Saturday, August 16, 2008

Range Report - .45 Colt M1911

(all photos can be enlarged by clicking on them)

By the time I got home from work yesterday, I was so excited to go to the range. I had been looking forward to my first real .45 caliber, 1911 experience all day. We had a box of 100 rounds and I couldn't wait. "Are you ready? Are we going?" I asked Mike after I scarfed down some fried chicken and potato salad. It was now 5:30 PM, I had gotten home at about 5:15.

"Okay, okay," Mike said. "But what if they don't have a 1911 to rent at the range?"

I blinked at him. "Not have a...? Impossible. I have all this ammo. Let's go."

So we went and found this, just waiting...
...but the man behind the counter was reluctant to rent it to us. I was just starting to begin negotiations when Mike, (not my Mike, but my buddy on staff) walked out of the range. The man behind the counter said to him, "Do we rent out this Colt? It's pretty expensive..."

Behind his back I made the "Oh, please, please, pretty please..." face at Mike (the range guy). I even did the full-on batting the eyelashes thing. He grinned at me. "Sure," he said.

So, after promising to be very gentle with the Colt, Mike (the husband) and I went back to the range and set up. I opened the box of ammo. "Whoa! These are so big!" I started laughing. "And holy crap - I think I'm kind of nervous."

"Why are you nervous? It's only recoil," Mike reminded me. Right, okay. Only recoil.

I put up a target and loaded the pistol. I got into my stance, consciously controlled my breathing, and thought, "Okay. Strong grip. Sights lined up. Front sight focus." I was having a little internal monologue to calm myself. "Shhhh," I told myself. "Breathe. Slow down." I squeezed the trigger...
...and was rocked back on my heels! The recoil from a .45 is a lot different than say a 9mm or even a .38 revolver. Instead of the sharp smack that I usually feel, the .45 felt as if a big hand gave me a push. It feels like a "whomp!" instead of a "bang!" - I don't know of any other way to explain it.

The pistol felt good in my hand, the trigger was clean and no-nonsense, and the bullets went (mostly) where I told them to go. There were no malfunctions - every round chambered and fired perfectly. "Whoo-hoo!" I exclaimed between shots. "I love. this. gun!" I heard some guy down the line laughing at my enthusiasm. I reloaded and tried shooting one-handed.
A young man in the lane next to me was also shooting a .45 caliber 1911. Mike said I shamed him because his target wasn't as good as mine. It's enough to make a girl feel a bit smug.
Buddha said that desire is the root of all suffering and oh, I know the truth of that now. I have such a deep longing in my heart for a 1911, such a need for that .45, that it pains me. I want.

I suppose if it didn't shoot so well, I wouldn't crave it so much. But John Moses Browning (pbuh) shows me no mercy - a big ragged hole in the center of a target is so satisfying and so very addictive. I know I'll be back for more.
(12 rounds, at about 7 yards)

61 comments:

Bob said...

Awesome! Grats, Breda! I bet you're going to be spending the rest of the morning bookmarking 1911 websites.

*grins*

Jay G said...

Sweeeeeet!!!

Very nice shooting, Breda. The Colt will do it's job all day long as long as you do yours, and obviously you did.

Now, to get yourself one... *g*

Good luck in that search, because there's a whole world of possibilities out there for you in Free America (those of us stuck behind the red curtain in MA are limited to AutoOrdnance - stay away; ParaOrdnance - jury's out, but initial reports are also to stay away; and Smith & Wesson - general consensus is that S&W builds a damn fine 1911, and stands behind them like they do their revolvers.

Of course, being as you're not limited, Kimber makes some fine 1911s that won't destroy the back, as does Springfield Armory. Rock Island Armory makes a budget 1911 if you don't mind a little work needed. And, of course, there's the holy mother Colt itself - pricey as all get-out, and mostly for the name.

But worth it. My Gold Cup runneth over, as it were.

Best of luck in the 1911 search!

Rachel said...

I completely know what you're talking about. My husband's 1911 was the first handgun I ever shot, and I'll never forget the exhilaration of unloading those first nine rounds into the target.

leadchucker said...

My first time shooting a pistol was with my friend's Colt Commander.... and its been a long slow debilitating sickness ever since. I've loved every minute of it.

Kevin said...

Another Quote of the Day!!

Joe Allen said...

Haha, you're hooked now!

I like your description of the recoil as a "whomp" instead of a "bang".

I know a lot of female and slighter statured shooters that are initially afraid of the .45, and just won't quite believe me that it's not bad at all. Like you described, it's definitely more recoil, but it's almost slower somehow, and more straight back. Like a Hollywood explosion vs. the real thing.

All in all, I know of no women who have a problem shooting a 1911 in .45, and with the slender frame (especially with slim grips) the gun is ideal for small hands.

If you're looking at one as a carry piece, try a commander size too. Little more concealable and still very accurate.

Joe

Turk Turon said...

Wonderful post!

Makes me want one, too. I have a Springfield 1911 in 9mm, but I don't own any .45s at all. I wonder if I can get a .45 barrel and slide for the EAA Witness. Still that's not a true "1911" .45, is it? I think a Springfield "MilSpec" might just fit the bill1

ajdshootist said...

Nice shooting for first time out with a 1911,now you got me jealous two of the Pistols i had to give up when they banned them over here in the UK were .45acp's a 1911 made in 1916 and a Gold Cup and i still miss them.

Anonymous said...

Hehehe... you know the old saying, "The first one's free". Then they get you hooked. You'll start with something in a low-priced 1911, but before long it's gonna be "Gimme dat tricked out thang!"

Nothing quite like the "whomp" of a 1911; welcome to the club.

Willorith said...

You have done it now, girl. You are thoroughly hooked. You are now on the hard stuff and will always want more.

The Taurus PT 1911 is a very good gun that shoots exceptionally well, especially considering the $600 price tag. It is what I carry. It is probably easier for me to hide a full size 1911 than it would be for you. I believe you should move towards a large gun, and make compromises in dress to accomodate it. Every day as you are toting it around, you wish it was smaller. When you come across that person that needs shooting right now, you want it to be as big as possible.

Another very good reason to carry is dogs and other quadripeds attacking kids and other humans. How many more times will the dog bite the child while you are waiting for small bullets to work?

Mark Alger said...

Ah, yes! How well I remember that first time with my uncle's WWII GI .45.

::sigh::

M

Brigid said...

VERY nice grouping. I loved mine from the first time I had it.

aepilot_jim said...

And loe the heaven didth open and angel didth sang...

I've shot smaller calibers and the recoil felt harsh. The "almost" slow steady recoil on the 1911 is a like a good friend to me. I just picked up a Springfield GI champion to back up my Mil-Spec.

The other nice thing is the 1911 frame is ultimately customizable. By the time your done, there wont be another gun like it. Yours will be uniquely you.

JD said...

Cool. target looks good. I am jealous. . .

The classic 1911 is on my wish list too. . . .

Sevesteen said...

I'm torn with 1911's. When they are good, they are indeed very very good, but a lower percentage of them is good out of the box compared to other guns of similar price. None of my carry guns have a manual safety, so I'd need a good bit of range time before I'd carry a 1911.

The Captain said...

Nicely done, and welcome to the fan club.

As has been mentioned, there are many different versions of the 1911. It can be a fun (and expensive) journey to find the one that you like best.

I started with a Series 70, customized it, but now carry a Kimber Compact. The Officer's-sized Compact is much lighter than a full-size all-steel 1911. Its aluminum frame and smaller size sit comfortably on my belt.

Of course, the reduced weight translate to a greater felt recoil. There is always a trade-off it seems.

Now I've told you about my favorite 1911, but you have to go and find your own. Have a fun journey.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Yup. You shot better than me. As I figured. But it's great that you love it. Everyone needs a gun monkey on their back goading them to get another boomstick.

Rio Arriba said...

Well, as Ollie said to stan, "NOW look what you've done!"

Sorry, but there is no cure.

You...must...succumb...to...the...force.

I've taught quite a few women to shoot the .45 and I would say that you did VERY well your first time out.

Here's what you need now...

http://outbacknotes.blogspot.com/2008/08/things-that-go-bang_05.html

Good luck!

Weer'd Beard said...

Yayyy! It was a colt M1911A1 that got me hooked on shooting. Also your description of the recoil is a good one. .45 ACP is a big powerful cartridge, but it doesn't use the high pressure levels of say .40 S&W or .357 Magnum to achieve this power also in a big heavy gun like the 1911 you KNOW you're shooting something big, but ill effects are kept to a minimum.

As you may know I have a pair of S&W1911s (one a full-size government in stainless steel, and the other a commander-length with a scandium frame and a carbon steel slide) The selections are VERY limited here in mass, but I must say I REALLY like how Smith makes them. They have a drop-safety attached the the grip safety (unlike the colt where its in the trigger) an external extractor (which was how Browning preferred them unless asked to do otherwise)and novak sights, and safety, beavertail,and hammer are all cosmetically and functionally how I like them.

All I do when I get them is dump the full-length guide rod for a standard-length one and the gun is pretty much good-to-go for my tastes.

TJH said...

It's interesting how the slide splits the recoil impulse into two parts and adds a time delay, therefore completely changing the feel of the recoil. I found that the older .45 Colt, which has similar ballistics, feels very much like a .357 Magnum when fired from a revolver.

There is just so much to like about the big bores. The 45 ACP is surprisingly economical to reload compared to the other big bores. It's easy on brass, and target loads take relatively small amounts of fast-burning powders. Plus it's easier to handle the big cases and bullets. (And easier to see the holes at ranges from 10 yards and beyond.)

Eric Shelton said...

Yay for 1911 love! And great write-up, too!

I carry a Kimber, but if I had it to do over again I think I'd go Springfield. I like Springfield's drop safety better (light firing pin held by a strong spring) and I think they make just as good a gun for a couple hundred $$$ less.

Have fun shopping!

Eyehaightewe Gofuqurcelph said...
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Eyehaightewe Gofuqurcelph said...
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Tam said...

The best part was the way the clouds burst open with golden rays of light and choirs of angels sang, right? ;)

Glad you liked it! :)

Anonymous said...

Now you need to try a Browning Hi Power!

Regards,
NMM1AFan

Joseph said...

Nice, Breda!! The .45 is a great round. I am glad you enjoyed it!! I was always told that a .45 had a lot of recoil...when I shot one, I thought to myself, "Is that it? a .380 has more kick!"

Earl said...

Wonderfull report, nice shooting and you can wait for a forty-five, you have tasted it and that is the start, you only need one gun at a time. But you should be comfortable with all of them. If you do need/desire or just lust for one - Mike should buy it and make it especially special - then you will always keep it. Wonderwoman shirt, there is a message there, and one handed, now about the lefty stuff, one day - just do dry fires now. Oops, promised I wouldn't leave too many words. Great guns, Girl!

owyps Oh, when you pleasantly shared.

Zdogk9 said...

I told you it was a steep, slippery slope.

Amazing how good they feel in the hand. JMB got it just right.
z

Jeffro said...

If there were plastic figurines of JMB (pbuh), there would be one riding on the dash of my automobile.

Great report!

Mike W. said...

DAMN! - That is flat out awesome shooting Breda! Way to go!

Mike W. said...

How does .357SIG compare to .45 in recoil?

James R. Rummel said...

"How does .357SIG compare to .45 in recoil?"

In my experience, the .357 SIG has what can probably be described as a sharper recoil. I doubt that is very helpful, but it is the best way I can describe it.

James

wild deuce said...

Welcome to the Church of JMB.

I went for the top with my first 1911 ... Kimber Gold Combat RL II. My wife pretty much took over the gun after the first time she shot it. She's only five feet tall but she can handle it like a champ.

It still irritates her slightly when she shows up at a match for the first time and the big burly guys say, "You do know that is a forty-five, don't you?"

I ended up getting a bone stock Springfield Armory GI .45 to replace the Kimber. After replacing the blade sights (Novak) and an action job from Teddy Jacobson, this gun is the one I shoot the most. It gets used rain or shine, cleaned only when absolutely necessary and has become my general high-use gun. I love this gun and I love to abuse it.

I did get a Loaded Model SA for my carry gun (I had Mr. Jacobson do the trigger and reliability package on that one too). For economical reasons, I also had to get my wife a 9mm SA EMP .... hey, did I mention that 1911's are an addiction??

By the way, try to remember that feeling you had when you first fired that 1911. You will have a similar felling the first time you try practical shooting. Paper targets will never feel the same again. Of course you will still target practice but ... it will never be the same.

If you are ever in NW Indiana, give us a shout. We'll bust open the safe and you can try all we have. I suppose you have about a thousand invites as it is. Have you ever thought of a Breda Shooting World Tour?

Wild Deuce said...

.357SIG is definitely snappier and to the point. Not unpleasant but it does let you know that the round means business.

FYI. The worst caliber/gun combo I have felt in my limited experience is my wife's 340PD with full power loads.

falnfenix said...

kudos for being willing to shoot that thing. Chris has the same gun - Colt 1911 - and it scares the bejeezus out of me.

Buckshot said...

Breda,

You are now bouncing around with some of the all time classic combat handguns.

The S&W K-frame that Mike just got and now the M1911.

Maybe we can get you turned on to the Colt SAA and finish out the trinity?

Then on to the long guns, M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, M1a and AR-15 series.

Buckshot

DJ said...

Glad you got a "good" one; functioning problems can be very frustrating. An older, pampered, well-broken-in Colt is probably the best 1911 you could have ended up shooting.

And 1911s will definitely shoot, given the right pilot and ammo; no doubt about that at all. Looks like you did a fine job applying the fundamentals -- targets always tell the tale. Congrats!

Glenn Bartley said...

Rootin Tootin Good Shootin

Xavier said...

Congrats Breda! You have been assimilated. You will never look at another handgun in the same way as you did before you shot a 1911.

Xavier said...

One more thing Breda...........

The pistol you shot is the one you want. The Colt M1991A1 is a fine, inexpensive 1911 that is used as the basis of custom guns by gunsmiths everywhere. The Colt you shot obviously is reliable and shoots well.

Also, it was your first. Buying that gun is like preserving your first kiss. Do what is necessary to get it. Put it on lay away first thing tomorrow. Then sell off what you have to, bleg for money in your tip jar, and get that gun! Don't worry about the cost. Colts hold resale value like no other gun. In five years, it will be worth more used than you paid for it new if you take care of it.

Once you own it, do not do anything to it. Just load it and feed it. Beg and borrow other 1911s to shoot as well. If, after six months of shooting your Colt as is, if you decide to customize it, you will know exactly what you want, and more importantly, why you want it.

Two years from now, you will be glad you took this advice.

Happy hole punchin'!

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

And what is it with that hat? Are you wearing a Mao cap in commemoration with the Beijing Olympics?

Rick R said...

A song for your 1911 experience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvKtxTsVoMo

Joseph said...

Now, if the damn things were only a bit more affordable...I had a Colt Combat Commander that I had to sell off while unemployed...due to prices, replacing it has been problematical.

DirtCrashr said...

I don't need to say anything. :-)

the pawnbroker said...

not exactly an unexpected turn of events...
http://thebredafallacy.blogspot.com/2008/04/random.html

sorry to see you deleted me from your blogroll, breda; i'm guessing because of my self-admitted tendency towards assholery and caustic humor...but i usually do have a cogent point...

best wishes, gunwise and otherwise...

jtc

HollyB said...

I've been a devotee of Colt .45s for 20 years now. If memory serves, the first one the Dearly Beloved had me shoot was a Government Model.
I instantly fell in LURVE with the Gold Cup the moment I shot it.
Because it's easier to conceal, though I carry an Officer's Model. BUT, I compete with a BHP in 9mm.

You know those "wwjd" bracelets all the kids were wearing a few years ago... I STILL think us gunnies should have "WWJMB?" bracelets made to wear.

kaveman said...

Just be patient when shopping for a 1911.

You can easily spend upwards of a $1000 for one, or you can be persistent and find a good used one for around $600.

My Heart On My Sleeve said...

I held a Kimber once. I have lusted for it ever since. Our shooting range is a field where we pay yearly dues to go and shoot. Renting guns? What a wonderful idea! I want!

My Heart On My Sleeve said...

I held a Kimber once. I have lusted for it ever since. Our shooting range is a field where we pay yearly dues to go and shoot. Renting guns? What a wonderful idea! I want!

Shamalama said...

My Dear Gun Sister, you do not want a 1911 ... you need a 1911. Nothing compares, and you will not be happy until you own your own 1911. I'm still trying to figure out a way to carry mine into the shower. Been shooting a 1911 for the last 30 years.

I now have a Taurus PT1911, under $500 out the door with a few included tweaks that Taurus gives you and two 8-round magazines. While I certainly may buy another 1911 I won't be getting rid of my Taurus.

Shamalama said...

The following would make a GREAT motivational poster:

http://www.commonfolkusingcommonsense.com/pics/stuff/breda.jpg

Pretty Pistolera said...

Fun!!! Good shooting, Breda!

Firehand said...

First time daughter tried out several pistols bigger than .22, her favorite was my compact 1911. Five yards, five rounds, almost one big ragged hole.

It almost makes it easy.

ASM826 said...

http://randomactsofpatriotism.blogspot.com/2008/07/1911.html

Here's what I had to say about my 1911 last month. It has some good links to history and use of the 1911, as well.

mattcaron said...

You described the recoil of the .45 exactly as I do.

Also, welcome to the church of JMB. :-)

Finally, I'd agree with the other posters who suggested looking at the Taurus PT1911. It is, in my opinion, the best value for the money currently going.

Assrot said...

Nice shooting. I've never heard of anyone shooting a 1911 .45ACP and not liking it.

I agree with Xavier. Go lay away the one you shot. You won't regret it.

I own a few 1911s and have shot many. I'd recommend the Colts above all others. Many like the Kimbers but I just don't see the advantages of that brand over a Colt or an S&W.

Springfields are okay but I think most of them are ugly and over-priced. The few that actually look like a real 1911 are the cheaper ones and seem to have issues with feeding anything other than FMJ ammo.

I'd recommend you grab that Colt and don't let go. I hear a lot of talk about them being just a name these days but that has not been my experience. I have never experienced any problems with any Colt 1911 whether it's the old WWI and WWII originals or the new models made today.

I have always found the Colt to be a reliable and good handling gun.

One of my buddies has a S&W 1911 that I have shot and it seems to be a very well made and excellent shooting gun as well.

Give us an update when you buy one. It's only a matter of time. You are hooked now.

Joe

:-)

zercool said...

I have a Springfield 1911A1 "GI", the parkerized grey version, with the high ejection port, vertical slide serrations, no forward serrations... I love the damn thing.

People that gripe about unreliable 1911s are using super-tight race guns, and that was not JMB's original design. The original 1911 was loose, designed to function in horrid conditions, and just keep going.

The SA "GI" is as close to JMB's original design as you're going to get with a new 1911, and are quite reasonable - I paid $550 for mine with a holster, mag carrier, and one mag.

TheBronze said...

Breda, glad you found the love of the .45!

Just some advice, 1) don't get a Kimber. I've heard about too many problems with them. A buddy has one that he wishes he didn't.

2) Try a Glock-21 before you decide on a 1911.

Anonymous said...

Dear Breda,

Congratulations on a good shooting experience! I am glad you liked the 1911; it is certainly a venerable firearm that has served many generations well. However, before you plunk down the cash for one, I have a suggestion that I think is worth considering, although I might take some criticism for it. After firing both a Colt 1911 and a Sig P220 in the same day, I found that I preferred the Sig. While your results have certainly been enviable in terms of accuracy, perhaps the Sig would give you the same results with a better feel, so I encourage you to rent one if possible. Of course, the final decision is up to you, and my results are definitely affected by my preference for first-shot double action pistols.

Best of luck to you, and may you enjoy whichever pistol you choose!

Russ

RufusJ said...

Just discovered your blog today, Breda. Loved the Range Report - .45Colt M1911. As a UK resident who can't afford to leave because I'm retired, your fun with the .45 brings back fond memories.

I owned a Colt Series 70 .45 for 20 years until the Labour Party socialists (liberals I suppose they would be called in the USA!) declared all handgun owners to be dangerous social deviants in 1997and prohibited the legal ownership of pistols and revolvers. Of course, all the legal ones were registered, so when we were all threatened with five years in prison if we didn't cooperate, they were in a position to get very nasty about it. This is a small island, there is limited opportunity to "head for the hills".

A dealer friend of mine - who was looking at a grim financial future - sold on my guns to a wholesaler who was making up an export consignment before the axe
fell. I think my Colt Series 70, the S & W Model 25, the S & W Model 57 and .25 and .32 pocket pistols ended up in Germany, initially anyway.

From my own experience in the UK, I'd be prepared to believe anything the NRA says about American gun control advocates' true motives.

Actually, I'd say the S & W Model 25 revolver was easier to master than the .45 auto. I didn't use the .45 auto cartridges with the half-moon clips though, I bought 300 .45 auto-rim Remington cases and loaded my own, mainly from the Speer Manual.

Breda, happiness is a warm gun. Keep up the good work.

George said...

Breda, check out the Springfield Armory EMP. I picked one up and thought of you. I have small hands, but it fit like it was made for me. You might like it.