcro belt worked great – easy to remove and put back on and was very sturdy.
A baseball hat
Electronic ear muffs – Howard Leight R-01526 Impact Sport Earmuffs
HKS Speed Loader
Isotoner unlined driving gloves with leather palms
Hex tool to adjust my holster if necessary
Range bag to carry the gear
I read a lot about how you might need hiking boots, long pants, long sleeves, etc, but I also read that some people were fine with shorts, short sleeves and sandals. So, because of the weather, I decided to wear medium length shorts, short sleeve shirts and running shoes. This gear worked out fine for the 2 days. You do get hit by some brass, but it was not a big deal. There are lots of gravel to walk on, but I didn’t have any problems. Running shoes are lighter, have more air flow (mesh sides) and are more comfortable than hiking boots, but wear what you prefer.
I didn’t know how bad the drive would be and how exhausted I would be after each class, so I rented a cottage from Wine Ridge RV Resort at about $75/night with a Front Sight discount. The drive from the cottage to Front Sight (FS) was about 25 minutes. If you are coming from out-of-town, I would highly recommend staying here. The cottage is spacious, with a living room which had a recliner, small sofa and cable tv. There was a small dining table with 2 chairs, a kitchen with microwave, toaster, oven/stove, and good sized refrigerator. The bed was a queen size. The bathroom had a standup shower, but the water flow was not very adjustable, although adequate. I didn’t have time to sit on the attached porch but it looked nice. My friends rented an RV and were a couple doors away. They tried to book too late and they ran out of cottages. So, book early!
In regards to food and drink – I brought a rolling cooler each day with at least 4 bottles of water, a couple of juices and a soda. I brought snacks of dried nuts/fruit to keep me going throughout the day. I also brought my own lunch, which consisted of a sandwich, fruit, and chips. You can pre-order the boxed lunches for $13.95, or get food from the trailer. My friends ate the boxed lunches and thought they were good. They do provide big containers of water and cups for you to drink from, but I preferred to know where my filtered water came from.
The first day, we arrived at 6:10am and the line to the gate was not too long (see below). The gates opened at 6:30am and you need to have your gear on and i.d. ready. In the photo you can see people getting their gear out of their trunks. After the gate opens, they will point you to where you need to park – it is very organized. First thing you do is go to Sign-In; they will assign you to a range and then you go to another area and have your weapon and gear inspected. You need to be wearing your belt with holster, empty gun in the holster, your 2 mag holders, and a box of ammo. After that, you can find your seat in the classroom for the first half hour lecture.
The classroom lectures were done in a huge room that held probably 300-400 people and they get filled up, so try and get a seat early to choose your spot. The room was air conditioned so it was nice to get a break from the hot sun. For the 2 day course, you will have lectures on “Welcome, Signing of Liability Release, Dry Practice Release”, “Color Code of Mental Awareness and the Combat Mindset”, “Moral and Ethical Decisions Associated with the Use of Deadly Force”, and “Problems 2 and 3: Criminal and Civil Liability”.
After the half hour lecture, you then proceed to the range that you were assigned to. We were assigned to Range 6, which is fairly close by. Range 4 is where the bathroom facilities were, so that was convenient. On the blogs there were lots of mentions of port-a-potties but those were for the ranges that were further away. You don’t need to worry about those in the 2 day and 4 day defensive handgun classes.
From 8:30am – 12:30pm, you are on the range listening to lectures and practicing. Topics were the 5 steps of drawing a weapon, weaver stance, check, load, unload, fire, and using front sights. One thing I liked about the structure of the class was that you were paired up with someone for the entire 2 days. Your partner would always watch what you were doing and tell you if you were doing something wrong or if you forgot something. First, they had veterans of the class stand up on the line first. Then they had newcomers stand behind them. I was paired with a guy who has had a CCW since 1985 and I felt comfortable knowing that I was with someone who knew what they were doing.
From 12:30pm – 1:30pm was a lunch break. You did have the option of shooting some full-auto’s like the Uzi, Mini Uzi, Thompson MP-5 and M-16, where you just have to buy the ammo to participate.
From 1:30pm – 2:00pm there was a classroom lecture “Color Code of Mental Awareness and the Combat Mindset”
From 2:15pm – 5:00pm there were range activities. We covered being at the ready position, shooting, stepping to the side, clearing the area and going back to the ready position. Also reloading and shooting in controlled pairs, among other things. The people with Glocks had the easiest times because they didn’t have to worry about messing with the Safety (like on my USP). The guns got really hot in the afternoon due to the extreme heat and shooting, so I was glad I had my gloves with me. When it came time to pull the slide back with my hand to eject the round in the chamber, the slide was too hot to touch with my bare hands.
From 5:15pm – 6:00pm there was a classroom lecture “Moral and Ethical Decisions Associated with the Use of Deadly Force”
I brought my own folding chair because I like having arm rests and somewhere to put my drink. I asked and they didn’t mind if you want to bring your own chair. Otherwise, you will sit on a hard plastic armless folding chair for hours each day. There were about 40 people on each range. The second day there were less people as some decided not to come back for one reason or another. They missed out though, because we covered a lot the second day with much more shooting practice.
These two guys in the back were part of the 3 instructor team for our Range 6. The instructors were friendly but made sure everybody followed proper safety procedures.
On Day 2, the front gate opens at 7:15am. I didn’t arrive until about 7:35am but still made it on time to the range at 8:00am. (No need for sign-in or weapons check today.)
From 8:00am – 12:30pm – there will be range activities including dry practice, tactical reloads, clearing malfunctions, thoracic cavity and headshots, and shooting from a holster.
Lunch is 12:30pm – 1:30pm.
From 1:30pm – 2:15pm there is a classroom lecture “Problems 2 and 3, Criminal and Civil Liability”
From 2:25pm – 5:00pm there are more range activities with lots more shooting practice. At the end of the day, you will receive your Certificate of completion of the course.
I signed up to come back for the One Day CCW Course, which is the Tuesday following the 2 Day course held on Friday and Saturday. I decided to just drive in this time and from Las Vegas, it was only about a 45-55 min drive. The schedule was as follows:
7:15am – 7:45am Sign-In and Weapons Inspection
7:45am – 9:00am Range Activity: Shooting the Nevada CCW Qualification Course
For the CCW test, you are required to shoot 30 rounds from 3, 5 and 7 yards. I hit 3 outside of the thoracic cavity, but I did pass the CCW test.
9:00am – 10:30am Classroom Lecture on State Statutes covering Nevada, Utah and Florida
10:30am – 12:00pm Classroom Activities: Applications, fingerprint cards, and Nevada Written Test. It takes a while because they go over each of the 3 State’s application forms.
12:00pm – 1:00pm Lunch (but nobody took a lunch break, we just waited in line to get our test scored and the applications signed off)
I was out of there by 1pm but there were still about 10 people behind me. Tip – get in line while you’re finishing up your paperwork.
In summary, I was really glad that I finally made it out to Front Sight to take the classes. The only thing I regret was taking it in 100+ degree weather. I feel that I learned a lot from the classes that I would otherwise not have learned on my own or from friends. Everything they taught us was in a well structured manner, so that those with no experience at all, would feel comfortable learning each step of the way. There were many veteran shooters and law enforcement people attending, and they wouldn’t come back if they felt the instruction was not worth the trip. I personally feel that everybody who owns a handgun, should take at least the 2 day class, in order to be safe and know how to properly handle the weapon. All of the personnel at Front Sight were very friendly and helpful when you had questions. I definitely plan to go back for more classes.
Suggested and compiled by Max Boom on Facebook
A SENSIBLE GUN CONTROL PROPOSAL
In 1865 a Democrat shot and killed Abraham Lincoln,
President of the United States.
In 1881 a left wing radical Democrat shot James Garfield,
President of the United States who later died from the wound.
In 1963 a radical left wing Democrat socialist shot and killed John F.
Kennedy, President of the United States.
In 1975 a left wing radical Democrat fired shots at Gerald Ford, President of the United States.
In 1983 a registered Democrat shot and wounded Ronald Reagan, President of the United States.
In 1984 James Hubert, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and
killed 22 people in a McDonalds restaurant.
In 1986 Patrick Sherrill,a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 15 people in an Oklahoma post office.
In 1990 James Pough, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 10
people at a GMAC office.
In 1991 George Hennard, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 23 people in a Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen, TX.
In 1995 James Daniel Simpson, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 5 coworkers in a Texas laboratory.
In 1999 Larry Ashbrook, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 8 people at a church service.
In 2001 a left wing radical Democrat fired shots at the White House in a failed attempt to kill George W. Bush, President of the US.
In 2003 Douglas Williams, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 7 people at a Lockheed Martin plant.
In 2007 a registered Democrat named Seung-Hui Cho, shot and killed 32 people at Virginia Tech.
In 2010 a mentally ill registered Democrat named Jared Lee Loughner, shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed 6 others.
In 2011 a registered Democrat named James Holmes, went into a movie theater and shot and killed 12 people.
In 2012 Andrew Engeldinger, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 7 people in Minneapolis.
In 2013 a registered Democrat named Adam Lanza, shot and killed 26 people in a school in Newtown, CT.
As recently as Sept 2013, an angry Democrat named Aaron Alexis shot 12 at the Washington Navy Shipyard in Washington, D.C.
Not one NRA member, Tea Party member, or Republican conservative was involved in any of these shootings and murders.
Clearly, there is a problem with Democrats and guns.
IT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL FOR DEMOCRATS TO OWN GUNS.
It is absolutely amazing how the firearm market has become super saturated and how much prices have dropped. Great deals are available all over the price.
For example, Larue is running a sale on his match trigger for $125 shipped. The deal can be found here.
I went ahead and bought one. This is a really nice deal if you are looking for a nice trigger.
Update: Looks like the deals over already.
We all hear or read the second hand stories of AKs turning up all over the world still in use. But often the stories of M16s from long ago are not talked about as much. That does not mean it does not happen. Recently some one shared on facebook a picture of a XM16 Colt still being used in Cambodia.
Left there during the war, it still serving its owner all these years later. A bit rougher than it left the US, but still working. And with some customizations! Apparently even in Cambodia the urge to customize the AR15 is hard to resist.
Since the surefire 60 round mags have came out a few years ago I have been doing some long term testing of them. They seem to have a shady reputation for reliability in some corners while others deem them fine. I have written about them a few times already. I tested them for reliability and durability, as well as talking about how the changed the handling of a carbine and perceived weight. Last year I wrote about how I left two of the 60s fully loaded for a a hair under 2 years, then fired them with no problems.
I continued that test and had another surefire 60 round mag fully loaded for a hair over 3 years. I had planned on firing it and writing about it, when a friend brought over a full auto lower. It was a great chance to test the mag since full auto is more strain on everything.
I slapped my Colt H3 buffer in the lower and my Colt 6940 upper on the dealer sample lower and fired the surefire mag in burst.
As can be seen in the video. I worked perfect. I followed that up with a few more times of using it in longer bursts with no problems. The Surefire magazines may be hit and miss and have a certain rep online. But I have had no problems with my three and long term testing and efforts to get one to fail without completely abusing it, have shown them to be reliable. I will continue long term testing with updates since the mag is still is in doubt as a useful piece of gear. I have to say that I still have confidence in the ones I have been testing and would use them without worry.
I pickup an Aimpoint 3X mangifer in a Samson Flip To Side mount to play around with.
The Samson FTS mount has a cross bolt so you screw it onto your rail. A lever is on the left side to flip the magnifier over.
I had to swap out the Matech rear sight I was using with a KAC 300m rear sight. The Samson mount did not have enough height to clear the Matech sight.
The spring in the mount quickly pushes the magnifier out of the way. It also hold the magnifier off on the side pretty well. If you violently shake the rifle, the magnifier will move, but it stays out of the way pretty well.
After playing with this mount a bit, I don’t like it. It appears to be well made, but it isn’t right for me. Flip to side mounts like the LaRue can be used by either hand while this one has its lever on the left side. I also don’t like how it screws to the gun, I would prefer to be able to take the magnifier off quickly. For me, this mount isn’t right, but I would recommend it to someone who wants a dedicated FTS mount.
WeaponsWorld.com is selling the Colt 6920 OEM for $670. That is an amazing deal.
The last decade has been a wild ride for the AR15. The technology rush that shaped the basic rifle of the AWB era has given way to a technology rich rifle platform made to promote quick hits, at any distance, with ergonomic excellence and a user centric design.
It was only a matter of time before the technology march reached into the territory of the sidearm.
A PDW is a Personal Defense Weapon. It’s that weapon you would give tanker crews and other non combat troops which packs more punch than a pistol, but less than a rifle. It’s an in-between to shoot back at your assailant and get out of dodge. Here too, technology has tricked down to miniaturize existing designs such as the AR15 and equip it with high performance accessories. The civilian marketplace has made great strides in pushing technology and the design of the AR to the peak of its performance.
Now here we are… it’s 2015 and now the technology is transitioning to the pistol. As miniature red dots make their way onto thousands more pistols this summer, we have to take another look at the pistol and examine the direction it will take in the future. My thoughts?
We are turning pistols into the equivalent of a civilian PDW:
As we install micro red dots and then install compensators to keep the muzzle down and make that fancy dot easier to track, we can see that modern defensive pistols are slowly following the same path as the AR. As race gun technology trickled down into the military world, we forged the utility of the fighting rifle together with the practicality of the race gun to give our soldiers one of the best fighting rifles in the world.
Now we will see the same transformation of the pistol. It will be the melding of a traditional defensive handgun with the miniaturized features of the race pistol. We see manufacturers offering micro red dot mounting systems right from the factory. We see well known trainers equipping their pieces with +5 or +6 magazine extensions. I saw several “non race-gun” CCW pieces equipped with slide mounted red dots competing in a USPSA event.
So do we need to go this route? Does a defensive pistol need this junk?
We likely will not be in the next Kenya Mall style attack. The chance is infinitesimal… but as red dots and control accessories become more commonplace in the CCW pistol, who wouldn’t want a pistol that runs at the cutting edge of speed and performance? I don’t intend to stick around and play hero in any mass shooting, but if an assailant gets between my family and the exit I want to lay down lead so heavy the coroner would believe he was hit by a shotgun. We got *lucky* in Garland, Texas.
I purchased the G17 you see above to specifically to test out the latest in drop in, non custom performance accessories. My intent is to run this gun in USPSA open division as soon as I get all the accessories I need. I want a RDS, Light, and a Compensator. I will carry it in winter time under my coat as my CCW and if I can figure out a way to conceal it in the summer, game on. I figure… why not.
It’s going to be my PDW after all.
-The New Rifleman
The amount of people on the web ready to tell you how unreliable the 1911 is, may approach the population of China or India. Even some bigger name instructors wishing to get more attention by saying things controversial blather on about it even when they really do not know as much about it as they would have you think. One thing to keep in mind is that just because you can teach people to shoot, does not mean you are always a good judge of the tools themselves. Then again, they got guns with their names on them they have to sell for the companies that handed them a check.
Among all this babble I noticed Bravo company has a joint 1911 project with Wilson combat. Obviously the gun is only made by Wilson,but the idea is you get a very expensive high end 1911 with all the things the “BCM Gunfighter instructors” say a 1911 needs. I am skeptical to say the least. I am going to make an assumption and say the Bravo boys are most likely hard core Glock, M&P and other striker fired and DA/SA shooters. Not the guys I really think need to tell me what a 1911 needs. In addition, I highly doubt Wilson needs anyone to tell them how to make a 1911.
Now, if you read this website you know how I feel about 1911s made to hard/tight fit with all the other custom gunsmith alchemy added with the price reaching ever high levels. To sum up. I am not a fan. I think a proper made Milspec 1911 with a few touches is really all you need if you really want a serious use 1911. Not for target or competition work more than things that will abuse it. My rule of thumb with 1911s are , over 800 but under 1800. Its a good bet with a few exception over or under that price range is counter productive if you want a 1911 made the way it was meant to be. I have talked about this at great length before.
The 1911 pictured is for lack of a better term, my training 1911. It is a Colt XSE Government model. It is, with two exception, as Colt sold it from the box. I took off the ambi safety, not because I do not like them, but because I wanted something closer to what plain GI and what I may run across if I am forced to pick up and use a 1911 that is not mine and it forces me to deal with a single safety in drills to make it harder. The other change is I added a 1911A1 WW2 main spring housing arched and with a lanyard loop. I did this because I like it, and because it goes along with a certain idea I had in mind for the gun that I will go into at a later time.
I have been very rude to this gun. In the winter, it was thrown into muddy, icy water and frozen in sub freezing temps . I pulled it out and fired it with no problems. I fished it out of the water, broke the gun from battery to drain the water and fired it.
I have used this gun very hard over the years and I never clean it. I only oil it. Over the weekend while shooting, I tossed it on the ground and kicked dirt all over it and in it and shot it.
While I did get a face full of dirt on the first few shots every time I threw it down and kicked it around int the dirt, it never stopped. Fellow looseorunds writer Adam was with me taking pictures. He has been seeing me abuse 1911s for a few years and has started to have a major change of opinion on them after seeing my torture. The simple fact is, 1911s made right , work. Cheap 1911s will not work. The guns rep suffers because everyone and their mentally challenged brother in law make them. Some better than others. When some new trainer sees one of these lesser guns fail in a class, the run all over the net proclaiming it as junk. Indeed some are. But not the ones made correctly to the proper specs. Not a hard fit gun. Not a MIM filled piece of garbage like a currently popular brand who fools many with custom features. Not some cast made piece that falls apart as you shoot it. External extractors, MIM parts. Cast guns. JMB, Colt nor the army every mentioned any of that when making the military’s longest serving combat pistol still being used today when made correctly.
It does not have to be super tight. It does not need cost over 2 grand. It can be loose and rattle a little. None of that hurts a proper 1911.
A proper 1911 will last a very long time. The myth of 5,000 round barrels is also a common one. It is simply untrue. This guns has close to 24,000 rounds through it and I can still hit thrown skeet.And that is while is is caked in dirt and mud and filth
John Travis. gunsmith and writer for Rangehot speaks more eloquently on the 1911 than I can. His posts are informative and technical as he dis spells many of the tired old myths and just plain bullshit running out of the mouths of some of the younger generation of firearms instructors. If you really like the 1911 or want to learn more, Go check these links out. You will learn something you did not know.