Under the 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it!'
column, Let me share this little MSH "fix" I didn't know I needed.
When I first got my Defender I couldn't hit paper with it! The gun had FTF and FTE issues and my cognitive dissonance was screaming what a dumb purchase!!!
My third trip to the range was my turning point. It was a slow day and the Range Officer was hanging around me escaping from the boredom. After watching my frustration he offered this question, "First mouse gun?" My hubris wanted to tell him to go clean up brass but my intellect said help. I said, “Yep.”
He said, “You can’t grip that mini-me like a Government model. Your grip is too low. You should go back to the Hogue’s.”
^ As-issued Defender W/Houges
I said, “There is no handle, it’s so small I can’t get good purchase.”
^ The first change I made was to remove the Goodyear's.
He went on to show me how to grip the Defender by jamming my thumb-web into the beavertail first and then let my fingers find their natural placement. He went on to tell me my grip looked good but he bet me he could make it better.
I figured at this point any assistance will help and said, “How?” He went on to explain that he bet my strong side hand was doing all the gripping and that would pull the muzzle off target when the trigger is pulled. Have your weak side hand provide about 60% of the grip pressure.
I ran the remainder of my ammo on target, NO FTF/FTEs, me in amazement and the Range Officer with a big grin on his face!
What’s that cute story have to do with a MSH? OK…OK I’m getting to it!
My hands were obviously too big for this 3” 1911. In search for a fix I thought the addition of a magwell would add to the length of the Defender frame. (I know, I know, I should’ve bought the LW Commander!!)
I called Smith & Alexander in Texas and got Allen Smith. I explained the above ‘cute’ story and WOW! Talking to Allen is like taking a pistolsmith class! He said my problem was more a MSH issue than a short grip. He ask me if my shots were mostly low and to the weak side? ...."Yep."
He went on to tell me that when the Army came back to Browning for changes to the M1911 one of the complaints was the Calvary, shooting mostly from horseback, were always hitting under their targets and wanted something done with the sights. JMB being the true genius that he was knew the sights were fine and came up with the arched MSH to force the shooter’s hand up higher on the grip. This simple change causes the muzzle higher in a natural point shooting stance and increased accuracy. The arched housing is one of the few changes made to the design and the result was the M1911A1 introduced in 1924. (Thank God they didn’t change the name to 1924!)
....^..M1911A1 W/Arched MSH
The reason we see few arched MSH's on today’s production 1911’s is due to the small horseback shooting demographic.
You’re shooting looks to be fine. I share this experience with you (and others) to show how an unknown problem was fixed by observant and helpful fellow gun owner.
The MSH change along with the purchase of the Wilson Combat 47DOXB 8rd mag (giving my pinky a place to park) has taken a “bad purchase” and turned it into my favorite CCW!
^ Defender W/ Arched MSH & Mag