Automatic Pistol and the Colt 1911

automatic pistol colt 1911Finding it hard to follow the bashing of firearms by mainstream media and gun opponents? You’re not alone. And we suspect it will become more frustrating as we head into the Presidential election.

But as responsible gun owners/enthusiasts, following the discussion is a necessity. Even while we stand guard, firearms like the Colt 1911 are thrown into the argument with no basis other than the term automatic – a type of firearm with the ability to discharge spent shells, reload and fire again.

If we don’t educate, then who will? As we continue our quest to correct misinformation this week, we’re focusing on the Colt 1911: one of the most, if not THE most, storied handguns made in the USA. And we’re doing it without bias from the mainstream media.

A Brief History

In the early 20th century, U.S. Army leaders were looking for a revolver with more stopping power than the .38 Long Colt – a gun that was last used in the Philippine-American War at the end of the 19th century. The new .45 Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge was central to the design of the Colt 1911 – the pistol that could deliver what the Army was looking for.

John M. Browning designed the cartridge in 1906 as part of his first proposal for the firearm. Changes were made until U.S. Army General John T. Thompson, an Army Ordnance member, was satisfied it would effectively stop the enemy. Recoil-driven, it fired 230-grain round-nosed ammo at 850-feet per second – near sonic speed.

Before the Army adopted the Colt 1911, the gun sustained a robust test that included firing a record-breaking 6,000 rounds. After 100 shots, the prototype cooled for 5 minutes before firing another 100 rounds. It was cleaned and oiled every 1,000 rounds. It shot distorted ammo after 6,000 rounds and was then coated with the sand/mud that soldiers would find in battle, or thrown into acid, before being fired again.

The pistol first saw action in World War I and was the standard U.S. Army issue firearm for nearly 90 years. It saw action in nearly every major U.S. military conflict during the 20th century.

Modern Usage

There are many modern-day descendants of the Colt 1911.  After Colt’s patent expired four decades ago, other companies began manufacturing the 1911. Are they as good as the original? That’s another post all together.

While no longer standard-issue for the U.S.. Army, the Colt 1911, and its modern-day descendants, are still the favored weapon for law enforcement globally. Why? Accuracy, weight, reliability or customization. Take your pick; like most discussions surrounding guns, everyone has definite opinions on the firearm.


Still wondering how such a storied pistol gets sucked into the gun control debate? So are we. Has its history as the Army’s staple firearm put it in the cross-hairs? Or is it as simple as the words Automatic Colt Pistol that’s put the target on its back more than a century after it answered a call to protect our soldiers on the battlefield?

We can think of only two answers – ignorance and prejudice against any firearm termed automatic.

You might also like:

Sign Up for Our Mailing List
* = required field
About Bret Smith

I am a long-time lover of all things outdoors. Whether hunting, shooting, fishing or just hiking and camping, I take every opportunity to enjoy nature and share it with others.

Speak Your Mind