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painted_klown 05-16-2008 08:01 PM

REALLY dumb newbie question
Hello all, I have been lurking around on the forums and I see a lot of people talking about a 1911. What is a 1911? I get that its a gun, but is that a style of gun that a lot of manufacturers produce, a nickname for a popular (specific) gun, or something used as a generic term to describe a series of hand guns, perhaps from the same maker or is it a model number? :confused:

Believe me I KNOW that this is a dumb noob question but I feel like I am missing out on part of the conversations when I don't know for sure what is being talked about. Thanks for your help and please excuse my ignorance.:)

chorst294 05-16-2008 08:12 PM

I know there are a lot of guys on this forum that could answer this question much better than I, but I'll give it a shot. 1911 refers to the Colt model 1911 .45 caliber handgun adopted by our military in 1911. It's a single action semi-auto firearm mostly in .45 caliber. There have been numerous companies that have copied the basic "1911" design such as Springfield Armory, Kimber, S&W, Taurus, etc.. You can now buy 1911's in several calibers and in double action form. It mainly describes the style of firearm. I hope this answers your question and I'm sure others will add helpful details.

fatherroach 05-16-2008 08:27 PM

not a dumb question
Give yourself some credit i have heard and seen much worse questions than that!

Dillinger 05-16-2008 08:53 PM

Not so dumb a question really....
If you haven't been exposed to much, this is a normal question, and there have been way worse ones put to the forum, believe me.

The design behind the 1911 style pistol was the brain child of, I believe, probably the smartest firearms designer to ever walk the Earth, John Moses Browning.

John Browning was one of three brothers, sons of a famous gunsmith, who inherited his shop and reputation when their father died in 1879. John was regarded as a design genious, having designed his first single shot rifle at the tender age of 14!

He went on to design production weapons for Winchester, FN ( He designed the first autoloading shotgun that Winchester passed on and FN snapped up, and Colt including the 1895 Colt Peacekeeper and the B.A.R. - Browning Automatic Rifle.

The 1911 automatic pistol, quite possibly the most famous pistol in the world today, was originally designed late in the 1890's. It was not put into production on a wide range format until some years later however.

During the 1899 and 1900 small arms handgun tests, the US Military adopted a brand called a DWM Luger chambered in 7.65mm. This was in service, in one form or another, up until about 1904 ( possibly 1906 depending on your source of reference ).

In 1904 the US Military, led by the statement from Colonel John Thompson, a veteran of the Phillipine-American War, that the new service pistol should be of "no less than .45 caliber" which led to open pistol tests in the summer of 1906. These were open trials, but only six manufacturers submitted designs ( Colt, Bergmann, DWM, Savage Arms Company, Knoble, Webley, and White-Merril )

Much speculation has been written about the tests, talk of slanted scales, kickbacks, unfair testing procedures, the usual complaints concerning government testing. The end result was that Colt won with the John Browning Designed Automatic Colt Pistol ( which the round designed was named .45 caliber - ACP )

It was officially adopted by the US Military in March of 1911 and dubbed Model of 1911 - or M1911. It has been in service, in the US Military, in some form, shape or configuration since 1911! Quite a feat for a design from a guy who, reportedly, never got past the 8th grade of formal education.

Generally you will hear more of the "elder" community and those in military and law enforcement experience speak of the 1911. This is not a young gun, and it has listed "drawbacks" like the fact that it will only hold 8 rounds in a basic magazine, but it is the grandfather of every modern autoloading pistol - and as I own several variations of Mr. Browning's classic design, I dare say it's a beautiful piece of art and I am a HUGE fanboy of him and his work. :D

fapprez 05-17-2008 12:32 AM

Yeah, what JD said.

painted_klown 05-17-2008 05:21 AM

Wow, Thanks for the very thorough answers. Thats the type of education I am looking for.:)

poolshark13 05-17-2008 06:28 AM

response to dillinger
are you saying that the same browing, of the browning firearms, is responsible for the 1911, or merely coincidence with the names? if it is one in the same, thats a good piece of trivia.

opaww 05-17-2008 10:33 AM

The 1911a1 is one of the finest pistols ever made, even today. I have owned and used one from the last 38 years.

Dillinger 05-17-2008 06:50 PM


Originally Posted by poolshark13 (Post 24356)
are you saying that the same browing, of the browning firearms, is responsible for the 1911, or merely coincidence with the names? if it is one in the same, thats a good piece of trivia.

That is exactly what I am saying. John Moses Browning was the son of a well regarded gunsmith who had his own shop, but it was John and his brother that founded Browning Firearms, depending on where you research, either near the time of John's death, or shortly after.

The company held many, many patents at the time and was purchased by FN Herstal as part of a long relationship between John and the company.


c3shooter 05-17-2008 10:15 PM

Dillinger- agree with everything you said- EXCEPT that bit about the Luger. I know was submitted for trials, but not aware that was ever accepted. IIRC, the standard Army sidearm at the time of the Moro Insurrection was a revolver, in cal .38 Colt. Which really sucked for stopping power. Which resulted in the "45 cal" spec from Gen Thompson.

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