Happy Birthday To…

Old Slablsides! Today, March 29th, marks the 102nd anniversary of the U.S. Army’s adoption of the Colt Model 1911, .45 cal Automatic Pistol. Even more poignant to this old Jarhead, it’s the 100th anniversary of my beloved Corps adopting it as well.

The 1911, and it’s later upgrade the 1911A1, served U.S forces for 80 years; through four major wars and dozens of smaller “low intensity conflicts”, and never once did the iconic love child of the disciple John Moses Browning ever let us down. Originally adopted because the .38 cal revolvers just weren’t getting the job done against the Moros in the Philippines, it is still to this day one of the most ergonomic, well designed, and effective (read powerful) service pistols ever produced. It is such a stellar performer that the Marine Special Operations Command recently re-adopted it as the standard sidearm of Gyrene snake eaters, and it is still a favorite among IDPA, SWAT, and discerning pistoleros across the breadth of our great nation.

An interesting bit of trivia, the U.S. military received it’s last contracted order of 1911′s in 1945. The .45′s that were carried all the way until the late 80′s were all WWII or before produced pistols. In fact the pistol that I carried when stationed on Guam, while working in the Company armory after we had transitioned to the M9 Beretta, had been manufactured in 1917 for a shipment to the U.S. Army. When we boxed all of our 1911′s up for shipment back to Albany GA. I joked, with a tear in my eye, that my pistol should be “lost”. My NCOIC of course squashed my wistful dream, but 6 weeks later the paperwork came back that “my” 1911 had been a combat write off in Korea. The stories that pistol could have told! Made in 1917 for the Army, USMC combat loss in Korea, and ended up as the last 1911 carried on Guam (Hey, working in the armory had its perks. I kept on carrying that pistol long after all the other Marines had transitioned to M9′s, even after I had been tasked with teaching that damned transition course. ).

So to my old and faithful companion, Happy Birthday! Thousands of Flips, Krauts, Eye-ties, Japs, Gooks, ChiComs, Gomers, Hajis, and miscellaneous other enemies of freedom may disagree, but fuck them. You my friend were on the good guy’s side. I am honored to share my birthday with you.

1911

37 comments

  1. 1
    Djach growls and barks:

    Happy Birthday! Incidentally, tomorrow I’ll be going to the range with my brother, and I’ll be thinking of this article when I’m shooting his Colt MK IV. :em01:

  2. 2

    Happy Birthday Crunch you old sod. Tho we don’t all talk much or able to get everyone together much, you,Bangie Thang and the Princesses are very much a part of our family and here’s to many more good years to come. :em01:

  3. 3
    Orion growls and barks:

    Happy Birthday to you both – my Kimber Pro Carry (M1911 style) is sitting right next to me, in fact.

    :)

    Orion

  4. 4

    Lady M-ITT™-Imperial Sniper G.L.O.R says:

    Happy Birthday Crunch you old sod. Tho we don’t all talk much or able to get everyone together much, you,Bangie Thang and the Princesses are very much a part of our family and here’s to many more good years to come.

    Awwww!!!!! Thanks Lady M. But this was about my beloved 1911, not me. I was just blessed by God to have been born on the same day. BTW, the feelings are very much mutual. The Princesses talk about you constantly. We do so badly need to get back out Texas way some day soon.
    LC 0311 Sir Crunchie I.M.H., K.o.E. recently posted..Happy Birthday To…My Profile

  5. 5
    Flounder growls and barks:

    Thanks for the memories Crunchie, and Happy Birthday to you! The venerable M1911A1 served the Navy for a few years more. My girlfriend carried one as part of the ASF (Auxiliary Security Force) at NAS North Island in the mid-’90s. I remember a lot of sub topside watches carrying them at the D&S piers in Norfolk in the early ’80s whenever I’d get a little precious time away from my carrier and stop by to visit friends from nuc school and prototype.
    Please, ground-pounders, don’t hold my and my GF’s squidly service against us. B^)

  6. 6
    LC HJ Caveman82952 growls and barks:

    My Ruger P97DC is my favorite owned handgun,in my little armory. Let’s just say I own more than one .45

  7. 7

    Happy Birthday (slightly belated) Crunchie. I told you the story of how I found that T.A. that gave my shop permission to carry National Match 1911s as duty weapons, while the rest of the AF carried M-15 S&Ws. Well, the OSI had their OMs that were built over at Camp Bullis gunsmith shop, but anyway… The first pistol I ever legally bought on my 21st birthday was a Colt Combat Commander in 1976. God I loved that beast. Had a set of K frame sights put on when I was in San Antonio in 1980. Then we got those frakking M-9s and I was just as upset as you were to box up my duty weapon.

    You do know that the 1911 was God’s gift to man through His prophet John MOSES Browning, right?
    LC cmblake6, Imperial Black Ops Technician recently posted..And to commence the 6th millenia,My Profile

  8. 8
    LC TerribleTroy growls and barks:

    Happy birthday one niner one one and to the Crunchmeister! Never did like the M9 (grip width sucks on that double stack design)

    I wish you both many more laps around the sun.

  9. 9
    single stack growls and barks:

    I fired my first M1911 when I was 8 yo with my father’s help holding it. It was his Korean War sidearm; a Singer, loaded with GI ball. He came back from Vietnam with a Remington Rand he took off a VC he killed on Tan Son Nhut AB in Saigon during the ’68 Tet Offensive.
    He taught me to work on 1911s with those pistols and we spent many hours together shooting them.
    The 1911 is the combat pistol, and like Col Cooper said, the 1911 is the pinnacle of combat pistol technology and the only advance since its introduction has been its refinement.
    In 1985 I bought a AMT Hardballer, a clone of the Colt Gold Cup, and the first stainless steel pistol on the civilian market.
    People used to make fun of it, because AMT never had a good reputation. I think the low price and snobbery had a lot to do with it, and, truth be told, OTB it was a Jamalot with a really crappy trigger, but then, so were Colts at the time. The ridicule stopped when the shooting started though. It’s as reliable as the ammo and accurate enough to put all the hits in the “A” zone. (I wish I still was) Even now I get a kick out of people with their $1000 (or more) pistols who turn up their noses at my $300 piece of crap – until the shooting starts. :em05:
    It’s my daily carry gun and though it’s heavy I feel uncomfortable without that weight on my hip.
    Today is our club’s annual Spring Fling charity shotgun shoot but I won’t be shooting in it due to a shoulder injury, but I will give Winona a good workout.
    Happy birthday Crunchie. It’s funny you should mention Albany, Ga. It’s where I grew up. My father was stationed at Turner Field until he went to Vietnam. It was a SAC base then and while he was in VN it was turned over to the Navy as an air station and later became a MC logistics center.

  10. 10
    MikeC growls and barks:

    Let me add my thanks to Sir Crunchie for the memories, and congrats to this fine firearm. The 1911 was the very first (and last) handgun that I ever shot. I was introduced to when I arrived at my first duty station in AK in a MID in the early 80s. Qualifying with it was kinda funny. I could not shoot a handgun for crap, even with some expert instructors, and even though I was an accomplished marksman with any rifle I had ever shot. The only reason I did finally qualify is the rounds would kick up the detritus in front of the target and knock it down. Wanting more practice, I noted to my former SF first sergeant that it seemed like cheating to qualify that way. His response was that the .45 was a weapon of last resort, and a .45 round, even after bouncing off stuff had sufficient stopping power, so a knocked down target was as good as a disabled combatant any day.

    If I ever get enough money ahead, this is ultimately the only handgun I will ever own. I envy those of you that have the wherewithal to have one in your possession. You are truly blessed.

    – Yeah, i’ll eventually get around to talking about that in my Tales of a cold warrior series…
    MikeC recently posted..Saturday Goofy LinksMy Profile

  11. 11
  12. 12

    got a Kimber 1911 that is a sweet pistol. The 1911 model pistol just fits my hand like a glove, not so with the 9mm’s that I’ve shot.

    and Happy Birthday Crunch, sorry we missed you last week when we were in Ft. Lauderdale but we were a little “crunched” for time before out ship left for the Caribbean. Next year for sure.

  13. 13
    bruce growls and barks:

    when i was training for the 101st we had to go to ricochet school and bounce bullets off the ground and into the targets.i ate a krait raw after i cut off it’s head with my flash supressor this was in 1968.my uncle bob who was in the 82nd, shot a german at 50 yards with his 1911 and the german did not get up.crunchie i have two para ordnance .45′s one is a p-13 that holds 14rds the other is a single stack and both shoot great out of the box.i had a 92f that i gave to my sister because i thought it was a girls gun.the 1911 is the best combat hand gun ever invented and i hope the military goes back to them i know that the crunchen ticker holds more rounds but 10rds of .45 acp should do the job. :em03:

  14. 14
    bruce growls and barks:

    crunchyou shoul write about all the wars that the democratics have screwed up starting with that ass hole wilson losing the first world war.

  15. 15
    LC Alric growls and barks:

    Happy Birthday M1911! I’ve got my Springfield Loaded on my desk as I type right now. Sure there might be handguns superior to it now, but it still gets the job done as well as anything else. Plus it’s a great companion to any AR-15 type firearm.

  16. 16
    LC Gunsniper growls and barks:

    Happiest of Happy Birthdays to you, Crunch.

  17. 17
    Retired Spook growls and barks:

    The first centerfire handgun I ever shot was Grand-dad’s 1911 (not an 11A1, mind you!) that he brought home from his extended tour of France in 1918. Been shooting them ever since. Right now I have 3, and just bought another one for my son-in-law (the family’s token jarhead) for when he graduates from warrant officer school. I think every adult male in the family has at least one.

  18. 18

    single stack says:

    It was his Korean War sidearm; a Singer,

    Wow, a Singer. If you still have that thing, hold on to it, it’s the rarest and most sought after of the makes by collectors. Only 500 of them were made. I had a Remington-Rand for awhile that was a WWI take home and was give to my mom by the widower to give to me. Until it was stolen anyway.

    The first pistol I ever bought was a Colt Series 70 Delta Elite. Bought it right after I got out of the Corps. Still got it ad will until the day I die.
    LC 0311 Sir Crunchie I.M.H., K.o.E. recently posted..Happy Birthday To…My Profile

  19. 19
    FrankOK growls and barks:

    We have an aging parent (102) living with us and have a lady come in every day for 4 hours or so to keep her out of trouble – a lot like having a loose ‘coon in one’s home when she’s not supervised as she can get around much better than she can think.

    The sitter is about 73 and her husband is 82 – she’s rather spry but he just had a knee replaced and hasn’t been very froggy lately, for that reason. The old fellow is a Korean War vet.

    As with many other people, there were a few break-ins in their neighborhood recently and he decided, after many years of non-ownership, to get a weapon for defense of them and their home – wise choice.

    Of the many the wife and I own, we decided the best route was a Glock 22 we had – nearly new condition. I’m not fond of a Glock because of the plastic lower – I hate the feel of it – but it is also the most dependable pistol I know of.

    After trying it out at the local indoor range, they decided it was what they wanted instead of the 9mm recommended by her grandson. While at the range, I uncased my “massaged” 1911A1, loaded it up, and told the old fellow to have at the B27 downrange. He may well be 82 but there’s no mistaking the look in one’s eyes of fond memories from years past – and the old fart totally ruined Mr. B27′s day with two magfuls of .45 hardball. We didn’t have to ask if he was enjoying himself.

    After the range session, we came back to the house and I fitted a laser to it, threw in a LuLa (for the arthritic fingers of we oldsters), and a couple boxes of .40 S&W to feed it.

    J. M. Browning did a helluva job on that pistol, even though it is one of the more difficult models to master. I wish I could shake his hand but I’ll settle for the smile the 1911 brought to the old guy’s face.
    FrankOK recently posted..The Jews Are Following Adolf Hitler’s PlaybookMy Profile

  20. 20
    LC LOBO growls and barks:

    Radical Redneck says:

    Happy Birthday Crunchie! Here’s your present – a photo of someone you hold in the highest esteem relaxing in the pool after a very hard day’s work!

    No. Not going there.
    LC LOBO recently posted..For my mate, Eric.My Profile

  21. 21
    Delftsman3 growls and barks:

    Happy Birthday Crunchie; I really look forward to the day we can be in the same space together. Watching your girls on the range is a pure joy to experience. Show that there yet hope for the future of our Nation.
    Delftsman3 recently posted..GO Aggies !My Profile

  22. 22
    Library Czar growls and barks:

    Crunch,

    I have a Remington Rand made in 1943. It shoots better than my (now deceased) FIL Colt Gold Cup. I’ll have it until I die and probably then some :)

  23. 23
    single stack growls and barks:

    LC 0311 Sir Crunchie I.M.H., K.o.E. @ #: 18

    On my father’s death his wife sold all his guns to a pawn shop. She knew nothing about guns and just let the lot go in bulk. He had a lot of very valuable collector grade guns and they went for a pittance.
    After the guns were gone the will was read. I would have gotten the Singer and the Remington Rand, a new in the box with all the original paperwork unmodified, unfired, 1973 three screw Ruger Blackhawk .357 Mag, a pre ’64 Winchester M70 30-06, and 5 M1 Carbines, all WWII vintage, 3 original and 2 that he had restored.
    My brothers’ and sisters’ inheritance would have been of similar value.
    Needless to say, a firestorm erupted when we realized what she had done but it was too late.

  24. 24

    single stack says:

    The 1911 is the combat pistol, and like Col Cooper said, the 1911 is the pinnacle of combat pistol technology and the only advance since its introduction has been its refinement.

    The greatest up close and personal ever.
    MikeC says:

    If I ever get enough money ahead, this is ultimately the only handgun I will ever own. I envy those of you that have the wherewithal to have one in your possession. You are truly blessed.

    Rock Island Armory makes a superb clone, and the price is nice.
    single stack @ # 23: I’m sorry, I would have immediately choked her to death.
    LC cmblake6, Imperial Black Ops Technician recently posted..Das Leben Der AnderenMy Profile

  25. 25

    :em05: :em05: :em05: I thought I was going to have to scream for brain bleach, but being the brave yet foolhardy individual I am, I checked RR’s link. :em03: It was good!
    LC cmblake6, Imperial Black Ops Technician recently posted..Das Leben Der AnderenMy Profile

  26. 26
    Radical Redneck growls and barks:

    LC LOBO @ #:

    No. Not going there.

    Chicken! :em07:

  27. 27
    LC Xystus growls and barks:

    single stack @ # 23:

    Sickening. Revolting. :em08: :em06: :em08:

  28. 28

    My regular carry pistol is an M1911 from Springfield Armories. I love that gun like no other!!!
    LC Nicki the Resident Misanthropic Bitch recently posted..Now We KnowMy Profile

  29. 29
    LC Draco growls and barks:

    Happy belated, Crunch!!

    I carry my Kimber CDP II or my HKs….but I have a few Mark IV Series 80′s strategically hidden around the house.
    LC Draco recently posted..Heroes HonoredMy Profile

  30. 30
    Yasherka growls and barks:

    Memories.

    The 1911A1 is the first firearm I ever shot. I was all of four years old (in 1968). Held my thumb vertically, and before my dad could stop me I touched off my first round. The slide tore off all the skin on the pad of my thumb. I distinctly remember it. Kept on shooting though after I got bandaged up, and it kicked off a lifelong love of shooting and of John Browning’s crowning achievement.

    I desperately tried to get ahold of one when we deployed to Desert Storm, my unit (1-1 Cav) still had 1911′s and M3A1 Grease Guns in inventory, but I was “just” a rotorhead (AH-1 pilot) and .45′s were for the tankers. Lucky bastards. I had to make do with a S&W Model 10 M&P until we took our first objective and we were all able to procure AKS’s.

    I have six 1911′s in the vault of various makes and models. Still my favorite pistol to shoot, my wife enjoys them too. My twin boys, soon to celebrate their first birthday, will follow in Dad’s footsteps as soon as they are ready.

  31. 31

    Yasherka says:

    My twin boys, soon to celebrate their first birthday, will follow in Dad’s footsteps as soon as they are ready.

    That is the greatest gift that can be given, and received. And it’s a doubles sided gift, the life long joy you give your kids, and the joy they give you when you see the wonderment on their faces. God bless Yasherka, and I envy you the anticipation of that day. Trust me, the ongoing joy of every range day afterwards is just as good as that first time.
    LC 0311 Sir Crunchie I.M.H., K.o.E. recently posted..Happy Easter allMy Profile

  32. 32

    Delftsman3 says:

    I really look forward to the day we can be in the same space together. Watching your girls on the range is a pure joy to experience.

    Indeed it is Delfts, I’m proud that you remember that day, it was the first day they fired a real rifle (I still owe Misha and the Heirs a huge debt of gratitude for that. After I saw how well they did, under Jackboot and my supervision, I knew they were ready for the .22 Crickets I had been keeping for them for the past 5 years).

    I hope we can get together again soon too. I miss it.
    LC 0311 Sir Crunchie I.M.H., K.o.E. recently posted..Happy Easter allMy Profile

  33. 33

    single stack @ #:
    Sounds like there was as much sentimental value in that collection as there was monetary. I hope you’ve reconciled with her, although I can imagine how hard that may have been.
    LC 0311 Sir Crunchie I.M.H., K.o.E. recently posted..Happy Easter allMy Profile

  34. 34
    single stack growls and barks:

    LC 0311 Sir Crunchie I.M.H., K.o.E. @ #: 33

    There was more sentimental value than monetary value for all of us. We all agreed that if we had gotten our inheritance few of the guns would have ever been sold. Dad bought several guns that he kept unfired in the original box with all the paperwork precisely for their future value and made sure each of us got one. He was a shrewd and savvy gun trader. Imagine what an unfired in the original box with all the papers 1958 (the year my brother was born) Browning Superposed would be worth today.
    There was never really a reconciliation as such but the urge to strangle her until her eyeballs popped out eventually went away.

  35. 35
    LCBrendan growls and barks:

    Redneck

    I was brought home some brown cooked BBQ sausages for dinner. I then clicked your link.

    I cant eat them now.

    One day, RR..I dont know how and I dont know when… but you are going to pay for this. :em08:

  36. 36

    single stack says:

    There was never really a reconciliation as such but the urge to strangle her until her eyeballs popped out eventually went away.

    Close enough for gubmint work. :em05:
    LC 0311 Sir Crunchie I.M.H., K.o.E. recently posted..Happy Easter allMy Profile

  37. 37

    LCBrendan says:

    One day, RR..I dont know how and I dont know when… but you are going to pay for this.

    Get in line Brendan, a lot of people ahead of ya on that one. .
    LC 0311 Sir Crunchie I.M.H., K.o.E. recently posted..Happy Easter allMy Profile