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Semi-automatic pistol


The Browning's M1911 pistol is still very popular even though it was introduced a century ago

Caliber 11.43x23 mm (.45 ACP)
Weight (empty) 1 075 g
Weight (with loaded magazine) 1 130 g
Length 219 mm
Barrel length 127 mm
Muzzle velocity 253 m/s
Magazine capacity 7 rounds
Sighting range 50 m
Range of effective fire 50 m


   Development of this semi-automatic pistol began at the end of XX century. It was developed by the John Browning, a legendary weapon designer, for the Colt company. Later Browning sold the rights of this pistol to the Colt company. In 1906-1907 the US armed forces announced trials for a new pistol, that would replace a number of older pistols revolvers. In 1911 after extensive testing the Browning's pistol was adopted by the US Cavalry and Navy fleet as the Model 1911. It proved to be a highly successful weapon. Since its introduction it was used in almost every military conflict, including the WWI. In 1924, its modified version, the M1911A1, was adopted by the US Army. During the WWII several millions of these pistols were produced in the USA by various companies. Later it was used in the Korean and Vietnam War. The M1911A1 remained the main sidearm of the US Army until 1985.

   Even though the M1911 was introduced a century ago, and is generally out-dated, it is still very popular. This weapon has been in use longer than any other small arm in the US armed forces inventory. It is worth noting that the second weapon, that has been longest in the US armed forces inventory, is the M2 machine gun, that was also designed by the John Browning.

   Currently the M1911 is still in service with the US Navy, US Marine Corps, US Navy Seals and other special operation soldiers, FBI, SWAT teams. Since its introduction this pistol it has been exported to more than 50 countries from all around the world. Currently it is still in service with nearly 30 countries.

   The M1911 is chambered for a powerful .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) round. This round was developed alongside this pistol. The US armed forces required their new pistol to have a caliber of .45 inches. This round has an extreme penetration and man-stopping effect. The M1911 is one amongst the most powerful pistols, that are currently available.

   Operation system of this pistol proved to be reliable and was widely copied. The M1911 has a single-action trigger. This pistol has a grip- and manual safety.

   It is fed from a 7-round magazine. However it is not sufficient by modern standards. Currently most military pistols have 15- or even 20-round magazines. The M1911 is relatively slim.

   The M1911 is very accurate. Some sources claim that the M1911 can hit targets at a range of 100 m.

   Various clones and copies of this highly successful pistols are still being developed and produced. However in most cases the only differences from the original are the external trim, shape of the grip, or sight. Some clones are chambered for different calibers. Some have a double-action trigger.




   M1911A1 is an improved version, adopted by the US Army in 1926. It has some minor improvements, such as wider front sight, shorter trigger, and some other. It has been the main US Army pistol until 1985, when it was replaced by the M9 (Beretta 92FS);

   Colt Government Model 1911, a civilian version. In 1929 this pistol was introduced, chambered for a new .38 Super Automatic round. This version has a 9 round magazine capacity. The .38 Super Automatic version is extremely accurate and is often used for target shooting;

   Colt Commander, a compact model intended for civilian market. In 1972 the US Army adopted an M15 pistol, developed by Rock Island Arsenal. It is a self-defense weapon for general US Army and US Air Force officers. It is very similar to Colt Combat Commander;

   Colt Defender is an even more compact version of the M1911A1 pistol. It is also intended for civilian market. This pistol has a shorter grip. Its magazine holds 6 rounds;

   Colt Officer's ACP. It is a compact pistol, introduced in 1985.








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