Letter Re: M1911 Pistols--What Constitutes "Over the Top"

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Jim -
I have to pick a small bone with you on your response regarding what ways to trick out your 1911. During a special symposium at Gunsight with 11of 12 shooters being prior service and/or law enforcement, 10-15% of all rounds in the targets hit the hand/pistol of the bad guy - seems there is a mechanical slaving of where the eye focuses and where you hit the target in some cases (the eyes and weapons system are calibrated to hit what is sighted--sort of like a chin turret on an Apache or Cobra)

Why on earth would you think that your right hand will always be happy/healthy/functional in a fight? ALL 1911s should have an ambidextrous safety in case of injury, or equipping a southpaw on your team. Combat Tupperware [Glocks with no manual safety lever] has this taken care of.

Slide releases are not to be used according to my instructors (Clint Smith, Pat Rogers, Louis Awerbuck). Rather, you reach over the top of the slide, grasp it with your four fingers against the bottom of the palm of your hand, and you "tear the slide off" if you need to cycle the action for whatever reason. The idea is to get every single iota of energy out of the spring to chamber the round which may have dirt, blood, mud, flesh bits, etc., competing for the limited space of the pistol's chamber. Using the slide release doesn't give as much of a run at chambering the round. Why spend Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs) on an accessory you don't need/use?

While a 1911 (that runs right - something that can be tough to find) is a superb weapon, why spend $1200+ for one that I then have to accessorize/have slicked up when I can get a Glock 21 that runs out of the box for about 1/2 that? No flame war wanted, just pointing out that 2 for 1 price is an attractive feature (as you where driving towards with your sage advice to get a second one, or how about TRAINING to effectively use the one you have!!!). Some hate the Glock's size/grip - to each his own - I would never feel undergunned with a 1911 and it is a mechanical/design work of art/masterpiece. You do, however, need to be taught/train on how to make it run in a bit more depth than the double action only (DAO) "safety in the trigger" Glock.  My $.02, FWIW. Keep up the great work!!! - Beach

JWR Replies: Unless someone trains with a M1911 without the use of the slide release from day one, then it is impossible to expect that they won't revert to using the slide release lever in the heat of combat. Remember the maxim:  The first/oldest training is the deepest ingrained.  I've heard many stories about police officers that subconsciously fight just the way they trained. For example putting either the fired brass from revolvers or empty magazines from auto pistols in their pockets. They don't even realize that they've done it until after the smoke has cleared and they've regained their wits.

I agree with your advice on ambidextrous safeties. If someone has the budget for it, then that modification is worth doing, even for right handers. But in general, I try to keep M1911s as "stock" as possible. Even in stainless steel, there is no reason why a combat ready M1911 has to cost more than $800. We have a couple of stainless M1911s in our family battery that I bought used and that cost no more than $650, even after the necessary mods.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim Rawles published on December 19, 2005 6:00 PM.

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